God reserves the right to bless or not bless our preaching according to His will and purpose. Empowered preaching is not simply the result of the right use of the right means. In other words, it's not just 1 plus 1 always equaling 2. In God's math, empowered preaching is the result of being down under God; not only in our preaching but in our entire life.

When you realize God is the pastor-teacher of your church and that you are merely His instrument, it changes everything. Getting under God is simply the process by which you acknowledge, pray and model the fact that without God's special touch, your preaching is powerless. It's when you tangibly demonstrate that your talents, gifts, creativity, knowledge and even your passion are not enough to break through to people's lives.

My experience has been that the further down under God I am, the more powerful and effective my preaching becomes. It's ironic, but the more I make God central, the more profoundly He chooses to use my preaching to minister His grace. It's also been my experience that the further down under God I am, the more God rattles the gates of hell, bringing about spiritual victories through the means of preaching.

I have discovered at least five paths to getting down under God. These are not in any way formulaic but are patterns to tune your heart and life into the centrality of God in preaching. They are:

  1.  Preach out of your core identity as shepherd
  2. Value dependence on God more than mechanics
  3. Pray for God's "sacred anointing"
  4. Seek to be filled with God
  5. Aim for God's pleasure in preaching

Again, I caution against putting God in a box and relying on a formula to tap into His power. But I firmly believe that as we understand and practice these principles, we can truly move our communication from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

E. Glenn Wagner is the founder and president of FutureLead (www.futurelead.org), an organization committed to equipping people to live and lead with purpose, passion and power. He's the author of numerous books including, God: An Honest Conversation for the Undecided (Waterbrook Press) and his latest book, Fire In Your Bones (Life Bridge). To schedule Glenn to speak or for more information, please contact info@futurelead.org

Original publication date: October 21, 2009