Many years ago, when I was a student at Ministries Institute
at Faith Center in Eugene, Oregon, I learned a valuable lesson about sermon
preparation from my pastor, Roy Hicks, Jr.
Roy was a profound teacher of God’s Word. He taught about God’s Kingdom. His focus on
Kingdom preaching wrecked me for desiring anything less in my own ministry.
One day in one of our classes Roy said, “There are three
questions you need to ask yourself as you prepare to teach God’s Word. ‘What
is God’s heart in the passage? What is the human response? What is the personal
I will never forget Roy’s words. Over the years I have studied the disciplines
of sermon preparation, like Hermeneutics and Homiletics, and have benefited
from these studies, yet those three questions from Roy have had the strongest
influence on my life.
Once, Roy gave each of us a copy of his sermon notes. It was only one page in length. I thought there would have been more. Embedded
in that single page of notes where the answers to his three questions. I still have those notes.
Today, almost 35 years later, I still teach those same three
questions to the young men and women who attend our school of ministry in
Medford, Oregon. Roy’s questions have been so impacting because they have
caused me to dig deeper into the Word beyond just a commentary level of study.
Roy’s questions made me press into the heart of God. The questions have also made me apply the
Word to my own life as I prepare a message each week. This has been painful at times. I think this kind
of sermon preparation is part of the continuing process of incarnation where
the Word becomes flesh in the people of God.