It got me thinking (always a dangerous thing). I've had the honor and blessing of hearing many, many wonderful, gifted preachers over the years, from Billy Graham and Tom Skinner to my own wife, brothers, as well as others whom I have mentored and encouraged as preachers and teachers. So much good--even great--preaching.
So I thought I'd take a few minutes to reflect on the most memorable sermons--not preachers, but individual, specific sermons--I've heard over the years. How many sermons can I say I remember at least the title, topic, or main thrust of the message? And I've been shocked and dismayed at the result.
Now, keep in mind, my memory is so faulty it's pathetic. For example, one of the reasons I keep a record of the books I read each year is because I have often begun reading a book only to realize, several pages or chapters into it, that I'd read it before. The lovely Robin has often related to me incidents we shared or witnessed of which I have absolutely no recollection.
Still, given the criteria I set for myself, the following are apparently the most memorable sermons I've ever heard, in the approximate order I heard them:
Paul Little, "The Effective Ambassador" (I remember this message at Urbana in--I think--1976)If my memory weren't so poor, I'm sure I could come up with others, from camp meetings and pastors conferences and church services over the years. But those are the sermons that come most readily to mind, spanning thirty-six years from the Paul Little sermon to the Rachel Held Evans message. Six out of hundreds, maybe thousands, I have listened to, in person, on radio and TV, via tape or CD or podcast.
Leonard Ravenhill, "The Judgment Seat of Christ" (a sermon on cassette tape)
Commissioner Andy Miller, "Garbage" (a signature sermon from a true one-of-a-kind preacher)
Tommy Nelson, "The Art of Attraction" (and other sermons from Love Song, a series on the Song of Solomon)
Brennan Manning (pictured above), "The Furious Longing of God" (a mesmerizing message from the author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, Abba's Child, and many other books)
Rachel Held Evans, "Eschet Chayil" (a podcast of a talk by Rachel Held Evans which I mentioned and linked to last May on this blog--here)
What about you? How many sermons can YOU recall (by title, topic, or main thrust)?