On July 13, 2004, my brother Rob Tennant sent the following advice to me. I was at my first pastorate and had just finished reading Fred Craddock’s Preaching. It was overwhelming. Off the cuff, he emailed the following message to me:
You said that by the time you finished reading Craddock, your confidence was shaken just a bit. Always keep this in mind. When you preach, you do your best. Also, you reach a point that no matter how much work you did on the sermon, Sunday morning comes and you’ve got to give them what you’ve got. Count on a couple of things. (1) They’ve heard better than what you’ll give them. (2) They’ve heard much, much worse than what you’re going to give them. (3) Some will like it. (4) Some won’t. (5) Some will sleep through it. (6) If anything good happens in the sermon, the Holy Spirit gets the credit. (7) No matter how it goes, once you finish, the clock starts ticking and you’ve got 7 days until you preach again.
Over ten years later, it is still great advice.