There's No Such Thing as "A Natural"


"He's a natural." The comment came after our Easter Sunday service. They were kind words about my preaching, offered by a loving person, and they got me thinking . . . There's no such thing as "a natural."

I've been mulling over those words, "He's a natural." Here are some of the things that went into yesterday's message:

  • Experience: I gave my first message at 18, so that Easter sermon had thirty-four years of accumulated"traction."
  • Education: I have thirteen years of post-high school formal education.
  • People: Two other people gave me valuable input into my message during its birthing process. 
  • Mentors: My study was aided immensely by the Greek scholars and New Testament commentators upon whom I lean for help.
  • Time: That message that appeared effortless was without exaggeration one of the most difficult messages I have prepared in my life. In fact, it was probably the toughest. It came together over a number of days and a long grueling process. I was still at my desk late Saturday night and arrived back at my desk long before daylight on Easter morning.
  • Team: Easter Sunday at Spanish River was a fantastic celebration. It was a collaborative effort to bring glory to the resurrected Jesus. And I am not just talking about the 50+ people in front of and behind the stage who composed songs, led worship, sang in our choir, played a multitude of instruments, advanced slides, operated cameras, followed light ques, monitored sound, and conducted a host of other activities. There were parking lot attendants, greeters, an entire team of children's ministry workers committed to our families. There were ushers and information specialists and translators and on and on. All of this plays a part in how people hear a message.
  • Prayer: I am the beneficiary of many people who pray for me daily. I am convinced I would be in the ditch were it not for the prayers of God's people.
  • Gifts:We see God work when we use his gifts. I believe that to my core! The good things from Sunday were God's gifts in action!
  • Practice: In Talent is Overrated, Geoff Colvin identifies "deliberate practice" as an essential for great performance. I agree. I deliberately review and rehearse what I am going to say over and over and over. 
  • Power: Paul's words to the Romans are a salient reminder of where the real difference lies: For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Romans 11:36

I am grateful for the kind comment. It was encouraging and it put some wind in my sails. But I know better. There's no such thing as "a natural."