In Gordon MacDonald’s Building Below the Waterline he talks about Soul-deep preaching (pages 163-172).  Soul-deep preaching is called “Anointed” or “Sprit -filled” preaching by others as they reflect on the origin of the preaching power (164).  He talks about how soul-deep preaching produces conversion or brave new actions – things that only come from God and His Spirit working.  Anyone of us who are called to speak the Word of God desire times when we have the power of the Spirit come and conversion happen and people making decisions that have eternal impact and make choices that will change their lives and others lives positively for all eternity.

This chapter has me thinking about my style of preaching and preparation and wondering about if it is soul deep or not.  Here is one thing that I have learned and is that there are all different ways of doing preparation and all different styles and that no one way is the “right” or “anointed” way when it comes to preaching style or preparations. 

Now there are are other things that MacDonald covers here that are important when soul-deep preaching.  First is that it is an “act of God”.  There is not a technique or a mechanic that produces a soul-deep message.  It can come from a scholar or an uneducated man because is is an act of God.  The person does matter though according to MacDonald – an I agree – because personal holiness is an issue that makes a difference on if God will act.

Soul-deep preaching affects people in their daily lives and as MacDonald says it does not “teach people to survive only in the protected cage of the church and among Christianized people”.  Soul-deep preachers are ones who preach with passion.  He then goes on to talk about those times when God for whatever reason chooses to really crack through hardened hearts and they happen only when it is covered in the non-negotiable and that is prayer.  I firmly believe and MacDonald does too, that any message that is soul-deep begins with prayer.

Soul-deep preaching produces repentance, a deep love for Jesus, and causes the listener to image how when they go out the door from the church and then how they can make difference and serve Jesus in a powerful way.  Soul-deep preaching is remembered and lived out beyond Sunday.

MacDonald ends with a quote that really sums this up for me and one that I find powerful.  It is a quote by founder of the Quaker Movement and a man who was said to truly be a soul-deep preacher.

“I took people to Jesus Christ and left them there.” – George Fox

This quote I think sums up my passion for preaching.  I want to be know as a preacher who takes people to Jesus and leaves them there.  This is my aim every time I am privileged to stand up and share the Word of God.

Who preached a soul-deep sermon that you heard and what it about?  If you are a Pastor – have you ever had a message be soul-deep?  What were the results that were seen from it?

This post is a part of the blogging on  the book Building Below the Waterline by Gordon MacDonald with two of the best bloggers out there – Bill Grandi from  Cycleguy’s Spin and Michael Perkins from The Handwritten .  We are sharing each Wednesday our thoughts from 2 chapters,  which means you will be able to see how God will l speak to us as individuals and then you if you read all three blogs you will see how God then weaves what we write all together.  I pray your are encouraged by the blogs.

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5 thoughts on “Soul-Deep!

  1. Great thoughts today Jim (as usual). Funny how God works though. I was thinking of doing something on this subject and changed my mind. At Catalyst OneDay Andy Stanley talked about how an “anointed man” is an OT idea and to use the idea of “anointing upon the calling of a pastor” is unbiblical. he made a good case. I do believe, as do you and GM, that the Spirit does anoint the words said. Even Charles Stanley preached a sermon once on “Spirit-Anointed Preaching.” Powerful sermon (but don’t think I have it anymore). This chapter really challenged me to think about my preaching, i.e. was it shallow or soul-deep. Thanks for your thoughts today my friend.

  2. As I re-read my comment Jim, I am hoping it is not taken as disagreeing with what you have said. i totally agree with your thoughts. :) God can take His Spirit and pour Him into the words of the man, and even into the man. But to run around saying, “Touch not the Lord’s anointed” is unbiblical, let alone arrogant.

    • I understood completely Bill! This chapter did challenge me to think through all aspects of my preaching too. I also agree with you on the “Lord’s Anointed” too.

      Thanks Bill!

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