A Second Listen

University Lutheran routinely records and puts the sermon from Sunday online both at the University Lutheran website and at universitylutheran.sermon.net (where you can point your podcast app to automatically subscribe to our sermons).  Since we started doing this, it has afforded me (Pastor Jay), the opportunity to listen to my own sermons for a second (or perhaps first, since listening while I’m preaching doesn’t really count) time. A Second Listen

Since I have this opportunity, I usually take it – listening to my sermon again sometime throughout the week once or twice. Many times this comes as a cringe-worthy experience as I count the number of “uhm’s” or the mistakes that I made in the sermon. Most of the time it just jogs my mind and makes me think of some of the other stuff that I could have mentioned in the sermon but didn’t have time for and was left on the cutting room floor.

For example, this past Sunday I proudly mentioned that we were examining the Revelation reading withOUT the word “throne” in it. I do have an excuse for that, but it still made me cringe to hear when I made that mistake. Regardless, my cover was legit – that the action of the text was focused away from the throne of God in this reading. That’s an example of my cringing.

An example of the other stuff that I could mention is that I really didn’t get into the other lectionary readings and how they fall together with each other. For example, did you notice that we read Psalm 148 again when we had read it just two weeks earlier? Or did you notice at the end of the sermon that I said that “we could walk with confidence under the most critical eye knowing that we were flawless” when the Gentiles and Peter were under the critical eye of the Jerusalem church?

Sometimes, the Holy Spirit even surprises me — the preacher — with where the sermon leads my heart and head. For example, I didn’t know that having confidence in the midst of criticism was going to play into my week, but sure enough, I was able to help someone through that exact issue this week.

Now my fear is that you’re going to read this and say, “well PJ is just trying to selfishly get people to listen to him again.” It’s kind of a weird fear, but it is there. But here’s the deal – I get a lot out of listening to the sermon again. Maybe you can too. And if you do – it’s not because of me, it’s because of the Word of God being driven into your hearts by the Holy Spirit. So go ahead, try a second listen.


  1. It’s been my experience that preachers tend to put too much weight on their sermons. A good sermon is a respectable objective, but the dirty little secret is that most of us “in the pew” probably aren’t paying too much attention to the sermon anyway. I would have a hard time remembering much of anything preachers have said over the years, but the words in the scripture reading have a way of getting in and taking root. Hopefully this is some encouragement, not to beat yourself up about sermon glitches.

    • University Lutheran (Author)

      Absolutely. The sermon should just be a catalyst to get the Word of God to the heart. Thanks for the comment!

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