My preaching professor, Greg Heisler, whom I think is younger than me, got a big book award for his book, Spirit-Led Preaching, recently. He was featured in this article in Baptist Press yesterday.
Last semester I took Bible Exposition under him. The most important thing I learned was to place applications with each point. Before I had been doing it Chuck Swindoll's way, i.e., putting all the application at the end of the sermon when time was tight and ears had quit working.
This semester I had him for Sermon Delivery, and we had to preach 3 sermons during the semester. First one is from an epistle; second from the Gospels; third from the Old Testament. Some of the guys had never preached before. A few of us are at churches and preach regularly. Everyone fills out an evaluation for every preacher, six a day, 15 minutes each. Then Dr. Heisler gets the final evaluation. Usually he can be pretty brutal. The sermon is recorded on video, and we have to write our own evaluation of ourselves during the next week, too, to turn in.
I was so very nervous the first time, even with having preached all over North and South Carolina, several places across the country, and in nearly a dozen nations as well. But I had been at a rural church for a while where I had heard over and over from the same few that no one could understand my sermons, I was a poor preacher, and I needed to go do something else for a living. And I was beginning to believe them.
My first sermon in Heisler's sermon delivery class was a poor job in my opinion, but Dr. Heisler noted that it was plain the way I handled the pulpit that I preached every week. The second time got a compliment on the gospel presentation. The third time I felt like a million bucks when he said, "Guys, I'm about to give the highest compliment I can give to a student. Gene, that was all Jesus, man. You nailed it!"
Mark Twain said he could go all week on one good compliment. I went about three weeks on that one.