I wonder: how many people feel secretly inadequate? Inside they are afraid that others will find out that they don't know nearly as much as people think. Happens to me all the time. I mentioned yesterday all those wonderful teachers. Well, most of them go here! They listen to me preach. I always feel like I don't know enough about the New Homiletic, about advances in exegesis, about ministry skills, etc. Despite all I read, I feel like I'm a decade behind in my reading. And my audience includes lots of M. Div. students who are getting training I'd kill to receive. An inner voice whispers: they know more than you!! (And it's true. All of my old school colleagues will tell you: we learned almost NOTHING about ministry in seven years--4 undergrad and 3 grad. I learned almost nothing useful or insightful about evangelism, discipling, mentoring, leading, resolving conflicts, working with elders, or counseling. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. I did have wonderful teaching in basic homiletics, Greek, Hebrew, Restoration history, and exegesis. What does that tell you?) Preaching in Abilene may be like being a 48-year-old family doctor in Houston. You have two med schools around you, a world-class medical complex, some of the brightest minds in the medical field. And you're saying, "Stick out your tongue and cough." Hey, someone has to do it. Dr. DeBakey doesn't do sore throats. I think I'm the guy that says, "Stick out your tongue and cough." One blessing I have (that others in similar situations haven't enjoyed) is that most of these "experts" are very encouraging. Many of them have been there in local ministry. They know what it's like to plug along year-after-year. (My 14th year just began.) My guess is that this inner voice isn't very healthy or helpful. Maybe at times it's good for humility. But too often it comes from a desire to impress and wow. It worries too much about comparisons. I like the idea of playing to an audience of one (God). But that's easier to say than do . . . don't you think?