Three basics of communication: the message, the speaker, the audience. It's Sunday morning, very early. No one else is at the building. And you realize that the message isn't finished. It's a work-in-progress. Oh, yes, the basics have been covered: languages, exegesis, prayer, etc. But it doesn't feel like enough. The message could use another week. More time to stew in the pot. Plus, you know that YOU are not ready. Not nearly as far along spiritually as you thought you'd be by now. Too caught up with grief and compromised by knowing your words go beyond your life. The Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, and you can feel the wounds from its blade. And you're quite certain the listeners aren't ready. They're tired. They've heard it before. Their lives are challenging. They may want more than you can deliver. But the moment comes. The text is read. You pray that God will pour through you the gift of preaching. And then something happens that goes beyond preparation, beyond communication skills, beyond clever twists of phrases. It's preaching. Despite your failures, despite your clumsiness, despite your personal inconsistencies, the Word of God has its say. A great mystery, far beyond what I can comprehend. But I count on it weekly.