Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones rarely took time off to hear others preach. In 1968 he took ill, and for six months he did not preach at all.
This gave Lloyd-Jones an opportunity to sit in the pew and observe what was going on in churches. He shared these reflections in October 1968:
My general impression is that most of our services are terribly depressing! I am amazed people still go to church; most who go are female and over the age of forty. The note missing is “joy in the Holy Ghost.” There is nothing in these services to make a stranger feel that he is missing something by not being there…
It is a great thing to be a listener. You want something for your soul. You want help. I don’t want a “great sermon”. i want to feel the presence of the God I am worshipping and to know that I am considering some great and glorious subject. If I do get this I do not care how poor the sermon is.
I suggest to you that our greatest danger is the danger of professionalism. We do not stop frequently enough to ask, What are we really doing? There is the danger of just facing a text and treating it as an end in itself with a strange detachment. It is all intellectual. Nor should our preaching be just emotional, or only to the conscience. Far to often it is one or the other of these things. There is no life, no power! We of all people ought to have it. Joy and power are intimately related. One without the other is spurious. (D.M. Lloyd-Jones, The Fight of Faith)
I’m preaching tomorrow for the first time in almost a month. These comments by Lloyd-Jones are helping me prepare myself.