Preaching is the work of spiritually civilizing the minds of Christian disciples…The Bible spends much more time on shaping the spiritual mind than commanding particular behavior. We need far more training in the ways of grace, of spiritual perceptions, and of what God is really like, than we do in how to communicate with our spouse. Understanding the glory of Christ is far more practical than our listeners imagine. Properly preached, every sermon based on a passage of Scripture is fundamentally practical. Every author of Scripture wrote to effect change in God’s people. It is our job as preachers to find the persuasive logic of that author and put that clearly and persuasively before our people through biblical exposition.
Read that over again. Preaching is all about “spiritually civilizing the mind.” That statement alone can revolutionize your preaching. Good preaching doesn’t just tell you what to do; it reorients our thinking. The best preaching aims at something much higher than behavior.
One of the most practical things you can do is to stop being so practical in your preaching. Or, at least delay being practical until the logic of the text changes the logic of the listener. That’s when the sermon gets very practical.