By Mark Hamilton
Right before spring break started two more NCU students came forward to give the message during Friday chapel. I had a chance to ask them some questions about the experience, questions that they were more than happy to answer (I’ll be honest: I would have written a summery like I did last time, but by the time spring break was over I had forgotten most of the particulars. My bad!). So without further ado, let’s hear from our speakers: Isaac O’Casey (son of NCU professor and noted hairy madman, Dr. Terry O’Casey) and Karlie Solinger.
BB: Was it hard to come up with a sermon topic? Why did you choose the topic you chose?
TO: That week’s sermon was a little more difficult for me because I had to decide which of the heroes to preach on. It was also a little hard deciding which ones would connect best with the audience. I chose Jericho because it was the one that gave me the most passion and it was also the one that looked like it would be the most humorous while connecting the best with the audience.
KS: We were able to choose from the sermons that we already preached in class, so the sermon was already developed. However, it was difficult to choose which sermon I wanted to preach. I chose my sermon on anger for numerous reasons: (1) biological psychology is my favorite subject, (2) I could make fun of Terry, and (3) following God and being made in His image entails more than simply feeling happy. Overall, my main motivation in preaching is this: Psychology and the Bible are not two dichotomous subjects that are to be dealt with separately. The study of God’s creation is completely and inextricably connected to His Word, so it is imperative that they be studied together.
BB: Were you nervous when it came time to speak? How did you keep from panicking?
TO: Yes I was! But as soon as I opened my mouth all the anxiety went away and it was actually fun! I kept from panicking because I knew that I had practiced enough, and, when appropriate, I try to put humor in my sermons because it warms me and the crowd up. And I pictured my dad as a banana eating gorilla wearing a loincloth. Trust me: Don’t picture that yourself (although it doesn’t take too much imagination).
KS: I was definitely nervous! Prayer, the support of friends, and coffee calm my nerves. I also practiced as many times as I could because I believe God honors preparation.
BB: Were you happy with how your sermon came out? What kind of feedback have you gotten back about it?
TO: Yes I am! My practice paid off. I think the audience actually gave me more passion and allowed me to speak more clearly than when I just practiced in front of myself. Mixed reviews. Some chick threw a tomato at me (Becky) but other than that, good feedback.
KS: My biggest concern is whether or not God was pleased with how the sermon came out. If the Holy Spirit was speaking through me, then of course God was pleased. All of the feedback was positive with the exception of an ambiguous comment made by one student who said, “Are you really that smart?!” When someone expresses that much surprise about my intelligence, I am not sure how to interpret it. The feedback that was most helpful came from a friend who told me that I was more confident during my sermon than I was when I presented my capstone. Improvement is my goal.
BB: What would you say to any other student who gets to speak in chapel?
TO: Do it! You’ll have to speak in front of people at some point in your life so mind as well get some practice with a good audience(except for Becky)NOW! And, it’s actually fun!
KS: To summarize the advice Brandon McGinnis gave the preaching class: once you get past the first few words, the nervousness dissipates. If you can overcome the initial feelings of nervousness, then you will reach a point where you feel exhilarated. Giving sermons is addicting. After you experience your first rush, you will keep coming back to it like a crack addict. If you are like me and you have never tried crack, then the experience is comparable to your first cup of coffee.