The following is quoted from an article by Greg Stier:
1. I let my nerves drive me to study harder.
There’s a great line in the movie Unforgiven when a one-armed deputy is asked why he always loads two guns. His answer was classic, “I don’t want to die for a lack of shooting back.”
In the same way I don’t want to choke due to the lack of preparing. I allow my nerves to get me back to the Bible. I let what Jim Collins in his excellent book, Great by Choice, calls “Productive Paranoia” drive me to exegete the text, build a solid outline, insert powerful illustrations and close out with a clear call to action.
2. I let my nerves drive me to pray harder.
How did Paul conquer his nerves? Through prayer! In Ephesians 6:19 he emphasizes this essential component of overcoming fear, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel….”
Prayer is where we wrestle with our fears and pin them to the ground with the help of the Trinity. It sure seems like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane wrestled with what seemed like genuine, knee-rattling fear. But he caused it to tap out before the throne of God (although it was a sweaty, bloody cagematch!). Through the power of His Spirit in us we can do the same.
3. I let my nerves drive me to preach every sermon as if it were my last.
When describing his preaching style Richard Baxter, the great reformer from 500 years ago, said, “I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.” That’s exactly the way I want to preach…because it could be my last sermon. I don’t want to stumble and stutter into the presence of God at the end of a bad sermon. I want to blast into the throneroom of the King of kings, veins in my neck popping and having an aneurysm after my last point, laying down that sermon outline before his feet as my final sacrifice of praise.