Now, the specifics (I would skip this part and read other guys). Incidentally, this is all based on a commitment to expositional preaching.
Mondays are for me what the day after the Tour de France was for Lance Armstrong. I’m spent. So, I tend to do less soul-demanding things on Mondays. If we are in the NT, I usually translate at least next Sunday’s passage. (We are in the Minor Prophets now, which I had spent about year prior outlining. So, my schedule is a bit different now than with a NT text.) If Greek were a baseball game I would bat 8th. If Hebrew were a baseball game I would bat 9th. If I’m caught up on translation I will chase about a dozen Titelists into the local woods (I only hit my Nike balls when I know I’ll find them).
On Tuesday and Wednesday, I will exegete and try to outline the passage as best I can. In a sense, I try to write my own commentary on the passage. Then I consult commentaries and find out how wrong I really was. Then I hunt down some sermons (not to plagiarize!), but to see what better preachers emphasized, illustrated, and how they got to Jesus. You wouldn’t believe how few sermons there are on the Minor Prophets, though!
On Thursday, I usually start writing the manuscript, usually leaving points of application stewing until Friday. I (sinfully, for some!) use a manuscript simply because I don’t trust myself to trust God. On Friday, I finish the manuscript and pray like crazy it’s half-way edifying for God’s people. On Saturday, I wonder why God would use such an idiot and pray that Jesus returns before Sunday at 10:45am.
I confess that my sermons are rarely structured according to “proper” homiletical standards (introduction, point/illustration/application x 3, conclusion). It has proved more simple and beneficial for us to introduce the passage (usually brief), provide an exegetical/contextual outline, and then provide applications. In fact, on every manuscript of mine you’ll find three headings: Introduction, Exposition, and Application. But, again I sneak toward Part 3.
Not every text or week breaks down like this. Some texts flow easier than others. Sometimes life experience matches up better with a text, which provides more personal investment. Other weeks I’m fumbling around on Friday trying to find the sermon buried in 4 days worth of minutia. All the time, though, I’m haunted by the sermon, usually waking up each morning with a knot in my stomach.
Well, there’s the secret. Sorry you had to wake up for it.