I punched out an email for him. What I say below is not the ‘correct answer’, nor does it cover some very important ideas. So this is not Preaching 101. It's simply me answering a dear friend.
Here is what I wrote to him in Five Parts:
: #1 Reading
Read text over and over and over: All week, at your desk, in the subway, on the bus, with your wife etc.
Get to know what the text says in its original language. Translate it yourself if you feel competent. I’m pretty average at language skills. So if you don’t feel competent, make sure you get a friend who is skilled in Hebrew or Greek to translate it, and talk you through it.
Get your commentaries. Get good commentaries, but I’d dare say – get any commentaries. They stimulate, as much as educate. (But commentaries rarely dictate what I say. I get exegetical and theological help from them, but I usually get zero homiletic or rhetorical help from commentaries, save maybe one or two dodgy illustrations).
Are there other things that you can you read to aid your preparation?
Speak to as many people (believers and not-yet-ones as well) about the text and the issues that it raises for you and for them.
More to come...