Did I just stick Jesus onto a Christ-less sermon, to make myself feel better? Or did I actually preach Christ?
One of the great gifts that teaching at seminary gave me, was that I was forced to say out loud, in a copyable manner, the route I take from text to sermon. In fine detail. It forced me to become conscious of what I knew and did.
By the time I put my pen down I have rarely felt so flat and uninspired in what I had planned to say. Do you ever feel like that about your sermons? Thought so.
There is a small but astonishing exhibition at the British Museum at the moment, Scythians: Warriors of ancient Serbia. The Scythians were a wide-ranging group of aggressive tribes, nomadic because of the inhospitably of their land, and superb with horses. They were also astonishingly artistic and superb at their craft: their abilities with gold and
I took the passage to a local coffee shop, and watched the customers. What does this passage have to say to 21st century urbanites, most of whom gave up on the god-idea years ago? How does this prise open their questions, address their fears and hopes, shift their distracted focus onto Christ?
How I learnt to write in six different drafts.
I hear preachers talking about their sermons as if they’re concept cars, pretty and accurate, gorgeous – but never taken for a real drive, in the rush hour, to do the shopping, in the rain. With the kids acting up in the back.
As preachers and church leaders, we get to help people decide each week to put Christ first. And when we preach we should plan to be specific.
Let me ask you the obvious question: have you ever actually read Jeremiah? I don’t mean, have you read the famous bits, and I don’t mean have you read it sequentially in your quiet times over a series of weeks. No, I mean, have you read it, all the way through, in a sitting.
So, by way of going back to basics, here’s how I approached a whole book – by some estimates, the longest book in the Bible.
In Paul’s mind the potential elder must show a double gifting from Romans 12: an ability to teach must be partnered to an ability to lead.
Do you have a passion to see the lost found, and the found built up? Do you have a desire to see the gospel understood, churches planted, men and women converted, children growing in their faith, and for you to be playing a part in that for the rest of your life? Do you treasure your time in God’s Word, and love to see it opened among his people so they are dazzled by his wonder? Then you’ve identified what he means to aspire and desire this noble task.
When we open the doors this Sunday, will they come back? Why should they, when there are the options of visiting family, going for a bike ride, hitting the shops – or even just having a lazy day with the papers and some coffee? And what do we do if no-one comes…
This week has given me the preacher’s headache: a really, really difficult passage. One of those ones where the commentaries delight in saying, ‘This is one of the most problematic texts in the canon’. One where you start to wonder if you will have anything useful to say come Sunday, or if anyone will notice
“Cutting to the Heart’ now available in both paperback and ebook form. Publisher’s Description On the Day of Pentecost, when the apostle Peter addressed the crowd, the people were ‘cut to the heart’ and asked how they should respond to what they had just heard (Acts 2:37). According to the letter to the Hebrews, ‘the
We’ve all done it. You may be drafting one for Sunday. I certainly am. But why do we preach three-point sermons? Sometimes it’s because the text drives us that way. I think that’s what’s happening for me this week – there really is no way to chunk the passage other than to divide it into
Imagine the crowd at the back of the church, after a clear, simple, evangelistic talk. There’s all the difference in the world between a person who says, ‘I understand that Jesus died for sinners,’ and the one who says, ‘I understand that Jesus died for me.’ What do you want people to say as the
TED is a phenomenon. There are now thousands of short talks by world experts available on the TED website, and because so many of them are captivating and memorable, people are asking ‘How can I speak as persuasively as a TED speaker’? And ‘How can I preach like a TED speaker?’ Because if you see
Yesterday I had the same experience, twice, in different settings. With a bible open in front of me, I looked at a passage I thought I knew really well, and realised that there was a sequence of words (that is, a verse) that I had hardly registered but now hit me between the eyes. I
a) is that true? b) does that matter? Two thoughts strike the average preacher, and can irritate us until we work out how they are related. The first is, no matter how long we preach for, people will always ask us to preach shorter sermons. (if people don’t say this to your face, you can
I’d had more than enough of being an itinerant preacher. For the past dozen years or so I’ve been free of Sunday pastoral responsibilities (I’ve had family responsibilities, of course), and so I’ve tracked round the place helping out friends who were on their own and needed a visitor to say the same things in