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Posts Tagged ‘preaching’

Sermon

August 25th, 2014 No comments

One of the students in my preaching class in seminary used to preach a sermon based on a sticky note in his Bible. I was preaching from a written manuscript. Over time, I replaced the manuscript with a detailed outline, then a smaller outline. And now I have arrived at the point where my colleague was 10 years ago:

Sermon

(A recording of the sermon is available online. Start at the church website and follow the links.)

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Dallas Willard on Satisfied Preachers

June 6th, 2011 No comments

Dallas Willard has an great piece over at Preaching Today, on the subject of excellent preaching. The subhead really says it all: “learning to preach from the overflow of your deeply satisfying relationship with the Savior.”

As usual, he nails it. The lowest spots in my ministry have mirrored his. “I know my temptations come out of situations where I am dissatisfied, not content. I am worried about something or not feeling the sufficiency I know is there. If I have a strong temptation, it will be out of my dissatisfaction.” And it didn’t take me very long to discover that my church is full of people just like me. Ministry in a church is not without its rewards, but I can’t depend on my successes there, or my relationships in the church, rewarding though they may be, to make me satisified.

So what’s the solution? Find something more satisfying: a deeper and more rewarding relationship with the Savior:

I encourage pastors to have substantial times every week when they do nothing but enjoy God. That may mean walking by a stream, looking at a flower, listening to music, or watching your children or grandchildren play without your constantly trying to control them. Experience the fullness of God, think about the good things God has done for you, and realize he has done well by you. If there is a problem doing that, then work through the problem, because we cannot really serve him if we do not genuinely love him.

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My Sermons Should Be Improving

May 17th, 2011 No comments

I liked seeing this in my twitter feed the other day:

No matter what you do, your first 200 sermons are going to be terrible.

It’s attributed to Tim Keller. If he’s right, then my preaching will be getting better, because I’ve surely passed that number. In fact, I’m coming up fast on 250 sermons.

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No Podcast of 11/21

November 22nd, 2010 No comments

Some kind of technology problem in the sound booth this weekend means no podcast for 11/22. That’s a shame.

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A famous preacher

September 6th, 2010 No comments

Buried amid all the stewardship material in 2 Corinthians 8-9 is this little tidbit in verse 18:

With Titus we are also sending one of the Lord’s followers who is well known in every church for spreading the good news. (CEV)

Some thoughts that passed through my mind reading this:

Who is this preacher? Apollos? Apollos was apparently an excellent preacher, but the Corinthians knew him by name. Timothy? Luke? Someone else?

Why isn’t he named? Fame is fleeting: this preacher was famous in his time — remember, this is Paul describing him this way. But today we don’t know who he was. Which is fine, because the only fame that really matters is that God approved of his preaching.

We still need preaching. We could have become a Christian 30 or 50 or 75 years ago and still need to hear the gospel preached. Not because we haven’t heard it, but because we need to hear it again. C.S. Lewis says, “We need to be reminded more than instructed.” Paul (Paul!!) had nurtured this congregation for 18 months, and was still corresponding with them to help them grapple with tough doctrinal matters. There aren’t many churches that have heard the gospel as well as this one. But they still needed to hear the gospel, so Paul sent them a famous preacher.

We can hear preaching just as excellent. I’m assuming it was excellent preaching, because Paul endorses it, so it was done in the power of the Holy Spirit. Who is still at work today.

If, like most people, you attend a church that doesn’t have a famous preacher, don’t worry about it. Fame isn’t important. Instead, ask yourself if the Holy Spirit is speaking through them.

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Pastoral Tensions

July 27th, 2010 No comments

My reading plan brought me two verses this morning that highlight a tension pastors must maintain. The first is Paul’s well-known call to proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ:

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” —Romans 10:14-15

That’s the pastor’s job. It’s what people come for on Sunday. It’s in our job-title: Minister of Word and Sacrament. That’s what I need to focus on.

Except…. Every day I also read a chapter of Proverbs, and today this jumped out at me:

Know well the condition of your flocks,
and give attention to your herds
Proverbs 27:23

It’s not enough for a pastor simply to proclaim Jesus. You have to proclaim him in a way that people can experience as Good News. And to do that, you have to know the condition of your flocks.

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Home From My Retreat

July 24th, 2010 No comments

What do you call it when you come back from a retreat? — an attack?

Serra Retreat Center

Well, technically, I wasn’t on a retreat. I was at the 2010 Academy of Missional Preaching (Southwest). But it was held at the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, and there were retreat-ish aspects to it. If you needed to work on a sermon, you could go sit in a garden like the one above and think about what you were trying to say. It was a pretty harsh existence, but we must all be prepared to sacrifice for the Kingdom. 🙂

Of course, it was not only about preaching, it was about missional preaching. (Missional is the idea that the church exists as an instrument used in God’s mission to the world. See John 20:21, Acts 1:8, etc.) In addition to preaching, we also got to hear various speakers including John Dally (Choosing the Kingdom) and Darrell Guder (Missional Church).

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