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Preaching That Offers Aspirin When You Need Chemotherapy (via Will Willimon)

I hope if you hear a sermon tomorrow it does not offer counsel about therapeutic change, but an invitation to spiritual reanimation.
From Accidental Preacher by Will Willimon.

We mainline, non evangelical, noninvasive preachers pat a congregation on the head as we murmur, “There, there, God loves you as you are. Promise me you won’t change a thing.” Billy [Graham, who Willimon invited to preach at the Duke Chapel] consistently preached the gospel of the second chance. Those in desperate need of a second or third chance require more than “progressive” sermons – Jesus just hanging out with people as they re, bourgeois conformity with a spiritual tint, offering a bit of a spiritual nudge. Buttoned-down mainline Christianity offers aspirin for those in need of massive chemotherapy.
Will Willimon, Accidental Preacher, Eerdmans, 2019, pg 101.


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The Preached Word – Where God And His People Meet (via Kanishka Raffel)

There is something that can be anticipated when God’s people hear God’s Word preached.
Gathering should be a time of expectancy that God’s Word will be explained, and part of that explanation will be how the portion of Scripture being preached upon should be applied in the lives of hearers.
This is not the work of the preacher or the hearers, as much as it is the work of God’s Holy Spirit.

From Kanishka Raffel:

The preacher and congregation must yield to the Holy Spirit in responding to Scripture. ‘For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart’ (Hebrews 4:12). As the content and purpose of the inspired text of Scripture is preached, the Spirit wields his Word in the congregation. To fail to respond would be to ‘distort the word of God’. When the Word is explained but not applied it suggests that God’s Word is merely of historical interest and makes no immediate demand upon those who hear it; or that Christian duty is fulfilled when we merely hear; or that God’s Word can be safely confined to Sunday morning sitting in church and need not trouble the hearers at other times; all of which are impossible.
It will always be right for a congregation to respond to God’s Word in repentance and faith (Acts 20:21). But the word of God’s grace that is ‘able to build you up and give you an inheritance among the sanctified’ (Acts 20:32) may call for obedience, love, effort, hope, fear and trembling, zeal, joy, praise, prayer, perseverance, contentment, endurance, patience, thanksgiving. The Spirit is the powerful presence of God in the preaching of the meaning and purpose of the words of Scripture so preachers must expect God to meet his people in the preaching, and the people must expect to make a response to God.

source


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The Preacher’s One Sermon (via Darryl Dash)

Darryl Dash interacts with Eugene Peterson and muses on an observation that preachers have a signature theme in their preaching, basically that they really preach one sermon, whatever the text.
Sometimes it takes preachers a while to find what their signature message is, but usually they find it. Or it finds them.
I recognise the heart of the idea in my preaching.

In his memoir Preacher, Eugene Peterson recounts a conversation with his son.
“Dad, novelists only write one book. They find their voice, their book, and write it over and over. William Faulkner wrote one book. Charles Dickens wrote one book. Anne Tyler wrote one book. Ernest Hemingway wrote one book. Willa Cather wrote one book.”
A few days later, he said, “Remember what I said about novelists only writing one book? You only preach one sermon.”
Read the rest of the post here.


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A Preaching Audit Of The Presbyterian Church Of Victoria by David Cook

This is a fascinating exercise.
David Cook – preacher and teacher of preachers with decades of experience audits the preaching of the denomination whose preaching conference he’s hosting.
From Cook:

In conducting the audit I listened online to 40 preachers, with at least one from each of the 13 Presbyteries in the state. The preachers included students for the ministry, ministers and lecturers. Age-wise, about one-third were in their 20’s and 30’s; another one-third in their 40’s and 50’s and the final one-third over 60. I tried to listen to the sermons as close to the first Sunday in November as I could.

Read his observations and conclusions at AP Online.


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Remembrancing Through Words – The Work Of Preaching (via Jeffrey Arthurs)

The use of language in preaching does more than convey information, it helps bring to heard and mind the emotions that the information should evoke.
The words, images, and stories used should help disciples of Jesus resonate with their memories of past experiences of God’s grace in their lives.

Remembrancers stir the affections not with actual objects such as oxen and sheep, but with words. We mobilize language and send it into battle against the devil who schemes to make Christians drift from the faith. Vivid language rouses slumbering knowledge, values, and feelings, so that people are re-membered to the great truths of the faith. A bland recitation of truth will be met with a shrug and a yawn, so the old, old story must become “present” once again.

Jeffrey D Arthurs, Preaching As Reminding, IVP, 2017, pg 66.


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The Common Problem Of The Children Of Both Covenants (via Jeffrey Arthurs)

A helpful observation that provides and insight when approaching Old Testament texts in order to teach them to disciples of Jesus.

The children of the covenants, both old and new, tend to forget.

Jeffrey D Arthurs, Preaching As Reminding, IVP, 2017, pg 30.

They’re good questions to ask of the text: “What were the people forgetting about God and his covenant love”” or “What were the people remembering about God and his covenant love?” which leads us to ask “What does the text remind us about God and his covenant love that we forget?” and “What does this text want us to remember about God and his covenant love?”
The same questions can particularly be asked of the didactic texts of the New Testament, though it is helpful in all situations.


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The Believer’s Hope Rests In The Saviour’s Memory (via Jeffrey Arthurs)

Jeffrey Arthur grounds preaching as proclamation about the memory of the God who remembers his people and forgets their sins, because those people are inclined to forget about the grace of God and focus on their sin.

As practical theology, preaching as reminding is built on theology proper — the character and actions of God. Because he remembers his covenant and forgets the sins of his children, promising never to leave or forsake them, ministers take their stance as the Lord’s remembrancers, reminding the baptized that nothing shall separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus. But preaching as reminding is built on a second foundation also, one related to human nature: we are prone to forget.

Jeffrey D Arthurs, Preaching As Reminding, IVP, 2017, pg 25.