Posted in General Preaching Resources

Teaching vs. Preaching

Eugene Peterson: “Teaching tells us what we need to know and do; it is about us. Preaching tells us who God is and what He does; it is about God. And that is what the Prophet does. He doesn’t talk about God, explain God, or argue for God. Neither does he explain ourselves to ourselves, give counsel on how to survive the exile, provide directions to improve our lives. He preaches the gospel: tells us that God is alive, present, and savingly active in places where we are living and among the people with whom we are living. There are implications, of course, for...

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Great Challenge for Preachers

From Frederick Buechner: There was a great teacher of the Old Testament at the seminary where I studied for the ministry years ago, and one thing he told us that I have always remembered is that we really can’t hear what the stories of the Bible are saying until we hear them as stories about ourselves. We have to imagine our way into them, he said. We have to imagine ourselves the prodigal son coming home terrified that the door will be slammed in his face when he gets there, only to have the breath all but knocked out of...

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Preacher, Make Sure it is a Christian Sermon

Before it is all said and done. Before you close the Bible on Sunday. Before your last point has ended. Before you call for a response. Before the musicians come back on stage. Before you have finished preparing. Before you send the slides to tech guys. Before you drive to the campus on Sunday morning. Before you walk up the steps to the stage – please make sure your sermon is a Christian sermon. Ask yourself this difficult question: “If a Jew were sitting in the pews would he/she agree with everything I have said today?” You see, the Bible...

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2017 Book Recommendations (for Preachers)

If you are a preacher, I hope you are a reader. If you don’t like to read, pray for a desire. The Lord will grant it. I am always looking for books to challenge/enhance my preaching. This year, I came across several that helped my thinking and challenged the way I process, prepare, and deliver sermons. As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God by Eugene Peterson This book of sermons is Peterson at his finest. You will find yourself, not only enriched in your soul, but challenged to think through...

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One More (Maybe) Christmas Sermon Idea

Jon Bloom is one of my favorite authors. I love the way the Lord gifted him to write and how he shares that gift with us. If you are looking for a Christmas sermon idea, let me encourage you to get his book Not By Sight, turn to chapter 12, and read the chapter “(Un)Planned Detours: Joseph the Carpenter and Guidance.” After creatively walking the reader through the story from Joseph’s perspective, Bloom concludes: One thing Joseph learned very quickly after God had drafted him to be the earthly father of Jesus was that his own plans were not a...

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Another Christmas Sermon Idea

Jon Bloom is one of my favorite authors. I love the way the Lord gifted him to write and how he shares that gift with us. If you are looking for a Christmas sermon idea, let me encourage you to get his book Not By Sight, turn to chapter 11, and read the chapter “Stables of Desperation are the Birthplaces of God’s Grace.” Here’s how Bloom starts the chapter: “The first Christmas night was a holy night. But it was not a silent night. All was not calm. After walking a hundred miles, Joseph arrived in an overcrowded Bethlehem, with...

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Christmas Sermon Idea

Jon Bloom is one of my favorite authors. I love the way the Lord gifted him to write and how he shares that gift with us. If you are looking for a Christmas sermon idea, let me encourage you to get his book Not By Sight, turn to chapter 10, and read the chapter “Facing a Painful Decision.” Here’s how Bloom starts the chapter: “Have you ever wondered why God sent the angel to inform Mary that she would conceive the Messiah by the Holy Spirit, yet forced Joseph to agonize over what to do about Mary’s pregnancy before sending...

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What Is a Sermon?

In chapter 7 of Eugene Peterson’s As KingFishers Catch Fire, he reveals how the book of Deuteronomy formed his preaching. He said: I was in the early years of being a pastor when I learned this story of the discovery of Deuteronomy and the revolutionary reform led by Josiah and Jeremiah. I suddenly knew why preaching is important. It develops an imagination adequate to embrace revolution. (Bold mine) He then goes on to describes what a sermon is: This sermon (the book of Deuteronomy) does what all sermons are intended to do: takes God’s words, written and spoken in the past;...

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New Book Guaranteed to Help Your Preaching

I try to get my hands on anything Eugene Peterson writes. I love his style. I love how real he is. He is old and therefore wise. And he is one of the most loving pastors I have ever read. The second I saw he had a new book coming out, I told Amazon to pre-order it so I could have it in my hands the moment it was released.  I had no idea it was a book of 49 sermons he had preached for his congregation! The book is called As Kingfishers Catch Fire.

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