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.

From the preface:

The sermons gathered here document this collaboration of pastor and congregation in acts of worship and a life together for twenty-nine years (1962-91) at Christ Our King Presbyterian Church (UPCUSA) in Hartford County, Maryland. . . I have organized the sermons in seven groupings under the name of Moses, David, Isaiah, Solomon, Peter, Paul, and John of Patmos. . . To give added emphasis to the ‘whole’ counsel, I placed seven sermons in each group: seven sermons in each of the seven groupings, forty-nine sermons in all (xx). 

There are four reasons why I believe this book will help your preaching. 

First and foremost, the sermons read devotionally.

Peterson’s insights and challenges and understanding of the God of the Bible will nourish and encourage you deeply. Your soul will thank you for having read this book.

Second, the sermons read pastorally.

Not only will you learn for your own soul, but you will learn how to pastor your people. Peterson’s shepherd-heart shines through virtually every paragraph. Reading his sermons will challenge you and educate you on how to love your people well.

Third, you will gain greater understanding of the Bible.

Peterson is a master at weaving together themes throughout Scripture. You will find yourself thinking, “I never saw that before!” If you are like me, you will have to fight the temptation to preach it during your next sermon!

Finally, reading As Kingfishers Catch Fire will teach you a different approach to preaching.

Eugene Peterson’s style is incredibly unique. His style is very narrative and smooth. His thoughts are very simple, yet profound. He is deeply biblical, yet quick to make relevant application. There is only one Eugene Peterson and you shouldn’t try to take that spot. However, preachers would do well to learn from his style and let it shape your own thinking about how to communicate biblical realities. 

Who else has read this book? What insights for preachers would you add?

(Photo By Clappstar (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)