A Sermon for Election Day

I wrestle with posting my sermon manuscripts. Why? First of all, often I don’t preach from a manuscript but only an outline or an expanded outline that might just look like scrap notes to others. So often I don’t have one. There is a deeper reason, however. Sermons are not written communication, but oral. Sermons are meant to be heard with the ears, received with the mind, and chewed on with the heart. In the moment. Because sermons are oral communication, what I preached yesterday to our congregation, while not dramatically different from my prepared script, is noticeably different. Some things were cut because of time. Some … Continue reading A Sermon for Election Day

Discipleship is All About Jesus

Yesterday in my sermon on Colossians 2:6-7 (link coming soon!), I said that this short text from Paul is his view of discipleship in a nutshell. Paul tells us what discipleship is all about when he says that we are to “walk in [Jesus], having been rooted in him and now being built up in him” (literal translation). He writes to the Colossians because false teachers were saying they had to believe that receiving Jesus was an okay start, but once you get going in Christianity, you need something else. More than likely, the Colossians were tempted to go back to practicing Judaism. Paul … Continue reading Discipleship is All About Jesus

“So this is what God’s really like.”

This summer, I’m preaching a very short sermon series from the Psalms on praying your emotions. Last week, I preached on Psalm 3, “Pray Your Fears.” In two Sundays, I’ll be preaching from the darkest Psalm, chapter 88, “Pray Your Sadness.” I’m re-reading parts of a few books as research for the sermon. One book I turned to was C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed. It is a tremendous little book about his journey after losing his wife Helen. When I read it the first time, I remember thinking that the book was one of the most raw, honest, yet refreshing books I had read. Essentially, A Grief … Continue reading “So this is what God’s really like.”

Preacher: Be Clear and Concise!

What makes for a good sermon? Sound exegesis? An understanding of passage’s place in redemptive history? Quality application? These are necessary, of course. But you can have these things and still be a terrible preacher because your communication is incoherent and your organization sloppy. The art of communicating the sermon—homiletics—is just as vital as focusing on exegesis and theology. As I try to hone my preaching, I’m working on two simple homiletical elements: being clear and concise. Clarity First, ensure you are being clear. Have you ever heard a preacher begin a sermon by meandering for ten or even twenty minutes in an attempt to set up a tension (or try … Continue reading Preacher: Be Clear and Concise!

Review: Preaching: A Biblical Theology

Jason Meyer. Preaching: A Biblical Theology. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013. $16.73 (Amazon). 368 pp. Some of the best books on preaching contribute to the larger conversation with one or two insights that no other book seems to make. That’s why most preachers have several books on preaching on their shelves. Those who are familiar with evangelical preaching know that there is a “crisis” in preaching today. Preaching often looks like a collection of random Bible verses, some self-help advice, and cute stories. Jason Meyer, lead pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, has written a new book … Continue reading Review: Preaching: A Biblical Theology