Tag: Preaching (home)

I have never assumed that the people I talk to are so certain it is true that the question is not still very much alive for them. Is anyone ever that certain? I assume always that they want to know if it is true as much as I do myself. I assume that even the most religiously disillusioned and negative among them want it to be true as much as the religiously devout do--want to be shown it, want it to be made somehow flesh before their eyes, want to be able to rejoice in it for themselves. And it is because, at some level of their being, their wanting is so great that you must be so careful what you give them, and because your wanting to give it is so great, too. If you are any good at all with words--if you are any good at all as an actor, with an actor's power to move people, to fascinate people, to move them sometimes even to tearsÑyou have to be so careful not to make it just a performance, however powerful. You have to remember that it is not what you are saying that is important for them to believe in, but only God. You have to remember how Jesus consigned to the depths of the sea those who cause any who believe in him to sin and how one sin you might easily cause them is to believe in yourself instead. I wrote my sermons at great length and with great care. I learned to write in shorter, simpler sentences that I had in my books because a listener loses track otherwise. Though I never dared step into the pul-[PAGE BREAK]pit without everything, including the Lord's Prayer and the announcements, fully written out in front of me, I learned to be free enough of my manuscript to be able to read it without appearing to do so. I put on the best performance I could, in other words, and preached with all the eloquence I could muster, not only to them, of course, but also to myself because much of what preachers say they say to themselves, to keep their own spirits up, to answer their own souls' questionsÑthe sermon as whistling in the dark. There were times when I felt that something better and truer than my words was speaking through my words. There were times when I felt they were only words. There were times when the words seemed to fall dead from my lips and other times when I could see only too clearly how effective they were being. And maybe I entirely misjuged which time was which. I don't know. I know only that Barth is surely right when he says that no one risks the wrath of God more perilously than the minister in the pulpit, and yet at the same time I know that, as a minister, there are few places I would rather be. The excitement and challenge of it. The chance that something better than what you are can happen, that something more than you know can be spoken and heard.

permalink source: Frederick Buechner, Now & Then p.70-71
tags: Apologetics, Communication, Hope, Ministry, Preaching

Preaching with Results Ugandan church leaders have preached three pornographic magazines out of business. According to published reports, three magazines that featured nudity and other sexual content have gone out of business since pastors started preaching against pornography two months ago. Clergymen had attempted to meet with the magazines' publishers earlier but were told to preach to their own people and leave the magazines alone. In response, they urged their church members not to buy the magazines, and the magazines' sales dropped dramatically. One publisher became a Christian and apologized for corrupting young people.

permalink source: Religion News Today, March 23, 2000
tags: Communication, Pornography, Preaching

========================================================================= MESSAGE TITLES: HOOKS, LINES & THINKERS By Brian Mavis, Site Manager SermonCentral.com ======================================================================== * A book was written and released with two different titles. They received identical marketing. One was called "The Art of Courtship" - the other "The Art of Kissing". Which would you buy (not that you need it)? "The Art of Kissing" outsold "Courtship" by 60,500 to 17,500 copies!(1) * A book titled "Compact Classics" was not selling well. The book was renamed with this provocative title, "The Great American Bathroom Book." The added subtitle was "Single-Sitting Summaries of All-Time Great Books". It went from an obscure reference book to a national best seller within weeks. The demand was so great that they created a series of these books.(2) * A Virginia high school offered a class called "Home Economics for Boys."-it generated little interest. The next year it was renamed "Bachelor Living." The result was tremendous: 120 boys eagerly enrolled. The curriculum didn't change, but the image did. It needed a new identity before the boys would identify with it.(3) Your sermon's title is its identity. If people identify with it, they are more likely to want to hear it. Don't miss this point. Many pastors don't think sermon titles matter. On the contrary, a good title may help give someone ears to hear, and it can even make the difference between someone - especially a seeker - attending your church or not. We all could use some help with titles. Even John Newton, who penned the most popular Christian song in the entire world, needed help. "Amazing Grace" is a fantastic title, but he named his song "Faith's Review and Expectation". Even this poet could blow it with a title. Here are my Top 10 ideas to take your next sermon title from "O.K." to "Outstanding." 1. THE POWER OF POP CULTURE. Connect to what people are watching and talking about. For example play off the Survivor phenomenon with a series - "How to Survive Work", "How to Survive Parenting", etc. Or you can have titles like "Protecting Your Torch," "Creating Peace in the Tribe," "Getting Eternal Immunity." "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" titles could be "Is That Your Final Answer?," "Are You Ready for the Hot Seat?," "Whose Your Lifeline?" etc. 2. PLAY WITH WORDS. I had written a sermon about Jacob wresting with God. My working title was "Jacob Wrestles with God." Pretty clever, huh. I then titled it "Fighting with God." Better. Then I called it "How to Pick a Fight with God and Win." This was even more provocative. Later, I thought about a cultural event that could tie into my sermon - Touched by an Angel. Too mushy for me. But then I played with it and came up with "Punched by an Angel." I had it. 3. PUT CONVENTIONAL WISDOM ON ITS HEAD. This is easy because so much of God's wisdom goes against conventional wisdom - just say it. "Good People Don't Go to Heaven". "God Helps Those Who Can't Help Themselves." "God is a Divorcee and Wants to Be Remarried to You". "Jesus Is Not a Good Teacher." 4. CALL TO ACTION. Why wait to give your application until you preach. Tell people what God wants them to do in the title. Here are two application titles: "When Wronged, Turn the Other Cheek". "Pray for Someone Who has Hurt You." Someone may miss the point of your sermon, but he won't miss the point in the title. 5. LOOK FOR YOUR TITLE IN SCRIPTURE. There may be a great title hidden in the passage you're preaching. I preached a sermon on how to renew our love from Revelation 2:4-5. The phrase "Do the Things You Did at First" was so captivating that I used it as the title and as a refrain throughout the sermon. 6. SPOTLIGHT THE BENEFITS Why do people think obeying God is such a drag? Change their perception by highlighting the benefits of obeying God. These titles highlight the benefits of obedience. "Praying Will Bring You Peace." "Forgiveness Frees You From Bitterness." "Sex God's Way is Safe, Satisfying and Sizzling." 7. SPECIFICALLY SPEAKING. Ironically the more specific you get the wider and deeper it hits your listeners. "Addiction" is a poor title. "Breaking the Bonds of Addiction" is a good title. But if you preach on "Break the Bonds of Lotto Fever" you just moved from vague helpfulness to "we're going to see what God has to say about this problem in today's society." 8. HOPE SELLS. People today are looking for hope in their lives-they have experienced grief, loss, unmet expectations, broken homes and shattered dreams. Straightforward, hopeful titles like these can be good medicine: "God is Near the Brokenhearted." "God Will Bring Good Out of Your Suffering." "God Has a Hope and Future for You." 9. THE POSITIVE SPIN. People don't want to hear bad news - can you blame them? If your sermon identifies a problem, highlight the solution. For example instead of having a sermon called "The Debt Trap", call it "Escape the Debt Trap." 10. BY THE NUMBERS. Something as simple as adding some numbers to your title can make it more interesting. Instead of "Ways to Tell Good from Evil," title it "5 Ways to Tell Good from Evil." Instead of "Satan's Temptations," name it "Satan's Top 10." Conventional wisdom says a sermon title is only good as an advertisement, that it can't help you write a better sermon. Well, it can. I had an ok sermon on renewing our love, but when I found the title "Do the Things You Did at First," it worked it's way though my whole sermon and made it far more authoritative and memorable. When I came up with "Punched by an Angel," it changed my introduction and gave me a cultural reference point to compare and contrast throughout the sermon that engaged my audience. Follow these ten guidelines to help your sermon titles and sermon become more (1) culturally relevant (2) memorable (3) provocative (4) applicable (5) authoritative (6) beneficial (7) specific (8) hopeful (9) positive or (10) definite You'll draw a crowd and keep them listening! References: 1. Ross, Tom & Marilyn. The Complete God to Self-Publishing, p. 28. Writer's Digest Books, 1994. 2. Anderson, Stevens. The Great American Bathroom Book. Compact Classics Inc., 1994 3. Dave Redick. The Preacher's Study. 1999. Copyright (c) 2001 by Brian Mavis. For reprint information call 760-940-0600 or e-mail brian@sermoncentral.com. Brian Mavis is the site manager for SermonCentral.com - the most popular sermon site on the Internet.

permalink source: Brian Mavis (sermoncentral.com)
tags: Communication, Preaching

Sermons need to incorporate both revelation and relevance. Start with either one depending on your context, but use both.

permalink source: Inspired by Brian McLaren
tags: Preaching

FUN THINGS TO DO DURING BORING SERMONS ~ Pass a note to the organist asking whether he/she plays requests. ~ See if a yawn really is contagious. ~ Slap your neighbor. See if they turn the other cheek. If not, raise your hand and tell the preacher. ~ Devise ways of climbing into the balcony without using the stairs. ~ Listen for your preacher to use a word beginning with 'A' then 'B and so on through the alphabet. ~ Sit in the back row and roll a handful of marbles under the pews ahead of you. After the service, credit yourself with 10 points for every marble that made it to the front. ~ Using church bulletins or visitor cards for raw materials, design, test and modify a collection of paper airplanes. ~ Start from the back of the church and try to crawl all the way to the front, under the pews, without being noticed. ~ Raise your hand and ask for permission to go to the rest room. ~ Whip out a hankie and blow your nose. Vary the pressure exerted on your nostrils and trumpet out a rendition of your favorite hymn. ~ Chew gum; if the sermon goes on for more than 15 minutes, start blowing bubbles. ~ Try to indicate to the minister that his fly is undone. ~ By unobtrusively drawing your arms up into your sleeves, turn your shirt around backwards. ~ While people are locating the announced congregational song, step out in the aisle and begin waving your arms as if directing the hymn. ~ Sit close to the front, and during the prayer, turn around backwards, point, and count softly how many people do not have their heads bowed and eyes closed. ~ See how many hard candies you can stuff in your cheeks before your mother catches you. ~ Begin coughing and get louder and louder until you get to excuse yourself and leave the room. ~ Choose a different song than was announced and begin singing it as loud as you can.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Boredom, Preaching

In a large Florida City, a pastor developed quite a reputation for his sermons; so much so that everyone in the community came every Sunday. Unfortunately, one weekend one of the church members had to miss church but he didn't want to miss the pastor's sermon. So he hired a techie to sit in the congregation and tape the sermon so he could listen to it when he returned. Other congregants saw what was going on and they also decided to hire techies to tape the sermon so they could play golf instead of going to church. Within a few weeks there were 500 techies sitting in church taping the pastor. The pastor got wise to this. The following Sunday he, too, hired a techie to play his prerecorded sermon to the 500 techies in the pews who dutifully recorded his words on their machines. And so, boys and girls, this was the beginning of a whole new movement in the church called - are you ready for this? - artificial insermonation.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Technology, Preaching

A churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me I can't remember a single one of them. So I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all." This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: "I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Preaching, Spiritual Formation

If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time--a tremendous whack.

permalink source: Winston Churchill, on public speaking, quoted by Edward, Duke of Windsor, _A King's Story_ Putnam 51
tags: Preaching

I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks".

permalink source: C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
tags: Ministry, Preaching

Don't make every sermon better than the last--make every sermon above-average (the average keeps rising)

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Excellence, Preaching

Fifteen years ago, Preaching published an interview with Bill Self (Nov-Dec 1988) in which he talked about "preaching to Joe Secular." Since then he has moved to another congregation and led that church to a new location in the affluent northern suburbs of Atlanta. In a new interview in the current issue, Bill explains what today's 'Joe Secular' looks like: "They're very interested in getting religious services delivered as you would get lawn services or household services. They're very concerned about 'please serve me, what's in it for me?' and they don't trust churches. They don't have the facility to really test out doctrine, and since they don't know doctrine they don't trust churches. Then they read stuff in the paper that increases their anxiety. We have had people who have placed their children in our nursery for worship service, then get up and go back to the nursery to check on the child two or three times during the service because they don't know if the worker is going to take care of the child. One of them went to the worker the second visit back to the nursery and said, "Can you tell me which child is mine?" I mean, they don't understand a thing about churches. "Also they're very immediate. There is no patience with their processing of the gospel or processing of ideas. It's 'say it and understand it or I won't use it because it's not immediately usable.' They know more about movies, television, and the general media than they know about the gospel. They know every movie that's out there. Most of them have three car garages full of adult toys. They have boats, all kinds of bicycles, skateboards. You can drive through our neighborhood and see that third garage over there full of all these toys they've bought. That's a secular influence. They wouldn't dare be caught without the latest indulgence, fad, toy or whatever. Their children are the same way . . . "Their worldview can be very selfish. If the Bible helps me fine, but show me where it helps me. Why do I need it? They have no history. Anything that happened before 1985 they are not aware of. Before 1985 the world is flat and everybody is just sort of jumbled up out there. You can't refer to "as Spurgeon said" — if I use a quote from Spurgeon and give him credit for it, I have to explain with two sentences who Charles Spurgeon was. If I quote any piece of literature that was written before 1985 or wasn't on their college reading list I have to put in a sentence or two about who that was. Any biblical reference I have to do that."

permalink source: PreachingToday email
tags: Preaching, Mission

"If I could do miracles, I'd do miracles. But since I can't, we have visual aids."

permalink source: Ed Young, Jr
tags: Communication, Preaching

How to construct good messages: 1) Create Attention: "here's a problem that needs to be resolved 2) Integrate Scripture: "fortunately, we're not the first ones to wrestle with this" 3) Clarify The Significance: "here's why this answer matters" 4) Apply The Concept: "and here's how to make it work in real life"

permalink source: Andy Stanley (paraphrased somewhat in my own words)
tags: Preaching

A retired bishop was once asked by a newly-ordained preacher, “What should I preach about?” The elderly man thought a moment, then replied, “Preach about God and preach about twenty minutes.”

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Preaching

"Whenever you speak to men in the name of Jesus Christ, unseen instincts deep within them are reinforcing your words."

permalink source: James S. Stewart, Heralds of God (Regent College Publishing, 2001), p. 53
tags: Preaching

Big wind, lotta dust, no rain.

permalink source: American Indian chief after attending church.
tags: Church, Preaching

It has been said that there are three kinds of lies: white lies, black lies, and sermon illustrations.

permalink source: Dennis Atwood, Christian Ministry, Nov.-Dec., 1996, p. 37
tags: Lying, Preaching, Deception

When I preach I regard neither doctors nor magistrates, of whom I have above forty in my congregation; I have all my eyes on the servant maids and on the children. And if the learned men are not well pleased with what they hear, well, the door is open. -- Martin Luther

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Preaching

Some young preacher will study until he has to get thick glasses to take care of his failing eyesight because he has an idea he wants to become a famous preacher. He wants to use Jesus Christ to make him a famous preacher. He's just a huckster buying and selling and getting gain. They will ordain him and he will be known as Reverend and if he writes a book, they will make him a doctor. And he will be known as Doctor; but he's still a huckster buying and selling and getting gain. And when the Lord comes back, He will drive him out of the temple along with the other cattle. We can use the Lord for anything--or try to use Him. But what I'm preaching and what Paul taught and what was brought down through the years and what gave breath to the modern missionary movement that you and I know about and belong to was just the opposite: "O, God, we don't want anything You have, we want You." That's the cry of a soul on its way up.

permalink source: A. W. Tozer in Success and the Christian, 29
tags: Success, Ministry, Preaching

He was dressed go out for a Sunday speech before a large crowd. His mother was sitting beside the front door. As Carlyle passed her on his way out, she said to him, "And where might you be going, Thomas?" "Mother," he replied, "I’m going to tell the people what is wrong with the world." His mother responded with, "Aye, Thomas, but are you going to tell them what to do about it?"

permalink source: Herb Miller regarding Thomas Carlyle
tags: Preaching, Application

I had a prof one time... He said, 'Class, you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here, so please remember this: that God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and He has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself. And, if on meeting someone, right away you recognize what they are, listen to them anyway.

permalink source: Rich Mullins
tags: Preaching

We need to be "Clear as M.U.D." A sermon that is clear as mud is: M - memorable U - Understandable D - Doable

permalink source: Andy Stanley
tags: Preaching

I ask three questions. What do I want people to know? What do I want people to feel? What do I want people to do? I think about these questions for every message I do because if I don't address the mind and heart and will--if I can't answer those questions--then I need not deliver this message because it's not going to wash their minds in the Word.

permalink source: John Ortberg, http://www.preachingtodaysermons.com/biprisablich.html
tags: Preaching

The sermon is a truck, not a bus. Carry one heavy load.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Preaching

<img src="http://glenandpaula.com/quotes/uploads/1118081010perspectives-on-preaching.gif" width="1895" height="1100" /> Perspectives on Preaching

permalink source: Leadership Journal, Summer 1987, p 23
tags: Preaching

<img src="http://glenandpaula.com/quotes/uploads/1118081386finishing-sermons.gif" width="1175" height="1313" /> Finishing Sermons

permalink source: Leadership Journal, Winter 2000
tags: Preaching

paraphrased: when trying to apply the Bible look for two factors: the God factor and the depravity factor. What's the angle on God communicated in this passage and what's the human response that distorts it? That's where you can see cross-cultural applications.

permalink source: Haddon Robinson, Leadership Journal, Fall 1997, p 24
tags: Bible, Preaching

Scripture - your dominant idea comes from the Bible, not from yourself Stories - you make the message as inductive as possible Spirit - you trust God to make it happen

permalink source: Curt Harlow
tags: Preaching

<img src="http://glenandpaula.com/quotes/uploads/1118098513illustrated-sermon.gif" width="1090" height="1713" /> Illustrated Sermon

permalink source: Leadership Journal, Fall 1997, p 45
tags: Preaching

Christ said, "Feed my sheep... feed my lambs." Some preachers, however, put the food so high that neither lambs nor sheep can reach it. They seem to have read the text, "Feed my giraffes."

permalink source: Charles Spurgeon
tags: Preaching

The preacher must live a life of large accumulation. He must not be always trying to make sermons, but always seeking truth, and out the truth which he has won the sermons will make themselves... Here is the need of broad and generous culture. Learn to study for the sake of truth, learn to think for the profit and the joy of thinking. Then your sermons shall be like the leaping of a fountain, and not like the pumping of a pump.

permalink source: Phillips Brooks, 1877 Yale Lectures
tags: Preaching, Personal Growth

Logically, of course, examples cannot stand as proof, but psychologically they work with argument to gain acceptance. If you wanted to argue that all truth is equally valid but not equally valuable, you might use an analogy to get your audience to accept what you are saying. A penny and a dollar bill are both genuine, you may point out, but they are not of equal worth. Therefore we must distinguish between penny- and dollar-truth.

permalink source: Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching, p 152
tags: Truth, Preaching

<i>To illustrate</i> is a transitive verb. It takes an object. An illustration should illustrate something. Therefore, there is no such thing as "a good illustration," but only a good illustration of a particular truth.

permalink source: Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching, p 154
tags: Preaching

If your dream were to compose music, would you say to yourself: "I've heard a lot of symphonies... I can also play the piano. I think I'll knock one out this weekend"? No. But that's exactly how many screenwriters begin: "I've seen a lot of flicks, some good and some bad... I got an A in English... vacation time's coming..." ... The novice plunges ahead, counting soley on experience, thinkng that the life he's lived and the films he's seen give him something to say and the way to say it. Experience, however, is overrated. Of course we want writers who don't hide from life, who live deeply, observe closely. This is vital but never enough. For most writers, the knowledge they gain from reading and study equals or outweighs experience, especially if that experience goes unexamined. <i>Self-knowledge</i> is the key--life <i>plus</i> deep reflection on our reactions to life.

permalink source: Robert McKee, Story, 15
tags: Preaching, Personal Growth, Writing

As for technique, what the novice mistakes for craft is simply his unconscious absorption of story elements from every novel, film, or play he's ever encountered. As he writes, he matches his | work by trial and error against a model built up from accumulated reading and watching. The unschooled writer calls this "instinct," but it's merely habit and it's rigidly limiting.

permalink source: Robert McKee, Story, 15-16
tags: Preaching, Personal Growth, Writing

While I believe in the importance of illustrations, I do not believe that 50 percent of a sermon must be applications. If I preach that we should love our neighbors, I need not devote half of my sermon to telling my people in exhaustive detail how to love this way. It is the Spirit who applies the truths of Scripture to each person. But if we fail to give our hearers some clear principles they can apply, we have failed to present God's Word properly. Remember, people live out their theology or beliefs, but they forget your exhortations. They will apply what they genuinely believe to be true.

permalink source: John MacArthur, http://www.biblebb.com/files/macqa/IA-sermonapp.htm
tags: Preaching

The great Scottish preacher Alexander Maclaren once went to hear another man preach, a young man with a reputation for being a gifted preacher. Much to Maclaren's surprise, the young man said at the outset of his message, "I've had such a busy week that I had no time to prepare a sermon of my own, so I'm going to preach one of Maclaren's." He did not know Maclaren was in the audience until Maclaren greeted him afterward. He was very embarrassed and became even more so when Maclaren looked him in the eye and said, "Young man, I don't mind if you are going to preach my sermons, but if you are going to preach them like that, please don't say they are mine."

permalink source: John MacArthur, http://www.biblebb.com/files/macqa/IA-quotes.htm
tags: Preaching

The longer I study Jesus’ method of communicating, the more convinced I am that his genius rested in his ability to simplify and clarify issues others had complicated.

permalink source: Charles Swindoll
tags: Preaching

Luther made it even more simple: • Start fresh. • Speak out. • Stop short.

permalink source: Charles Swindoll
tags: Preaching

After one sermon, a woman shook the pastor’s hand at the door and went on and on: “&#65279;That sermon was one of the most wonderful I’ve ever heard!&#65279;” The pastor, being necessarily humble, said, “&#65279;Oh, it really wasn’t me. It was all the Lord.&#65279;” “&#65279;Oh no,&#65279;” she replied, “&#65279;it wasn’t that good.&#65279;”

permalink source: Stuart Briscoe
tags: Humility, Preaching

We must never assume, then, that the sermon is ours to make or break. In the 1800s a famous organist traveled from town to town giving concerts. In each town he hired a boy to pump the organ during the concert. After one performance, he couldn’t shake the boy, who followed him back to his hotel. “&#65279;Well, we had a great concert tonight, didn’t we?&#65279;” said the boy. “&#65279;I had a great concert,&#65279;” replied the maestro. “&#65279;Go home!&#65279;” The next night, halfway through a fugue, the organ quit. The little boy stuck his head around the corner of the organ, grinned, and said, “&#65279;We aren’t havin’ a very good concert tonight, are we?&#65279;” If God isn’t pumping when we’re preaching, nothing happens.

permalink source: Stuart Briscoe
tags: Humility, Preaching

The preacher who preaches from Paul’s three “ready” statements (Acts 21:13—“ready to die”; Rom. 1:15—“ready to preach”; and 2 Tim. 4:6—“ready to be offered”) in the Authorized Version is heading for a homiletical hodgepodge. In the first text, the Greek word means “prepared”; while in the second, the word means “eager.” Paul was not eager to die, but he was eager to preach! The word “ready” is not found at all in 2 Timothy 4:6. “I am already being offered” is the sense of the original. A clever outline ruined by good exegesis. Preachers who are addicted to alliteration like to find words in their text that begin with the same letter and somehow tie them together in an outline. Sometimes this approach will work (e.g.,flee, follow, fight, in the KJV of 1 Tim. 6:11, 12), but usually it leads to a forced outline based on bad exegesis. There is no substitute for a knowledge of the original languages to set you free from bondage to a translation. Many fine basic tools are available today so that even the person with little knowledge of Hebrew and Greek may secure the technical help needed. The careful student of the Word will always consult several reliable translations, as well as the original, just to make certain he is on the main highway and not on a dangerous detour. One test of the validity of the sermon outline is this: can you preach it from any reliable translation? If your outline is limited to one translation, then you may be building on the accidentals and not the essentials. One exception to this rule would be when a translation gives a unique coloring to a phrase or a verse, and you point this out to your listeners. Just be sure that, with all its uniqueness, the translation is still accurate.

permalink source: Wiersbe, W. W., & Wiersbe, D. (1986). The elements of preaching : The art of biblical preaching clearly and simply presented.
tags: Preaching, Hermeneutics

Good preachers own wastebaskets and use them.

permalink source: Warren Wiersbe, The Elements of Preaching
tags: Preaching

The faithful preacher will milk a great many cows, but he will make his own butter. <i>my words: don't be a plagiarist</i>

permalink source: Wiersbe, W. W., & Wiersbe, D. (1986). The elements of preaching : The art of biblical preaching clearly and simply presented.
tags: Preaching

Never be satisfied with with your preaching. Once you are, nobody else will be.

permalink source: Warren Wiersbe, The Elements of Preaching
tags: Preaching, Personal Growth

A few years ago the book Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche came out, and immediately sales took off. Everyone was talking about it. As I was thinking about the amazing success of that book, I decided to preach a series entitled, “&#65279;What Makes a Man a Man? What Makes a Woman a Woman?&#65279;” Unchurched people heard the titles, and they came; attendance climbed 20 percent in just four weeks. The elders were saying, “&#65279;This is incredible!&#65279;” When that series ended, I began one titled “&#65279;A Portrait of Jesus.&#65279;” We lost most of those newcomers. Interestingly, the elders said to me after that series, “&#65279;Bill, those messages on the person and work of Christ related to unchurched people as well as any messages we’ve heard.&#65279;” In this case, the problem wasn’t the content; the people who needed to hear this series most didn’t come because of the title.

permalink source: Bill Hybels, Mastering Contemporary Preaching
tags: Preaching, Marketing

In 1985, Grant Osborne took a tour of Iceland. While walking through the lava fields and the hot springs the guide pointed out some stone cairns erected a hundred years ago to direct people away from the soft and dangerous ground onto the firm path. She said, "We call these cairns "priests", because they point the way but never go there themselves."

permalink source: Grant Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral, 341
tags: Hypocrisy, Ministry, Preaching

D.A. Carson of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School talks about the danger of taking the sermons of others and using them as your own: "Preaching is far more than a merely intellectual exercise, for it is 'truth mediated through human personality,' and aims to communicate the very presence of God. By the same token, preaching is far more than a mere reading (usually unacknowledged) of someone else's sermon -- a practice far too common in this day of circulating compact discs with their 'best sermons.' This practice is of course morally despicable, since it is theft (and for that matter illegal, since such material is copyrighted and yet is being circulated on the tapes of the local church). "I am not referring to the almost inevitable borrowings of a person who reads a great deal, still less to the acknowledged borrowings of an honest worker, but to the wholesale reproducing of another's work as if it were your own. My concern here, however, is not so much with the immorality of such conduct as with the desperately tragic way in which it reduces preaching and the preacher, and finally robs the congregation. "The substance of a stolen sermon is doubtless as true (and as false) as when the originating preacher first said it. But here there is no honest wrestling with the text, no unambiguous play of biblical truth on human personality, no burden from the Lord beyond mere play-acting, no honest interaction with and reflection on the words of God such that the preacher himself is increasingly conformed to the likeness of Christ. Any decent public reader could do as much: it would be necessary only to supply the manuscript."

permalink source: D. A. Carson, http://www.sbts.edu/resources/publications/sbjt/1999/1999Summer8.pdf
tags: Preaching

A preacher is a person who engages in far more eye contact than people want.

permalink source: Garrison Keillor
tags: Preaching

I must confess that I would rather hear people laugh than I would see them asleep in the house of God; and I would rather get the truth into them through the medium of ridicule than I would have it neglected, or leave the people to perish through lack of reception of the message. I do believe in my heart, that there may be as much holiness in a laugh as in a cry; and that, sometimes, to laugh is the better thing of the two, for I may weep, and be murmuring, and repining, and thinking all sorts of bitter thoughts against God; while, at another time, I may laugh the laugh of sarcasm against sin, and so evince a holy earnestness in the defense of the truth. I do not know why ridicule is to be given up to Satan as a weapon to be used against us, and not to be employed by us as a weapon against him. I will venture to affirm that the Reformation owed almost as much to the sense of the ridiculous in human nature as to anything else, and that those humorous squibs and caricatures, that were issued by the friends of Luther, did more to open the eyes of Germany to the abominations of the priesthood than the more solid and ponderous arguments against Romanism. I know no reason why we should not, on suitable occasions, try the same style of reasoning. "It is a dangerous weapon," it will be said, "and many men will cut their fingers with it." Well, that is their own lookout; but I do not know why we should be so particular about their cutting their fingers if they can, at the same time, cut the throat of sin, and do serious damage to the great adversary of souls.

permalink source: Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students
tags: Humor, Preaching

I have yet to meet a pastor who is growing in his knowledge of God and his effectiveness in pastoral ministry, who doesn’t read consistently. Where there is an absence of reading, there is normally the presence of decline and deficiency in one’s soul and ministry. John Wesley had this concern for a particular pastor he had visited. Wesley observed the distinct absence of growth and fruit as he spent time with this pastor and listened to him preach. So here was the caring, courageous and wise counsel Wesley gave this man: [note to self--from this point on I edited out Mahaney's asides on Wesley's comments] “What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear, to this day, is, want of reading. I scarce ever knew a preacher read so little. And perhaps, by neglecting it, have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. It is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety; there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this. Whether you like it or not, read and pray daily. It is for you life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a pretty, superficial preacher."

permalink source: C. J. Mahaney
tags: Reading, Preaching

People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.

permalink source: Dr. Samuel Johnson
tags: Preaching

One who made it his life's work to interpret French literature, but who could only read it in an English translation, would not be taken seriously; yet it is remarkable how many ministers of religion week by week expound a literature that they are unable to read save in translation!

permalink source: H. H. Rowley, Expository Times, LXXIV, 12, September, 1963, p. 383
tags: Preaching, Biblical Languages

"I brought you some supper, but if you'd prefer a lecture, I've a few very catchy ones prepped. Sin and hellfire... one has lepers." [Shepherd Book responding to the charge that he's come to deliver "a lecture on antiquated notions of moral turpitude"].

permalink source: Firefly
tags: Preaching

Realize that if a 100 people give you 30 minutes of their time to listen to your sermon, your message better warrant 50 hours of listening time. Study to show yourself approved.

permalink source: Mark Batterson, http://www.evotional.com/2006/06/ten-things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i.html
tags: Preaching

"It is absolutely unethical when one is so busy communicating that he forgets to be what he teaches." "The reason why preachers are so eager to preach in a chock-full church is that if they were to say what they have to say in an empty room they would become anxious and afraid, for they would notice that it pertains to themselves." "The person who is going to preach ought to live his Christian ideas in daily life. Then he, too, will have eloquence enough."

permalink source: Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations
tags: Preaching

...interest... is usually recruited by events that differ only a little from what is familiar and therefore are understandable with some effort.... Adults show the keenest interest in ideas that are slightly discrepant from their existing knowledge. The celebrated writers and artists of any era are able to anticipate themes that are not yet, but are about to become, nodes of uncertainty in their society.... The artist who wants acceptance cannot "run too far ahead... of the reader." Over time the mind-heart, like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower, finds a fresh novelty that recruits attention to a theme it can understand with effort and in that process becomes emotionally aroused. That is one reason why the form of psychotherapy that works best changes every twenty to twenty-five years. The curative power of psychoanalytic techniques began to wane when the therapists' secrets became public knowledge. The same fate may be in store for today's favorite psychotherapeutic regimens. Humans have the unfortunate habit of mistaking originality for wisdom because novelty is alerting, and, if understandable, creates an intuition of truth.

permalink source: Jerome Kagan, An Argument for Mind, 79, 82, 83
tags: Originality, Psychology, Wisdom, Preaching, Art

Churchill's Team: Complementary Talents

The Prof will follow Churchill anywhere. Winston's motives for cultivating him are very different. Lindemann's many talents include a matchless gift as an interpreter of science for laymen. In the words of Sir John Colville, Lindemann can "simplify the most opaque problem, scientific, mechanic or economic," translating technical jargon into language which provides "a lucid explanation" and sacrifices "nothing of importance." Churchill loathes scientific terminology. He never even mastered public school arithmetic. The Prof provides him with the essential facts when he needs them without disrupting his concentration on other matters. Like radar, Lindemann's "beautiful brain," as Churchill calls it, will prove worth several divisions in the struggle to save England from Adolf Hitler. Less than ten years from now he will arrive at No. 10 Downing Street with clear, accurate charts which, by replacing statistics, present displays showing England's stockpiles of vital raw materials, the rate at which ships are being launched on the Clyde, the Tyne, and the Barrow, and Britain's production of tanks, artillery, small arms, and warplanes in terms the prime minister can understand with what Colville calls "infallible skill and punctuality."

permalink source: William Manchester, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill Alone: 1932-1940, 16
tags: Clarity, Preaching, Teams, Churchill


I go out to preach with two propositions in mind. First, every person ought to give his life to Christ. Second, whether or not anyone else gives him his life, I will give him mine.

permalink source: Jonathan Edwards
tags: Ministry, Preaching

You've Got To Learn Some Things

In classes like "Intro to Psychology," the students complain that the whole first semester is spent doing nothing but learning new vocabulary, and I say to them, "Well good, maybe you won't complain when you come to church! When I say 'redemption,' it isn't fair for you to say, 'Wait a second. I'm a late 20th-century person from Illinois. You can't use a word like 'Trinity' with me.'" I as a preacher need to say, "Be quiet. Write this word down. I'll teach you how to spell it and how to use it correctly."

permalink source: Dr. William H. Willimon: The Peculiar Speech of Preaching, interview in The Cutting Edge, Winter 2000
tags: Preaching