Posts tagged “Preaching

I always need Jesus and mercy

Posted on December 23rd, 2012

A recent commenter critiques Lutheranism by saying there’s no need for a sermon to contain the preaching of Jesus and mercy. As for me, I always need Jesus, I always need mercy. That is the heart and center of the Christian Faith. I’m grateful when the liturgy rescues me and my congregation from a bad sermon. But a sermon that is without Jesus and His mercy is just that – a bad sermon. I always need Jesus. I always need His mercy.

How to Read the Bible

Posted on December 5th, 2012

When you open the book containing the gospels and read or hear how Christ comes here or there, or how someone is brought to him, you should therein perceive the sermon or the gospel through which he is coming to you, or you are being brought to him. For the preaching of the gospel is nothing else than Christ coming to us, or we being brought to him.  When you see how he works, however, and how he helps everyone to whom he comes or who is brought to him, then rest assured that faith is accomplishing this in you and that he is offering your soul exactly the same sort of help and favor through the gospel. If you pause here and let…

The people in the preacher’s study

Posted on November 20th, 2012

When I have writer’s block in preparing a sermon, I try to think about explaining the text to particular members of my congregation, mentally bringing before me a child in our school, a young mother, an elderly person approaching death. I shouldn’t wait until I have writer’s block. Gustav Wingren, in his The Living Word: A Theological Study of Preaching and the Church, puts it this way: When the Bible lies open on the preacher’s desk and the preparation of the sermon is about to begin, the worshippers have already come in; the passage contains these people since it is God’s Word to his people. The “bad sermon” is not bad because it is “lifeless” or “uninspiring”; it is bad because “men [were] not present…

Praying is more difficult than preaching

Posted on August 10th, 2012

Luther continues the discussion of infertility in the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah, and highlights the challenge of persistent prayer. In the same way Rebecca took refuge in earnest and persistent prayer and sighed anxiously night and day. Isaac, too, prayed for her and placed before God nothing else than that one trouble, namely, his wife’s barrenness. We should learn from this that all our troubles, even those that are physical, should be placed before God, but above all the spiritual needs. Isaac prayed in this way: “If it means the hallowing of Thy name, and if it tends to preserve Thy kingdom, give Rebecca offspring.” Where a promise is lacking, as Rebecca lacked it, prayer should supply this and should come to the…

Issues, Etc. Sermon Review

Posted on August 1st, 2012

I am humbled that Issues, Etc. chose my sermon for their weekly Sermon Review. I often think about the sermon diagnostic that Pr Wilken uses, but generally feel that my own sermons don’t fully measure up. It’s a good reason for me to keep listening to Issues, Etc., and I hope you will too (and support them – they need and deserve it)!

Do weddings make couples, or families?

Posted on November 25th, 2011

In a recent post I outlined problems in the way Christians view sex and procreation. Russell Moore observes that this is reflected in Christian wedding sermons. One area of needed reformation in our preaching is in wedding sermons. Too many of our weddings, even in the most conservative churches, pretend as though the event is about the formation of a “couple.” The language of older wedding ceremonies, which mention procreation and the children of the union, seem quaint and anti-quarian to our ears. We’re the ones who are odd, however, not our forebears. Marriage is about the formation of a new family. What would happen if our wedding ceremonies were less about a “celebration of the love of Joni and Todd” and more about…

Terrifying preaching

Posted on November 23rd, 2011

The “lawful use” of the law, as Augustine puts it in terms borrowed from 1 Timothy 1:8-9, is a form of preaching whose effect is “to terrify the unrighteous … so that they flee by faith to justifying grace.” -Phillip Cary, “From Augustine’s Grace to Luther’s Gospel,” Logia XX.4

Creative preaching

Posted on November 21st, 2011

Because God creates via words (Jer. 51:15–16), he uses preaching to call into existence spiritual realities that didn’t exist before (Ezek. 37:4). -Russell Moore, Adopted for Life