After you’ve poured yourself out through Holy Week and Easter, here’s our guided retreat for you and the Risen One. You don’t even have to leave home to enjoy it. It’s structured for your choice of ninety minutes, three hours, or six. Enjoy every slow, quiet minute of it.
There is a temptation, I feel, during seasons like Lent, Holy Week, or Advent, to lose our own way of communicating God's truths, in favor of covering all of our theological bases. We sometimes wish to be right more than we wish to be ourselves in the pulpit. One can do both. But it all depends on the words we choose.
We preachers often wonder whether our words have any effect. The people we preach to and the world around us pretty much look the same week after week. It doesn’t often look like the Good News has caught fire in people’s hearts. It doesn’t look like the reign of God is being built. For all our efforts to preach the Good News, how come it looks like nothing much is changing?
This is the most intensive season of the year for priests and pastors. With Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, multiple services for Easter, plus extra Lenten parish educational activities, there’s a lot to prepare for. Before you feel overwhelmed, though, let’s do a quick review to remind ourselves what will help your sermon prep—and all your preparations—to be holy, from your heart, and as efficient as possible.
Let’s be honest: The observation of Lent is often reduced to artificially somber and ritualistic practices of self-denial without an honest, whole-hearted attempt to genuinely experience the flow and meaning of the season. The “practices” undertaken involve simply giving up chocolate or wine. That’s suffering for Jesus, for sure, but what does it accomplish if we’re not focused meaningfully on what we should be? So I’d like to suggest that in our preaching, we shake things up a bit. Let’s preach a countercultural Lent.
Fasting at lent can seem rote or compulsory or just a convenient way to drop a few pounds. But Jesus has bigger plans for our lives than watching the scale drop. In this post, I offer a 6-week lenten sermon series for your use. But before you dive into its structure and content, let’s take a moment to consider Jesus’s why and how for fasting.
Your Christmas Eve sermon is one of the most important of the year, providing an opportunity to share the revolutionary Good News with those who may not frequent our pews the rest of the year. Here are eight things you should do and not do to ensure your Christmas sermon does its intended job: celebrate the birth of Jesus while helping listeners experience the wonder and implications of the Incarnation.