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Scripture—lectio divina, the Daily Office, biblical scholarship, and community study—has been a passion of mine before I knew the words to call it. This part of my life has held a privileged place in my schedule for so long, that I came up surprised and saddened to begin to realize just how much of our scriptures I had been neglecting.
If someone asked why we’re called to preach, we’d likely have a ready answer. We’re practiced in the art of the spiritual answer, abdicating the role of our “self” in arriving at ministry’s doorstep, preferring to lay responsibility at the feet of a divine, outside call. And that’s true. But perhaps not complete.
To help us grasp the nature of epiphanies, it helps to go deeper into the myriad ways God sheds light on our understanding through the lens of other disciplines. For each concept, I offer a brief overview, a suggested reading, and ways to connect the concept to preaching so you better “see” how to guide your listeners to see the light of Christ in our midst.
When we keep piling on the responsibilities without consideration for the prep time involved, the investment of energy required to engage, or the precedent it might be setting—then our calendars rule us instead of us ruling our calendars. That’s when preaching gets stuffed into the cracks and margins of ministry, and we end up feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by our self-defeating Sisyphisian attempts to “get on top of” our responsibilities.
Christmas is a glorious feast, and yet it can leave us drained, longing for a few minutes alone with that sleeping baby boy. We, too, need to fall on our knees to adore God. To help you renew your spirit, I’ve created a stay-at-home, guided retreat you can “take” on any quiet day during Christmastide. Designed to accommodate your choice of three schedules—one hour, three hours, or six—this retreat will guide your feet into the way of peace.
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.
Conversational preaching can mean many things for preachers. But, scholars of language have studied this topic and identified several necessary features that distinguish conversation from other kinds of speech. One obvious quality of conversation is that there is more than one participant. And while this may sound outlandish in a sermon, the the truth is, you already have more preaching partners than you realize.