Skip to main content

inspiration happens!

the other night i posted an entry about my ongoing doctoral studies in preaching. i was not comfortable with my project proposal. even while i wrote that, i began to think of something i was interested in developing further: how do preachers decide what to preach to their congregations?

for lectionary preachers it's pretty simple: there are four texts from which to choose every week. pick one and get to work. one frustration i have had with the lectionary in the past is there is little or no flow from week to week-- outside of the seasons of the year, advent and lent, when the texts deliberately move us from one place to the next. i like to think not just week to week but month to month, or even year to year, and so preaching a series of sermons, like one i just finished yesterday, "walking with Jesus," is appealing. for the next couple of months i will be 100% out of the lectionary. God seems to be stretching me in a different direction right now.

last week christy-- not me, and not both of us, just christy-- received a postcard inviting her to another local congregation to hear a new preaching series on dealing with obstacles and challenges of everyday life. she has not said if she plans on attending. how did that preacher select those themes? did he hear parishioners talking about needing an instruction manual or needing help with finances? are these general needs in the community?

sermons ought to be constructed with the specific congregation in mind. not necessarily individual needs but what does God want these folk to hear this week? how do preachers discern that? and how are sermons preached in one location and beamed to another via satellite relevant for the second congregation? how does the pastor of the multi-million dollar megachurch prepare, and is it different for the local pastor who regularly preaches to 30 members?

these questions began to pour into my mind the other night, and i think i can mold them into a pretty interesting discussion for a doctoral project. it will involve lots of reading and interviews, but it will be good for me, because i am sturggling with these thoughts myself-- as the last two entries on the blog show. so for today i am feeling excited about going to k.c. next month for classes. now i think i can actually open my books with titles like writing your dissertation in fifteen minutes a day or projects that matter or a manual for writers of term papers, theses, and dissertations and not feel too overwhelmed. well...


Popular posts from this blog

Reflecting Upon Newtown

Note: I offered these words during the prayer section of worship Sunday, December 16.

Last Friday was a day full of surprising ministry. After I wrote my usual Friday email devotion to the church, I received a call from Byron Proutt, our missions coordinator. He and others had recently partnered with Park Cities Presbyterian on a project, and their missions director called Byron to say another ministry was unable to pick up several boxes of food for their pantry—could we use it? Of course we could! So Pastor Gregg, Mr Johnny, and I rolled out to the warehouse and hauled back 80 boxes of food. Praise God! After we unloaded it Gregg and I went to Kroger to give them a letter of appreciation for making our Thanksgiving baskets for hungry families a priority. After I dropped Gregg off at home, I turned on my radio for the first time that day and heard the reports of the shootings in Newtown, Conn. I could not believe what I heard, especially as a father of young children.

I came back to m…

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…