After preaching almost weekly at BLC for the past three years plus, sharing whenever there’s a chance given to me and recalling my Homiletic classes both during seminary days and after, as well as struggling with sweat and sleepless nights simply hoping to present what I believe to be God’s message to us in our times (now that’s an awesome responsibility) — These books (I prefer to see it as these authors) really – I mean – REALLY helped me … I’ll put in one quote each (in italics) and my comments later.
(Amazon seems to be giving good discounts on these gems!)
1. The Four Pages of the Sermon:A Guide to Biblical Preaching by Paul Scott Wilson
“God is missing from in many of our sermons.” p.20
“We have inherited forms of preaching that have served previous generations well. But they did not ask, any more than we generally do, whether good news must sound like good news.” p.21
I read his earlier book the more technical “The Practice of Preaching” and loved it, but it was this more simple version of the “in-depth” ideas introduced to me in “The Practice of Preaching” which gives me the needed Instruction & Inspiration to persevere in preaching!
His “4 Pages Sermon” Model provides not only a framework for preaching but actually a “Theological Paradigm” for thinking about preaching. I really found his “This Tiny Dog Is Now Mine” Idea great for sermon unity. It’s simply keeping focus and sermon unity with One TEXT, One THEME, One DOCTRINE, One IMAGE, One NEED and One Mission.
2. Thinking in Story: Preaching in a Postliterate Age by Richard A. Jensen
“It is important for us to know how preaching was done in the past and to think about how preaching might be done in the future to keep up wiht the changes in communication” p.2
“Our “speaking for God” rests on the biblical understanding that words have creative power. … Jesus Christ is this creative word of God incarnate. … In our preaching we carry on this “speaking for God”. We don’t just talk about God’s Word. No. We speak for God. We speak God’s Word on God’s behalf.” p.17
Rarely, does one have a chance to personally interact with the author himself (face to face!). But, I think God was gracious enough to allow BLC to be the venue for Dr. Jensen’s Pastor’s School on Homiletics to the LCMS in 2002. And I was his driver!
Though using stories is not that new for many of us, for me it was thinking in story that really fascinated me! And especially when he worked through the passages of the Gospels, it was illuminating indeed (made me fall in love with the Biblical Text again and again!). Plus before he left, he gave me three of his books on Preaching Matthew’s Gospel, Mark’s Gospel and Luke’s Gospel (3 Years worth of lectionary material … wow)! Cool …
3. The Foolishness of Preaching:Proclaiming the Gospel against the Wisdom of the World by Robert Farrar Capon
“If you can make up your mind, when you go into the pulpit, to forget everything except Jesus Christ and him crucified, you’ll have nothing to give them but Good News” p. 13
“In the Bible, “the Word of the Lord” is always Someone speaking to you, not just someone writing memos for you to read at your desk.” p.61
“Prayer is just talking with Someone who’s already talking to you.” p. 68
Capon always has a way with crafting words, sentences and thoughts and throwing in potent images and analogies for right brain people like me who love it! I finished this book with a healthy confidence that’s it’s ok to appear dumb or even feel foolish before a world that’s so full of its own self-cooked wisdom. I just need to keep my focus on what’s really precious – what’s TRUE Wisdom – Christ!