Sermon Preparation

When God Seems Silent: The Preacher’s Perspective

“Can you hear me now?” is the question that the actor with the horn-rimmed glasses, Paul Marcarelli, made famous after asking the question over and over again on Verizon commercials from 2002 to 2011. Many times, it is easy to feel just like Marcarelli whe... Read More »

The Text: Removing Assumptions

Recently my family and I visited a local amusement center. Our youngest daughter invited a friend to join us. If observers of our family that day were to make assumptions, they might conclude that of the two little girls, the Caucasian one with the dark hair w... Read More »

Force and Conviction in Preaching

I studied Speech Communication in college. Essentially this means I took quite a few courses that required public speaking, generally in the form of a presentation of some kind. Near the end of my undergraduate study, I was able to teach an introduction to pub... Read More »

How to Fix a Dud

In the military realm, a dud describes a device that fails to detonate. Generally, a dud, like a bad blind date or a string of faulty Christmas lights, is something that fails to work properly. Having preached regularly for close to forty years, I can assure y... Read More »

New Approaches to Familiar Texts

While God’s Word is inexhaustible, it can become so familiar that we often miss some of the most significant messages in Scripture. The key is to always know the complete context and to examine the text for keywords. We may become so focused on the message t... Read More »

Changes to Make in Sermon Preparation

Until recently, for the last 14 years, I have been preparing to preach or teach at least three times a week to a wonderful little church. It has been my greatest joy in ministry but it has also presented some of my greatest struggles. Week after week I would f... Read More »

Learning to be a Learner

If reporters interviewed pastors after worship as they do NFL athletes after Sunday games, I imagine I would step up to the podium and say:  “We gave it our best effort out there today, but we came up short. Yes, I spoke about the second person plural of th... Read More »

Staying Sharp as a Preacher: The Power of Illustration

“Read widely, live observantly, and look up stuff.” —Dr. McCarty’s watchword   One of the keys to staying sharp as a preacher is to continually hone your powers to illustrate and to apply biblical texts. This need is often expressed to me by preac... Read More »

Prioritizing Time in the Study

We can all admit that life can be pretty busy and chaotic at times. There are deadlines at work, chores around the house, errands to run, time to spend with family, and so much more. The life of the pastor can also be busy. Between making visits, appointments ... Read More »

The Pastor’s Need to Study

I say “amen” Sunday night after the concluding prayer, thankful to God for another opportunity to minister but tired from a busy day. There’s great relief, however it doesn’t last long because quickly I’m reminded of the next Bibl... Read More »