I picked up a copy of The Sermon Maker yesterday, and I’ve absolutely devoured it. It’s the best book on preaching I’ve ever read. Better yet, it comes at a time that I needed to refocus my energies in preaching and in life. It’s been a tough year, mainly because it’s been a tiring year. Slowly, I’m beginning to remember my call and gain some passion again.
Some quotes from the book:
"Even in the old days He never asked men to do what was reasonable. Men can do that for themselves. They can buy and sell, heal and govern. But then out of some deep place comes the command to do what makes no sense at all – to build a ship on dry land; to sit among the dunghills; to marry a whore; to set their son on the altar of sacrifice. Then, if men have faith, a new thing comes." (William Golding) (p.26)
"Great sermons don’t merely spring from good homiletical practice. They don’t come from tons of study. Study can inform the sermon, but it cannot teach it its music…All sermonic tools have their place in sermon preparation, but great preaching only grows out of the soil of great lives." (p.33)
"God, help me not to preach better. Just help me to be better. Do nothing for my reputation. Only bring me to the place where I see what needs to be done, and make me alive for the doing of it. Don’t make my sermons interesting; make them important. Let them seek no critiques as to their eloquence or boredom. Only let them be a cry on your behalf for all you want done in the world." (p.51)
"Increase your life. Live your life more fully. And pay attention to it…Stay as alive as you dare, and trust that your life with all its unorthodox twists and turns is still God’s territory. Dare to tell some stories that don’t sound like religious stories. Use some language that doesn’t sound like it belongs in church. Read fiction. Take clogging lessons. Go be alive, so that you yourself are a living sermon about abundant life. Then whatever you say will be worth listening to." (Barbara Brown Taylor) (p. 116)
"Great preaching is just personal counseling done on a group basis." (p. 130)