December 5, 2020

Paul Zahl: Humor in the Pulpit

I remember well a special meeting we had in seminary when our wives were invited to join us for a discussion of marriage. One of the speakers was Walt Kaiser, one of my favorite profs at Trinity. Dr. Kaiser is among the most winsome people I’ve ever met. His lectures and preaching were always filled […]

Don’t Even Think about Preaching on That

I’m speechless, in awe—words fail me.     I should never have opened my mouth! I’ve talked too much, way too much.     I’m ready to shut up and listen. – Job 40:3-5, MSG * * * The other day I drove by a church with which I’m familiar and noticed that they were doing a sermon series […]

What Is the Goal of Preaching?

Do you agree with Rick Warren that, “The Aim of Preaching Is Life Transformation”? Here is an excerpt from his article: If God’s objective for every believer is to transform us into total Christlikeness, then the objective of preaching is to motivate people to develop Christlike convictions (to think like Jesus), Christlike character (to feel like Jesus), […]

Now, I Wear a Robe

Jason Micheli has expressed some interesting thoughts about an experience he had as a robed pastor in his post, Clergy Robes and Anonymous Notes in Church. I encourage you to go and read his post before proceeding. More about that in a moment. I grew up in United Methodist Churches where clergy wore robes. So […]

The Pastor: Remembering the Poor

 …when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was […]

The Pastor: Waiting Tables

Christianity is a meal fellowship. And ministry is table service. This is the focus and content of a remarkable chapter in Gordon W. Lathrop’s book, The Pastor: A Spirituality. And this is the chapter that, most of all, sets the liturgical traditions apart from the free churches. This is what many of us who fled […]

The Pastor: Preparing to Preach through Attention and Imagination

Today, a rich quote from Gordon W. Lathrop on preparing to preach. This is not so much about the “nuts and bolts” of preparing a manuscript but rather about how preaching grows out of the pastor’s life, prepared through paying attention and engaging his or her imagination. I want a pastor like this. I want […]

A Brief Lesson for Speakers

150 years ago this week, Abraham Lincoln gave “dedicatory remarks” at Gettysburg, Pennysylvania to consecrate the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, four months after the Battle of Gettysburg. Considered perhaps the most important speech in U.S. history, the president’s remarks contained — 272 words, 10 sentences, and lasted less than 3 minutes. Earlier, Edward Everett had offered […]

The Pastor: Prepared by the Lord’s Prayer

 Let the pastors of the assemblies know this priesthood of the assembly on behalf of the world. Let them know with sympathy and love how they are not distinguished here from the rest of humanity, but are rather a voice of need and prayer. Let them thus know where they actually are and what time […]

The Pastor: Tasks, Titles, and Texts

As a part of my studies toward ordination, I have been reading Gordon W. Lathrop’s fine meditation on the ministerial life: The Pastor: A Spirituality. Lathrop states that he hopes his book will provide “a moment of deliberate delight in the central matters of Christian ministry.” Indeed, I have found it to be so. For […]