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Recreating the Dynamics of the Text

Shape your sermon around what the text is trying to do, not just what it's trying to say.

Recreating the Dynamics of the Text

I once, as part of a series, preached Psalm 131. The psalm is so short I can reprint it here in its entirety:

My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.

I labored with that text for almost 50 minutes. I had a lot to say. I schematized the verses. I trotted out Hebrew words and phrases, and cross-referenced those with other biblical verses. I did an extended digression on the theology of children. I found intricate literary patterns, and expounded on each at length. I told funny or poignant stories to illustrate all my points. I was quite pleased with the whole thing.

Later that week, I received a handwritten note in the mail. It was from a visitor named Dave. Dave had been in town on business, and though he hadn't been in ...

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Displaying 1–8 of 8 comments

Tiffany L

October 13, 2017  6:16am

WOW! I didn't see any of the wonder in the text at first, I saw what you saw. I would love more articles like this. Not only is it helpful for preaching, it's helpful for simply being a child of God. THANK YOU!!!

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October 12, 2017  9:19am

Beautiful. appreciate the transparency, brother.

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Robert K.

October 09, 2017  8:59pm

Thanks Mark for the helpful reminders ... to be wary of making the sermon sound wooden, to connect well with the audience and help them connect with people in the ancient times, and to issue the call for action.

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Jim S

October 09, 2017  3:14pm

This is rich! One of those messages you copy and keep so you can pass it on to others. May God help us make His Word come alive in the minds and hearts of HIs people.

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Dave M

October 09, 2017  11:45am

As a primarily right-brained, artistic pastor who loves music and drama, I thrill to read this, and I thank you for sharing it! At the same time, there are primarily left-brained people for whom I'm guessing such an approach might not be nearly as meaningful. Still, the main point is well taken. Such are the challenges of preaching, aren't they?

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Gary S

October 09, 2017  10:25am

Just what I needed to read this morning. Love that Psalm!

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Theo Truter

October 09, 2017  10:16am

This talk struck a deep liking of the improved text for a sermon!

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Kelly W

October 07, 2017  11:36pm

Show. Don't tell... Those examples are beautiful! (And hard to emulate).

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