Chapter 7

Crafting Sermon Applications that Stick

If we cannot apply the teaching of Scripture practically, we lose the teaching’s practicality.

Several years ago, while I was in seminary in Austin, I was sitting in the office of one of my professors who was reading over a sermon from Psalm 30. I wish I could say that the enthusiastic expression that crossed over his face at the beginning of the sermon remained on his face for the entire reading. However, by the end of the sermon, he simply raised his head and asked, “So what?”

The question both struck me deeply and has stuck with me since that day. His assessment, I have discovered, was absolutely fair. In his assessment, my exegesis of the psalm was excellent. My discussion of the theological underpinnings of the psalm were thoughtful and contextually appropriate. My language and rhetoric was creative and engaging. And, yet, when the sermon ended, it sounded hollow in the ears of my professor. It sounded hollow not because the faith of the speaker was hollow or because the passage was ill-selected. It sounded hollow because the message of the sermon (not the message ...

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