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Keeping Preaching Fresh

Freshness comes when we stop trying to domesticate God.

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I've preached the Easter account of the death and resurrection of Jesus about fifty times, and it is possible for even so stirring a story as the resurrection of Jesus to elicit from somebody who has worked with it that many years a feeling of Easter, again?

I've always had respect for those pastors who can be located somewhere for twenty years and somehow find the spiritual resources to keep fresh. I remember teaching in a Presbyterian seminary one summer a short-term course, and I was impressed by how many Presbyterian pastors were in the library. They had taken a week or two, some longer, to work on their preaching for the coming year. I said to the dean, "That's just amazing to see all those pastors working in the library." He said, "Well, we're not like you Methodists. We stay somewhere long enough that we actually have to study to get something to say."

So how do you keep preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ without going stale? By the way, ...

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Displaying 1–3 of 3 comments

John Parks

January 07, 2011  9:23am

While developing a sermon on Matthew 3:13-17, Jeus' baptism, I took a different view of JTB's initial refusal to baptize Jesus: Jesus is always doing to unexpected. I believe Willimon speaks of our uneasiness with the unexpected in terms of our desire to domesticate God. When by faith we receive God as he is and not as we want him to be, we find transformation; new beginnings. This was very helpful to me.

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Curtis Sandlin

November 03, 2009  10:59am

Willimon is always slightly irreverent in the best sort of way. He captures both the absurdity of preaching and the abundant - if often frustrating - grace of God that turns our foolishness into the very work of God.

Clark Cothern

October 21, 2009  9:36am

Timely and needed. Encouraging. Thought provoking. Skewered a few of my thoughts, which is a good thing. Helpful.

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