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Teaching the Whole Story of Scripture

Peter Thomas writes: All ministers want to encourage our congregations in the habits of daily devotional reading and personal Bible Study. To this end each week we publish the Bible passages for the following Sunday’s sermons. From time to time we let everybody choose from the wide variety of styles of Bible reading notes to try […]

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Sermon series: Signs of Life

Many churches take time out from the rhythm of the lectionary in order to focus on particular issues of faith and discipleship by having a sermon series on a specific theme. Quite a lot of work goes into planning and preparing these—so wouldn’t it be a good idea to share them?! The first of these […]

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Preaching: script or no script?

In 2014, Ed Miliband created some serious problems for himself and his credibility as Labour Party leader by failing to mention two key issues from his speech to the Labour Party conference in Manchester—one on immigration and the other on the budget deficit—and he later  admitted that he had forgotten his notes on the two topics […]

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Preaching and creativity

In my nearly ten years teaching preaching, and my 37 years of speaking and preaching, I have come to the conclusion that the best way of summarising the task of preaching (in whatever context) is answering the question: What is God saying to these people at this time through this text? This roots preaching in […]

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(How) should we proclaim bad news?

A little while ago, I preached on Isaiah chapter 1, and it challenged me to think through how we proclaim bad news in our preaching. I have generally observed a striking divide between theological traditions in relation to whether the gospel is in fact ‘good news’ (as the word ‘gospel’ tells us—a ‘good spell’ or word), […]

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Preaching on Trinity Sunday

Here it comes again: that Sunday in the lectionary which most preachers dread or (to disguise this) suddenly think of guest preachers who need an opportunity to contribute their ministry. Yes, it is Trinity Sunday! Rather than offer you a sermon as a resource, I thought it would be helpful to point out three things […]

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The dynamism of Pentecost

Coming once again to the New Testament texts about Pentecost, I have been struck by the extraordinary dynamism which seems to be present in every aspect. In the gospels, Jesus is the dynamic focus of action—constantly on the move physically as a way of expressing the dynamic presence and movement of God in his ministry—and […]

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Has Preaching Had its Day?

Whilst in New Zealand, mostly on holiday and visiting our son on his gap year, I was invited to give a public lecture on the subject of ‘Has preaching had its day?’ This is the introduction and the outline of what I said, which includes exploring the main objections to preaching in contemporary life and […]

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Preaching on the Transfiguration

The lectionary gospel reading tomorrow, the last Sunday before Lent, is Matt 17.1–9, Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration. There some important things to note in relation to this passage as we think about preaching on it. All three Synoptic accounts place this immediately after Peter’s confession of Jesus at Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus then starts […]

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Receiving Bad News

Can we preach bad news? Should we?

I have generally observed a striking divide between theological traditions in relation to whether the gospel is in fact ‘good news’ (as the word ‘gospel’ tells us—a ‘good spell’ or word), or whether we need to start with the ‘bad news’ of sin and judgement before we can say anything good. The NT gives a somewhat […]

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