What to preach at funerals? Competition!

I came across this interesting quotation in the next Grove Worship booklet, which is about preaching at funerals. There is a prize of a free copy of the booklet for the first person in comments who can identify the somewhat surprising source! (I have doctored one or two words to prevent the source being too … Continue Reading

Preaching on Advent 1

Here are some thoughts on making sense of the lectionary readings for Advent 1: Is 64.1–9; Mark 13.24–37 ‘Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!’ Isaiah’s cry of desperation resonates with the cry of many today. If only God would make everything clear! If only he would remove uncertainty, and bring clarity! … Continue Reading

(How) does Jesus fulfil our longings?

To long for things is characteristic of being human. It is in our nature to reach into the future, to envisage that things will be different from how they are now, to imagine our possessing of things, qualities and attitudes that we do not at present have—even to be people that we are not yet. This sense of longing often focuses on key issues, things of central importance to us:

To script or not to script?

Ed Miliband admitted this morning that he omitted two key sections from his speech to this year’s Labour Party conference in Manchester—one on immigration and the other on the budget deficit. How could he forget such important sections, when doing do inevitably leads to ruthless criticism? The answer is simple: he gave a 65-minute speech without … Continue Reading

Preaching as creative act

In my nearly ten years teaching preaching, and my 33 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 … Continue Reading

Preaching the wisdom of James

Preaching on wisdom literature is always a challenge, since it is the text most likely to lead us into moralism or simplistic reading. The letter of James is perhaps the closest we have to wisdom literature in the NT, and it shares these challenges. This is the script of a sermon I preached a few … Continue Reading

Do women preach with a different ‘voice’?

This is a guest post by Liz Shercliff, who is Diocesan Director of Studies for Readers, Chester, and teaches for All Saints’ Centre for Mission and Ministry. ‘Jesus calls us to be fishers of men,’ declaimed the preacher to a somewhat bemused baptism congregation. Being fishers was not an image that sprang immediately to mind, … Continue Reading

How to file your sermons

Filing and organising past sermons doesn’t sound like a thrilling or life-changing activity. But in fact there are a number of good reasons to give it some attention: It helps to see what you have been preaching on, the diet you have been giving people, and the diet you yourself have enjoyed. Is it balanced? … Continue Reading

The power of biblical metaphor

I recently came across a fascinating essay by George Orwell from 1946 on ‘Politics and the English Language.’ Orwell was such a remarkable character, with such insight, that anything he wrote is worth looking at. One of the most important things I did in my whole time in school was to have to read Animal Farm … Continue Reading