All in Essays

Preaching to C and E Christians

No doubt a few preachers cringe at the thought of “C and E” (Christmas and Easter) Christians showing up for Christmas Eve Services.  For many, these fair-weather parishioners come across like neighbors who want to borrow a hedge-trimmer, but never intend to return it. They are akin to free-riders who donate nothing to the community. I must confess, when I preach on Christmas or Easter I do not share this sentiment held by some of my peers.

From Advent to Christmas

Past, present, and future converge in Advent. The historical coming of the Lord Jesus in the flesh, born of Mary to suffer and die for the world’s redemption, is indicated by having the Palm Sunday account read on the First Sunday in Advent. All of the church year revolves around the cross.

Challenging Consumerism

Preachers are called to proclaim Christ as King over-and-against the sovereignty of the consumer (or even the sovereign voter). And just like a naval ship in which there cannot be two captains, so too for the Christian there cannot be but one Sovereign Lord, and that Lord is Jesus.

Preaching Perfection

It is painful to listen to a pastor try to find some Good News in Jesus’ words about the camel and the eye of the needle (John 15:24) or the perfection of your heavenly Father (Matthew 5:48). Worse is when a brother gives up searching and just preaches a life of perfect love and goes back to his chancel bench since, “…that’s what the text says.” Whenever I hear the first I give thanks, despite the pain, for Law-and-Gospel homiletics classes because I know what it is like to hear the second and those scare me.

Preaching on Fear

Preachers who lay claim to the legacy of Martin Luther address their own hearers when they preach the law of God and its revelation of their need to turn from that which offends God to the restoring and re-creative Word that comes from Christ’s cross and empty tomb.

Preparing to Preach on Reformation Sunday: Thoughts from Hermann Sasse

Each year, on the last Sunday of October we celebrate the Reformation of the Church. It was ignited by a 33-year-old priest on October 31, 1517 when he tacked his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Of course, whether you are a Christian or not, you cannot escape the significance of the Reformation. It is an important chapter in western history; yes, in world history.

Name Brand

Many scholars believe that what Jesus says in verses 18-20 are the key to understanding Matthew’s Gospel. Actually, it may be the key to the entire Bible, for in these three verses we see the full scope of the history of redemption brought to bear in one history-altering, cosmic event: baptizing in God’s Name.

Every Preacher, a Translator

Preachers translate as a calling.  Called by God, they are given a message, and for most of their hearers it is to one degree or another a message in a languagefrom afar, with strange concepts,  sometimes with a more familiar ring, sometimes with a strange sound.

Advent Is for Preachers

Advent is for preachers. Well, of course, so is Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost and the whole of the church year. But Advent accents preaching, making known that it is the Lord who comes to bring salvation, to proclaim this in all the earth.