Sermons, Parables, and Book Ideas

Dan and I have an unusual situation — our minister Alan Taylor has been our preacher for 23 years.  His sermons are consistently high quality and Bible based.  Old-timers and visitors alike comment on his sermons.

I always get something out of his sermons for one of two reasons.  First, I often pray that the Lord will move his mind to preach on something I need that very day.  (If others want the same, the Lord can provide personalized instruction for them, too — sermons can meet the diverse needs of many.)  Secondly, I believe the function of a sermon can be parabolic, that is, it can function like a parable.  When Jesus told parables, he took an image or situation (like yeast) and “threw it alongside” (the literal  meaning of parable) something else, like the kingdom.  From that friction between the two concepts came a third, different element– the spark of insight that the contrast brought.  So—-

If I bring a prepared mind to the worship service, the sermon (and songs and other elements too), once “thrown alongside” my prepared mind, often bring a spark of insight to me.

As an example, a few weeks ago Alan was preaching on one of the Ten Commandments.  Quite unrelated to the subject matter, I brought great distress to the Lord regarding the way that a righteous and faithful brother was suffering.  The spark between the sermon and my own distress resulted in the idea for a new book I have begun — one that considers the possibility that Priscilla was the author of Hebrews.

So– I’ve concluded that for me at least, it’s the preparation and interaction I do for a sermon that can make the difference in whether I am moved and motivated.

Have you had a similar experience?

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