It's Thursday night again, so it's time for me to blog during class. Yippee!
I'm heavily into writing my first sermon. I get to deliver it on my 31st birthday (next Wed). So far I'm really enjoying the process. It's amazing how fun the Bible is when you're just exploring it for yourself. I'm just digging into all these ideas and like hyperlinks one leads to another and next thing I know I have this whole big theme. I hope I didn't miss anything important. But this is just a 10-12 min sermon, supposed to be a meditation really, not even an exegetical exposition. Only one point, explicated excellently. (hee hee look at me practice alliteration)
I hope I can bring my language up to par. This guy who preached yesterday had the most gorgeously written sermon. Although sometimes the language got away from him...like he described his grandma as "violent and virile," which I don't think he meant. :) But it was cute.
Anyway I get to preach on 1 John 3:1-2, which I'm expanding to 2:29-3:10. The thing that's jumping out to me is the naming of us as children of God. Which has a lot of implications. But I don't know if I can fully go into them. Mainly what I want to say is that because we're born of God, we have God's character...and that means a lot of really exciting things for us. Hopefully I can get into that a bit without going too overboard.
I lucked out b/c I'd written an exegesis paper on the passage a year ago. Thank God, otherwise I'd be lost in the Greek. I actually did a tiny bit of Greek today and sucked at it. I was trying to figure out a word and of course it was a "mi" verb (if you have studied Gk you know what I'm talking about), so I couldn't find it in the lexicon because of the way it was conjugated.
Anyway, pray for me in this process. I'm excited and nervous. Especially after yesterday, when 3 guys went who did a really great job, who were all experienced, and I'm putting so much pressure on myself to do great right out of the gate. Plus, my prof is sitting in on my sermon, and he's a friend and mentor so that's extra pressure. I know I don't have to do well - there's no way I'm going to write a wonderful sermon. Wait, no, that's not right. I should say, there's no way I'm going to write my best sermon. I will get better at this. Which means what I do now will be less good. Which is hard for me to admit. Isn't that stupid? It could still be really good! Duh!!
Another thing that is big on my mind is J's job search. A big yay that he had a great interview at a nearby Xian college, much closer than his current jobs. They're full up for the fall, but sounds like he's a shoe-in for spring.
But he also found out about a tenure-track asst prof job at one of the places he currently works, teaching in their honors institute (they use a Great Books model, which J's done in some classes). He's inquiring.
I don't know whether to be happy, though, because I disagree with this school on a lot of theological issues. I couldn't work there. I'm torn because of the association he'd necessarily have - WE'D have - if he worked there. But then, it's a real job, and that would be huge for him. And for us. He wouldn't be applying unless he could reconcile why he was doing so. He believes strongly in the work he could do for the school, so I want to try to support him. But oh, it just gets under my skin! Still, he has so much compassion for the students and really sees himself as a missionary there. I get that.
Isn't it funny that we need to send missionaries to the conservatives? But they've had moles in our churches forever, so it's about time to strike back!! Ha ha!
Oh, one other fun thing I found: If I ever preach on 1 John 5:6-12, I must talk about my closet obsession with vampires! The blood is life! Bwah ha ha! But it’s also a great section to preach Eucharist & Baptism. Jesus is the only one who shed blood. But we all go through the water and take the blood, and by these sacraments we receive the Spirit and the spirit of God. If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater - and that is where the Bible itself says that it's not as important as the Sacraments!!! Ha ha ha. OK, if you want to say the Bible is the testimony of God, then we can at least say the Sacraments outweigh preaching, right?
Anyway, maybe I'll be back. I feel like I should pay attention now.
We had a public defender talk to us. Those people are saints. She was amazing. The only person, often, willing to stand up next to the most hated person in a room...which is what Jesus would do, too. Wow.
OK, I have to take notes for a friend who went home sick. Bummer. C-Ya!
(update: the school is already down to finalists. Moral crisis averted)
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Jesus and vampires and sermons. I really think you're on to something here.
It makes me wonder—in the BTVS mythos, the taking of blood when a vampire is formed is reciprocal (if not exactly voluntary on the former human's part). Does Christ feed on us in any way as we partake of His body and blood? What do we offer back in His service?
I once pointed out (acknowledged, really) in a sermon that Jesus' statement, "He who eats my flesh eats real food," sounds a lot like cannibalism. This was in the hospital chapel, and another chaplain was present. She was so stunned, and, really, impressed, that someone would actually just talk about that!
10-12 minutes? Go for 8. In fact, paced out nicely, it will run about 10, and you won't try to squeeze too much in. As for making one point well, I think that's just a good general principle. Worrying about too much homiletical artistry can often make it hard for the congregation.
As for whether this will be your best: yes, you will certainly learn, and improve as you learn. So, keep it simple, and I'm sure you will be all right.
Blessings my friend, as you prepare the Word! I have no doubt that God can, and will, use you to bring the word to that classroom!
Doug Nason met with me as I agonized over my first sermon (preached just a few weeks ago to my church on Palm Sunday! And it's on my blog) that having ONE point and ONE thing you want everyone to go home with is key. Otherwise they get lost in the 'stuff'.
And Luke H. reminded me that it is God who preaches, we are simply the voicebox. It didn't help me relax a whole bunch as I prepared, but it did mean that I was reminded frequently about to whom I should be looking for help.
I'm praying for you, my friend!!
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