Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Breaking Rocks

Writing expository sermons and Bible lessons is like breaking rocks with a sledge.

Swing - clink! Swing - clink! Swing - crack! Sigh...

Any child can snatch up pretty pebbles on the run. It would be just that easy to pick up some devotional thoughts on a quick reading through a Bible passage. There is nothing wrong with simple devotional thoughts. They are delightful. But they are not the "whole counsel of God." They will not be enough to guide us to godly maturity.

Ugh! Swing - thud. (Missed!) Swing - clink. Swing - clink.

The Bible is rich and the veins of ore are deep. It takes concentrated effort. It takes time. It takes serious reflection. Read the passage over and over and over again. Look up the words. Compare parallel passages. Read about the background. Read the context. Write some notes. Organize thoughts, then reorganize them again. Ask hard questions and don't settle for superficial answers.

Swing - clink. Swing - clink. Swing - crack. Rest.

Generally, you are not going to get it all done at once. Work at it when you are fresh. Work at it when you can focus on it with few interruptions. Keep swinging away while you can. Maybe there will be a breakthrough that will energize you. But don't be ashamed to rest now and then.

Ahhhh! & Aha!

Strange how the brain works on things even after you have turned your attention elsewhere.

Eventually you want to have things broken down to manageable and useful size. Then you can organize them - build them back into a sermon.

If you do it well, people will look at the text of Scripture as they listen to the sermon and say,
"This sermon is so obviously what the Scriptures are saying. This is exactly what God has for us here! Even a child would be able to pick up these truths that are lying here in the open."

Praise the Lord and keep on studying. Sunday is coming.
(2Timothy 2:15) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

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