The One Critical Thing Missing in Most Sermons

As I continue to do the rounds of podcasts and interviews for my new book, Surviving Religion 101, the same question keeps getting asked:

What can parents (and churches) do to help better prepare their kids for the intellectual challenges of college?

In a prior post, I mentioned this issue and offered one solution to that problem: “Parents and churches need to consider ways to introduce their children, at age-appropriate levels, to non-Christian philosophies, arguments, and criticisms, along with a proper Christian response.”

In other words, we need to break out of the

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Should You Preach from a Full Manuscript?

Just last week, I was asked the question again by seminary students. It comes up multiple times every year. And since I keep getting asked this question, I thought it would be worth addressing.

And that question is, “Should I preach from a full manuscript?”

By “full manuscript” they mean they write out their sermon exactly how they would preach it. Word for word.

Now, I am not eager to jump into the fray over preaching methodology.  When it comes to the question of how to preach, there is no shortage of books, articles, and blog posts offering advice and guidance. And once you start sifting through these materials, it …

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Are We Allowed to Use OT Figures as Moral Examples?

For years, I have heard people say it.  In books, in articles, in podcasts. Again and again, we are told that preachers cannot use OT stories as moral examples.

Why?  Because it breaks the rules of Christ-centered preaching. If we talk about OT figures we can only discuss how they point forward to Christ.  If we use them as a moral example then we have simply become moralists.

Or so we are told.

Now, it should be acknowledged that the motivation here is commendable.  Yes, we want to preach Christ (though we need to define what that means more carefully).  And yes we don’t want to advocate some sort …

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Moving Beyond One-Dimensional Sermon Applications

Let’s just get it out there. Preaching is hard.

In the midst of all the disputes over preaching, this fact remains undisputed.  Yes, preaching is wonderful and exhilarating.  But, it is also exhausting, frustrating, and difficult. Whether a person has preached one time, or a hundred times, they know this.

Why is that? What makes preaching so hard?

I would suggest that it has to do with the nature of preaching.  Preaching is not just delivering a message, passing along facts, or making a point (though it does include these things).  At its core, preaching is something that calls for a response in the listener.

Put differently, members of the …

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