Bryan Chapell warns preachers about using autobiography: "The only one you can poke fun at is yourself, and the only one you should not pat on the back is yourself." Good advice. But, I cannot refrain from mentioning that today has been dominated by my needing to prepare three sermons. Yes, three! Not that any one is finished yet, but they are all on their way. Why today? Because this week is so full with a two-day faculty retreat and then travel to Kentucky and today was my only completely free day (actually not completely free!)
My next sermon for Elmhurst CRC (on September 25th) will conclude my short series on the Beatitudes focussing on "Blessed are the peacemakers" and "Blessed are those who are persecuted." Key Scriptures will include Romans 5:1-11, 12: 17-21 and John 15:18-25. I am focussing the main impact:
By the grace of God this sermon will SAY: Christian living means peace-making grounded in doctrine and empowered by grace. Yet persecution will inevitably follow.
This sermon will DO: challenge hearers about making peace and the reality of persecution today.
The worship planners at Elmhurst have collaborated wonderfully these last few weeks. Yesterday's services which included Communion also made space for 9/11 remembrance. Each song and prayer seemed so appropriate for the whole act of gathered worship. I have greatly valued the levels of collaboration. Of course, that is what my book Preaching as Worship pleads for. It's been exhilarating to see it in action.