The Presence of God in Preaching

When preachers lose track of God, their sermons get pushier. Not only that, when God is most absent in their lives, they are all the more present. The quieter God gets, the louder they get.

Barbara Brown Taylor raises the same issue:

Sometimes I think we do all the talking because we are afraid God won’t. Or, conversely, that God will. Either way, staying preoccupied with our own words seems a safer bet than opening ourselves up either to God’s silence or God’s speech, both of which have the power to undo us.

So we lose God when he’s quiet, because we’re too loud. We run from him when he gets loud, because we cannot stand the storm of his coming. Either way, we often come to the pulpit without him, having no clear remembrance of our last real conversation.

From Calvin Miller’s “Sermon Maker” page 18.

The Fruit of Repentance?

In reading Randy Alcorn’s The Treasure Principle: Discovering the Secret of Joyful Giving, I stumbled on this little realization. In Luke 3:10-14, John the Baptist is describing works that show the fruit of repentance. In this text, he interacts with soldiers, tax collectors, and all men. The advice given to each is from the same category. See if you identify it.

He commanded the tax collectors not to over—reach and collect more  than they ought.

He commanded the soldiers to be content with their wages and resist the temptation to extort the poor.

He commanded all men to share their possessions with those in need.

All people were instructed to show evidence of their penitent hearts based on their stewardship. Stewardship reveals values. Values reveal hearts. Where your treasure is, Jesus said, there your heart will be also.

Would John the Baptist see fruit of repentance in my check register? How about yours?

The Singer’s Beatitudes

From The Singer by Calvin Miller:

Blessed are the musical, for theirs shall be a never-ending song.

Blessed are those who know the difference between their loving and their lusting, for they shall be pure in heart and understand the reason.

Blessed are those who die for reasons that are real, for they themselves are real.

Blessed are all those who yet can sing when all the theater is empty and the orchestra is gone.

Blessed is the man who stands before the cruelest king and only fears his God.

Blessed is the mighty king who sits beside the weakest man and thinks of all their similarities.