Troublemaker (2) How a sermon takes and changes shape

I wanted to share a little bit of my sermon preparation process with you.  The process starts quite a way back. I am currently spending a lot of time reading and thinking about 2 Corinthians which we will be going through in the autumn.

Then in the week before I am due to preach, I will look at the passage in detail, annotating a copy of it, identifying the logical flow of the text, highlighting key words and phrases, looking out for unusual, difficult to understand and challenging statements.  From this I will identifying the main application that we are being asked to focus on this week.   Continue reading


Preaching Old Testament and other Narrative Passages

Here are a couple of tips and thoughts around preparing to preach or teach on Old Testament narrative -actually these potentially apply into the NT and other contexts as well. However, I hope this will be particularly helpful as we continue to work through 2 Samuel and prepare to teach on the end of Genesis at Sunday Night Church. Continue reading

Putting 2 halves together

So we’ve all seen those films where a character is walking round with one half of a locket on a chain. Eventually they meet the person with the other half. One of the challenges of preaching is that you have to choose where to put the breaks each week. This means that sometimes you will find yourself looking at a passage and thinking ” but that’s only one half of the story.” Continue reading

Expository Worship and 2 Samuel

I thought I’d share an example with you of our congregation leaders thinking through how to connect up the teaching series with the rest of the service over the next few months.  We are coming to the end of 2 Samuel (ch 14-24) and so we did two things. First of all, the preaching team met together to look at the big picture of what is coming up. The the congregation leadership team (11:15) spent a bit of time thinking about implications for songs, prayers, responses additional readings etc. This is what they came up with.

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Who was Melchizedek?

In Genesis 14, Abram returns from rescuing Lot in battle and is met by a man called Melchizedek. We are told that he is both the king of Salem (Jerusalem) and a priest of God most high. Melchizedek provides food for Abram, blesses him and blesses God. Abram gives him 10% of the spoils. Continue reading

End Game (Preaching 2 Samuel 14-24 part 3)

“Mercy and Grumbling” 2 Samuel 19

David is re-called as King.  He shows mercy to Shimei who cursed him and to Mephibosheth who insists that Ziba had lied about him.  At the same time things look less than rosy. Joab is unhappy at David mourning for Absalom. He expects him to show strength of leadership and gratitude to those who fought for him.  The people’s reason for returning David to the throne doesn’t seem to be based on fulsome loyalty. Yes, David had defeated the Philistines but was weak and driven out by Absalom.  Then there’s division and grumbling again when the people of Judah are seen to be taking priority in bringing David back. Continue reading

The Absalom Tragedy (Preaching 2 Samuel 14 – 25 part 2)

“A short-lived Reconciliation” (2 Samuel 14)

In 2 Samuel 14, Joab seeks to get Absalom restored to court and reconciled with his father.  Is this the right thing to do? Given how we know the story turns out, we would suggest in hindsight that it looks unwise but something may be the right thing to do even if it brings painful consequences.

Joab’s methods are underhand but I also think we can detect some echoes from the past as Joab uses the wise woman to tell David a parable, we are reminded of Nathan the prophet’s appearance before David with a parable about sheep farmers following David’s adultery with Bathsheba. Continue reading