So let’s say I’ve got a series. I’ve even got a title or a starting point for a particular message.
Where do I go from there?
The bible passage itself. In general I use one passage rather than collecting several unrelated verses and making a sermon out of them. It’s easier to “drill down” — and teach well — when you focus in on that one section of Scripture.
And somewhere in that section, there is a message for 21st Century people that is aching to come out. It’s my job to excavate it.
So I read the passage. I take notes. I read it some more. I try to understand its literary structure, still using a method I was taught at Asbury Seminary back in the 1980s. See — how a story or letter is put together is a significant part of what it is saying. So after jotting and charting and obsessing, I’ll consult some other experts.
Then after comparing my notes with what the experts say, I try to discern the one thing in that passage that is crying out to be preached. And I try to put that one thing in a short, memorable phrase that is neither trite nor trivial. Phrases like:
- God makes room for the ones we shut out.
- Your secrets are the enemy of your intimacy.
- Love your money more.
- When you see yourself as God sees you, you’ll unleash the hero within.
Then after I have that, that one thing, it’s time to figure out how to communicate it.
I’ll show you how that happens tomorrow.