The Sermon Maker: Tales of a Transformed Preacher [NOOK Book]

Overview

Three contemporary, humorous parables of a preacher who struggles with his need to change

Sam the preacher wonders what has gone wrong with his sermons. Are people still listening? Well-known storyteller and communications professor Calvin Miller combines his fiction writing with his insight into preaching to address the changes faced by today’s preachers, especially the ...
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The Sermon Maker: Tales of a Transformed Preacher

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Overview

Three contemporary, humorous parables of a preacher who struggles with his need to change

Sam the preacher wonders what has gone wrong with his sermons. Are people still listening? Well-known storyteller and communications professor Calvin Miller combines his fiction writing with his insight into preaching to address the changes faced by today’s preachers, especially the fact that contemporary congregations have shifted to a different way of listening. How can Sam recover his passion for preaching?

In this short, entertaining, story-driven book, church leaders will see honest reflections of themselves. But the narrative humor also provides a clever way to stimulate thought and discussion on how preachers and preaching are changing. Some places in the story will lead to laughter, others will cause readers to pause and reflect. But whatever the reaction, The Sermon Maker leaves the reader encouraged and changed.

Extensive commentary on the stories provides insight from the author into the best ways to communicate. Just as the story in the tremendously popular Who Moved My Cheese? impacted readers in the business world who were facing change, so this book is designed as a quick but stimulating story for any church leader who preaches or is concerned about the state of preaching today.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310856344
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 158
  • File size: 679 KB

Meet the Author

Calvin Miller (PhD Min, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) served as a senior pastor in Omaha, as writer-in-residence and professor of communications and homiletics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and taught at Beeson Divinity School. He was a poet, artist, novelist, and evangelist who wrote over forty books, including the Singer trilogy, Snow, Wind, Shade, The Book of Jesus, and Into the Depths of God.

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Read an Excerpt

THE PASSION AND THE CALL

PASTOR SAM WAS TIRED. Monday tired. He felt as though he had been skewered on the white spire of his church. He was only in his thirties, but he felt old ... very old. He groaned a little in remembering he was now too old for the chaplaincy. It was one of those Mondays when he sometimes sang "Be not dismayed whate'er betide, God will take care of you" and sometimes "Don't nobody bring me no bad news."

Emma Johnson was waiting for Sam just inside his office.

Emma ...no, Lord, not Emma, begged Sam in silent desperation when he saw her. But to ask that Emma not be in his office was like asking God to make St. Louis the capital of Missouri. It was not going to happen. There she was Emma! Emma! Deep-set eyes, an aquiline nose, and a Jeffersonian chin .Proud, stiff of spine, white orthopedic hose, and brown Cuban heels. She was a relic left over from the cold war, a Balkan weight lifter who carried a Bible big enough to frighten a Texas evangelist. Sincere and stout she was --and the oracle of God's will for Sam's life. Lord, I have the faith to remove a mountain and cast it into the depths of the sea, prayed Sam, but please ...help Emma to be kind.

But his prayer of hope died when Emma said, "Sam, I may not be the one to tell you this, but I feel that God has specifically told me to tell you your preaching is boring."

There it was, the hand against the plaster --MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPARSIN --Sam's sermon judgment was on the very wall where his hide would soon be nailed. "Gosh, Emma, thanks. One can never get enough good constructive criticism, so don't hold back; please tell me how you really feel."

"All right! If you insist, Sam. Preaching exists to get things done. It exists to help people catch a new view of their lives. It serves to help people understand who God is and what he expects of them. Preaching should not be namby-pamby; it should overwhelm people with the truth it tells, and it should overturn their little lives with great new images of who they are and what God expects of them."

"Emma, could we talk about this later ...maybe next August?"

"Well, I never ..." she began but didn't finish what it was that she never would do. Her eyes narrowed to slits and lasered a hole through Sam's dyspepsia. She turned on her Cuban heels and walked briskly away. The little curls on the side of her head bobbed up and down in wrath. She was clearly offended. Sam felt scathed by her frequent revelations from the Lord. Why did God never give her anything nice to pass on to him? She was Sam's apocalyptic angel, ever harping on his weaknesses and trampling out the grapes of wrath.

Still, Sam's whole life seemed to be on hold. His preaching was not going all that well, and Emma's stern sermon appraisal had convinced him that the angels were on her side and not his. He felt it had been a long time since he had preached any great sermons. He knew he could never "bless her socks off," as the youth minister would say, but if only he could preach her into culottes and pretty patent-leather pumps, maybe the Spirit would fall in wind and fire. Still, he had to admit that Emma's word "boring" had often come to mind as he preached. He was boring, even to himself. It was the last and most lamentable state of preachers. Sam felt there was no feeling worse than knowing your sermon was boring as you were preaching it. It was horror to know your homiletic plane was going down in flames and you were in the cockpit trying to land it where the wreckage wouldn't hurt anyone. If there was anything worse than laying an egg in the pulpit on "Well, I never ..." she began but didn't finish what it was that she never would do. Her eyes narrowed to slits and lasered a hole through Sam's dyspepsia.

She turned on her Cuban heels and walked briskly away. The little curls on the side of her head bobbed up and down in wrath. She was clearly offended. Sam felt scathed by her frequent revelations from the Lord. Why did God never give her anything nice to pass on to him? She was Sam's apocalyptic angel, ever harping on his weaknesses and trampling out the grapes of wrath.

Still, Sam's whole life seemed to be on hold. His preaching was not going all that well, and Emma's stern sermon appraisal had convinced him that the angels were on her side and not his. He felt it had been a long time since he had preached any great sermons. He knew he could never "bless her socks off," as the youth minister would say, but if only he could preach her into culottes and pretty patent-leather pumps, maybe the Spirit would fall in wind and fire. Still, he had to admit that Emma's word "boring" had often come to mind as he preached. He was boring, even to himself. It was the last and most lamentable state of preachers. Sam felt there was no feeling worse than knowing your sermon was boring as you were preaching it. It was horror to know your homiletic plane was going down in flames and you were in the cockpit trying to land it where the wreckage wouldn't hurt anyone. If there was anything worse than laying an egg in the pulpit on Homily has to do with conversation, and conversation is dialogue. Dialogue means two heads locked in the enchantment of relationship. Sermons lose their force over listeners at the same rate at which they become boring. Sermons were never intended to be one man alone piloting some supersonic exegesis. Sermons are a squadron of need-- pastor and people all flying in formation and talking together about the flight, even as they fly. John Stott observes: What is needed today then is the same synthesis of reason and emotion, exposition and exhortation, as was achieved by Paul.

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Table of Contents

The Arena of Life /7
1.The Passion and the Call /11
2.The Compulsive Folly /61
3.Gathering the Sermon from the Arena of Life /107
Notes /153
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First Chapter

THE PASSION AND THE CALL
PASTOR SAM WAS TIRED. Monday tired. He felt as though he had been skewered on the white spire of his church. He was only in his thirties, but he felt old ... very old. He groaned a little in remembering he was now too old for the chaplaincy. It was one of those Mondays when he sometimes sang 'Be not dismayed whate'er betide, God will take care of you ' and sometimes 'Don 't nobody bring me no bad news.'
Emma Johnson was waiting for Sam just inside his office.
Emma ...no, Lord, not Emma ,begged Sam in silent desperation when he saw her. But to ask that Emma not be in his office was like asking God to make St. Louis the capital of Missouri. It was not going to happen. There she was Emma! Emma! Deep-set eyes, an aquiline nose, and a Jeffersonian chin .Proud, stiff of spine, white orthopedic hose, and brown Cuban heels. She was a relic left over from the cold war, a Balkan weight lifter who carried a Bible big enough to frighten a Texas evangelist. Sincere and stout she was ---and the oracle of God 's will for Sam 's life. Lord, I have the faith to remove a mountain and cast it into the depths of the sea, prayed Sam, but please ...help Emma to be kind.
But his prayer of hope died when Emma said, 'Sam, I may not be the one to tell you this, but I feel that God has specifically told me to tell you your preaching is boring.'
There it was, the hand against the plaster ---MENE, MENE,TEKEL,UPARSIN ---Sam 's sermon judgment was on the very wall where his hide would soon be nailed. 'Gosh, Emma, thanks. One can never get enough good constructive criticism, so don 't hold back; please tell me how you really feel.'
'All right! If you insist, Sam. Preaching exists to get things done. It exists to help people catch a new view of their lives. It serves to help people understand who God is and what he expects of them. Preaching should not be namby-pamby; it should overwhelm people with the truth it tells, and it should overturn their little lives with great new images of who they are and what God expects of them.'
'Emma, could we talk about this later ...maybe next August?'
'Well, I never ...' she began but didn't finish what it was that she never would do. Her eyes narrowed to slits and lasered a hole through Sam 's dyspepsia. She turned on her Cuban heels and walked briskly away. The little curls on the side of her head bobbed up and down in wrath. She was clearly offended. Sam felt scathed by her frequent revelations from the Lord. Why did God never give her anything nice to pass on to him? She was Sam 's apocalyptic angel, ever harping on his weaknesses and trampling out the grapes of wrath.
Still, Sam 's whole life seemed to be on hold. His preaching was not going all that well, and Emma 's stern sermon appraisal had convinced him that the angels were on her side and not his. He felt it had been a long time since he had preached any great sermons. He knew he could never 'bless her socks off,' as the youth minister would say, but if only he could preach her into culottes and pretty patent-leather pumps, maybe the Spirit would fall in wind and fire. Still, he had to admit that Emma 's word 'boring ' had often come to mind as he preached. He was boring, even to himself. It was the last and most lamentable state of preachers.2 Sam felt there was no feeling worse than knowing your sermon was boring as you were preaching it. It was horror to know your homiletic plane was going down in flames and you were in the cockpit trying to land it where the wreckage wouldn't hurt anyone. If there was anything worse than laying an egg in the pulpit on 'Well, I never ...' she began but didn't finish what it was that she never would do. Her eyes narrowed to slits and lasered a hole through Sam 's dyspepsia.
She turned on her Cuban heels and walked briskly away. The little curls on the side of her head bobbed up and down in wrath. She was clearly offended. Sam felt scathed by her frequent revelations from the Lord. Why did God never give her anything nice to pass on to him? She was Sam 's apocalyptic angel, ever harping on his weaknesses and trampling out the grapes of wrath.
Still, Sam 's whole life seemed to be on hold. His preaching was not going all that well, and Emma 's stern sermon appraisal had convinced him that the angels were on her side and not his. He felt it had been a long time since he had preached any great sermons. He knew he could never 'bless her socks off,' as the youth minister would say, but if only he could preach her into culottes and pretty patent-leather pumps, maybe the Spirit would fall in wind and fire. Still, he had to admit that Emma 's word 'boring ' had often come to mind as he preached. He was boring, even to himself. It was the last and most lamentable state of preachers.2 Sam felt there was no feeling worse than knowing your sermon was boring as you were preaching it. It was horror to know your homiletic plane was going down in flames and you were in the cockpit trying to land it where the wreckage wouldn't hurt anyone. If there was anything worse than laying an egg in the pulpit on Homily has to do with conversation, and conversation is dialogue. Dialogue means two heads locked in the enchantment of relationship. Sermons lose their force over listeners at the same rate at which they become boring. Sermons were never intended to be one man alone piloting some supersonic exegesis. Sermons are a squadron of need--- pastor and people all flying in formation and talking together about the flight, even as they fly. John Stott observes: What is needed today then is the same synthesis of reason and emotion, exposition and exhortation, as was achieved by Paul.2
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