1. When God’s strong Word is wedded to beautiful human words it makes for a potent one-two punch that fells the Devil and raises the saints.
  2. What all variations of affable chatter share in common is that the preacher does not do justice to the most salient fact about him and his hearers: They are dead men walking.
  3. A solid structure, a lively skeleton, inarguably makes your messages more life-giving. They will be clearer, more interesting, and easier both to follow and to remember.
  4. But what God’s people want and need more than a perfect sermon, or even necessarily a polished one, is a true one.
  5. The ancients had a process for preparing to give a speech that has come down to us as the so-called “canons” (or stages) of rhetoric, which continues to be useful for orators of all kinds, not least preachers.
  6. “What’s the play about?” Imogene asked. “It’s about Jesus,” I said. “Everything here is,” she muttered.
  7. Today, I want to share with you one simple trick which will help to ensure the stories you tell are truly “stories,” and not just an arranging of events in supposedly narrative form.
  8. For preachers with ears to hear and eyes to see, good stories are all around us.
  9. For preachers, the inspirational element of good stories is particularly vital. But how do they do it?
  10. People enjoy listening to stories. We probably should tell stories. But why? What is it about stories that resonates and how can we tell them better?
  11. Speaking a specific message of grace in the Absolution is a chance to bring the healing balm of the Gospel not just to generic ills, but to the particular pain point exposed by the Law on this day.
  12. As we “seed” the sermon, we see week-by-week how the creative act is finally not ours at all. Though we can do our level best to prepare the soil, the words and thoughts and ideas take root and bear fruit according to gracious forces well beyond our control.

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