Craft of Preaching

Jesus’ Ministry of Fire

If consensus exists around anything today in American society, it is that we are afflicted by “division.” This general sense of heightened divisiveness

Sleeping with Makeup On

I read recently that Dolly Parton leaves her makeup on all night when she’s away from home. She told the New York Times, “You never know if

Poor Fool

This is one of those weeks when preachers find a text pretty easy to interpret but the sermon hard to deliver.

Ah, but it’s never easy to interpret

Who Taught You How to Pray?

It’s a very personal, intimate thing, one’s prayer life. Getting started at praying is less like learning how to drive a car, how to play the

Now Is the Time

Be careful with this one, Dear Working Preachers. The story of Mary and Martha in Luke’s Gospel has been subject to feats of hermeneutical acrobatics

Just Ask

The Good Samaritan. The ubiquity of this passage in society and in our shared discourse is more than enough to encourage a sermon on another text. A story

Shake Off the Dust

For the first time in my life, this past week I was trolled on Facebook. To be honest, I expected it to happen sooner, but to be totally honest, I never

Preaching Tough Texts

There are some tough texts coming up in the lectionary. I’m thinking especially of the Hosea 1 text for July 28th (listen to my podcast on this

'But First...'

“But first.” Such an expedient and automatic answer, isn’t it? One that we utter without thinking, even, and to so many requests for our

Greening Spaces

Mark A. Torgerson’s book Greening Spaces for Worship and Ministry (Alban, 2012) offers numerous case studies of congregations that have incorporated

Freedom from Fear

Fear. I get it. That seems like the most reasonable response when it comes to witnessing about 6,000 demons being exorcised in front of your eyes. That

Preaching + Rural Life

I grew up on a small farm in Eastern North Dakota. In college, I felt a call to rural ministry. I was the rarity, whose first choice was North Dakota. My

Trinity Musings

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). Maybe this is the heart of the Trinity. A heart that knows that

Breathing

Happy Pentecost, Dear Working Preachers!

If you have been reading my column these past years or are a regular listener of Sermon Brainwave, you can probably

Being a Prophet in Another Person's Hometown

I’m in a unique ministry context. My job involves regularly inviting guests to preach for our Sunday morning worship services. We welcome guest preachers