Transfiguration C: Worship Transfigured

Dear Partner in Preaching, You may be tempted to read just the primary verses of this Sunday’s appointed passage – Luke 9:28-36 – and save the remainder (37-43) for another time. That’s understandable, as the two discreet scenes appear to have little to do with each other. The first, after all, is about the transfiguration, Luke’s take on the dramatic mountaintop encounter between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah while the second is a more ordinary scene of Jesus responding to human need back in the valley. Little wonder you may be thinking of focusing on the former and saving the latter for another Sunday. If this is how you’re leaning,...

John 4:16-26

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband;’ for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is...

What Do You Want From a Sermon? Jan13

What Do You Want From a Sermon?

I am working with some pastors in NW Iowa on preaching. They are largely from the Reformed tradition — Christian Reformed Church, The Reformed Church in America, and their various Reformed cousins — and have been meeting together for a couple of years with the help of a Lilly Endowment grant to support preachers administered by Calving Seminary‘s Center for Excellence in Preaching. Apparently they stumbled upon my book, Preaching at the Crossroads: How the World-and Our Preaching-Is Changing (cool)…and liked it (very cool)…enough to invite me to conversation (beyond cool! 🙂 ). We haven’t just talked...

What Role Does the Church Play in Our Lives?

Here’s the simple but just a little troubling question I’ve been wrestling with since participating in Luther Seminary’s recent Rethinking Faith Formation conference: Given how many other groups and movements legitimately lay claim to our allegiance today, can the Church ever expect to exert the level of influence in our lives that it once did? Let me explain: in medieval times the Church was everything and everywhere – involved in politics, in control of the banks, the arbiter of salvation (or damnation), the final authority on all matters of domestic and public life. The omnipresence of the Church has been declining for...

What The Family Feud Tells Us About Worship Jun20

What The Family Feud Tells Us About Worship

This video went viral because it’s considered one of the great “fails” of Family Feud history. Flustered Anna Sass needs only 18 points for her family to win $20,000. That’s eighteen points from five questions, any of which could yield well over 18. Alas, she comes up empty. (You can read the HuffPo article if you want to know if her family ever forgave her. ☺) What struck me, however, wasn’t so much Anna’s minor tragedy as the answer to the second question she was asked: “Name a place where people check their watch.” She said “airport,” an answer already taken, then responded with “restaurant,” an answer...