My method is drawn from Fred Craddock, who I intentionally pulled a brier Rabbit on my mid degree review to be able to take three classes with when there was a limit of one; my love of the semi colon from Faulkner and love of life’s humor from Jerry Sienfield and laughing at myself, you, and the rest of the world. The Gospel is a Joy, a Story, the message of our hope and salvation. Share it; enjoy it, and grow in living in response to it.
Scripture is to be read through the three lenses of Church Tradition, Reason (logic, scientific method, etc.) and Spiritual Experience, and in that order of weight. Danger comes when we use only one lens because are most likely to lead ourselves and others astray. If we only use two we will convince ourselves our interpretation is true even when it likely skewed. But with all three we use the fruits and gifts of those who have struggled through the Word for generations prior, and we use the gift of wonderful minds and devoted reflections, AND we benefit from the power of the Spirit to directly touch our hearts. Together its power is revealed, any less and it only reveals the cracked vessel sharing it.
The Sermon that has three points that rhyme or one part 3 in a 4 part series might help people remember concepts, but I would offer that nothing replaces the genuine study, reflection, discussion and repetitive relationship with the scriptures in fresh and tangible ways. My favorite recounted story about sermon titles is by a professor/preacher/teacher who stated that the sermon title on the sign out front of the church should make a stranger get off the bus and come inside to hear the Good News. To which a student raises their hand and replied, “I have the perfect title: There’s a bomb on the bus.”
Plagiarism is a violation of sacred trust, but how many times do you read in scripture verses of other text quoted and misquoted without reference, credit or blame. I would suggest the issue is integrity. I believe and equal offense is to waste the space and time of laborious proof referencing given to the congregation to empress them with the preacher’s extensive research and time spent reading and preparing. The congregation will know the integrity of the preacher’s study from the depth of their spiritual journey and time living with the word. If all they hear is that you read the news and studied the theologian, but fail to hear Christ heart through yours, you sermon is your and not God’s. If you believe I have misused information or not properly linked or credited information, I will gladly do so. It is never my intention to use someone else’s work as my own. All my sermons are an effort to share the Good News.
Profits from this site.
First, To dated I have received $1.39 in site proceeds. This is not yet at the level that is profitable for them to cut a check. The means are there at the request of a friend who thought a good idea. In so offering, I have attracted no finanical donations. Which is fine. The only expense is the hosting cost. As a United Methodist ministry my lifelihood has been compensated through my work at the church and I do not expect this site to be a profit device. At such point that this site might generate fund greater than the cost of hosting the balace will be donated to my congregation. If you think there is a better way to set this up please let me know. I hope you find some blessing from me sharing what I share every Sunday with my congregation in an larger way.