Preaching Connection: Gospel

Movies for Preaching

The Mission (1986)

Written by Robert Bolt, Cinematography by Chris Menges, Music by Ennio Morricone, Starring Jeremy Irons, Robert De Niro, and Ray McAnally. 125 mins. Rated PG. There’s more than one way of catching Jesus, meaning the deep-core of Him, a hard task in any setting, to be very sure.  Words go only so far, especially when…

Explore

Reading for Preaching

Telling the Truth: the Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

p. 7 “The gospel is bad news before it is good news. It is the news that man is a sinner, to use the old word, that he is evil in the imagination of his heart, that when he looks in the mirror all in a lather what he sees is at least eight parts...
Explore

Additional content related to Gospel

1 Corinthians 9:16-23

Motivation is an immensely complex and mysterious force. The Psychology Today website identifies two sources of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. So 1 Corinthians 9:16-23’s preachers might fruitfully ask whether Paul’s motivation is intrinsic. Does it come purely from within himself? Or is his apostolic work’s motivation extrinsic? Is Paul, in other words, compelled by his…

Explore

Mark 1:1-8

Comments, Questions, and Observations The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ starts with someone else. In fact, from this point-in-chronological-time of John the Baptist in Mark 1.1-8, Jesus the Messiah is still a future prospect (in verse 8, John uses the future tense in reference to the Greater One), the story seems to…

Explore

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Though the sheer volume of sermons on them seem to belie the claim, preaching on the epistles can and perhaps even should be rather challenging. Reading Epistolary Lessons is, after all, as one colleague has pointed out, a bit like reading someone else’s mail. Preaching on this Sunday’s particular Epistolary Lesson is perhaps even more…

Explore

Acts 7:55-60

On the face of it, a six-verse Bible passage that centers on the brutal murder of an innocent man does not appear to be an edifying preaching text.  Perhaps that seems all the more to be the case when we realize this passage is assigned in the Year A Lectionary for the Season of Eastertide…

Explore

Lent 4A: The Gift of Sight

Years ago in the weeks following the September 11 attacks, perhaps some of you noticed something that a number of people were detecting during that dark and difficult time: namely, there was a lot of axe-grinding going in many circles. People from both sides of the political spectrum, and from most all points in between,…

Explore

Lent 3A: Welling Up

Some years ago, writer Eugene Peterson found an analogy for modern spiritual quests in, of all things, a Winnie the Pooh story. In one of the many tales from the Hundred-Acre Woods, Christopher Robin and company decide to set out one day in search of the North Pole. At one point along the way, young…

Explore

2 Timothy 1:1-14

Paul’s call to his dear son Timothy to “guard” (14) the gospel is evocative. It’s, what’s more, the title of John Stott’s commentary, to which I owe a lot for this message’s ideas, on the apostle’s second letter to Timothy. So Paul’s call to “guard the gospel” might also serve as a kind of on-ramp…

Explore

Acts 11:1-18

Luke is hands-down one of the best writers ever used by the Holy Spirit to compose a portion of Scripture.  His narratives in the first two chapters of his Gospel alone prove as much.  Other examples of narrative wizardry abound in Luke and Acts.  So it is a bit odd in Acts 11 to encounter…

Explore

Acts 5:27-32

Oh how I wish the Lectionary had extended this lection to include the words of Gamaliel that follow.  Because there this key leader of the Sanhedrin says something that is at once utterly sensible and miraculously prescient.  Once Peter makes it clear that they cannot be frightened into silence by the likes of the Sanhedrin,…

Explore

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Comments, Observations, and Questions Call it the little Psalm that could.  Call it the Psalm of stealth and surprise.  Call it the Psalm that fits the Gospel bill. Why?  Because out of all the 150 psalms in the Hebrew Psalter, many people have their favorites but those favorites—most anybody’s “Top 10 Greatest Hits of the…

Explore

Luke 4:21-30

I described last week’s ending as a bit of a cliff hanger: Jesus preaches that he has fulfilled the Scriptures of hope and promise, of needs being met, of freedom from oppression and imprisonment. The lectionary helpfully repeats the summary of Jesus’ sermon by opening this week’s selection with the close of last week’s verses….

Explore

Luke 4:14-21

Throughout the Gospel of Luke, the Holy Spirit’s presence with Jesus is described in various ways. In verse 14, Jesus has just returned from his post-baptism time of temptation in the desert. Upon his return, Jesus takes up the mantle of teacher, filled with the Spirit for the work of sharing God’s truth in synagogues….

Explore

Luke 3:1-6

This week and next we are listening to John the Baptist, who is set up here as a prophet. The signs are obvious (once you know how to see them). First, there’s the clear shift in the text from chapter 2, as Luke provides political context to pinpoint the actual historical moment that John’s message…

Explore

2 Corinthians 4:3-6

This text has taken on a very personal character for members of my church, its food pantry ministry and me, especially in the past ten months. After all, 2 Corinthians 4’s description of the “veiled” nature of the gospel wasn’t, at least originally, alluding to all non-Christians. Chapter 3 makes it quite clear that Paul…

Explore

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

In this season that lies between the Canadian and American Thanksgiving Days, 2020, this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson seems highly appropriate. After all, it’s not just that we’re “surrounded” by holidays on which we at least ostensibly give thanks. It’s also that so many things threaten a spirit of thanksgiving right now. Our world continues to…

Explore

Matthew 10:40-42

“I have always relied on the kindness of strangers.” That is the famous closing line spoken by the character Blanche DuBois in the play A Streetcar Named Desire. In Matthew 10 Jesus basically tells the disciples that they, too, must rely on the kindness of strangers when they go out to proclaim the good news…

Explore

Acts 2:1-21

We have come to the conclusion of our fifty day celebration of Easter.  It is fascinating to me that our exit from Dr. Luke’s account of the spread of Easter faith is the on ramp to that whole story.  With this Pentecost story, we loop back to where it all began.  Even as Luke tells…

Explore

Acts 16:9-15

This first reading for the Sixth Sunday of Easter continues to trace the progress of the Gospel to the ends of the earth, as it focuses on an abridged section of Paul’s Second Missionary Journey.  I say “abridged” because the Lectionary starts our reading in mid-paragraph leaving out some crucial historical and theological details found…

Explore

Acts 11:1-18

In this season of Easter, the Lectionary has directed our attention away from the Old Testament readings that are usually the first reading.  Instead we have been following the book of Acts, which traces the new thing God did as a result of the Resurrection of Christ.  That new thing was the spread of the…

Explore

Acts 5:27-32

To my great surprise and delight, the RCL moves to the book of Acts on this Second Sunday of Eastertide and stays there until Pentecost.  Clearly the intent is to follow the trajectory of Easter.  What happened to the church and the world after Jesus rose from the dead?  Did that single historical act have…

Explore

Revelation 1:4-8

With this week’s Epistolary lesson the RCL takes another step back into the muddy waters that are the book of Revelation.  In fact, on this second Sunday of Easter, the RCL returns us to the Revelation 1:4-8 we just visited on the last Sunday of Year B.  On this Sunday, then, we take a kind…

Explore

2 Corinthians 4:5-12

In her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion recounts what she thought about during the year following her husband’s sudden death.  Near the end of December 2003, Didion and her husband were sitting down for dinner, having just come back from visiting their gravely ill daughter in the hospital.  Her husband John was…

Explore

Hebrews 2:10-18

God’s power cannot cut it.   That’s both the bottom line and the upshot of this part of Hebrews 2.  Isn’t that weird, though?  Isn’t that counter-intuitive?   How often haven’t most of us said or thought something along the lines of “If only I were in charge . . . If only I were in control…

Explore

1 Timothy 1:12-17

In the first century—and really for a large chunk of the church’s history—most everything a given person knew had to be memorized and carried around in one’s head. There were no published materials, no pamphlets or tracts or catechisms. Not surprisingly, then, by the time the Pastoral Epistles were written it is clear that the…

Explore

Acts 11:1-18

It’s hard for many of us to imagine Christians getting upset with each other over whom they eat lunch with. So we sometimes assume Peter’s Jewish Christian colleagues were angry with him because he shared the gospel with gentiles. You and I may assume this upset them because they thought of the gospel as belonging…

Explore

Matthew 13:10-17

Comments, Observations, and Questions to Consider Thus far in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus has been busy.  He’s been teaching and preaching, he’s been healing, he’s been explaining, he’s been gathering disciples, and he’s been traveling.  And, here in chapter 13 he does something new.  He tells his audience a story – a parable –…

Explore