Preaching Connection: Worship

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Movies for Preaching

John Adams (2008)

John Adams (2008).  HBO Mini-series.  Episode VII: “Peacefield.” Directed by Tom Hooper. Starring Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti.  71 mins.  Rated TV-14. Sometimes preaching choices are easy.  In this instance, skip the sermon to play the following three times.  Or maybe four. Old John Adams (Paul Giamatti) is pushing 90.  Despite his distinguished career from…

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Reading for Preaching

A Diary of Private Prayer in Devotional Classics

“O God my Creator and Redeemer, I may not go forth today except You accompany me with Your blessing.  Let not the vigor and freshness of the morning, or the glow of good health, or the present prosperity of my undertakings, deceive me into a false reliance upon my own strength.  All these good gifts...
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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

In chapter 3 of this American classic, Huck Finn tells us that Miss Watson had taught him to pray, promising that whatever he asked for, he would get it  “’But it warn’t so,’ says Huck.  “’I tried it.  Once I got a fish line but no hooks.  It warn’t any good to me without hooks. ...
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Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

“Those who have not learned to ask God for childish things will have less readiness to ask Him for great ones.  We must not be too high-minded.  I fancy we may sometimes be deterred from small prayers by a sense of our own dignity rather than of God’s.”
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Confessions

Augustine is a vastly learned scholar and a deep-souled Christian man, utterly devoted to the God he sometimes calls “my sweetness.”  Few published Christian prayers to God can address God with the same power and beauty as Augustine could.  So this, very early in the Confessions, as Augustine lets us overhear what he thinks of...
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“Memorial Minute for W. J. Beeners”

Beeners was for “good American speech.” He wanted, above all, integrity, “traction,” intelligibility–and he wanted it in every part of the service, including the public reading of Scripture, public leading in prayer, and preaching. He argued that important texts have more than one good reading. There isn’t just one right reading of a text. He...
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God’s Name in Vain: The Rights and Wrongs of Religion in Politics

Tells of Hannah Arendt’s book on thinking (The Life of the Mind), and of her observation that in Plato’s dialogues, e.g., in the Crito and in the Republic, Socrates sometimes would simply stop and think. And that’s what Plato writes. “Here Socrates paused to think.” This is not what contemporary culture encourages. On TV it...
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Pray and Vote

Even before the invasion of Iraq had begun, the cry went forth through and from the churches: Pray! Pray for the soldiers, pray for the civilians, pray for peace. So I preached, and so I did. I wonder, though, if God didn’t answer our petitions with one of his own: Vote! Polls indicate that something...
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Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC

We do a lot of measured praise: Good job! Big boy! Nice work! “The way the 148th Psalm describes it, praising God is another kettle of fish altogether. It is about as measured as a volcanic eruption, and there is no implication that under any conceivable circumstances it could be anything other than what it...
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A Dresser of Sycamore Trees

(Keizer is writing of himself and a friend): “The last words my journal records Jeffrey’s having said to me were ‘Pray for me, a sinner.’ I did not remember until later that these are also the last words an Episcopal priest says to a penitent after pronouncing him or her absolved.”
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The Diary of a Country Priest

“The usual notion of prayer is so absurd. How can those who know nothing about it, who pray little or not at all, dare speak so frivolously of prayer? A Carthusian, a Trappist, will work for years to make of himself a man of prayer, and then any fool who comes along sets himself up...
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The Screwtape Letters

Prayers offered in the state of dryness may please God best. “When a human, though not desiring is still intending to do God’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of God seems to have vanished, and who asks why he has been forsaken, but still obeys” then God triumphs uniquely.
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“A Labor Not in Vain”

Fred Craddock, retired professor of preaching at Emory, tells a story about an incident that occurred when he was pastor of a small Christian church in east Tennessee and was visiting his hospitalized church members. As he happened to be passing the room of a patient, she called to him, “’Uh, sir, are you a...
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Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

Where liturgy is concerned, laymen “should take what we are given and make the best of it.” Trouble is that the clergy want to change things all the time with “incessant brightenings, lightenings, lengthenings, abridgements, simplifications, and complications of the service.” But the majority of people just want things left alone. With good reason. “Novelty,...
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