Ministry Inside.16

1. books.jpg Wade Hodges wrote a very, very good post recently, “Advice to Young Preachers,” that reminds me of a preaching class I attended at Emory University years ago. Much of the seminar consisted of various lectures on preaching by Fred Craddock, Barbara Brown Taylor, and Tom Long. One of the assignments was to bring to the seminar a recording of a message that I had preached in the last three months.

The participants were divided into smaller groups. One of these resource people was present as we listened to the recordings of our messages. I had brought a message I had preached from Habakkuk. Just as I was about to play the sermon for the group, in walks Tom Long. (If you are not familiar with this name, look up Thomas G. Long, the author, on Amazon.)

As the recording began, I felt intimidated. Surely this professor of preaching from Princeton was looking for something besides an ordinary sermon that I preached a few months ago. Surely this message, preached to a small group of people in north Alabama, was lacking in some way. Was I ever stunned when he motioned for me to turn off the recording and then proceeded to speak words of affirmation, encouragement, and value. I am very grateful for that moment. I am also grateful that I did not preach a message for him (in other words, preaching the kind of sermon that I think he might have wanted to hear).

2. If you are thinking about purchasing an e-reader, you might do well to read this post by Michael Hyatt (CEO of Thomas Nelson) in which he compares several of the most popular options. Also, you might enjoy watching this video of him unpacking the Kindle 3. I have a Kindle 2, and watching this video made me want to “update.” :)

3. Anne Jackson has written a new book entitled: Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace. I encourage you to look at some of the essays from this book. For a list of excerpts found on various blogs go here. Anne writes with a fresh honesty that is both real and disarming. You can visit the Permission to Speak Freely Web site here or her blog here .

4. I am really thinking through my ministry right now. Specifically I am thinking about my use of time and my own functioning in a given week. This time, I am not thinking about how to be more effective. Rather, I am thinking about how to be more like Jesus.   The question that I continue to wrestle with is this:

If Jesus were a minister in my congregation and in the city where I live, what would he be doing that I am not doing? How might he spend his time on a typical Thursday? I would love to hear your thinking on this one.