Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Preaching Again

I get to preach this Sunday (and on Christmas eve and on Christmas day). I absolutely LOVE the opportunity to preach. It's not because as a youth pastor there are some things I really want to tell them. I think it's more the chance (or being forced) to really study a text for it's true meaning and then to presesnt that in a way that is true to the text, that is true to the audience, and is palatable - maybe even tasty. It's always a unique challenge.

One of the challenges I face in writing a sermon is that my mind is different from others' minds. I could sit and just listen to a pastor go verse by verse through a text, without stories, and really enjoy it - as long as he really got into the text. But I think most people wouldn't enjoy that depth and also they lack basic logical skills.

Another problem - Pastors craft sermons around logical arguments - A so the B and then add C and subtract D - therefore E. And people only here soundbites. The pastor works so hard to make simple sense out of something rather complicated and 90% of the people can't follow logic (math is simply logic with numbers - and everyone should work hard at math so they can be logical). I don't have answers to this dilemma, just the dilemma.

Part of my issues/challenge with preaching is that I really enjoy teaching (probably more than speaking). It's easier and I just enjoy being taught without the fluff of speaking.

QUESTION: I think it's good to end a blog with a question. I guess I blog for myself as much as anyone else (good idea since I may be the only one reading these). There are some huge challenges in preaching, especially as it relates to speaking to people who hear soundbites, but will not follow logical reasoning. I wish I had more answers. Any thoughts?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Jehovah's Witnesses... and Cults

The Home Bible Fellowship that I am co-leading is on Jehovah's Witnesses - though it is really a study in Christology. People who work with money who want to learn to spot forgeries are not given forgeries to study, but rather, work with real money so much that a forgery feels funny. In the same way, in seeing where any cult is off, it's best simply to know exaclty what you believe.

I am leading this week and we are going to be looking at some of the basic beliefs of JWs and then we'll try to defend our position using what we've already studied. We decided it would be nice to actually print off some of their own materials and so used the works cited at the end of the book to find out where to get stuff online. When we went online, we could get to the main site - - but could not get to the site (it said - forbidden). That was interesting. When an organization fears opening up their resources to the public, that's a clear sign of danger. I searched and searched and finally found a way past that. Once you get into one of their main articles, then you can search everything.


They don't have any scholars on staff and the cult was started by a man of little education. They are not intellectually honest.

I just wanted people to be able to read their articles online - and not waste hours looking as I did. So maybe this will help some read articles.

I don't mean to "bash" them in any way. It is not bashing to disagree with them and to speak the truth. They are wrong, misguided, and intellectually dishonest.

Another interesting site is: