I am continuing to preach on a regular basis. When it comes to sermon topic selection, my normal practice lately has been to preach on the the text from our Bible reading at church. First of all, this process simplifies the selection of sermon topics, which always seems to be the hardest part for me, especially when choosing many sermons over a long period of time. I always feel like I’m am wasting valuable time vacillating on a topic that could be devoted to actual sermon preparation. In addition to saving time, allowing the text to be chosen for me has forced me to approach texts that I probably would not have picked on my own. If you were to chart the number of sermons devoted to a particular text, I’m sure there would be heavy saturation around certain well-known texts. Those passages are powerful, and they are favorite texts for a reason, so they should be preached. But, there is plenty of powerful preaching material in the lesser known texts as well. The congregation has just recently completed a reading of Revelation, and now we have started through the book of Acts. I did deviate slightly from my sermon on the text to provide a couple of different series on an overview of Revelation and Acts 1-2. Even though it didn’t exactly line up with the particular reading for that day, these sermons still addressed the readings we had been doing.
My main research interest lately has been looking at noninstitutional churches of Christ in Nashville. This study began with an effort to piece together some aspects of a congregational history at Broadmoor. From there, it extended to other noninstitutional churches in Nashville (as discussed in my last post here). In a related study, I’ve began reading through the mounds of material on the controversy in journals, pamphlets, debates, books, and secondary historical accounts, particularly as it relates to Nashville. There is a lot of material on the subject, particularly in the heat of the battle. I’m only a fraction of the way through the most prominent material, but I’ll keep moving along. Right now, I’m going through the post-war material in the late 40s, especially the exchanges in the Gospel Advocate, the Firm Foundation and the Bible Banner. It has certainly been an eye-opening experience as I have looked at the debate from a historical perspective. Hopefully, more on that later.
Besides my foray into church history, I’ve have been able to read through a few other interesting books. I’m nearly finished with Wendell Berry’s book entitled, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community. I’ve been wanting to read some of Berry’s work for a while, and this book did not disappoint. Berry has a clear ethical vision for life and how people should relate in local communities. I really find his work compelling.
Francis Chan’s book, Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples is an interesting book on evangelism. His passion for the subject is contagious, and this is an area I need to be more diligent in. I’m halfway through, and I look forward to finishing it up.
That’s a little bit of what I have been up to lately. Maybe I can write a few more blog posts on some of these subjects in the future. We’ll see what time permits.