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Take your pick!

This is not the old joke about how to confuse Paddy while showing him two shovels. I don’t repeat bad jokes like that. No, it’s just that this week’s gospel reading from John 4, the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, is so long that the reading of it will cut into your sermon time as well as offering you far too many possible themes to preach on. My solution is to offer you five distinct themes from the passage and encourage you to choose one or at the most two. You can find my comments here…

So that is that, but maybe I should mention something about my own process of sermon preparation and how it relates to the series of videos I offer through this website. My preparation involves two distinct stages. I first immerse myself in the text, taking note of everything about it that helps me make sense of it in what I understand to be its original context as well as what it might have to say to us now. That is as far as my comments can help you go. The second stage is a prayerful consideration of what I believe the Spirit has to say to the particular congregation that will be listening to me preach. Ideally, this means getting clear about the one or maybe two essential things I want to convey that emerge from the text to transform our lives and shared mission. So this second stage is a process of selection and focus. After the preparation, of course, comes the actual delivery during which what the Spirit actually says to the people’s hearts may be something else again!

Let me know how you get on from time to time.
Howard Pilgrim

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