Great Sermons Are Not Preached, They Are Lived!

I once heard, “Great sermons are not preached, they are lived.”

How challenging it is for us to read our Bibles every morning, and to absorb the teachings contained therein, and to put these powerful teachings into practice.

Let’s be completely honest about this; it’s very tough being a Christian and giving our life to Christ when we inhabit a body that is being tempted to sin!

That is why, in my humble opinion, it is absolutely essential that we spend as much time as possible each morning with our Heavenly Father, asking Him to prepare us for the day ahead and to help us and protect us from all the sinful opportunities being offered to us by Satan.

I know sometimes it’s hard to spend time with Jesus first thing in the morning.

But He knows what each day holds for us, and He longs to prepare us for every single problem He sees coming our way during the day.

Let’s accept His invitation to sit with Him. Let’s listen to Him intently. And let’s ask Him to intervene before our natural reactions to events betray our best intentions.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

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Thought for Today

My thought for today should definitely make you think – and, hopefully, act upon it:-

When a new Minister arrived at a small church in London he surprised his congregation by asking them to try and bring new faces unfamiliar with the Bible to his services.

He did so himself, sometimes arriving with unexpected kinds of people he had befriended along the way and some even became regular attenders.

The minister used to say, “Preaching to a church full of believers is fine but to preach to non-believers is always an even greater joy.”

Some of his new members were people who had drifted away from church. Thanks to him they renewed their faith and found fresh purpose in their lives.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Sermons We See

I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one would walk with me than merely show the way;
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear.
The best of all the preachers are men who live their creeds,
For to see the good in action is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it, if you let me see it done,
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run;
The lectures you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d get my lessons by observing what you do;
I may not understand the high advice that you may give,
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

One good man teachers many, men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told,
Who stands with men of honour learns to hold his honour deaar,
For right living speaks a language which to everyone is clear,
Though an able speaker charms us with eloquence, I say
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one, any day.

Edgar Guest

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

On Publishing My Book

The Rectory, St. James the Least

My dear Nephew Darren

After all these years, who would have believed it: to have my own book printed. I must admit, I had imagined a leather-bound volume with gold leaf lettering on the spine – perhaps even titled “Volume One”, implying future delights when further work would appear.

A paperback, held together with glue was a slight disappointment. The publisher’s reason for a print run of 50, saying that it meant fewer would have to be dumped in cut-price bookshops was not what I had expected either.

He seemed to think that my commentary on Eusebius’s tables for cross-referencing the gospels, as explained in his letter to Carpianus, would not have mass interest.

While I concede it will be unlikely to dent the sales of Harry Potter, and that I am unlikely to be involved in negotiating the film rights, I  had hoped for slightly more enthusiasm for this stride forward in global knowledge. The excitement of the book launch and signing was also tempered when only the bishop arrived, expecting a free copy, so he could mark it for theological errors. My  suggestion that he take a copy to colour it in did not go down well. I suspect I will not now be asked to deliver a paper on it at the next clergy conference.

I was briefly excited when several parishioners came into the shop. But it turned out that one wanted to book a baptism with me, and another wanted to complain that at his recent wedding, I had nearly married the best man to the bride. I was tempted to tell him that the time may come when he wished I had, but decided that would be another sale lost.

I could not even console myself with a free drink. The publisher had only brought two bottles of that particular white wine, of unknown origin, that seems specially reserved for book launches and retirement parties. I suspect it derives less from a vineyard and more from a laboratory.

One bottle he kept for himself and the other disappeared after my Confirmation class came in to ask whether the book would be serialised on TV.

In the end, I bought all 50 copies myself, placed a note in the bookshop window saying that, due to exceptional demand, the print run had been entirely sold out. It has also solved the annual problem of Christmas presents; in your case, a second copy will probably arrive for your birthday too.

Your loving uncle,

Eustace

(written by the Rev Dr Gary Bowness)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

The Musical Minister

During the Sunday morning service at Bethel Methodist Church (Gwent) yesterday , the congregation enjoyed the ‘preaching’, by way of a musical sermon, from Rev Stanley Barker.

Stanley is a very accomplished musician – he must have played 7/8 different musical instruments during the service.

It was a most unusual service but one that was greatly appreciated by the whole congregation.

Thanks be to God for all the musical gifts that the congregation received yesterday morning!

Rev Stanley Barker

Rev Stanley Barker – the Musical Minister

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Fiery Sermon

A regular churchgoer suddenly stopped attending church, so some weeks later, his Minister visited him on a chilly evening.

The man, alone at home, guessing the reason for the visit, welcomed him in and invited him to sit by a blazing fire. Then he, too, sat down, waiting. The Minister sat comfortably, saying nothing, but he silently observed the way the flames played around the burning logs.

After some minutes, the Minister picked up the fire tongs, and carefully lifted out a brightly burning ember, placing it to one side of the hearth, all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent,. His host watched all this in quiet fascination.

As the lonely ember’s flame diminished, it glowed momentarily and then its fire was gone. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting and the two men sat on in reflective silence.

Later the Minister, about to leave, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back into the middle of the fire. Instantly, it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

Reaching the door, the host said, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon! I shall be back in church next Sunday.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Charles Spurgeon: The Power of the Word

Charles Spurgeon called upon one of his congregation one Monday. He found her very busy washing wool in a sieve under a pump.

“Well, Mary,” said he, “How did you enjoy last Sabbath’s discourses?”

“Very much, sir; they did me much good.”

“Well, what was the text?”

“I’m sorry, I do not recollect.”

“Perhaps you remember the subject?”

“No,” said she, “it is quite gone from me.”

“Do you remember any of the remarks which I made?”

“No; they are all gone.”

“Well then, Mary,” said Charles Spurgeon, “it could not have done you much good.”

“Oh! But they did me a great deal of good.”

“How can that be?” he asked.

“I will tell you, sir, how it is; I put this wool in the sieve under the pump, I pump on it, and all the water runs through the sieve, but then it washes the wool.

So it is with your sermons; they come into my heart, and then they run right through my poor memory, which is like a sieve, but it washes me clean, sir.”

“You might talk for long while about the cleansing and sanctifying power of the Word,” said Mr Spurgeon, “and it will not make such an impression on your congregation as this simple story would.”

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey