/+ Caution! One Year to Better Preaching: 52 Exercises to Hone Your Skills has great potential in improving your preaching. Unfortunately, if you quickly work your way through all 52, you will feel beat up by the Law like little you have experienced before. Some exercises will seem designed to please every English Grammar teacher in your congregation (e.g., 17 Write in E-Prime) while others are neglected common sense (22 Pray for Your Listeners, 49 Write for the Ear). Lutheran preachers will appreciate some more than others (45 Make a Bee Line for the Cross, 48 Interweave Preaching and Worship) while grieving for those who need to be taught such things for the FIRST time. Recommended, but with caution. Take in intentional small doses.
+ I first learned of Dr. Rossow's "Gospel Handle" idea from Preaching the Creative Gospel Creatively. Then, I had him for a seminary course on C. S. Lewis. I have since appreciated his Gospel Patterns in Literature and the companion to this volume, Gospel Handles: Finding New Connections in Biblical Texts, a volume that solely focused on sample Gospel Handles and sermons based on the Four Gospels. "A Gospel handle involves the selection from a biblical sermon text of an excerpt that contains absolutely no Gospel whatsoever; the preacher then uses this excerpt as an approach, bridge, or handle to an account of the Gospel somewhere else in the Bible." This volume focuses on Old Testament Lessons, and gives examples of Gospel handles in the Pentateuch, History books, Poetry books, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures. The book concludes with sample sermons, including a free text sermon on Job. Creative, Practical, Useful, and Affordable. Recommended!
- Church Elders is absolutely insufficient as a text for Lutheran lay elders, Lutheran pastors may find some minor benefit and encouragement in this brief 9Marks volume. The main offense to Holy Scripture's doctrine of the Holy Ministry is equating the man-created office of lay elder with the Office of the Holy Ministry called elder in the New Testament. The author shows no knowledge of ordination, yet references many of the passages that pastors will be reminded of at an ordination or installation in the Lutheran Church. Lay elders share much in common with ordained elders. Both are filled with the Baptized. The distinction is not one of person, for both are filled with sinner-saints, but the distinction is one of Office.
+ Our final book in this QS is by an author we've reviewed before with his fiction titles. This is non-fiction--scary non-fiction. "The Office of the Holy Ministry within the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is in crisis. It is under attack from pastors who act like corporate executives and arrogant overlords, from bureaucrats who believe a pastor is a failure if he doesn't act like a corporate executive or a used car salesman, and from congregations who believe pastors are merely employees to be hired, evaluated, and fired. Too many pastors have fallen prey to these attitudes and the actions which follow. We call them Candidates, but these men and their families are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and they are suffering. These Candidates, pastors without congregations, suffer in the closest thing Lutherans have to purgatory. These are their stories. Lord willing, we can end their suffering" (Amazon). We commend this for your reading, edification, and action, as the 2013 LCMS Convention acted in care and loving concern for pastors without a call. We thank the Lord for courageous District Presidents who are trying to find appropriate calls for our brothers-in-office in a churchly and Christlike manner.
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