By Michael Sherrard With all that is going on in the world, my church doesn’t need to be entertained. They need to be trained. We are not in a time of peace. While we creatively plan the stage design for our next sermon series, another group is …Continue reading →
By Michael C. Sherrard Why is it that the church is always playing catch up? Things keep sneaking up on us. We hear the talk of same-sex marriage, and the next thing we know it is law in our land and supported in our churches. If it isn’t supported, many at the very least have a difficult time articulating from a christian worldview why marriage ought to be between a man and a woman. Have we all been napping? How did we get here? How is it that the children of light seem always to be in the dark, blind to what is happening in culture and in our congregations? The answer to that question is certainly multifaceted. But part (perhaps most) of the blame is to fall upon pastors. The life of the pastor certainly is not easy. It is a calling that one shouldn’t step into lightly without counting the cost. And here is one of those costs. If we do not warn others of the dangers they are facing, their blood will be on our hands. Pastors are watchmen. We are to declare the full council of God warning people of the impending danger. Paul recognized that the charge given to Ezekiel falls upon the entrusted stewards of God’s word today (Acts 18:6; 20:26; Ezk. 3:16-18). That is us pastors. I must ask. Have we been faithful? Have we been alert? Or have we been too busy building our church networks, expanding speaking platforms, selling books, and planning new stage designs that we have missed the threats to our people. Or worse, have we ignored God’s voice because it threatened our comfort and our customers. Let’s just call it as it is. Pastors today seem more like salesman than watchmen. And I’d like to say “may God have […]Continue reading →
The Bible Tap Initiative is very simply, a manner whereby to seek change via a simple action.
If you are anything like me you are sick and tired of sermonizing. No, not of sermons but of sermonizing.
You know the sort, it is tantamount to a short attention span theater wherein the pastor will say, “Now, our text today is thus and such and it states this and that,” thirty seconds later, “Hey, did you watch the football game last night?,” five minute later, “What the text is telling us is…,” thirty seconds later, “How about that new restaurant that just opened down the street…,” 10 minutes later, “The Greek word here is wait, actually that reminds me of a joke,” 15 minutes later, “And just like Paul, when I was a kid…,” fade into utter confusion, frustration and realize that you just wasted your time.
Now, some people just love 10 minutes of substance peppered with 50 minutes of jokes and anecdotes. Yet, for we who seek to lean the deeper things of God and His word it is all too much.
Note to sermonizing pastors: if I want to hear jokes I can go hear a comedian and if I want to hear your personal anecdotes we can go have tea and have a person chat. But when I attend Christian Bible study worship services: just open the Bible and tell me what is says.
Now, let us no go overboard as there are some anecdotes that are very on point. For example, I learned more theology just by becoming a dad that I have in any other manner. Thus, I could regale you with a few very relevant and elucidating anecdotes. Thus, not all anecdotes are distracting or irrelevant.
Likewise with jokes. For example, take a classic such as stating, “The Sadducees did not believe in the supernatural; that’s why they were sad, you see?” A joke such as this will certainly mean that you will never forget the difference between the Sadducees and Pharisees. Yet, such on point jokes are few and far between.
Note: you may be a sermonizing pastor if in your sermon notes you have, “Should have actually studied the text: tell joke here. Did not bother reading up on the relevant history: insert anecdote here…” and in your calendar of scheduled sermon you have, “Use jokes and anecdotes as filler so as to draw out covering one chapter over 8 months—then go on sabbatical [thinking that it has something to do with observing the Lord’s day] on a cruise ship by getting your congregation to pay your way on a ‘Bible Cruise.’”
Now, draw out covering one chapter over 8 months would actually be fine if it is because the pastor is delving into the historical context, the cultural context, the grammatical context, etymology, cross referencing other texts, etc., etc., etc. But doing it just to make the pastor’s “study” time easier and shorter is simply unacceptable.
Modern Churchianity sermonizing leads the flock out to pasture and yet, the pasture is all but a dried up wasteland with mere patches of grass scattered about here and there. The sheep get a little bite of grass, the word of God, and then have to travel quite a distance, through jokes and anecdotes, until they find the next little bit of grass.
Sure the sheep are starving to death but hey, they are having a good time a laugh a lot while doing it. Is this really that for which 2,000 years of Christians have devoted their lives and given their lives to the point of death? No, rather this is what modern day pop-Churchianity is doing as it focuses more and more on a good ol’ time rather than the good news.
The Bible Tap Initiative is a simple manner whereby to seek to, eventually, get such pastors to, you know, actually do that which they are supposed to do.
Bible Tap refers to just that: tapping your Bible. Simply stated: when the pastor trails off into sermonizing, hold your Bible up and begin tapping it with your finger or writing utensil. And, yes, by the way, in many churches you will have to BYOB: bring your own Bible as they only one they have is in a shelf, in a backroom and covered in dust.
At some point you will likely have to explain to those sitting around you and, hopefully, to the pastor just what you are doing. In fact, you may want to make your pastor and other congregants aware of the The Bible Tap Initiative so as to alert, warn, encourage and get people involved.
The point is not to cause trouble or be a smarty pants: although this is exactly how you will be viewed by most—including the lazy pastor who is used to coasting through sermons.
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