So … I’m running along … how do I introduce God’s eternal Love Story, with the set readings from the Anglican liturgical calendar? The first week I am scheduled to preach the New Testament passage was Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 2 verses 1 – 16 which starts,
“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I did not use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan … ”
Yes … it made me giggle with praise when I read it too …
My first message to my new congregations needed to be – if I followed Paul’s advice – plain and simple (v3). And what better way to teach on the importance of learning God’s overarching Bible story – is through a simple children’s story.
So, I focused on just one verse,
“The wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God – his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.“
Then I asked myself some questions:
- Why do we need to know God’s plan?
- Why did God keep his plan a mystery until now?
- What is God’s mysterious plan?
- What difference does it make that God has a plan for this world?
- How does knowing that God has a mysterious plan impact our lives. Or, what difference does this truth make to our every day lives?
From the answers to these questions … and the introductory overview video of God’s Big Picture series, I had landed upon the next two stages of my message structure.
- First, Eugene Lowry, in his book The Homiletical Plot, advises that every message must start with “upsetting the equilibrium – the Oops!” In other words, in narrative preaching, you start with a felt problem or conflict.
It was fairly easy for me to determine what the felt need was – it was the answer to the last question: because everyone is worried about the world and its future … and often it feels like no one is in control.
So, now I had my opening – the first part of my children’s story – the dilemma, the question, the need for God’s good news truth.
Someone is going to be worried about the world – and when do we worry more about the world than while watching the news …
Opening page |Grandpa is watching the news
Little Timmy can see that Grandpa worried …
2. Second, Lowry suggests we, “analyse the discrepancy – the Why?” Why do people become worried about the world? Why is Grandpa growing more and more worried about the state of the world, and his place in it? Why has the world’s story become so loud and so large? The story needed to add reality to Grandpa’s worries.
3. Only then, Lowry advises, do we move to “Disclosing the clue to the Resolution – Aha!” In my story, the clue is Grandma’s recent decision to read “The Eternal Love Story” to Timmy,
The Eternal Love StoryGrandma reads Timmy
The Eternal Author’s
4. Finally, Lowry explains, we introduce “Whee! Experiencing the Gospel” Inspired by the literary craftsman, Max Lucado, I imagined a scene in heaven when God, The Eternal Author, was explaining His Mysterious Plan as a story to the angelic community … So the story opened …
To see how the story ends … and how the climax of the message ended … read more …