Preaching to a Post-Everything World: Crafting Biblical Sermons that Connect with our Culture (Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker, 2008).
Use the Four Stories in Six Steps
^Day/Hour – (explanation: Some might use one day for each step. For these preachers I have broken steps down into days. Others might use each step in one day. For these preachers I have broken the steps down into hours.)
^Monday/Hour One – Step One
Story #1 – Goal = What does this text teach me about God?
Identify the textual manner (word type and mood).
Locate parrot words. Connecting words, and divine comments.
Interrogate the big idea with questions (who, what, when, where, why, how)
Show and tell from the text.
Identify the echoes of redemption (armor, promise, fruit, gift, diaconal, miracle, community, divine silence, himself).
Find the illustrative path (picture, sensory, and creation words).
^Tuesday/Hour Two – Step Two
Story #2 – Goal = What does this text teach me about people?
Identify echoes of creation (worship, relationship, vocation, conscience)
Identify echoes of the fall (fallen, finite, fragile, faltering)
Identify idol noise (superstition, skepticism, suspicion, stardom, stealing, squandering, sophistry).
Expose my moralistic responses to fallen echoes and idol noise.
Locate the vine.
^Wednesday/Hour Three – Step Three
Story #3 – Goal = What does this text teach me about life under the sun?
Discern my expository bans (censoring, muting, equivocating, evicting).
Expose my simplistic response to life under the sun.
Account for the accents of my hearers (memoir, marketplace, lore, land).
Translate cultural connections with biblical redirection (“You have heard it said…, but I say to you…”).
Describe the third way.
Account for the consciences of my hearers (hard-hearted and soft-hearted).
Bring echoes of heaven and hell into these features as appropriate.
^Thursday/Hour Four – Step Four
Story #4 – Goal = What does this text say to me?
Receive instruction (grieving and quenching the Spirit).
Locate the vine.
Give thanks and praise.
^Friday/Hour Five – Step Five
Goal: Place the four stories into a deductive or inductive sermon form
^Saturday/Sunday/Hour Six – Step Six
Goal = Pray the four stories
Pray for illumination = Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”
Pray for a message = Ephesians 6:19, “and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.”
Pray for an open door = Colossians 4:3-4, “At the same time, pray for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison.”
Pray for effectiveness = 2 Thessalonians 3:1, “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you,”
Pray for clarity = Colossians 4:4, “that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”
Pray for boldness = Ephesians 6:20, “for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Pray for a deliverance = 2 Thessalonians 3:2, “and that we be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.”
Dr. Eswine has served in pastoral roles for over twenty years. He served as Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Director for Doctor of Ministry for six years at Covenant Theological Seminary. Zack’s most recent book, won Preaching Today’s Book of the Year Award in 2009. It is entitled, Preaching to a Post-Everything World: Crafting Biblical Sermons that Connect with our Culture (Baker, 2008). He has also written, Kindled Fire: How the Methods of C.H. Spurgeon can help your Preaching (Mentor, 2006). His forthcoming books are entitled, Preaching Barefoot: Life and Ministry as a Human Being (Crossway) and Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Handling the Darker Sides of Life and Ministry (Christian Focus).
(1) Is the message solidly based on Scripture?
(2) Does it exalt the Person and work of Jesus Christ?
(3) Will it meet the needs of the people?
(4) Is the theme a timeless truth worth talking about?
(5) Is the message organized so that I can preach it clearly and the people understand it easily? Is there a concise and clear statement of purpose? Is there a clear plan of development? Is there practical application that makes the message personal?
(6) Are all Scripture references and historical facts accurate?
(7) Is the message real to me personally so that I may make it real to others?
(8) Does the message fit into the total “preaching plan” for this church and into the context of the church’s ministry at this time?
(9) Does the message fit into the ministry of the Church at large and Christ’s concern to save a lost world?
(10) Is the message worth preaching again?
*Warren W. Wiersbe is the Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, Warren Wiersbe is the author of more than 100 books. Billy Graham calls him “one of the greatest Bible expositors of our generation.” Interestingly, Warren’s earliest works had nothing to do with scriptural interpretation. His interest was in magic, and his first published title was Action with Cards (1944).
“It was sort of imbecilic for a fifteen-year-old amateur magician to have the audacity to write a book and send it to one of the nation’s leading magic houses,” Warren says. But having a total of three books published by the L.L. Ireland Magic Company—before the age of 20—gave him a surge of confidence. In later years, he applied his confidence and writing talent to the Youth for Christ (YFC) ministry.
Warren wrote many articles and guidebooks for YFC over a three-year period, but not all his manuscripts were seen by the public eye. One effort in particular, The Life I Now Live, based on Galations 2:20, was never published. The reason, Warren explains with his characteristic humor, is simple: it was “a terrible book…Whenever I want to aggravate my wife, all I have to say is, ‘I think I’ll get out that Galations 2:20 manuscript and work on it.’” Fortunately, Warren’s good manuscripts far outnumbered the “terrible” ones, and he was eventually hired by Moody Press to write three books.
The much-sought-after author then moved on to writing books for Calvary Baptist Church. It was during his ten years at Calvary that Expository Outlines on the New Testament and Expository Outlines on the Old Testament took shape. These two works later became the foundation of Warren’s widely popular Bible studies known as the Be series, featuring such titles as Be Loyal (a study on Matthew) and Be Delivered (a study on Exodus). Several of these books have been translated into Spanish.
His next avenue of ministry was Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church, where he served for seven years. He wrote nearly 20 books at Moody before moving to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he and his wife, Betty, now live. Prior to relocating, he had been the senior pastor of Moody Church, a teacher at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a producer of the Back to the Bible radio program.
During all these years of ministry, Warren held many more posts and took part in other projects too numerous to mention. His accomplishments are extensive, and his catalog of biblical works is indeed impressive and far-reaching (many of his books have been translated into other languages). But Warren has no intention of slowing down any time soon, as he readily explains: “I don’t like it when people ask me how I’m enjoying my ‘retirement,’ because I’m still a very busy person who is not yet living on Social Security or a pension. Since my leaving Back to the Bible, at least a dozen books have been published, and the Lord willing, more are on the way.”
Wiersbe’s recent books include Your Next Miracle, The 20 Essential Qualities of a Child of God, The Bumps are What You Climb On, Classic Sermons on the Fruit of the Spirit, Classic Sermons on Jesus the Shepherd, Key Words of the Christian Life, Lonely People, A Gallery of Grace, Real Peace: Freedom and Conscience in the Christian Life, and On Being a Leader for God.