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Summer Reading

By Timothy Merrill / June 10, 2022

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.—Groucho Marx Summer is the time when many preachers get to read books. Congregational life slows down just a bit. Accrued vacation time is often taken during these months. A good book is always…

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Banyan Tree

Sermons from Trees

By Timothy Merrill / April 25, 2022

Faithful readers of Homiletics will recall that I’ve waxed modestly about trees on several occasions. The archetype of the tree is an important device in both Scripture and literature. Indeed, the Bible begins with “the tree of life” (Genesis 2:9) and ends with the “tree of life” (Revelation 22:19). Adam and Eve were not to…

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Homiletics Online In Praise Of Switchbacks

In Praise of Switchbacks

By Timothy Merrill / March 18, 2022

Several of our longtime writing contributors are avid enthusiasts of different athletic activities. One is a seasoned cyclist who’s ridden back and forth across the entire country and probably pedaled every back road in the state of Ohio. Another is a marathon runner who’s completed both the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon.…

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Outdoor Christmas lighting display

Let the Christmas … or “Holiday” … Celebrations Begin

By Timothy Merrill / December 10, 2021

Tell me we live in a post-Christian era or a post-Christian culture and I will agree with you with one proviso: Let’s not talk about the weeks between Thanksgiving and December 25. During these roughly four weeks, the United States is anything but a post-Christian culture. It’s a decidedly Christian one. How do I know…

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The Why And The What Of Sermon Writing 940x705

The Why and the What of Sermon Writing

By Timothy Merrill / July 29, 2021

How to Help Your Congregation Chew Their Food  By Timothy Merrill  Everyone except the preacher seems to agree that a good sermon’s most appealing attribute is brevity. Hands down. The late comedian George Burns once said, cigar in hand, that “the secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good…

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What’s Next For Virtual Worship

What’s Next for Virtual Worship?

By Rob Apgar-Taylor / March 14, 2021

It’s the new buzzword in Christianity and I hate it: Virtual Worship. Virtual can mean “online” in a modern context, but in its more traditional sense it means “almost” or “kind of like.” I buy a used car and say “It’s virtually brand new!” It’s not, but it could be. And so, I refuse to…

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The Advent Of Hope

The Advent of Hope

By Rob Apgar-Taylor / December 11, 2020

Rev. Rob Apgar-Taylor is a guest writer for the Homiletics Blog and a self-described “Christmas fanatic.” He recently shared this reflection with Homiletics in the form of a letter to his congregation. His letter reveals how the year 2020 has been difficult and discouraging for everyone — pastors included. Through an honest account of his…

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Reclaiming A Day Of Rest

Reclaiming a Day of Rest

By Henry Brinton / October 16, 2020

True confession: I am a chronic commandment-breaker. I do it every week. In fact, my job as a pastor demands it. Every Sunday, I go to work and violate the Fourth Commandment: “Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). I’m sure that most of you do the very same. Now it’s true…

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The Waiting Preacher

The Waiting Preacher

By Timothy Merrill / August 14, 2020

I was waiting. At the Intercontinental airport in Houston, Texas. I was flying standby and had missed three flights so far. My waiting began at 7 a.m., and at 4 p.m. it showed no sign of abating. So as I waited, I thought about waiting. You can wait for things, like a package to arrive,…

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Of Practices, Presence and Peace

Of Practices, Presence and Peace

By Rob Apgar-Taylor / May 13, 2020

This month’s guest writer is the Rev. Dr. Rob Apgar-Taylor. When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After…

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