Columnist M. Craig Barnes

I pull out the text for next Sunday's sermon first thing Monday morning. Almost always I wonder, What in the world I was thinking when I picked this text months ago?

By Tuesday, I have worked through several commentaries, and with their help I am now thoroughly confused about what I will say. A day later this has reached the point of despair.

On Thursday, I often entertain thoughts of forgetting this text completely and starting over with a new one. But my helpful secretary always reminds me, "Too late. The bulletin has already gone to the printer." So I keep trudging my way through.

When the time comes for me to stop reading and researching, and start writing the sermon, I am always over-caffeinated. I keep checking my e-mail and playing with the fonts on the computer. I adjust my chair, again. When I discover that I am actually writing the sermon, I always want to celebrate by taking a little break. What all this is about is nothing less than fear.

Writing sermons is hard work. It doesn't ...

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