Jump directly to the Content

Red-Letter Days

When God's message changes the messenger.

For years I have worried weekly about how to effectively shape messages from God's Word. You know how it goes: begin with an attention-arresting anecdote, follow with scholarly exegesis peppered with witty, well-timed illustrations, and close with a heart-wrenching final story to lead toward application and call for response.

But I've been gradually growing in my awareness that it's a whole lot more effective, for everyone, when the Word shapes the messenger first.

My transformation in this area has been gradual, but the realization came suddenly. It happened over dinner with our middle child, a college sophomore.

About a month into his fall semester, I drove to his college and took him to dinner at an Italian restaurant off campus. He explained that anything tastes better when it's prepared somewhere other than the cafeteria. As we talked he told me that he'd been assigned to give a five-minute devotional thought at choir the next day.

"Got any ideas?" he asked.

I didn't, but to stall ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Among the Successful Failures
Among the Successful Failures
Two very different ministry conferences showed me one hidden truth.
From the Magazine
Paul’s Letter to a Prejudiced Church
Paul’s Letter to a Prejudiced Church
How the apostle’s instructions on the Lord’s Supper speak to multiethnic congregations today.
Editor's Pick
Read Your Bible Through a Kaleidoscope
Read Your Bible Through a Kaleidoscope
Multicolored scholarship expands biblical interpretation beyond traditional Eurocentric perspectives.