This past week Jonny and I spent more than ten hours working together on a message from the book of Hosea. We studied, researched, cussed and discussed, turned over every exegetical rock, and brainstormed homiletical approaches to Sunday morning.
It’s an amazing experience when you study with others who are likeminded in their love for God and his Word. You actually accomplish more together, you know, that exponential discovery that neither of you could do on your own? So we studied.
We read through the fourteen chapters together out loud three times, and categorized the content. Only when we had dissected the passage with vigor did we go after the commentaries. But, yes, we did check the commentaries. J We then put together a message plan, replete with eighteen message slides to augment the message.
We also cross-referenced the contents of Hosea with other biblical passages, and tried to understand the Bible from Genesis 12 with God’s covenant with Abraham to the book of Hebrews where the Law is declared “obsolete”, and even Revelation 19 and the great battle.
Galatians 3 was turned over as well as Romans 9,10, & 11. Again, we left no stone unturned. We understood the book backwards and forwards, and even knew the wonder of the oath and promise that begins with Isaac and culminates with Christ.
BUT – there was one thing, when we were finished, when it was all said and done and practiced, that we did not know. This one thing was bugging me. I knew we needed to nail it down before we could step onto the platform. That one thing was… the BIG IDEA! Some call it a proposition, and Andy Stanley calls it “the phrase that pays.”
I said to Jonny, “what’s the big idea?!” Well, we had figured out way better and much more than the big idea – we knew the whole idea, the entire thrust of the book and the Bible, for that matter. But we had not nailed down the big idea. So we entered my office one last time, to find that elusive big idea. It had to be there somewhere.
Guess what?! It was. There it was, sitting right in my office.
Once we started to talk, brainstorm, and ask God to help us, it jumped right up into our conversation. Yup. That crazy big idea just appeared, and like a bright red bow, it completed this gift of a message and calmed my homiletical heart.
We found it. All would be right on Sunday morning. It was the question, the challenge, that we would pose to the congregation. Nice.
So you’re preaching this weekend, right? Well?
What’s the big idea? If you haven’t found it yet, there’s still time.
I think you need a bow for that gift!
Next week's podcast features Dan Reiland with Six Words for Small Churches!
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