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The One Great Sermon That Got Away
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TITLE (EDIT)
The One Great Sermon That Got Away
DESCRIPTION
Most people don't realize ministers are obligated to prepare and preach one great sermon in their career. In looking over my record of sermons, I noticed many "good" sermons, but an obvious lack in the list of a single "great" sermon.


[886 words]
TITLE KEYWORD
Humor
AUTHOR
James Snyder
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James L. Snyder is an award winning author and popular columnist living with his wife, Martha, in Ocala, Florida and can be contacted at [email protected]
[October 2009]
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
[email protected]
AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (15)
A Cup Of Joe Says A Lot About Us (Short Stories) This week I came face-to-face with a genuine dilemma. I had several meetings across town and for some reason I miscalculated and ended up with a 2-1/2 hour gap between meetings. I hate to waste time, ... [902 words]
A Page From Betty Crocker’S Cookbook (Essays) Recently, while sitting in my chair drinking the last of my breakfast coffee, a thought staggered into my mind. I must confess most thoughts are quite lonely once they enter my mind, but this one had ... [860 words] [Humor]
A Silent Night — Not At My House (Essays) People say, as they get older their hearing is not what it used to be. I have found this to be true for myself. The older I get, and I plan to get as old as I can, the more I hear noises in the middle... [895 words] [Humor]
Be Happy, Join The Wednesday Worry Club (Essays) Of all the people who know me, no one would say I am afflicted with worryitis. They may say other things about me, which may or may not be true, but that's another story. [918 words] [Humor]
Dead-To-The-World Man Walking (Essays) One morning this week, I woke up with a black eye. How I got it still baffles me. I have my suspicions, of course, but some things are better left to themselves no matter how lonely they may get. [891 words] [Humor]
How To Cash In On Your ‘Ailment Capital' (Essays) Right after the president won his re-election bid for the White House, he made an interesting comment. He said he was going to spend his "political capital" wisely. At first, I did not understand wha... [926 words] [Humor]
If All Things Are Possible,” Why Can't I Balance My Checkbook? (Short Stories) For me, the most terrible time of each month is the day our bank statement comes. We commonly call it BSS (Bank Statement Syndrome). I don't know why it is, but I have trouble getting the parsonage ch... [904 words] [Humor]
In My House, If It's Broken I Bought It (Essays) Often a store has a sign with the warning, "You break it, you bought it." This is to keep people from carelessly handling the merchandise. I'm thinking of another sign, which should be posted all thr... [907 words] [Humor]
Malice In “I Wonder Who I Am” Land (Essays) For many years I maintained confidence in my personal identity. I knew exactly who I was and was quite comfortable in my skin. Although, I must confess my skin used to fit me better than it does these... [885 words]
Now That I'm Older, I'm Still Not Wiser (Essays) Now that summer is over and the children are back in school I found myself indulging in a little bit of retrospective thinking. It took some doing but I was able to think all the back to when I was a ... [883 words] [Humor]
Nurses, Bedpans And X-Rated Hospital Gowns (Essays) Tuesday last I awoke from my nightly slumber with terrific pain in my chest, much like an elephant break-dancing on my chest. It was painful just to breathe, but like the trooper I am, I shrugged it o... [923 words] [Humor]
Old Phil Propagated A Good Old Hoax (Essays) It began as all things begin n a long period of boredom with nothing exciting to do. Whoever said, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” knew something of what they were speaking. [882 words]
Who Has The Greatest Job In The World? (Essays) I have, in my opinion, the world's perfect job. Just look at the evidence. I love people and I love God. I love talking to people about God and I love talking to God about people. Therefore, if you p... [963 words] [Humor]
‘And How Do We Feel This Morning?' (Essays) Without question, going to the hospital is teamwork from the time you arrive until you are wheeled out the front door. Everyone is working together for the common good of the patient, or at least a cr... [909 words] [Humor]
‘I'm Not A Christian, But I Play One On Sunday' (Essays) After more than three decades of church ministry, I have come to one unsettling conclusion. Actually, I've come to more than one conclusion, but this one is the most depressing. That conclusion is si... [890 words] [Humor]
The One Great Sermon That Got Away
James Snyder

Most people don't realize ministers are obligated to prepare and preach one great sermon in their career. In looking over my record of sermons, I noticed many "good" sermons, but an obvious lack in the list of a single "great" sermon.

Perusing my list brought back some marvelous memories. I smiled as I remembered each sermon and where I preached it. Of course, I'm at that stage of life where the old memory juices don't flow as deep as they once did.

Occasionally, I ran across the odd sermon that didn't really look familiar. I must have preached them because they were on my list, but I had no recollection of them.

Every minister has three kinds of sermons in his repertoire.

(1) Sermons that hold wonderful memories as he reflects back on them. The preacher's main occupation, of course, is preaching. And nothing delights him more than pursuing his occupation with all his might.

When a sermon comes together, it is a magnificent thing. I grant you this doesn't happen often, but when it does it's wonderful.

The bad thing about a really wonderful sermon is you can only preach it one time. To me, this is not fair.

A singer, for example, can sing the same song over and over and over. If it's a really good song, people in the audience will even request it.

My idea of heaven is having people request that I repeat one of my good sermons. To date, no one has made such a request of me, which may mean none are worth repeating.

(2) Sermons he wishes he could forget and hopes everyone else has. Looking over my list of sermons, I was surprised by how many fit this category.

Here's a good example, "How to Give in To Your Wife Without Giving Up Your Manhood?"

I was 28 at the time and had been married for about seven years. I thought I had a good grasp on this thing called marriage. Also, I thought I had some wisdom to share along this line. If memory serves me correctly, what I thought I knew I didn't.

I do remember the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage setting me straight on that sermon. My manhood was severely challenged and I have never repeated that sermon since.

Here's another sermon I wish I could forget. "When Your Get-up and Go Got up and Went, Where Do You Go?" I have no idea what I was trying to get at. I sure hope I never run into any former parishioner who remembers this one.

(3) Finally, sermons long forgotten even by the preacher himself. I noted that in 35 years of preaching I had quite a few belonging in this category. As I tried to remember some of these long forgotten sermons one thought struck me.

Where do forgotten sermons go? Is there some holding tank somewhere, filled with forgotten sermons? Is there a sermontoruim for these homiletically-challenged productions?

Still missing from my list was anything resembling a "great" sermon. Then it hit me.

One sermon got away. How sermons get away from a person varies with each minister. With computers these days, it is not difficult to lose a great sermon. But the sermon I'm thinking of was B.C. (before computers).

It's hard to believe there was a time before computers. Everything had to be written by hand and stored in some filing system. My filing system, before my computer, left much to be desired.

My system did not so much leave much to be desired as to be nonexistent.

I remember this sermon now. It was a special Sunday in our church and the worship program was filled with guests, including a group of singers who were to perform at our service.

I worked for weeks on this sermon and had it worked out pretty good. Everything that belonged to a great sermon was in this sermon. I reworked it until it was as close to perfect as I could possibly make it.

The Sunday arrived and I anxiously anticipated delivering my great sermon. Everything seemed to go right that Sunday. Even the weather cooperated by delivering a splendid day.

Looking back, however, I overlooked one thing. Concentrating so much time in preparing my sermon, I forgot others were participating in the service.

My sermon, as is usually the case, was the last thing on the program. The service started on time and everything progressed very nicely.

Then the musical group got up to sing. They were simply marvelous and the harmony was heavenly. In fact, they were so good they received a standing ovation.

As the custom is, they responded appropriately by singing another song. Again, they received a standing ovation, which in turn resulted in another song ... and another song ... and another song.

By this time, I was nervous. Time to preach my great sermon started 20 minutes ago and there was no indication the musical group sensed the time.

When the last strain of music faded and I stepped to the pulpit, it was time to give the benediction. With as much graciousness as I could command, I pronounced the benediction and dismissed the people.

To this day, nobody knows (except you) that my great sermon got away.

"And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:15 KJV.)

 

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE
© 2005 James Snyder
STORYMANIA PUBLICATION DATE
February 2005
NUMBER OF TIMES TITLE VIEWED
1475
 

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