Homiletics Post 3 of 3: Examples, Tweaks & Additions

Previous related posts: Part 1 of 3: “My story”, Part 2 of 3: “What is Homiletics?”

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…
Colossians 3:16a

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica;
they received the word with all eagerness,
examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11

In the previous posts, I shared my story and when and how I started learning homiletics. Like me, you may tweak this design or add to it as you get more into God’s Word and see what helps you to draw near to him. As I have done my own homiletics and read more about homiletics, I also have added sections to my homiletics, but still use the above mentioned plan as my base.

I gained a lot from “Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages“ by Haddon Robinson, which was recommended by my pastor as a main book used in seminaries. From reading this book, I added a section to my homiletics which further broke down each Division into a Subject, Compliment, Idea, Application and Principles. I further broke down the Application sections into “What does this teach about God?” and “How does this impact my life?”.This also gives mom and I areas for deeper spiritual discussions and applications as we both love God’s Word.

When I was learning, I know that examples were as, if not more, helpful than explanation. My homiletics for John 2 make for a fairly clear and complete example. More examples, as well as glimpses into what God was teaching me at the time, are available here: Revelation, John. You can also copy my template, which I update as I think of new areas that would be helpful. (Again, mine are not the best homiletics, and I have grown over time. Don’t let mine limit or intimidate you.)


A word of caution & insight

Develop your own style, don’t just copy mine – I encourage you to develop your own style. Part of the growing for me has been in tweaking my homiletics sheet as I learn more about God and His Word and see ways that would help me to focus to know him even more. It’s all about the process!

Viewing others homiletics – I am hesitant to include the links to my homiletics other than one example for John 2. I don’t want them to be something you look at first, but as you are doing homiletics yourself, sometimes it is fun to discuss yours and see others. I also want to have them available for if I am gone, so you can see a glimpse into your dad’s journey before you. I would enjoy seeing your homiletics as well, and to see how the Lord is speaking to you!


Remember, the goal is to draw near to God through His word, not to simply have an academic understanding of the Bible. Pray that God would open your eyes to see Him and His truths and applications in His Word.

May the Word of God dwell in you richly!

Dad

Note to Others: In keeping with the purpose of our site, this is a letter to our kids and grandkids to leave as a legacy if something should happen to us. If you find any benefit, praise God!

Homiletics Post 2 of 3: What is homiletics?

Previous related post: Part 1 of 3: “My story”

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…
Colossians 3:16a

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica;
they received the word with all eagerness,
examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11

So, what is homiletics?

Homiletics is taking you, God’s Word and the Holy Spirit and wrestling through and hashing out what God is saying in a systematic way. Commentaries, while they have their place, are not invited to the party at this time. (As an aside, if you read a Bible Outline, it is basically someone sharing their homiletics. If you listen to an expository sermon, it is likely based on the framework of the pastor’s homiletics.)

There are variations on how to do homiletics. I have no opinion on which is best other than whatever draws you closer to Christ. What I will share below is my story, how I started, that worked for me. I will then briefly mention some changes I have made as I saw what may be useful for me and read about other ideas for homiletics.IMG_20160725_172435040_HDR

Think of homiletics like an hourglass. The whole passage goes into the wide top of the hourglass. It then gets shrunk down until it can come through the hole in the middle, then it expands again.

Part One: Preparation

  • Pray for God to open your eyes to see Him and His truths and applications in His Word.
  • Read the passage several times to just let it sink in and the Holy Spirit to speak through His Word.
  • Have only your Bible, paper and pencil (I do mine on the computer, but have to be careful to shut out other distractions.). NO commentaries, etc.

Part Two: Content

  • Summarize the entire passage in 10 to 20 lines. Give the reference for each line. You are basically taking notes on the passage.
  • This should only have facts, not your interpretation.
  • It does not have to be full sentences.
  • If you are doing a chapter of 20-40 verses, this isn’t too hard. If you are doing multiple chapters, you are really needing to summarize.

Part Three: Divisions

  • Divide the whole passage into two to four divisions. Give the reference for each division.
  • Have a complete sentence summarizing each division.

Part Four: Subject Sentence

  • Write a sentence that uniquely describes the passage. If someone knows the Bible and reads your subject sentence, they should know what passage you are studying.
  • The sentence should be 10 words or less. (Forcing you to really get down to the core.)
  • Have facts, not interpretation.

Part Five: Aim

  • Write one main truth that the Lord is teaching you and that you want to pass along to others.
  • ONE main truth, not several smaller truths.
  • Start with “Cause audience to learn….” or even “Cause myself to learn…”
  • This is starting to deal with application, not just facts.

Part Six: Application

  • These should be in the form of a question. The questions should cause thinking and change, convict and/or encourage and change the heart over behavior.
  • Write at least one application question for each division.

A Word of Caution and Insight

Caution

Homiletics, as with anything, can also become “computerized”, something you do without really processing, or thinking about the words and missing the meaning. The key has always been and will always be, prayerfully coming before the Lord and experiencing the Holy Spirit bring the Word to life. Homiletics is simply a tool in helping to dig deeper into the Word. It may also appeal more to some personalities than others.

Insight

While I love homiletics, my homiletics are not very “good”. As I hear others share from their homiletics, I delight in hearing the ways they make the divisions flow, or the Subject Sentence catch the meaning almost poetically, etc. While I love hearing theirs (and I really do), I love mine more! (sound vain?) The fact is, mine is mine, it is what God spoke to me. The result may not be as beautiful, but it is through the process of thinking through the Word in communion with the Spirit, that real impact is made. It’s the process, not the result that really matters. I hope I am growing in my results as well, but it is growth in the process of becoming absorbed in God’s Word through His Spirit that really matters.

Don’t let comparison keep you from experiencing the depths of God through His Word!!!


To be continued… Part 3 of 3: “Examples, Tweaks & Additions”

Homiletics Post 1 of 3: My Story

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…
Colossians 3:16a

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica;
they received the word with all eagerness,
examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11

Hi Elijah & Isaiah,

This is for my “buddy buddies” :o) who are now five and two.  I love you guys. Hopefully, I will be around to teach and model this for years to come, but just in case… I want to share with you this joy… and look forward to seeing you in the twinkling of an eye. ~ Dad

(In keeping with the purpose of our site, this is a letter to our kids and grandkids to leave as a legacy if something should happen to us. If others find any benefit, praise God!)

God has given us a letter. It is a letter of love. It is a letter of sacrifice. It is a letter of guidance. It is a letter of encouragement. It is a letter of correction. It is all these things, and much, much more. Most of all, it is a letter of God revealing himself to us!!!IMG_20160725_172507316

Do you read God’s letter? (If not, I’ll keep praying for you till I go Home to be with Jesus.)

Assuming you do, you may be like I was for years even after going to a strong Bible teaching church, Christian college and being involved in participating and leading Bible studies. I really didn’t know how to study the Bible (though I didn’t fully realize it). I would read the Bible, which was good. I would see what it would say, which was good. If I saw application, I would try to apply it, which was good. I may have a Bible Study guide, which was good (but can pull away from actually reading the Bible). I sometimes looked at commentaries for ideas, which was good (but again can be a distraction).

But I still didn’t really feel like I knew how to study the Bible. I thought about my pastor and others who teach the Bible. How do they study the Bible? Is it just reading, reading some commentaries and getting practice and putting a message together… or is there a way to really study the Bible that I am missing. (I sure felt like I was missing something.)

Then I joined Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), which was amazing. The BSF format is four fold: 1. Study on your own with some guiding questions, but no other resources. Just me, the Holy Spirit and the Bible. 2. Discuss our week’s study with other men (or women for mom) to hear other’s insights (still no commentaries, just prayerfully allowing the Holy Spirit to open His Word to us). 3. A lecture from what we had already been studying on our own. 4. Reading notes/commentaries to gain additional insights (after we already put the first focus on God’s Word). I love it! It spoke to my heart and brought the Bible to life. I love it!

But… then I became a BSF group leader and was introduced to a whole new world of Bible study… the joyous introduction to homiletics. (Mom mentioned and I agree that this is the 5th fold of the BSF study method, the other “folds” in our minds being in the area of prayer and fellowship with strong believers and their insights into God’s Word.) The Holy Spirit used Homiletics to bring the Word to life in my life and sharpen its sword to pierce my heart, give limitless hope, reveal God and show me what His Word says about living life.

I love homiletics and have seen it impact my life, family and walk with God!  

To be continued…
Part 2 of 3: “What is Homiletics?”
Part 3 of 3: “Examples, Tweaks & Additions”

 

Grandma Elizabeth and reflections on passing away

This past Sunday, July 12, 2015 my Grandma Elizabeth passed away. This brings memories of when my mom’s dad passed away in 2011 and when my dad’s mom passed away in 2008. Talking with my sister Julia, who is currently in Asia as part of an 11 month missions trip especially brings back when I was in China when my Grandma passed away. The wrestling of whether to try to come back, investing in my family, being there for my dad, finding closure, etc.

At that time, I couldn’t make it back, so I took part through writing instead. Here are my reflections from that time. (It is a long post as it was written to collect my thoughts, not as a blog post.)

Continue reading

Budget Your Money… Free Yourself to Give, Save and Spend with Joy

Do ANY of the following sound appealing?
  • Having the freedom to give more!
  • Being able to spend without worry!
  • Having the ability to save more!
  • Having less stress!

Another question…

Which word best describes a budget?

A. Limits
B. Freedom


This post is being written to myself as much as anyone. Having a budget is not always fun and can seem limiting… at first, but once the budget is there (the fast part) and the habits are formed (the slow part), a budget is incredibly freeing! This is true for anyone, not matter their income (though some may notice the benefits more than others.

What about the rich?

The question you may be thinking is “What about the very rich? They don’t need a budget. They never run out of money.”

Since most people don’t consider themselves to be very rich, though if you are reading this in the U.S., you are in the richest 5% of the world, I will only address this briefly. While the rich may be able to spend and give without much worry (though they do worry), having a reasonable budget would free them to have the joy of giving more, even much more, instead of needing a large buffer to make sure they don’t spend too much. A budget, even setting self imposed spending limits also creates the fun of working towards something. I heard an interesting “fact” (I did look into it enough to be convinced it is true, but don’t know the exact statistics), that many pro-athletes end up filing for bankruptcy after they retire since they have gotten into social groups and a lifestyle of high spending and those lifestyle habits continue when the income is no longer there to match it.

So how about the rest of us?

Click here for a copy of our budget (cleared of our details) for you to use.
(Note: This budget has many different items listed. You likely won’t use all of them. We have combined the lists from several budget plans and added some of our own to have as complete of a list as possible, but you still may need to add more depending on how you spend your money.)
 
Example Budget (Quickly done, so the numbers may not seem reasonable)
Other Budgeting Help
  • Dave Ramsey (www.daveramsey.com) has great info about budgeting, getting rid of debt, etc.

Welcome to 3rd Culture Living

As Elyse’s husband and the tech guy behind the site, I welcome you to 3rd Culture Living. My wife has a more meaningful welcome here. 🙂

We are excited to launch the blog for each other, for our children, and for anyone else who may want to join us in journey of “3rd Culture Living”. More posts and topics will be coming as we live intentionally and see where life leads and the lessons it will bring.

Welcome to the journey!

What you see now gives an idea of “What is 3rd Culture Living“, the reasons for “Why this site” and “Who we are” so you can have an idea of what to expect. You can read all the posts below (on the home screen), read my wife’s welcome for an intro to the site, or click on some of the tabs above (which still have limited content at this point).

Thank you for joining us at the beginning of this new journey. We look forward to growing together!

Blessings,
Rob

Quiz: Should a fresh egg float or sink?

Answer: The Bad Egg will Rise Up and Shell Itself

Elijah and I learned an egg-citing new trick from Elyse today: How to find an old egg (before it’s too late!)

  1. Take the eggs you want to cook and put them in water so that they are submerged.
  2. Do they float, or do they sink?
    1. They should sink. If they float to the surface, you may want to consider passing on that omelet.
    2. Those from the same batch that sink will likely be very easy to peel.

Disclaimer: A sinking egg may have other issues, but it is fresh.

Explanation

  • Fresh eggs have very little (if any) air in the shell.
  • As they age, air gets through the shell into the egg.
  • A floating egg indicates an old egg to the point that enough air has entered in to allow it to float.
  • The other eggs from the same batch, may not havequite enough air to float, but likely have enough to loosen the shell and make them easy to peel.
    • The easier an egg is to peel, the older it likely is.