Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In chunks

As I was saying, I am currently listening to sermons and bible lessons in mp3s, in chunks as I zip my way here and there and everywhere in my old beat-up car. It is slow, I know and I also end up listening to certain portions several times over (long story but I have to break up the mp3s into chunks so that I don't have to listen to them from the beginning everytime I start my car). I find that I am learning so much with the spare time I have. It is so much better. Rather than to have my mind wander off aimlessly as I manoeuvre the roads or to fill it up with trash listening to the radio, I can now learn, think, discover and be amazed with God, my Strength and my Redeemer. I have grown tired with the limited selection of CDs I have anyway.

I have just started on Carson's teaching sessions on Revelations. I was on his first session on Rev 4 yesterday and Rev 5 today. I have just finished the first chunk and looking forward for more chunks later when I drive home after work.

My dad, who is a lay-preacher was telling me that based on his experience, he finds that what preachers usually repeat are illustrations and stories. That to me, is not very good a practice because illustrations and stories are usually the only thing the people will remember, if they remember anything at all, and therefore, a good preacher has to have a good variety of them, so that he does not repeat them too often.

But, because of the proliferation of sermons in mp3s, I have found that Carson, who is an excellent speaker by the way, uses similar illustrations, in different settings, in different sermons, in different topics. And it works for him, the illustrations serve for him as good analogies almost all the time.

In his Rev 5 session, in order to explain the distinctive use of the apocalypse genre, he used the examples of limericks: where he says that only in the English language, are limericks possible (Really? Is that true?) He used this limerick, apparently written to good-naturedly poke fun at Dr C.H. Dodd:

There was a professor called Dodd,
Whose name was exceedingly odd;
He spelled, if you please,
His name with three "D's,"
When one was sufficient for God.

I love it! I did a search - Carson also used this limerick in his speaking session on Justification by Faith. True but it works.



  1. Cute limerick. I need some chunks of stuff to squeeze in my day too :)

  2. Happy Birthday to Calvin!!!! Something else we have in common :o) Wish you were here, I'd take you, Calvin & Oksana and we'd go eat cheesecake there!!!!
    You are indeed a special blog friend, Pearlie.

  3. Hi pearlie,

    Interesting observation about the use of illustrations and stories. I agree with you that these should be used appropriately to illustrate the points and not to entertain or to gain popularity.

    I have no problems with preachers who reuse their illustrations appropriately. I find that John Stott does the same thing too.

    What I cannot stand is guest speakers or itinerant speakers who repeat their whole sermons. Just because they are speaking to different congregations, they think they can get away with it. They have 2 or 3 sermons. They may be busy or do not have time to properly prepare their sermons to the many churches they speak in.

    My plea to them is to write a new series of sermons at least once a year. For a person like me who takes copious notes, it is galling to hear the same speaker repeat the same sermon with the same jokes on three separate occasions in the same church over a period of 4 years!