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How Do I Preach On This?!

I had a chapel planning meeting today for the week that I will be preaching at the seminary. It was great to gather together with my fellow classmates and take seriously the honor of leading and forming worship for the community. Wanting to get a head start on the sermonizing process, I took a gander at the text for the sermon. Let me tell you, it’s a whopper of a text! In case you don’t have a bible at hand, here’s the text:

Zephaniah 1:7 Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is at hand; the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests. 12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the people who rest complacently on their dregs, those who say in their hearts, “The LORD will not do good, nor will he do harm.” 13 Their wealth shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them. 14 The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter, the warrior cries aloud there. 15 That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. 17 I will bring such distress upon people that they shall walk like the blind; because they have sinned against the LORD, their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD’s wrath; in the fire of his passion the whole earth shall be consumed; for a full, a terrible end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

My first thought was of absolute terror. I had this image of me preaching doom and gloom to the people gathered together for worship. The next thought I had in response to this was “Nope, that ain’t gonna happen!” I’ll be working on this text on my own the next few weeks, but I’m curious. What message do you hear from this text? Are there good news nuggets that you sift out from the midst of the doom and gloom? Inquiring mind wants to know…


Comments on: "How Do I Preach On This?!" (2)

  1. tamiofbrooksgroth said:

    I feel your terror. I would feel the same way!

    As I sit here working on the next PV issue it strikes me that God is angry. Sometimes I want God to be angry. Sometimes I wonder what god wants us to be angry about.
    … Of course I never want God to be angry at me 🙂 … This is where grace happens

    I look forward to hearing what you do!

  2. Carlyn Cooper said:

    Hi Paul, what jumps out to me is that we need to be still and know that God is God. Like your seminary verse. It boils down to trust in God and God alone. All our material posessions wealth, and power cannot get us out of messes of our own doing. This is God’s world!! To me , it is all in trusting God for everything, for all we are and all we have is a gift from him. I agree with the gal’s thought above me. God gets angry when we refuse to do His will and think of others,

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