Entries by Bruce Ballast

A Crisis of Faith

A Crisis of Faith One of the people I came to appreciate in my life is named Brennan Manning.  His best-known book is Ragamuffin Gospel, in which he makes the point that we all appear as ragamuffins before God.  In other words, we are powerfully stained with sin, but God’s grace reaches out to his anyway. […]

If God Loves Me, Why

If God Loves Me Why? If God loves me why can’t I get my locker open?  That’s the title of a book that was published many years ago, but the title has stuck with me.  It brings up the practical and repeating question of Why?   When things go terribly wrong in life, the question […]

A Theology of Suffering

A Theology of Suffering I’m continuing a series of posts on how to preach in a pandemic.  The first of these posts is here.  During World War II all of Europe went through great suffering as a result of the war.  Christians  found that their faith helped them develop a theology of suffering that reflected […]

When It Seems God Doesn’t Care

When It Seems That God Doesn’t Care In the last post we saw that people need a sense of security, that God is in control, during a pandemic.  But what about when it seems that God doesn’t care about my pain?  Beyond security, however, people need a sense that God cares about them, that he […]

The Need for Security in a Pandemic

The Need for Security in a Pandemic In the last post we began looking at how to preach in a pandemic.  Today we look at this fact: there is a need for security in a pandemic for most people.  Let me explain. Why Conservative Churches Are Growing In the early 1970’s a sociologist named Dean […]

Preaching in a Pandemic

Preaching in a Pandemic In this post I begin a series on recommendations on how to go about preaching in a pandemic such as we are experiencing right now.  When we, as human beings, engage in things that cause us loss, it can easily become a time of questioning our faith. A Story As I […]

The Sermon is a Symphony

The Sermon is a Symphony In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, there is a scene in which the main character, Hamlet, is walking down the corridor of the palace reading.  Someone asked him, as he walked, what he was reading.  His response was, “Words, words, words, words”.  In other words, nothing much, just a jumble of unimportant words. […]

Walk The Talk

Walk the Talk In the past few posts we have been looking at organizing your sermon well, with the hearer in mind.  There is more to say in that regard, but an article I read recently sets me off on a different path.  Let’s think for a few minutes about what it means to walk […]

Keep Your Face To The Sun

Keep Your Face To The Sun We’ve been looking at the five activities of the speech writer, or preacher.  They are: the invention of ideas, the organization of ideas; ways to communicate those ideas in relevant, appropriate language; forceful ways to deliver those ideas; and specific methods for gaining mental and emotional command of one’s material. […]

Set Out Some Sign Posts

Set Out Some Sign Posts In the last post we looked at where sermons come from.  I quoted from The Sermon Doctor about five things that a speech requires, according to ancient philosophers.  The first was the generation of an idea.  The second was the organization of the idea.  It is to that subject that we […]