What is the Emerging Church Movement?
Should we be worried about Contemplative Prayer?

How do you preach about helping the poor?

Here is an email from one of my students and my response. 

Hi Andy!

I hope that your summer has been going well and that you are enjoying visiting practicum students! I am doing well here at ________Church in ________, and I actually gave my first ‘sermon" this past Wednesday night.  The thing is, I have to give another sermon this upcoming Wednesday, and I am scrambling to gather information that would be helpful.  I am going to be speaking on the sheep and the goats parable, but not from a view of judgment, but rather, I would like to focus more on the "unto the least of these" aspect of it, to encourage action in the jr. higher’s.  I was wondering if you could refer me to any resources or if you have any notes on the topic that you wouldn’t mind sharing with me?  That would be great! But if not, that’s ok too! Thank you so much!


Dear _______,

Great for you preaching!  This is not an easy passage to exegete but it is indeed an inspiring one for us to serve the least of these in our paths.  The good samaritan might be a tad simpler if you want to go that route.  You don't have the judgment to worry about explaining.    

For Preaching Ideas and Illustration Inspiration:

§ Tony Campolo has a heart for serving the poor.  Any of his sermons would probably be inspiring.  They are at his website here.  Maybe start with "Missions: Getting Beyond the Kingdom of Ticky-Tack."  These sermons might give you some inspiration or illustrations.  We will likely meet with him on Capstone.  It is not specifically on Matthew 25.   

§ John Ortberg's sermon on 3/12/06 "The Church on Monday Morning" is also incredible.  It is about the people of the church getting out and making a difference for good in the community.  It is inspiring!  You can find his sermons here.  It is not specifically on Matthew 25. 

§ The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne  is also a great new book by a young person.  We will meet with him on Capstone.

Biblical Study:

§ Here are a list of good commentaries if you have the chance to get to Taylor's library.  Here are some Links to Lists of Good Commentaries  One of the Matthew commentaries by Craig Keener would be great.  He married an African woman and has a deep passion for justice and simplicity.  We will meet with him on Capstone.  Also D.A. Carson's commentary is solid.  He clarifies that it is not that your good works get you into the kingdom of heaven but rather: "The reason for admission to the kingdom in this parable is more evidential than causative."

§ Ron Sider's short book  Scandal Of The Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like The Rest Of The World? (Paperback)
Ronald J. Sider would also give you some good stats and a good summary of the Bible material about serving the poor.

§ Here is my link to Bible study resources on the net.   

I'm glad you are preaching.  It takes a lot of time and it is easy to get discouraged in the preparation so hang in there! 

I would write out what you want to say in complete sentences so that you can basically read it.  Once you have it how you like it basically, then read it over to yourself 3-4 times outloud.  By the 4th time you will basically have it memorized and you will just need to glance down at it.  Writing it helps you have down exactly what you want to say and reading it a number of times helps you get ready to deliver it clearly.  Once you have studied hard, write strongly and passionately what you think.  This is your strength!  Call me on my cell if you need more help ________

Let you prayer be: "Lord I can't help but want to look good and impress people when I preach.  But more than anything, I want YOU to look good!  Please be glorified in what I say." 

I'm going to post my letter to you (without your name) on my blog.  Maybe someone else will have some good ideas.   

Grace and peace,


Click on the category to the side entitled "Senior Capstone Trip" to find more posts about our January capstone trip to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.