Around me things are swirling: a World Series, a national election, and a really big hurricane; but my mind is focused these days on preparing for publication volume three of the sermons preached at a National Festival of Young Preachers.
I am reading the galley proofs sent to me by Chalice Press. I am reading, and correcting, this document so the book can be published by December and presented to the public at our PREACHAPALOOZA on January 4, 2013 in Atlanta.
Every person with a sermon printed in the book and who is present at the National Festival in January will receive a free copy. It is always a great moment at the festival, at PREACHAPALOOZA, when these young preachers stand to receive their copy.
Of the 120 young preachers who participated in the 2012 National Festival in Louisville, only 69 submitted manuscripts for publication. Preaching is primarily an oral not a written practice or skill, so the fact that 51 of our preachers did not provide manuscripts is not a problem; all of them were recorded an their preaching videos are posted on our YouTube channel.
I have arranged these 69 sermons into 7 categories: You are Blessed, Salt and Light, Love and Forgive, When You Pray, Trust God, Wise and Foolish, and One With Authority. A final section, Be a Blessing, gathers the sermons and speeches of our plenary speakers: Jeff Nicolas, Gene Lawson, Ernest Brooks, Elizabeth Boulton, and Lori Carrell. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz wrote the Preface and I wrote the Introduction.
I also wrote a Study Guide. I selected 13 sermons and recommended them for careful study by individuals, groups, and classes. The sermons selected were those by: Zac Bailes, Alan Michael Sprinkle, Rachel Brocker, Adam Quine, David Smith, Tyler Best, Laruent Grosvenor, Keith Turner, Alex Williams, William Jean, Dan Rudy, and Jessica James. I wonder how many of these young preachers will be in Atlanta in January?
The title of this new book of sermons is taken from the sermon preached by Adam Graham: Uncommon Sense. He is a three-time preacher at these National Festivals and a current student at Vanderbilt Divinity School. I added the subtitle: Jesus and the
Renewal of the World. (I wish more of our young preachers who give more attention to titles: make them more creative, more interesting, more worthy of putting on the front cover of a book!)
This is an enjoyable task, reading through all of these sermons. For the last two years I have watched all the videos; not this year I am reading all the sermons (or at least, 69 of them). It is a blessing to me and an inspiration; it encourages me to continue this work to which I have been called. It stirs up in me great anticipation for the sermons I will hear and read on our great preaching theme for the 2013 National Festival of Young Preachers: GOSPEL AND THE CITY.
Are you getting your sermon ready?