My Sermon writing tools and a little more

So, I’m supposed to be working on my sermon, but I’m procrastinating. I wanted to write a post on the tools I use to write a sermon. I’m part of a group of folks that call ourselves the MennoNerds (I know, not quite the Justice League). Seriously though, some good writing going on and you should check them out. I’m not 100% sure how I got the privilege of being included with such great writers, but I’ll take what I can get.

Anyway, my primary tool for sermon prep is the Holy Spirit (is that a cop out?). Good thing is He doesn’t cost money, bad thing is I pay with my life. All joking aside, I try to remember to pray to bring His intercession and guidance into the process. Do I always remember? Sadly no. I’m no different than anyone else; life gets busy, I feel stressed and I just want to plough ahead instead of taking the time to pray and meditate – not a good recipe for communicating the message of the Creator of the Universe.

Second, my Bible. This is where I risk loosing all my nerd cred. I don’t primarily use an electronic bible. I far and away prefer my 1312 page, paper, leather-bound English Standard Version Bible. I do own electronic Bibles, notably the ESV Study Bible app on my iPhone and iPad, but I rarely use them if I have my print Bible with me.

Third, Logos Bible Software. Maybe this will make up for #2. Logos some pretty industrial strength software. I own quite a large library with 2837 resources ranging from commentaries to encyclopaedias and dictionaries to biographies, and of course multiple translations of Scripture. It has great language tools and a variety of other features beyond making all my resources searchable. They recently released Logos 5 which I would love to upgrade too, but I don’t have $500 at the moment. They also have apps for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire (cough), and HTML5 (the apps are actually free and come with some content).

Fourth, Safari and Chrome. I use Safari as my primary browser and Chrome if I need to view something in flash (ugh).

Fifth, MacBook Air. I love my MBA, it’s lightweight, holds everything I need and lets me get out of the house to get work done.

Sixth, iPad. I have a first generation iPad (yup, still runs). I use it occasionally along with the Logos app if I don’t want to read a commentary on the screen of my MBA. Seems a bit overkill I understand, but I didn’t buy them all at the same time and I’m certainly not going to throw the iPad out just because it’s 15 generations behind. It’s a great e-reader.


7 thoughts on “My Sermon writing tools and a little more

  1. One and 2 are ESSENTIAL… although, for #2, I admit I use BibleGateway as my primary source for the text itself. It’s pretty easy to compare multiple versions and to search for similar words and such.

    One thing I’ve noted, though… number 1 trumps them all. I may have shared this before, but I was set to give an excellent sermon December 18th as a guest speaker at a small church not far from my home. It was based upon the RCL for Advent and was about the 4 Joys expressed in the texts…

    …and then the unthinkable happened… and while I had some notes on textual context and such, most of the content of my sermon got discarded and I did an ad-hoc improve, speaking contextually from where people were after Newtown… and how do we find joy in the midst of such horrific tragedy.

    So… 2 is good for grounding and as the “standard”… 3-6 are “nice to have”… but ALWAYS go with #1… can’t lose there.

    • Good comments and Amen. I did the same thing re: Newtown and in fact, Mother’s Day last year. Follow the leading of the Spirit. And I should point out that beyond #1, I didn’t really mean there to a priority in the order of things.

  2. Bible Translations are a big topic for me. Why do you go with the ESV? Love to hear from ministers, pastors, preachers, teachers as to their reasoning behind their translation of choice.

    • Hi Marty,
      Thanks for the question. It’s not a very inspiring tale, I’m afraid. I use it because by and large I find it accurate and I like the literal translation approach (and I don’t like the NIV). Having said that, I really like the CEV and will probably get one in the near future when funds allow. It’s important to note as well that while the ESV is my primary translation, I always make a point of comparing it to other translations to get a fuller picture as well as going into the greek and hebrew.

  3. Pingback: My Sermon writing tools and a little more | Menno Nerds

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