Sunday, September 2, 2012

Romans 14 My reflections

So I preached at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, the mother-church of SOUL Presbyterian Church, on the way to the airport this morning (I'm in Sydney for Presbyterian Study, #BkofRevelation if you're on Twitter) because Campbell had fallen sick and I'd already preached on Romans 14.

I'm still working on becoming a better preacher so several people were taking notes, hopefully they'll pass the feedback on and I'll write a companion post to see if I'm facing reality! I'm going by the rule of thumb that if several people mention the same thing its a problem. So based on people's body language and my reflections these are the negatives (opportunities) positives (small mercies):


  1. My official big idea: "don't let the expression of your freedom in Christ damage Christ's work in others (or yourself)" didn't click neatly with my explanation of the two groups of Christians in Romans 14
  2. My gestures sometimes serve the purpose of "um" or "arh", I reckon for some they are very distracting
  3. Bring my own Bible instead of using a pew Bible
  4. A re-heated sermon still needs working over, I had to rework bits designed for SOUL on the fly and it showed
  5. A need to bring people along with me: here is one idea, and here is another and this is how they add up to the big idea (I feel this is important) 
  6. I didn't make any clear links to the Romans series which this sermon was meant to be a part of
  7. I rushed the context a little (I had done this well at SOUL) I could tell people needed more time
  8. In retrospect I should of shown how the work of the Holy Spirit shapes both groups
  9. Something went wrong with my opening setup, and I'm not sure what, it was partially successful in making people think about how they express their faith with one another
  10. I didn't do much to show people how I moved from the text to big idea


  1. People seemed to get the unofficial big idea that "there are cautious Christians and bold Christians in the church and there are strengths and dangers about both groups." 
  2. My Self-depreciating personal example about smoking seemed to work well
  3. Some gestures worked, I remembered where both groups were (I reckon I could do more with carefully controlled gestures) 
  4. Eye contact was excellent
  5. Following Churchill's advice I finished strongly
  6. I brought people back to the work of Jesus at the end


  • I could tell that at SOUL people thought I was allowing too much freedom and there a few at Cornerstone who thought I was devaluing freedom (based particularly on the facial expression of an Artist in the congregation). 
  • I wonder if I should have worked the application a bit harder or if that would have been too controversial? (I know Mikey would've but David wouldn't have.)