A hat tip needs to be sent to the Lutheran Hour Ministries and their Men’s Network for some of the ideas in this sermon.
Part of being the parson is being immersed in the Scriptures every day. And maybe even more importantly is the interaction with the Scriptures at a detailed level. For most of my life I have had a reading plan and would spend at least 15 minutes a day reading the Scriptures, but often that was rushed or just done at a devotional level looking for what stuck me at the moment. Even worse was some of that 15 minutes was spent reading the footnotes instead of the Word. When you start looking at what the Scriptures say about Jesus and the Christian Life at a more intimate level, you start to see the disconnects with popular understanding and the Christ presented by the Scripture. Even good pious saints with sound theology think in ‘words about God’ terms (my pejoritive God-talk terms) instead of the Word of God. Too much of the former drains the vitality from the latter. The person of Jesus Christ is who we as preachers preach each week, or should. That person is much more dynamic and alive than our God-talk language. The ways to meet that Living Jesus are in the living Word. Pick up the Gospel according to Mark and start reading. If you haven’t done it for a while get the New Living Translation (NLT) which is wonderful modern English that you can actually read like a story. If you want a more ‘word for word’ translation the ESV is what we read from on Sundays or the NIV are both fine if less readable. Don’t worry about the study notes. Just read that Gospel as you would a book. If necessary get a small pocket edition. It will open you eyes to a Jesus who is constantly challenging his followers, constantly saying things like ‘let’s go to the other side…’ as an invitation to an adventure, or constantly correcting our clouded visions of reality.