A friend asked me to offer something of a mini-log of a sermon preparation. Here goes:
Several weeks before – So I know I’m going to preach on Mark 10 in a few weeks time. I don’t have much time now, but I grab a few minutes to read it through and make a list of initial observations or questions about the text. I also make the time to read the whole book of Mark (both because I’m preaching a series, and because I need that for understanding chapter 10). I start outlining the series so I know which passage will be preached on which Sunday. The calendar dictates Good Friday’s text, and Easter Sunday morning, and Palm Sunday, but otherwise I have some flexibility.
10 days before – I’m in the thick of preparing messages for the Sunday before, but I take a few minutes to look ahead at the passages coming up the following Sunday. Again, just make the odd note, and pray for clear understanding and application of the passage (I’m starting to feel quite convicted as I see the contrast between Jesus’ resolute journey to the cross, and the disciples’ continual pyramid-climbing attitude – is that true of me, too?)
Monday before – Now that the previous two messages are done, I am more free to think and plan for this coming Sunday. Spent some time outlining the text and looking at how the content flows together. Am contemplating how to preach the passage around 8:27-30 in the morning, and then the third passion prediction in chapter 10, with the passage around it. I’m pondering whether I should use the three passion predictions in the evening message, but also deal with the first passion prediction in the morning. I feel I have to do that in both cases (no extra sermons to deal with other content in this section, unfortunately…looks like the transfiguration isn’t going to feature this time, shame).
Now it would be nice to have the rest of the week free to prepare the messages for Sunday. No such luxury. It will be Friday before I can give the messages any real attention again.