Book Review

Reading a sermon a day will keep the devil away.

Reading sermons is probably the last thing you’d think of doing on any particular day (or year for that matter).  But for just a moment hear me out.

Years ago a minister that I greatly respected and admired told me, “David, I want to challenge you to read a sermon every day, it will make you a better preacher, but more importantly it will make you a better Christian.”  

Because of my love and respect for him I took the challenge and I have made reading sermons a part of my daily disciplines for forty years, and I can truly say it has made me a better preacher and person.

Also, taking my cues from C.S. Lewis who recommended that every third book you read should be at least a 100-years old, I have most often turned to the great masters of yesteryear and oh how they have inspired, challenged, and blessed me.

Speaking of cues…if you take your cues from those around you, sermons will be the last thing on your list for entertainment and inspiration.  And if you have to listen to one the shorter it is (made up of mostly stories and jokes) will be the choice of the average listener. 

But if you take your cues from God you will become a connoisseur of sermons, for that is God’s chosen method to proclaim His good news.  His stars, heroes, and celebrities who deserved double honor are preachers not movie stars, sports figures, singers/bands, etc.  (I know, it sounds crazy, but who are we to disagree with God!)  

So following are a couple of God’s superstars: George Whitefield and Joseph Parkers. These gentlemen rock!

The first book of sermons is—The Collected Sermons of George Whitefield.

I recommend this book with some reservations.  Whitefield will most likely be a challenge for you.  It’s hard to believe that most of the sermons recorded in this book were preached outside in open fields to the common people who had little or no education.  The organized church had kicked him out because of his strong gospel preaching and evangelistic fever and it jangled the nerves of the very proper clergy and laity of his day.

However, through preached to the common folk of his day, I’m afraid they will be mostly unintelligible to the average person today.  Honestly, it is an indictment on how modern-day preachers have watered down, dumbed down and sugar-coated the Gospel…very sad.  (But I digress.) 

But anyway, if you like a challenge give Whitefield a try.  Take six months and read it slowly.  You will be impressed by his relentless call to salvation and obvious love for the people he preached to.  And you will get a refresher course on the fundamentals of the Christian faith (heads up: with a bit of a Calvinist bent, if that’s an issue for you). 

The second book of sermons—Prayers & Sermons from the City Pulpit by Joseph Parker was outstanding.  Parker blessed and encouraged me so many times.  I had never heard of Joseph Parker but noticed his book of sermons on a bargain table and decided to give it a try; boy am I glad I did. 

Parker’s sermons are very pastoral and earthy (speaking to everyday life) but also Christ-centered and eternally significant.  Whitefield will hammer you to your knees to get (and stay) right with God, Parker will get you back up on your feet with a determination to live a God-honoring life. 

So there you have it, two good choices if you’d like to take the challenge of reading from a book of sermons every day.  And you can be sure it will help keep the devil away because he hates great preaching.

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