Monday, April 14, 2008

Further Instruction

I've had a bit of manic weekend.

Tomorrow marks the third session of the preaching course I'm on. It'll be the first one where we'll have to produce some homework. As part of the course, we are required to submit two sermon outlines and two full fat sermons. I'll need to submit the first outline based on Isaiah 40:1-11.

I found it tough going. If you've read any of the things I've recorded here, you may guess that I don't tend to work in that fashion... I like to keep myself on edge - call it theological free running. In short, I lack a methodical approach when it comes to sermon preparation.

Nevertheless I have produced the outline on a pristine piece of A4 paper. I found it a bit tough doing things the disciplined way. I've been advised I need to have to perform an exposition of scripture with a distinct aim and challenge. Now I'm not saying I wouldn't normally do that... but I tend to like writing a few key lines that form the basis of prompts or signposts to where I'm going. I like to have only a skeletal structure, preferring to leave the muscles and meat to stew in my brain between when I set out the framework and when I deliver it live.

This is not something I will be able to do for the preaching course. I'll have to have outlines summarising the choicest portions before they are served... and when it comes to delivering 10 minutes "mock"sermons (although I plan to deliver it for real... after all I am talking to other genuine Christians and it is an opportunity to teach and learn at the same time), I will have to submit transcribe notes of the material. This is where I'm likely to come unstuck... it's where I lack discipline. You'd think it would be easy - after all, I write my thoughts down here often enough... but my approach to speaking is different to my approach to writing,so this is a matter of some concern to me. Still it is an opportunity to learn discipline and it could prove a very valuable exercise.

I also need to prepare some teaching material and a talk on the subject of light for SU camp. I only need to have the teaching materials ready in the near future...but I need to make sure those materials tie in with the message I'll eventually be giving. Fortunately I already have a good idea of the approach I'm going to have to take with that, but it does mean that I'll be writing several lots of teaching and sermons in a relative short space of time. It'll be a good test as to how much juice is in the tank spiritually. The demands are higher than normal, so if I don't keep step with God... I'll get myself into a tricky spot!

Finally this week, I am taking part in a First Aid training course.

This terrifies me more than anything I have written above. You may very well be asking why on Earth that is.

Well, the mere mention of First Aid brings back terrifying memories from my college days. I was off site at the town leisure centre with two friends, minding my own business shooting pool. Our game was rudely interrupted by one of the college lecturers. She was flanked by an extremely hot young lady... and two extremely grim looking lads.

The lecturer was leading a First Aid course... but there was a problem.

There were no mannikin's to perform CPR on. A fiendish plot surfaced in her calculating mind. There were three of them and three of us. She asked if we wanted to be voluntary mannikin's. Now at the time, I wasn't sure if this was safe anyway... breathing into the breathless is one thing, but my lungs were functioning perfectly. However this was not what was primarily occupying my thoughts... nor those of my companions. We were simultaneously evaluating the same equation. Namely, what were the odds of us getting one of the ugly blokes as our manikin compared to the odds of getting the girl? It was very clear that one of us was going to be extremely lucky... and believe me the temptation was sore - like a carrot on a stick to half starved donkeys. It was also abundantly clear that the other two of our trio were going to be... well, lets say... uncomfortably numb.

We looked at them.
They looked at us.
We looked at each other.
Then, in an act of male solidarity... we scarpered.

Now it's true that he who dares wins and that if you want to reap the rewards of a venture,you have to take risks... but we were feeling particularly cowardly that day. Would I do the same thing if the situation presented itself once more?

I'm hoping I don't have to find out the answer to that one this week.
I'll let you know.

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