For Pastors: The Hardest Sermons You'll Ever Preach

--comments by Greg Strand, EFCA Director of Biblical Theology and Credentialing

Bryan Chapell, The Hardest Sermons You’ll Ever Preach
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011)

In this new book Chapell includes sermons from many pastors under five different categories:

  • Part One: Preaching in Response to Tragedy
  • Part Two: Preaching After the Loss of a Child
  • Part Three: Preaching Funerals with Especially Difficult Causes or Circumstances
  • Part Four: Preaching Funerals for Public Figures
  • Part Five: Preaching After Suicide
  • Appendixes: Helps for Handling Tragedies

In addition to Chapell, some others you would recognize are Tim Keller, John Piper and Michael Horton. Chapell begins with a helpful introduction that frames the rest of the book, “The Message of the Cross for the Mystery of Tragedy.”

As Chapell notes, this is not something you can really be taught, but rather you learn through experience. It is the place where one’s theology finds expression in the midst of some of life’s most challenging times. If our theology is not rock-solid here, it is useless. Most have a “theology” for when things are going well in life. It is the heart of the gospel of Christ that provides answers in the midst of these pains. There is no purposeless suffering. Because of who God is and His plans for His children are good, even in the midst of this sinful fallen-yet-being redeemed world, there is a teleology, an end with a God-ordained purpose to it.

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