20+ Quotes from Zach Eswine book Preaching to a Post-Everything World

1. Zach Eswine quotes Francis Schaeffer as saying, “First of all, man is separated from God; second, he is separated from himself (thus the psychological problems of life); third, he is separated from other men (thus the sociological problems of life); fourth, he is separated from nature (thus the problems of living in this world—for example, the ecological problems). All these need healing” (p. 42).

2. “Beginning with sin instead of creation is like trying to read a book by opening it in the middle: they don’t know the characters and can’t make sense of the plot” (p. 44).

3. “In Eden person were created for:

Worship (the man and woman were to walk with God)
Community (the man and woman were to build a community)
Vocation (the man and woman were to cultivate and create)
Character (the man and woman were to reflect God’s character)” (p. 44).

4. Eswine quotes Calvin Miller and says: “Jesus himself told lots of stories, and his sermons were full of images…. When asked, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ Jesus in effect does not say, ‘Let me give you three Hebrew roots on the word neighbor.’ What he does say is, ‘A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho….’ In other words he follows the question, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ with an immediate ‘Once upon a time’ and then launches into a story” (p. 61).

5. “Parents want to go into Jesus’s presence at church in order to keep their kids safe from the world. But Jesus keeps drawing unsafe people from the world to himself” (p. 81).

6. “Often we preachers turn to differing tools and models rather than to differing relationships as the answer for more relevant homiletics for our times” (p. 84).

7. “When we preach we publicly model for a community how a human being is meant by God to relate to reality” (p. 85).

8. Eswine quotes from Warren W. Wiersbe and says: “’To preach biblically means much more than to preach the truth of the Bible accurately. It also means to present that truth the way the biblical writers and speakers presented it’ [Preaching and Teaching with Imagination, 36]” Then he goes on to say, “Faithful preaching accounts for both the truth and the style of the biblical text” (p. 104).

9. “According to Paul, the first essential for preaching is Christ. Regardless of the time and place in history that one preachers, biblical preaching is meant to be Christ-centered…. Paul’s second essential for preaching is the prophetic (warning everyone)…. Paul’s third essential for preaching is the catechetical (teaching everyone)…. Paul’s fourth essential for preaching is wisdom (with all wisdom)…. Whether one preaches within a premodern, modern, postmodern, or post-postmodern landscape, the goal for preaching remains the same” (p. 105).

10. “Those who are precision oriented must learn to tell the stories of the text. Those who are poetic must learn to surrender to the precision of the text” (p. 108).

11. “When the apostle Paul preached in an unchurched context, his message started not with God as Redeemer but with God as Creator (Acts 17:24). He was not concerned to quote a Bible verse for his sermon; he assumes no familiarity with redemptive history. In a preevangelistic way, Paul makes cultural connections. He highlights the biblical resonance found in the literature of the people (Acts 17:28). Notice that Paul speaks indirectly using all men and us rather than you. He also has an after-meeting in which further discussion can continue” (p. 109).

12. “‘Every human being begins at the beginning, as his fathers did, with the same difficulties and pleasures, the same temptations, the same problems of good evil, the same inward conflict, the same need to learn how to live, the same need to ask what life means.’ [Edwin Muir] Regardless of generation or geography, people share common joys (Acts 14:17) and common temptations (1 Cor. 10:13). We can build a space station, but we struggle with the age-old issues raised by the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. Issues regarding the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit are no different today than they were yesterday. People are still people no matter where they live, what language they speak, what cart they push, or what car they drive” (p. 110).

13. “When a shared knowledge of God’s being and Word is eroded, hearers have little or no awareness of salvation history or of the God who saves. The biblically uninformed do not know what to repent from or whom to repent to, or why such repentance should matter” (p. 130).

14.“The wise are actually interested in what people think. They listen. They collect the sights and sounds of the reality around them. Then they study, meditate, and arrange what they have collected…. The sage requires a meditative life. By this I do not mean a monastic life. Alert observation moves sage meditation into the streets and shops of the world, not away from them…. Observation, meditation, and description have a communication purpose” (p. 146).

15. “The wise not only search Yahweh’s Word for meaning, they also search Yahweh’s world” (p. 147).

16. “The wise listen to the experiences of people” (p. 147).

17. “Every bit of text from the Scripture, every bit of creation, culture, and life becomes a means for making sense of reality with the eloquence of God… Sermon preparation is both an indoor and an outdoor endeavor” (p. 156).

18. “Observation, meditation, description, and interpretation are foreign to the fool. The fool watches the happenings of the earth with no intention to discern wisdom from what he sees (Proverbs. 17:24)” (p. 175).

19. “Idolatry is transcultural” (p. 223).

20. “Idolatry costs us and others. A man sacrifices his family for the sake of gaining an advanced position in the company. In the text and in our community, what price are people willing to pay in order to appease God, to maintain safety, to advance in rank, to reduce guilt, or to feel at peace? What price are we willing to pay?” (p. 229).

21. “Satan raises suspicion regarding God’s authority and credibility…. Satan adds to what God has said…. Satan subtracts from what God has said…. Satan entices by using authentic words without context” (p. 233-34).

22. “When we are read the news, watch a film, go to church, or listen to the voices of our community, we ask:

  • What aspects of God’s authority does our community challenge?
  • What sources of truth does our community deem credible?
  • What do we require of one another that God has not required? What personal, church, and community images describe God as harsher than he actually is?
  • What do we free one another from that God has clearly commanded? What personal, church, and community images depict God as less demanding than he actually is?
  • What does our community offer to make life attractive, happy, wise, and desirable?” (p. 235).

23. Eswine quotes Francis Schaeffer: “I wonder what would happen to most churches and Christian work if we awakened tomorrow, and everything concerning the reality and work of the Holy Spirit, everything concerning prayer, were removed from the Bible. I don’t mean just ignored, but actually cut out—disappeared. I wonder how much difference it would make” (p. 246).

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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