A well-written and informative sermon primer for pastors.


McDonald delivers advice on how to produce better sermons in this debut Christian guidebook.

A majority of pastors in Christian congregations across America are now multivocational, meaning that they have a job in addition to their religious duties. As such, they may lack the time and Bible school education of the full-time pastors of yesteryear. McDonald seeks to help these part-timers: “The intent of this book is to address both the limited time and financial issues. The multi-vocational pastor must have timesaving options for sermon preparation that still yield a quality sermon.” Even the divinely inspired pastor requires research to successfully preach to his flock, and the author provides numerous tips and strategies for those in need of a little aid. From determining the purpose of a sermon to seeking out inspiration and choosing topics that will speak to the needs of the congregation and the pastor himself, McDonald walks the reader through the creation process. In addition to nuts-and-bolts advice on how to structure the sermon, he offers holistic counsel on the ways a pastor should live to make himself a better vessel for God’s teachings. These range from the theological (“only a fool would embark upon building a sermon or other spiritual project without prayer”) to the practical (“Preachers are not immune to the onset, either temporary or long term, of physiological diseases or psychological disorders”). The book concludes with a number of prompts to get the aspiring sermon writer’s imagination flowing. A multivocational pastor and missionary, McDonald writes in a conversational prose and has the gentle, explanatory manner one would expect from a member of the clergy. He approaches the sermon-writing process from every angle while keeping the guide a tight read at under 200 pages. While the audience for the work may be narrow, the book is well-tailored to its task. McDonald makes it clear to new pastors that they are not obligated to be expert sermon writers right out of the gate. Like everything else, there’s a learning curve, and this author is happy to light the way.

A well-written and informative sermon primer for pastors.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-7090-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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An erudite and artful, though frustratingly restrained, look at Old Testament stories.


The Book of Genesis as imagined by a veteran voice of underground comics.

R. Crumb’s pass at the opening chapters of the Bible isn’t nearly the act of heresy the comic artist’s reputation might suggest. In fact, the creator of Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural is fastidiously respectful. Crumb took pains to preserve every word of Genesis—drawing from numerous source texts, but mainly Robert Alter’s translation, The Five Books of Moses (2004)—and he clearly did his homework on the clothing, shelter and landscapes that surrounded Noah, Abraham and Isaac. This dedication to faithful representation makes the book, as Crumb writes in his introduction, a “straight illustration job, with no intention to ridicule or make visual jokes.” But his efforts are in their own way irreverent, and Crumb feels no particular need to deify even the most divine characters. God Himself is not much taller than Adam and Eve, and instead of omnisciently imparting orders and judgment He stands beside them in Eden, speaking to them directly. Jacob wrestles not with an angel, as is so often depicted in paintings, but with a man who looks not much different from himself. The women are uniformly Crumbian, voluptuous Earth goddesses who are both sexualized and strong-willed. (The endnotes offer a close study of the kinds of power women wielded in Genesis.) The downside of fitting all the text in is that many pages are packed tight with small panels, and too rarely—as with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah—does Crumb expand his lens and treat signature events dramatically. Even the Flood is fairly restrained, though the exodus of the animals from the Ark is beautifully detailed. The author’s respect for Genesis is admirable, but it may leave readers wishing he had taken a few more chances with his interpretation, as when he draws the serpent in the Garden of Eden as a provocative half-man/half-lizard. On the whole, though, the book is largely a tribute to Crumb’s immense talents as a draftsman and stubborn adherence to the script.

An erudite and artful, though frustratingly restrained, look at Old Testament stories.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-393-06102-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2009

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Internationally renowned because of his earlier books, among them tape Letters, Surprised by Joy, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis making religion provoking, memorable and delightful is still more latest Reflections on the Psalms. Though he protests that he writes learned about things in which he is unlearned himself, the reader is likely thank God for his wise ignorance. Here especially he throws a clear lightly or not, on many of the difficult psalms, such as those which abound with and cursing, and a self-centeredness which seems to assume' that God must be side of the psalmist. These things, which make some psalm singers pre not there, have a right and proper place, as Mr. Lewis shows us. They of Psalms more precious still. Many readers owe it to themselves to read flections if only to learn this hard but simple lesson. Urge everyone to book.

Pub Date: June 15, 1958

ISBN: 015676248X

Page Count: 166

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1958

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