Thursday, August 23, 2012

Christ Centered Devotions And Other Writing

Note: I wrote the opening paragraph of this post on Facebook also this morning. The challenge in writing concise devotions is this: Even in 225 words, we tell two stories--ours according to the Law and Christ Jesus' salvation according to the Gospel. To neglect either is dangerous. Either the reader is left big-headed, thinking he can how-to it out of his own sin. Or, he is left in despair saying he's hopeless beyond rescue. Only in Christ Jesus' cross is that tension solved, proclaimed in clear words. Of course, writing devotions for a popular audience has several other components. One must be concise, not overwhelming the reader with more than one main point or central thought. Particularly with devotions centering on a reading from the Old Testament historical books or the Gospels, we do well to retell the main part of the narrative. Here again, we face two aspects of the craft that hold each other in tension. First, we desire to show the action, making description come alive. Second, we still, unmitigated, proclaim—tell—the narrative’s application to us and our salvation. WE are not called to moralize people into pleasing God by devotions or to scratch itching ears for the sake of pithy entertainment. If such is a byproduct of our labors, so be it. God grant it. But, the primary application of a text is clear—our sin, Christ’s rescue. For a further elaboration of resources for devotions and other Christian writing, listen to the segments on related to teaching a Sunday school lesson. Usually, Pam Nielsen is Pastor Wilken’s guest for these half hour segments. Or, you can order the Growing IN Christ and Life Light curricula at Concordia Publishing House. (800) 325-3040

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