The 99 thoughts you have while planning a sermon

  1. Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!Right, I can't put this off any more. 
  2. [checks Facebook, watches "79 awesome dad saves" video]
  3. I am so sharing that.
  4. Ok, I've got a matter of hours. Time to do this.
  5. Better gather my resources. Notebook, check. Pen, check. Pile of commentaries and concordances that I'm not going to look at, check.
  6. Where's my Bible?
  7. I looked at it the other day, I swear. Where is it?
  8. Ah yeah, the table was wobbling.
  9. Ooh that's dusty.
  10. Right, I'm ready.
  11. Should probably just go and make a coffee first.
  12. Opening new Word document...
  13. So I'm sure I know this, but what's the passage again?
  14. [Checks preaching rota]
  15. Oh no.
  16. Not Revelation. Anything but Revelation.
  17. Why can't it be a nice Jesus one?
  18. This is going to go spectacularly wrong. I'm going to get letters.
  19. I'll probably get given prophetic words afterwards.
  20. Right, I suppose I'd better read it.
  21. Revelation's the one at the end, right?
  22. Ah, never mind, I'll find it on the Internet.
  23. Ooh, someone's liked my Facebook post.
  24. [Am reading]
  25. Uh-oh.
  26. This is worse than I thought. I have absolutely no idea what this means.
  27. I'm going to need biscuits. Hold on.

  28. What does this even...?
  29. "Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones..."
  30. Making a note. Possibility of Game of Thrones joke at some point.
  31. Crossing out note. Wrong audience.
  32. There's a sea of crystal glass. And seven lamps. And seven spirits.
  33. Four living creatures covered with eyes now?
  34. Seriously is this the Bible or Dungeons and Dragons?
  35. I am going to mess this up so badly.
  36. [Frantically Googling other people's sermons on this passage]
  37. That one's too End Times. The living creatures are metaphors for various historical figures.
  38. That one's too conservative. It's all a metaphor for the cross and our own disgustingness.
  39. I need something I can borrow from.
  40. Too clever...
  41. Too famous...
  42. Ah! This one's perfect. Lower Tinkle Baptist Church Sunday sermon series 2002.
  43. Maybe I'll just copy and paste a little bit of his talk into mine. Just so there's something in the document.
  44. Maybe a bit more.
  45. Bit more.
  46. CTRL+A
  47. CTRL+C
  48. CTRL+V
  49. I'll obviously cut lots of this out and replace it.
  50. Word count. 4,000 words!
  51. I am totally winning at Sermon writing today.
  52. I should probably read this properly though.
  53. Hmm.
  54. Ooh.
  55. Oh no. This is a bit of a dud. It'll need some serious spicing up.
  56. I know - what's the greek word for 'Living Creatures covered with eyes'?
  57. Ah Google, what did we do before you?
  58. τέσσαρα ζῷα, tessera zō[i]a
  59. Thanks a bunch, Wikipedia.
  60. How am I supposed to pronounce that?
  61. I know - I'll just put it into my PowerPoint and then just sort of gesture toward it.
  63. Can I get away with a two-slide PowerPoint?
  64. We're going to find out.
  65. I'm still not convinced I've nailed this talk. I think it probably needs a funny, relevant story.
  66. Involving 25 thrones, seven lamps or four scary eye-beasts.
  67. I do not have one of these.
  68. However, if I just carefully stitch together the composite parts of various otherwise-unrelated stories from my life, and throw in a couple of completely fabricated bits...
  69. Nailed it.
  70. Wonder if anyone has commented on that Facebook video I shared.
  71. Yes it IS a hilarious find Glenda Morris. Indeed I DO crack you up.
  72. I wonder if I could find a way of crowbarring the 'awesome dad saves' video into this sermon?
  73. Right, come on now. Bit more rewriting, and I can reward myself with a fairly early night Netflix binge.
  74. Just got to throw in a couple of cultural references...
  75. Quick recap on the first three books of Revelation. John on an Island. Lovely weather. Naughty churches. Blah blah blah...
  76. Arbitrary link to Old Testament passage that doesn't really fit...
  77. Copy out a random bit from one of these commentaries...
  78. Swig of coffee.
  79. Actually that would make a great third PowerPoint slide!
  80. Creating slide. This is really coming together now. It's practically a TED talk.
  81. I'm on fire now. Come on man, bring it home.
  82. All I need now is the title - and that should already have been assigned on the preaching rota...
  83. [Checks preaching rota]
  84. Oh no.
  85. Oh no, no.
  86. Oh no, no, no!
  87. I read the wrong line.
  88. I've prepared last Sunday's sermon.
  89. I am a total moron.
  90. I was actually sitting in that sermon.
  91. I even remember the bit about the four beasts covered in eyes. Thought it was weird then too.
  92. I'm actually preaching on the passage after this one.
  93. What am I going to do?
  94. I've already been at this for hours, and all for nothing!
  95. Well, hour.
  96. My evening has just melted before my eyes.
  97. Unless...
  98. [Frantically types]
  99. Come on, Lower Tinkle Baptist Church, don't let me down...

Martin Saunders is a Contributing Editor for Christian Today and the Deputy CEO of Youthscape. You can follow him on Twitter: @martinsaunders