Ruth and Esther Theater
Tuesday, December 05, 2023
Featuring the Creative Works of Dennis L. Dunn


(Or use the Index At the Top Left)
     The following are suggestions in reviewing my material.  PLEASE read at least the first one.
     1.         Recognize Your Church’s Culture – CUT! 
Don't get Muzzled! 
      The Christian Church I attend allows 3 minutes for talks and a little elasticity in that amount (so many of these thoughts are over 3 minutes).  Paul noted that he “was like a Jew to the Jews” and became like one “not under the law to those not under the law”.    By this he meant that he tried to mimic/accept the culture he lived in, so that his message would be heard.
     Be like Paul.  If your church has short talks either go to another web site or be prepared to hack mine to pieces to get down to the 100 or 150 words your congregation is used to. 
     Talk too long and you will get MUZZLED!  CUT to what they’re used to. 
     I frequently don't use everything I wrote.  Why Should You?   Sometimes I felt that there were points I wanted to save, but not deliver, mindful of the limits of what my audience would accept.  I left them in, to consider for myself (or develop down the road).  But a common complaint with my messages is that I want to deliver a short 2-3 point sermon.  It's safer (for you and me) if you keep it to one main point.
     2.         Practice. 
     A standard stage adage is: “Amateurs practice until they get it right; professional practice until they never make a mistake.”  Now, while we should allow for the Holy Spirit’s direction, it really helps to have read over material out loud until it’s your own (or editing my stuff until it’s your own).  Consider getting the key points (other than scriptures you’re going to quote) down to a 5-15 word outline.
     I write out my messages because I want to save and share them.  But I think I was better when I practiced and practiced and practiced with a basic outline.  It flowed better; it sounded better; and I stumbled over words less often.
     Most commentators agree that Jesus Sermon On the Mount (or the Plains) was a message that, as a traveling evangelist/preacher, He gave numerous times.  The practice led to it being polished and powerful.  It became the greatest practical and theological sermon ever preached. 
     3.         The Message is Important. 
     You have been given the opportunity to share what God has given you. You’re at this site to get ideas to build on (or you’re desperate). 
     Communion was instituted by Jesus to be done in “Remembrance of Him”. Everyone understands it’s important. It was one of the four things the New Testament Church did that helped them to grow. Acts tells us that: “They continued in the Apostles teaching (sermons & lessons), the breaking of bread (Communion), fellowship, and prayer. Acts 2:42. 
     Do your best to get it right.
     4.         Attribution.
     I am flattered that you’re considering using this material and you’re welcome to do so without crediting me at all.
     Having said that, if you’re conscience bothers you or if there is a significant difference between the message you normally give and my material, it may be reasonable to say, “Well, I got a lot of that one from the web.” OR: “Well, I got that from a writer I like, who is on the web, Dennis Dunn.”   
     It doesn’t detract from the fact that you gave a good message (I hope).  You still had to search the web and read several meditations before you selected one of mine.  You probably had to cut paragraphs and add your own wording.  I prepare a lot of my Sunday School lessons using comments/commentaries from David Guzik (Blue Letter Bible) and J. Vernon McGee.  They’re still my lessons.
     It’s especially reasonable to mention my name if any of the following apply: 
          1.     The person you’re talking to may need ideas for their own mediations.
          2.     The person you’re talking to has influence in the church (or a theater company) and you’d like to suggest using my other material, such as the Easter presentation (Oh, Please Do!).
          3.     The person may need writing/web design done or may be someone to commission work (they’re doing well financially).  I’m trying to make a living as a writer a referral is gold.
      5.         Suggestions for Ministers.
     You probably get annoyed when a Communion meditation becomes a Communion message.  (Ugh!)  You’ll hear about it.  And be encouraged to take action (e.g., never let them talk again).    
     I’d like to suggest when that happens that you refer the person muttering to Mathew 18 and ask them to talk to the offending brother themselves.  This doesn’t mean that if the brother made a mistake you shouldn’t personally talk to them, but why it that we tell 5 year-olds to work it out with their brothers and sisters but reward gossips in the church?
     One of my pet peeves is that congregations have reverted to a Jewish (or Catholic) style of ministry: The priest (preacher) does everything except the music.  We get a special priest for that. 
     The New Testament model recognized that we all have gifts and the body grows when we use them.   It’s annoying to watch more and more of the service done only by paid clergy (and for meditations, not done particularly well).  Communion and Stewardship Meditations are areas that should allow people like me to use their gift for God. 
     And to learn.  I think young people (and young Christians) should be encouraged to talk (if they have a gifting).  
     It would be even better if ministers coached them by asking them to deliver the talk to the minster days before, so that they could be critiqued.  For driving we have instructors; for teaching and speaking in church, you wing it.  Probably a mistake.  (It’s bad enough you have to navigate relationships with girls on your own.)  As an aside, coaching is discipleship.  Why should believers have to pay a college $10,000+ per year, when that’s part of what a minister is called to do?
     We seem to have adopted a new translation of Romans 12. 
            It provides:
If a man’s gift is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;  if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously (Amen!) . . . if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.  And, if it’s preaching, let him put a sock in it until he's out of seminary.  He can't be as good as the clergy.