Preaching the Parables
I Love to Tell the Story
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"Richard Sheffield preaches and writes with clarity and conviction. He has a rare gift of interpreting parables so they are accessible to his audience while retaining their heavenly truth for our lives. He has a heart for God, and that comes through in this book."
Rev. David E. Gray
Former Acting Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor
Presbyterian Chaplain, American University
When Richard Sheffield sang "I Love to Tell the Story" as a child, he never dreamed that he would end up telling that age-old story for his life's work. Yet "telling the story" is a vital form of communication for preachers and the most effective way to reach audiences with God's powerful plan of salvation. People love to hear stories, sing about stories, and tell stories -- but above all, they remember stories Jesus knew this; indeed, he was a master storyteller himself. Jesus' most powerful sermons -- the parables -- were simply earthly stories with heavenly meanings, using such common imagery as salt and light, sheep, a mustard seed, weeds, lamps with oil, and workers in a vineyard.
"Preaching the Parables" expands on fourteen of Jesus' parables appearing in Cycle A of the Revised Common Lectionary and brings them into a more modern setting. In Sheffield's hands, the stories he loves to tell are as varied as familiar songs in the hymnal: he uses the children's song "The Wise Man Built His House upon the Rock" as a springboard for a vivid portrayal of the difference between wise and foolish builders; "This Little Light of Mine" provides further insight into Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5; and the plaintive wail of "The Ninety and Nine" reminds us -- just like Luke 15 -- that if we were the only wandering sheep, our wonderful shepherd would seek for us until we were found.
"The parables of Jesus as familiar, predictable Sunday school stories? Not when Richard Sheffield is doing the preaching and teaching This book is must reading for Christians who seek a lifelong Christ-centered faith."
Director of Religion and Disability Program, National Organization on Disability
Member, Board of Trustees, Princeton Theological Seminary
Richard Louie Sheffield is senior pastor of Georgetown Presbyterian Church in Washington DC. He has previously served congregations in Ohio, Massachusetts, and New York. Sheffield holds degrees from Georgia State University (A.B.), the University of Chicago (M.B.A.), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (D.Min.).
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