We Do Not Lose Heart: A Homecoming Sermon for Lindsley Avenue Church, October 14, 2007

One of the signal honors of my life was receiving an invitation to preach at the 120th Anniversary Homecoming for Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ in Nashville in October 2007. I blogged about it then, and promised to upload my sermon. I do not remember why I did not upload it, but I did not. I searched, and I found it and I uploaded it to the Spoken Word page.

In 2007 I was freshly out of a deep dive into homiletics. I utilized Paul Scott Wilson’s ‘four-page‘ method to bring a word to the church. I wrestled with what to say. After I settled on a text from 2 Corinthians 4, Wilson’s heuristic gave me a way to approach how to say it. His model helped me frame the sermon. I think the sermon holds up well. I don’t think I could preach it any better today than I did then. I would not change anything except to tighten the language.

The manuscript I scanned and uploaded is the copy I took into the pulpit. It bears a few marks I inserted to help me remember where to place emphasis. I did not read it; but I preached it as written. No recording was made, so you will have to supply emphasis. Looks for the marks and you will be able to get close.

If asked how to preach an anniversary sermon or a homecoming sermon, this is what I could offer. If asked how to incorporate very local congregational history into a sermon, this is how I did it, once. Depending on the task at hand, you could do this very differently. In this case, my charge was to look as much forward as backward. In this case, I was preaching to a church very much at the margins of conventional Nashville Church of Christ culture. In this case, as is true in every case if you look closely and honestly enough, there was a great deal to discourage you. A great deal. But the hope of the gospel surpasses our disappointments. Thus the sermon.

Leander Moore preaches at Central Church of Christ (Deaf), 1960s

Several years ago I was given a few photographs and other paper items from the estate of Owen Pryor, one of the early ministers to the deaf at Nashville’s Central Church of Christ.  Among them is this photograph of Leander Moore preaching to the deaf congregation.  It is as fine an example of chart preaching as I have seen.

Photograph, Leander Moore at Central Church of Christ (Deaf), 1960s. Nashville, Tennessee.

Photograph, Leander Moore at Central Church of Christ (Deaf), 1960s. Nashville, Tennessee.

Walter Scott on ‘Meeting’, Preaching and Exhorting


Agreeably to appointment, a four day’s meeting was held at Mayslick, on the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st ult.  It was supposed that on Lord’s day, fifteen hundred persons were present: five brethren engaged actively in the business of the meeting, and ten or eleven individuals were immersed.

We would just notice that the economy to be observed at such a meeting ought to be maturely considered, for very frequently our best wishes and most zealous efforts are rendered abortive for want of a proper plan, and a few moments deliberation.

The fact of commencing operations at the spur of the moment without any preconcerted plan, frequently proves injurious to our cause.

I very well recollect of three of us, a while before the actual restoration of the Ancient Gospel, standing up and in succession, with only a few minutes intermission between the last two, delivering three set speeches of from two to three hours in length each, and then sitting down without ever affording the audience a single opportunity obey the Son of God.  Things, however, are very much changed since that time, and now we meet to preach the gospel that it may be obeyed by those who hear us.

How then ought the ministering brethren, who are present on such occasions, to proceed, in order to produce the greatest possible effect?

Experience suggests the following to me as the best plan to be pursued.  The laboring brethren who are to be engaged should have the sole direction of this matter, and should then pitch upon one brother who is capable of handling a distinct topic.  When he has enlightened the audience, and has stated, defined, and illustrated his subject, let him give an invitation to the people and be succeeded by his fellows in the character of exhorters.

Exhorters, it ought to be observed, should never introduce new topics, but only new and striking ideas on the same topic.

Exhortations should consist of such things as have a tendency to move the affections of those who have believed but not obeyed; they should be elevated, violent, or tender according to the state of the case; bold & lively, striking and animating, containing great and beautiful images, calculated to move the soul and win the world to God.

The person engaged in delivering the leading discourse should not, I think, be called on to immerse; it is on some occasions too much.  The-man-at-the-fountain should be one of the other brethren.

[Walter Scott] “Meeting” The Evangelist, 1:6, June 4, 1832, p. 139.

The Story

Not long ago I listened online to my long-time friend Chris Harrell preach about Joseph.  Chris is pinch-hitting for Jimmy Adcox at Southwest Church in Jonesboro, AR.  For a season they are preaching through the biblical narrative from beginning to end.  It appears they are at the same time intentionally tying the stories of life on the ground in Jonesboro to the narrative of Scipture and the narrative Scripture invites us to inhabit.  Here is the website they put together as they work through it.  I find the website a good idea and the materials on it (especially the reference chart) helpful.  I admire their attempt to saturate the congregation with the Biblical story.

Save the Paper

Regular readers of this blog know that one of my research interests is Nashville’s Stone-Campbell heritage.  Judging from the folks who find my blog by searching for old Nashville churches like Foster Street Christian Church or Vine Street Christian Church or South College Street Church of Christ, I see I am not alone in my interest.  Here’s my appeal:

I am assembling information from, by and about these churches, ministers and related organizations.  Do you have paper (like directories or bulletins), photographs, sermons, postcards, old issues of periodicals like Gospel Advocate or Apostolic Times or ephemera from Nashville events like the Hardeman Tabernacle meetings or the Collins-Craig Auditorium Meeting, or the Nashville Jubilee?  Do you have photographs or postcards of church buildings?  For that matter, do you have an old map of Nashville that shows what the city was like in the 1940’s?  or earlier? Do you have clippings from the newspapers about people or events or congregations in the Nashville or Davidson County area?   Do you have memories of growing up at Vine Street Christian Church when it was still downtown?  Or Reid Avenue Church of Christ, Russell Street Church of Christ or Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ (all three are now closed)?  Would you be willing to talk with me–in person or by email or even by postal mail–to share your memories?  Would you allow me to borrow your old paper, copy it and learn from it?

Old paper is the stuff from which history is written.  And if it isn’t preserved then not only will vital data be lost but a story will be silenced.  I believe the Nashville story is a rich story, and a story worth keeping and worth telling and worth preserving.   With every funeral we lose some memory or story.  The time has come for us to assemble what remains while we can, and ensure that through its preservation the story will not be forgotten.

Check the steamer trunks in your attics, the boxes in your basements and the files in the closets.  Before you throw it away, email me.  Let’s preserve it.

icekm (at) aol (dot) com

Catching Up and Walking On

This weekend the Ice family will be making strides against breast cancer in fabulous downtown Nashville.  Laura’s folks are coming in for the weekend and my mother will also be walking, so its a whole-family affair.  Laura has assembled another “Jean Team” to walk in memory of her beloved colleague from Una Church’s Mothers Day Out program.  Our group of about 15 will join several thousand for what looks to be a nice sunny stroll from the Titans stadium, through downtown and back across the river.  Today its cold and rainy, but tomorrow looks better.  Let’s hope what is true for the weather holds true for the fight against breast cancer.


Our evenings have been occupied with house cleaning, laundry and the ever-present homework.  My study is coming along nicely and should be clutter free by late tonight.  Darby helped me decorate it for Halloween. I’ll try to post pictures of her handiwork tonight.


Needless to say, between household chores and prep for my teaching on Sundays, Uncle Dave has been neglected.  But we’ll see what next week holds. 


Yesterday I was blessed to visit with the staff at World Christian Broadcasting in Franklin.  I spoke at their staff devotional and toured their facility.  They are fine people who do a good work worthy of your support.  We have supported them financially and urge you to do the same.  I’ll upload my comments to the Spoken Word page shortly.


I have notes for last week’s class on Acts 27, but they are not yet typed. I think the approach I settled on is a fairly good way to approach narrative for spiritual transformation.  Though a travel narrative like Acts 27 poses a challenge for lectio divina I’m satisfied with the direction I took.   I’m continuing with Acts 28 Sunday and brining it (the book, the series and one of Acts’ larger theological points) to a close.


I preach from manuscripts but teach from handwritten notes.  Always.  For me, I’ve found the discipline of crafting a sermon (or a devotional or some other kind of speech) works best when the process results in a full manuscript.  I simply preach better (in my estimation at least) from a manuscript.  But for class settings, the time and attention devoted to writing notes by hand rewards me with the ability to teach from memory with only an occasional reference to the notes.  I can’t explain why I benefit in different ways from each approach, but somehow I do.  Also, the dynamic of presenting a sermon lends itself to manscripts (I”m not a hand-waver or a stage-walker).  But the dynamic of a class-setting (again, for me) is much improved when I avoid the podium like the plague.