my sermon notebook

For the last three weeks now, I have been preaching from a handwritten manuscript. After trying to work from a detailed outline instead, it is good to be back to writing out everything I intend to say. I am able to think more clearly on paper and I am also able to say things more clearly when I’ve written them out.

This has helped to bring down my sermon length but also to help me stick to the what & why1 of my sermon. I have also found Sunday mornings less stressful as I am able to read through my script focusing on how I will say the things that I have written rather than also trying to figure out the words that I will use.

But as a stationery geek, my favourite thing about doing this (and the reason why I hope to keep it going) is that I now have a notebook that is filling up with sermons. I love notebooks as objects and this one feels special now as well. I’m able to use the index in a way that will actually help me in the future and I am less relient on technology in the pulpit.

So that I’m not constantly turning pages while preaching, I opted for the larger B5-sized Leuchtturm1917 with a dot-grid.

The title and headings are written big in blue. I denote subheadings with a box around it, and the main body of my sermon is written used a green-black ink (Noodlers Zhivago). Scripture references that I intend to read out are noted in either an orange/brown (Diamine Ancient Copper) or a classic blue (Diamine Kensington Blue, one of the most well-behaved inks I have ever used).

On Sunday mornings when I look over my notes, I mark up my script with a red Uni-ball One 0.38 gel pen. I then write down the passage and title in the index and I’m good to go.

The script itself has averaged about 7-8 pages and that takes me around 35 minutes to get through. I stick fairly close to it but not as much as before I worked with an outline.


  1. I should write about this at some point. In brief, the what is the main message of the passage while the why is the application or implication for us today. ↩︎

I found an old Peugeot Equipe on the road by the church a few months ago and it’s been worked on by one my elders from church. Today, on a break from sermon writing, I finally got to take it out. I’ve wanted a steel-framed bike for years and now I’ve got one!

Being in my mid-30s now, I am keenly aware that this phrase is a lie. Today’s pain will definitely be tomorrow’s pain as well and probably the-day-after-tomorrow’s pain too. 🏋️

This part of Genesis has arrived. (Photo is of a page in volume 2 of Gordon Wenham’s commentary on Genesis.)

Conference days are always overwhelming. They’re intensely social, information dense, and mentally stimulating. Doing a book in a day is like drinking from a firehouse. And they’re always worth it. My brain is absolutely fizzing right now.

Bank Holiday so bit of a later, more relaxed start to looking at the passage I’ll be preaching in Sunday. Genesis 17 is a big chapter and it’s going to make for another interesting kids talk the following week…

I preached from a script today for the first time in a few weeks. It felt a lot better. The big difference this time was that it was a handwritten script.

I listen to a lot of K-pop these days but I’ve recently found some common ground with my kids in Japanese city pop. Sometimes I’m surprised by how I got here (because I hated non-indie pop music) but I can actually trace back to where it began. I may write about it sometime.

Nothing like a day off when the sun is out.

Adsum Try Ravenhill recently started a book-length series on the book of Jude. I’ve found Jude fascinating for a while now so I’m looking to see how he develops it from here.

Baking bread and kitchen stress

These were baked yesterday. They’re the same recipe which I now know works as either a shaped loaf or a tinned loaf. I’m building a single-page site that will show my method because it seems to be fairly fool-proof (there is no reason for sourdough to be stressful when all bread used to be sourdough). I think there’s more stress than there needs to be in both baking and cooking. Like, I weigh everything and I do so metrically because it’s obviously the best way but if there’s a microgram more of some kind of leavener in a thing, it actually isn’t going to be noticeable.

I’ve lived in Scotland for 4 years now and we’re getting ready to experience a third First Minister in Holyrood. Very curious to see how this goes. Interesting that Kate Forbes is getting mentioned again.

The Absence of Opposition – The Suburbs of Heaven

This article couldn’t have come at a better time.

One of the quotes that I have hanging on a shelf in my office speaks to this. It is a quote by G. Campbell Morgan, who preceded and mentored Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel in London. It reads as follows: “If you have no opposition in the place you are serving, then you are serving in the wrong place.”

The Absence of Opposition – The Suburbs of Heaven

My favourite last-minute salad dressing

  • 1 tsp Dijon
  • 1.5 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • Heavy pinch of salt
  • Heavy grind of black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil (I use a cold-pressed one that I get from Aldi)

All you need to do is give it a good whisk. The honey and the Dijon both help to keep it in emulsion.

This does wonders for a plain mixed green salad.

Sometimes, the work is literally an exercise in untangling wires.

Tiny waves 🌊

It isn’t often but when the sun is out we get the bluest skies ever.

I never feel less competent than when I go to push my glasses up my nose but my glasses aren’t even on.

Today was a day spent on the classroom meditating on the significance of Jesus’ ascension (especially looking at Acts, Ephesians, and Hebrews) and writing my sermon on Genesis 15. Needless to say, I am very exhausted.