One of my favorite techniques I use in preparing my sermons is to paraphrase the scripture passage I'm working with. I re-write it. Kind of like "How I would have written it." What it amounts to is a commentary on what I think the passage is about. It's especially fun when it come to retelling Jesus's parables.
Today I preached on John 12:24-25. My paraphrase didn't actually make it into the sermon for the sake of time, but I kind of liked it, so here it is. I call it the Pastor Dave's Revised Version (PDRV).
Listen, while I tell you the real deal. A grain of wheat is just a grain of wheat, unless it goes into the ground. If it never gets buried like the dead body that it is, it will remain no more than what it is; a single solitary inert chunk of not much.
But once that buried body of a seed is placed in the ground to rot, then and only then will it actually become what it has been destined for from the beginning. Only then will it cease being just a seed, and become the living growing plant it was always supposed to be; a vegetable wonder that so overflows with life that it has life to spare and so it's life takes over and spreads itself out for miles around.
In the same way, if any of you insist on maintaining your death grip on this desiccated chunk of barely being that you think is life, you will lose what little existence you have. Decay will be your only option. You will wither and rot indeed. On the other hand, if you dare to discard your seedy little existence, like the piece of useless not much that it is – strangely enough, you will find an expanding and growing life sprouting out of you -- a life that never stops and never ends, ever.
Let me put this a different way. Those who would serve me must give up on cutting their own way through the jungle. Instead, they must follow the path that I am blazing (all the way to the bitter end). Wherever I am walking, the one who wants to obey me will be walking there too. Anyone who actually steps onto my path will receive honor from the Father.
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