Jubilee has completed its sermon series Malachi. I preached 3 out of the 8 sermons. My reflection is as follows:
1. Malachi should be understood as a unified whole. It is common to focus on a particular passage to talk about divorce or tithing, but these are never the main issues. The root "problem" is their relationship with God, which is tampered by distrust, corruption and indiscipline. These are tough times to continue with loyalty to the covenant. I have previously organized the sermon via the introductory survey by Longman III. With the benefit of hindsight, I would have done the application aspect a lot differently. I would have focused on the issues of doubt and struggles of faith.
2. I did 3 different styles for my 3 sermons. I did a first person half joking style for the first sermon on church leadership, the second is a paper-like logical presentation against the common misconception about tithing (in Chinese), and the third is a run of the mill siowhwee styled conclusion to the series.
2a. Of these 3, I received the best reviews for the second because people found my explanations for tithing clear and relevant. Unfortunately, I like this one the least because the main emphasis of the passage is about returning to God and not tithing. But I couldn't evade the big elephant in the room. I settled for relevance instead for expository honesty.
2b. My wife says that the third sermon is the one that is "good". That means it is of depth. I agree. It is the result of reflecting the entire Malachi. Unfortunately it is too little and too late. I can only hope that future readers can start with this sermon, and then move on to the first sermon. That would be more hugely rewarding.
2c. The first sermon was a refreshing twist. I intentionally used humor to defuse a potentially confrontational situation. I didn't want to sound angry. But I did want the message to drive home. I guess the result isn't too bad.