I am the minister here because I believe in the Bible, and it’s relevance for our lives, and I believe in Radcliff Presbyterian Church. The people here are special and they prove it by how they treat the gospel and by how they treat visitors. They show it by how they are willing to learn and grow, and then demonstrate those changes in their daily lives. Folks here are willing to allow God to do great things in their lives, and many of them have experienced that over and over, even if they probably wouldn’t easily tell you what they have done or are doing.

I am both a minister and a marriage and family therapist. As such I am here at Radcliff because feel led to be and I want to be. I enjoy worshiping here and besides it is an honor to lead the ministry team here. Since the Church seems to appreciate how my dual competencies add to the sermons and help me to bring out the deep knowledge and wisdom that is in the Bible. I like the Church’s attitude because some scholars have said the Bible is the best psychology book ever written. I agree. Another reason I like this Church so much is that the folks here agree with me on some basic principles about sermons. For instance we agree that sermons dealing with politics and money are unnecessary. Our approach to the building fund is to save for it. We are. Any money beyond what is needed goes to the building fund.

Because I read and keep up with many of the latest developments in Psychology, when those developments add to the truth of the Bible by amplifying them or by affirming them I bring those truths out, and show them in as practical manner that I can for us today. For example brain research affirms the value of praising God, collectively, as well as individually, and can also be used to show the validity of following the commandments. In addition research also shows that singing with others helps keep us healthier, mentally, and physically.

Speaking of becoming healthier, over the years many folks have come to us get healthier and then are moved to another part of the country, or the world. It has happened so often that I think of it as part of our mission. Being immersed in a healthy thinking community that is forgiving and who knows your name has significant benefits. When you add to that, sermons that are uplifting, Bible based and practical you get a recipe that has a powerful lasting impact. I have always believed that the Scriptures offer to us attitudes, values and life styles that invite us toward health, happiness and life satisfaction. It may be one of the reasons that people who regularly attend worship services divorce one in ten couples, while in the general population it is one in two. What no one told me at Seminary was that different congregations bring out different messages and themes from the same minister. The reason is that sermons are more a dialog between the subtle responses the congregation makes and the minister offering the message. When a mentally healthy congregation responds with faith and wants to learn and grow it changes how the minister thinks and causes him/ her to think in new ways, and actually may be part of how God moves the minister to respond appropriately to the needs of the congregation.

Prior to being here at Radcliff I served as the Chief Chaplain at the Women’s Prison in Kentucky and was an adjunct professor at the Seminary in the Marriage and Family Therapy Department. Being at those two institutions at the same time caused me to think in some unique ways about therapy, theology and about health, that many folks find useful and helpful, and I regularly teach them at seminars and conferences for therapists. Many of those insights are sprinkled in the sermons and casual conversations because that is how I think. However, being here has taught me so much more and I am indebted to this congregation for those lessons. At the time of this writing I have another book coming out offering many of those insights that are a combination of lessons learned from prison, seminary, and congregational life.

If you know a lot about sermons you will notice that I do not follow standard forms for sermon construction. I use as best that I can the style of writing found in the Bible to inform how to write and construct sermons. Ok, well not the jokes, but the puns are pretty much in keeping with the original text. Actually, puns connect disseperate parts of our brains and invite us to be more creative. The Bible is full of them. The goal is to assist you to be who you and God think you can be, and to encourage you to recognize as completely as possible that God loves you already. What I also do intentionally as the Bible does is to insert other positive things that are implied and are said indirectly, as well as to offer useful bits of knowledge. You may notice that the sermons have an emphasis on the Greek and Hebrew words that the text is written in, so that we get as accurate a view of what was really said to us as possible.

Another thing that you might like to know about sermons in general is that most of us don’t remember much about what was said, except for some stories, or special things that really apply to us in specific ways. One of the benefits of sermons tends to come from positive associations that occur from things we connect with while listening. In a similar way you may not remember what you had for lunch two and a half weeks ago, unless it was fairly unusual, but your body used that food to keep you going and to keep you healthy, in fact at this point that meal is now part of you. The most powerful impact on us is the implied message from what is said in between the lines of what is vocally said. Since, that is one of the major things the Bible does I follow suit in sermon writing. While I do keep busy, I will always make time for you if you ask. Keeping busy is part of who I am. In fact, usually the prayers requested during a worship service I will pray again during the week, and sometimes on numerous occasions. It is a part of how I attempt to stay in touch with you and God. Besides I figure if Jesus did that sort of thing to rest then it is a pretty good idea for us.


Dr. John D. Lentz