May 12, 2009

That vs. This

Or, the Past vs. the Present

Think of the difference between starting a story with "That was a crazy night" vs. "This is the craziest night."

Or, "I wanted my child to learn right from wrong" vs. "I want my child to learn right from wrong."

Invite your listeners into your story. Invite them to join you in the here and now. Make it about the present moment, the importance and immediacy of now.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post. And how true.

    I have noticed a "trend" related to this in my sermon writing/preaching, namely when I am preaching from one of the accounts of Jesus' life and ministry. When I truly believe the message I am trying to convey, I use the present tense to retell the story, even though the story was written 2000 years ago and itself uses the past tense. When I do not connect with my own message, I use the past tense. So as I reread my manuscript in preparation for preaching, I do not only check to make sure the tenses match for grammatical correctness, but also to ensure that my message is authentic.



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