Today most of my time is going to be devoted to preparing to teach tomorrow. I've been asked to lead a couple of classes at the "Super-Saturday" event for the Presbytery of Tampa Bay and I always like to make sure I'm really ready.
It's material I've presented before, so it's important that I guard against the dreaded "stale" or "perfunctory." If people are making the effort to show up to my class then the least I can do is make sure the material is fresh.
I remember one professor in college who lectured from notes so old that the paper was yellow-brown and brittle.
His presentation was as musty as his material, and his chief teaching gift was that of elevating simple boredom to a fine art-form.
I took a look at the lectern one day when he left the lecture hall for a few minutes. I noticed that there were no line-outs, no additions scribbled in the margins, no arrows to an amended page; nothing to suggest that his presentation had been finessed at all over the years.
So I asked him how long he'd been using his outline. "Thirty-two years," he said. "And it's not an outline. This is exactly what I always teach, word for word."
I've heard preachers do the same thing with recycled sermons, taking God's life-giving Word and reducing it to something hackneyed and irrelevant - even using illustrations that were already tired when they first used them twenty years ago.
Yesterday evening I took a few photographs of the sky at around 7:00. I've looked at that view now for almost 13 years. But, once again, it was fresh and creative, presented with inventiveness and imagination, offered as a testimony to the truth that absolutely everything the hand of the Creator touches is new every day.
That's my inspiration when I write, when I teach, when I publish a new book, and when I wake up to interact with a brand-new opportunity to live creatively as God's child in an amazing world.
So tomorrow I'm teaching "Designing a Men’s Group for the 21st Century" in the morning. And "Making it Through December with our Faith Intact" in the afternoon.
I sure hope somebody shows up!