Speaking with Marbuen Diaz

I love getting the opportunity to hear people preach about Jesus. I am also curious about how different people prepare sermons. So with that in mind here are some questions I asked Marbz.

Can you think of a sermon that had a big impact on you? Why has it stayed with you?

Yes – Mike Frost preached on John 17 and highlighted Jesus’ prayer for unity. It impacted me because my experience of a lot of Christianity was about division (church splits, judgemental attitudes and denominational divides) and it was beautiful to get an intimate insight into my Lord’s heart and desire for unity. In Jesus’ view of unity, there is power and witness.

What was your process preparing to preach at Seaforth?

My usual process of preparing to preach is: multiple biblical text reading, a lot of prayer and communication planning. My reading and my prayers are always informed – by that I mean I aim to relationally connect with pastor’s/leader’s heart because I see myself as serving the church, not my agenda. I also read up (as best as I can) on their vision, mission, values and whatever else is made available to me. If it was a series, I would watch/listen to previous sermons. My heart behind that is to discern what Father is already doing and to join Spirit in the work he is already doing. Communication planning, for me, is about understanding the audience and discerning the best ways to communicate the content. This means, if accessible, some cultural exegesis, church history, recent important events, etc.

Now that I’ve briefly framed my overall process, I’ll answer your question a little more specifically. Relationally, I have connected with Vikki, Susy, Jas and Christine to understand the story of Seaforth Baps. Obviously, I did not do all that just to prepare for a sermon but the relational approach has always been part of my values. This helped me discern what I see God doing and also what my very little place is. I read online Seaforth’s story (past present future) and looked at the recent sermons, to see what you had formatively in mind. Looked at the vision, mission and values with specific attention to your summary mission statement: Be, Speak, Do. This helped me decide the kind of sermon I will preach. Sorry for that long answer…

Do you think the sermon has a role in the work of justice? If so, what is its role? 

Yes! Biblical correction of what justice is or at least a check on people’s definition of what biblical justice is. In a nutshell, it must have some relational articulation and restorative outlook. This allows biblical justice to penetrate deep into hearts. The sermon can also paint a picture of how to act or do justice. This helps develop a biblical justice lens in our lives.