After a lifetime serving God and the Uniting Church throughout Queensland, Rev Trevor Foote has released More than 100 of the Best, a collection of sermons from his extensive archives built up from decades of preaching. Rev Bruce Raymond reviews.
Preaching can be an unpredictable business. I have delivered sermons making some points which I thought were of secondary importance, only to have someone later thanking me for those points. Whereas what I thought were the major points, were seemingly overlooked.
So when Rev Trevor Foote titles his latest book, More than 100 of the Best, (no capital letters shown), one must ask, “The best of what?”
In this collection of sermons, or messages, (111 in all), and by his own introductory admission, Trevor says choosing “the best” is a very subjective experience. His selection criteria are those sermons which affected him in writing them, and in their delivery.
Invariably well researched, with back stories and titbits of information which corroborate and drive home the scripture-based points being made, the text of each message can be engaged by the reader in a variety of ways. It might serve as a preaching resource. Both author and (local) publisher give permission for the use of any material, with the regulatory proviso of due acknowledgement.
But for any reader, the most satisfying way of reading this book is to simply browse. It is a treasure chest containing clear-cut gems of explanations, understandings, and related stories emerging from scripture. For example, Trevor writes, “….the opposite of faith is not doubt; the opposite of faith is fear.” (Message 66, “Doubting Thomas”)
Also, the author’s introduction unashamedly mentions his affectionate bias towards the New Testament book of Ephesians. Explanations about this NT book in some of his messages range from Agatha Christie to the Brisbane Ekka (Exhibition). These references show the wide diversity of thought of which Trevor is capable.
Like any good material, this book serves as a stepping-stone on which the reader can proceed onto their own thoughts, or their own composition. It provides the reader with something in which he or she can find meaningful value, and which they can take away for themselves—like any good sermon, after all.
It is a big book (358 pages) in both its physical dimensions as well as its subject material. It cannot be read like a novel, or an historical treatise. Each page is well-formatted, with user-friendly sized paragraphs containing details which can often stand alone.
The index shows the contents relating to the Gospels are well ordered, according to the weekly Bible readings of the Revised Common Lectionary, Years A, B, and C. Messages relating to the Old Testament are separate, as are the messages which make up the balance of the New Testament (from Acts on).
Each message is titled so as to tease the imagination. However, the index itself does not include the relevant Bible reading for each message. To find that, the reader must turn to the message page itself.
Whatever the reader’s engagement with the text between its covers, the book makes room for the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit in the thoughts and life of the reader, no matter what his or her prior knowledge of scripture might be.
This book is the legacy of one man’s life’s work yet it represents much more. Apart from an underlying sense of humour which manifests now and then, Trevor pays tribute to his wife Dawn, his weekly proof reader for over 45 years. With unwritten words, the book tells of obedience to calling, love of scripture, and the spirit-given capacity to proclaim it.
Rev Bruce Raymond
Rev Bruce Raymond is a retired Minister of the Word residing in Ipswich, following 12 years of ministry, before which he served as a member of the Queensland Police Service.
More than 100 of the Best
Author: Rev Trevor Foote
To purchase visit Vision Bookshop (Broadwater Road Uniting Church, 481 Broadwater Road, Mount Gravatt [Phone 3849 8548]) or direct from the author (phone 0409 889 386 or email firstname.lastname@example.org )