First a joke (From Reader's Digest) to set the mood (and NO, it wasn't told in the seminar... )
During his children's sermon, our assistant pastor asked the kids, "What is gray, has a bushy tail, and gathers nuts in the fall?"
One five-year-old raised his hand. "I know the answer should be Jesus," he began, "but it sounds like a squirrel to me."
One workshop I attended and enjoyed was by Mark Strom, Principal of Laidlaw College (formerly Bible College of New Zealand). The title: "Must every sermon from the Bible find its way back to Jesus?"
Bottom line, Mark says YES. Some reasons(I may be paraphrasing ...):
1. Because what is distinctive about Christianity is Jesus!
2. From the perspective of the NT writers ... "To whom else would we go!!"
3. Good news is Jesus and Jesus alone!
4. Fundamental good news is the "resurrection of Jesus"
5. The whole OT is screaming out for a resolution - and that resolution is Jesus!
He is an impressive speaker as he has notes but doesn't seem to need them and he can just go on and on and on and I still want more.
The big problem he feels is that many preachers do not see how the big story of Jesus fits into the whole of the biblical narrative. .. hence he thinks many sermons fall really short because they kn the end kind of try to append Jesus to the end of a sermon and it seems very strained and doe not fit. Hmmm...
He gave an example of OT Christocentric preaching by telling the story of Saul and David ... bottom line he compares the kings to the ultimate King .. Jesus and see how they fall short. Interesting. ... He seems to indicate that he cannot accept any other theme as significant / the main point.
Hebrews is an example of how OT is re-examined from the lenses and template of Jesus (I agree this is clear!)
For him, any attribute of God in the Psalms can be best seen in Jesus.
Food for thought. In many ways I agree with him as I do see (Thanks to Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart) how OT has many levels of story and that Israel and God is always in the "background context" even if it is not overtly mentioned.
But still, now as I work on a sermon (Psalm 29) I am trying to see how these insights ought to work out and help me be even more focused in my sermon content and delivery.
But one other comment that he made (probably off the cuff) struck me and I had to ask him afterwards what he meant. He said "NZ Christianity is pragmatic, superstitious and has very little understanding of the Gospel!" (BTW he is an "Ozzie" ) and has been at Laidlaw for I think less than 3 years ... around the same time as me :-)
I think it is not just NZ Christianity's problem but in many countries as well ...