"SERMONS IN A SENTENCE: Powerful Messages in Five Words or Less," by John Bytheway, Deseret Book, $9.99, 102 pages (nf)
One day John Bytheway was looking through his scriptures when he observed a pattern.
"I noticed that I rarely mark entire verses, but usually phrases within a verse," Bytheway said. "I remembered I had heard someone use the description 'a sermon in a sentence,' and as I thumbed through my scriptures, I saw hundreds of them."
The idea of marking key words and phrases in the scriptures gave Bytheway an idea that eventually became a new book, "Sermons in a Sentence: Powerful Messages in Five Words or Less."
The pocket-size book explores 46 words and phrases from the standard works that communicate gospel truths in a concise way. The book is divided into sections of one, two, three and five-word sermons, with each one accompanied by a brief, thought-provoking commentary from Bytheway. He hopes the mini-book motivates readers to go searching for their own personal "sermons."
"Sometimes we mark entire verses. Sometimes we mark sentences within a verse. Sometimes we mark a single phrase. And sometimes, we find a sermon in a single word," Bytheway wrote in the opening pages of the book.
"I hope it gets people looking through their own scriptures and noticing their own 'Sermons in a Sentence' which they have marked," Bytheway said. For example, a one-word sermon:
"Therefore remember, O man, for all thy doings shalt be brought into judgment" (1 Nephi 10:20).
"Watch for the word 'Remember' as you read the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon. Also watch for its opposite, 'forget,’” Bythway writes.
A two-word sermon: "I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell" (2 Nephi 33:6).
"One 'two-word' sermon in a sentence that has touched me was Nephi’s calling the Lord, 'My Jesus,'" Bytheway said. "Those two words appear together only once in all the standard works. There are dozens of different names and phrases for Christ, but this one was so personal, and coming from Nephi who had lost his father and was hated by his brothers, it was powerful to me, and perhaps it teaches all of us something about what our relationship with the Lord can become."
Bytheway served a mission to the Philippines and graduated from Brigham Young University. He is the author of many best-selling books, audio talks and DVDs.
"Sermons in a Sentence" is available wherever LDS books are sold.
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