From the International Christian College Website
Archive for September, 2008
According to Evangelical Alliance:
You shall not put your blog before your integrity.
You shall not make an idol of your blog.
You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin.
Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog.
Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes.
You shall not murder someone else’s honour, reputation or feelings.
You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind.
You shall not steal another person’s content.
You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger.
You shall not covet your neighbour’s blog ranking. Be content with your own content.
Here are the rest of the videos:
- Sinclair Ferguson – “The Tongue, the Bridle, and the Blessing”
- Driscoll, Ferguson, Piper – Friday Panel Discussion
- Bob Kauflin – “Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing?”
- Mark Driscoll – “How Sharp the Edge: Christ, Controversy, and Cutting Words”
- Daniel Taylor – “The Life-Shaping Power of Story: God’s and Ours”
- Kauflin, Piper, Taylor, Tripp – Saturday Panel Discussion
- Paul Tripp – “War of Words: Getting to the Heart for God’s Sake”
- John Piper – “Is There Christian Eloquence? Clear Words and the Wonder of the Cross”
Justification by faith alone
Here’s a quote worth evaluating tomorrow’s church services by:
“… installing exposition as the main event is not enough. God’s Word must infuse everything. The careful reading of the Word must be central. Hymns and songs must be Word-saturated. Prayers must be biblically informed, redolent with biblical reality – often reflecting the very language and structure of Scripture. The preaching of the Word of God must be the Word of God. Such a service requires principled, prayerful thought and hard work. There may be no need to parade the Scripture in and out while God’s people rise in reverence. But it must happen in our hearts.” (R Kent Hughes, in Worship By the Book, 159)
Quite soon I’m going to be purchasing a new batch of commentaries – not least a few from this excellent list. So I’m wondering: where do the most ‘penny-pinching pastors’ go to buy their study books?
Is there a special online place which you find best value for money? Or some backstreet second-hand book store that offers that rare bargain?
Any overseas perspective would be interesting. Any UK contribution would be invaluable!
10. You should also try Amazon and ABEbooks. Both have UK sellers listed and you can find so very reasonable prices.
11. Here in the States I go to Amazon and then check the “Used” section — on numerous occasions I’ve been able to get absolutely brand new (but slightly shelf-worn) commentaries for a fraction of their list price. I’m sure they’ve been sitting on some book store’s shelf for a while, and they just want to get rid of them.
12. Eerdmans, The Bookstore, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Though it has been some time since I was there, they often have incredible deals on Eerdmans titles.
13. I’m glad to see you noticed Derek Thomas’ excellent list. His book is on Amazon and well worth it. Right now, Best Commentaries is pulling Amazon and B&N prices, but I hope to add more pricing options in the future so you don’t have to check so many sites… by John Dyer September 24, 2008 at 8:17 pm edit comment
Not being much of a technical wizz, something I haven’t encouraged much in the past is subscription to Unashamed Workman. For any who might be interested, find below the relevant click-throughs to bring the UW feed straight to your blog reader. At the same time, I’ve permanently added a feedburner icon to the top of the blog sidebar where you can sign up at any time.
Ted Herbert was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. Vice Principal of International Christian College (Glasgow) till several weeks ago, Ted was my ‘fellowship group’ leader during my time at ICC. The news has been a shock to everyone. I was greatly encouraged, however, as I listened to Ted giving his testimony to his home church in Bearsden. His confidence in God and inner peace are palpable.
Well, the wedding a rich occasion. The bride glowed. The husband gushed. The father of the bride welled with pride. The congregation sang and smiled heartily. Oh, and I spoke through a cold.
Thankfully it didn’t sound too bad during the service. But as soon as we were done, my voice cracked. By the Saturday evening I was virtually speechless. By the Sunday morning I was speechless.
So what do you do when you are meant to be preaching on Sunday morning but have no speaking voice? How do you communicate when your sentences emerge as a combination of muffled, monotone groans and voiceless wheeze?
- You pray hard. Hard.
- You stick a towel over your head and inhale hot steam.
- You sip honey, gargle salt water, take paracetamol, and anything else you think might help.
- You ask your fellow pastor to lead the service to save your voice for the sermon.
- You drive to church, sit silently in the vestry, and don’t sing a word of the hymns – inwardly praying, praying, praying.
- And then you trust in the Sovereignty of God, open your mouth and speak.
(Photos by Andrew Robertson)
ps. ‘Miraculously’ my voice held together, even though it was several tones lower than normal. I had my best half an hour of the day, that half hour. Imagine that…
This will likely be my last post before the weekend: I am taking the wedding of the senior-pastor’s daughter on Saturday (no pressure!) and am preparing to negotiate an ‘all-age service’ on Sunday.
As I was preparing – and thinking about husbands and wives – I was reminded of the following story
“A public lecture was once advertised under the title, how to make your wife treat you like a king. The lecture hall was absolutely packed out, with men from all sections of society waiting to hear where they were going wrong. Finally, the speaker stood up to address the packed and expectant gathering. Gentleman, he said to them, the answer to the question being posed is every simple. If you want your wife to treat you like a king there is one thing you must do: treat her like a queen.” (J John, Ten, p118)
A reader of Unashamed Workman recently posed this question: “When preaching spontaneously and you make a remark that is ill-advised, unbalanced. Or you phrase something badly that may be misunderstood. How does the preacher respond to the weight of his own errors and follies after preaching?”
I would suggest he respond in seven ways at least…
1) He should see his failings and foibles as evidence of sin’s continuing presence and view it as an opportunity to develop humility. JI Packer speaks of “growing downward” in humility and I have no doubt that preaching is one of God’s chief means to bring pastors low. However, low and contrite is better than high and haughty. So lie low. “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up in due time.” (James 4:10)
2) He should rest upon the grace of God and cling to the cross for his sins in preaching. While the gospel is ‘good news’ for sinners generally, it is equally ‘good news’ for sinning preachers particularly! True, it is hardly the tip of the iceberg in terms of Jesus Calvary-achievements, but one of the things Jesus died for was bad sermons (and bad lines within sermons). ‘Sins of speech’ are covered too!
3) He should pray. Its amazing the difference simply bringing our cares to the Lord can make! Rather than bemoaning our failings to our wife in the car, why not bring it to the Lord first? Occasionally I return to the vestry alone for a few minutes following the preaching and handshaking, just for this very purpose.
4) He should consider how frequently such ‘spontaneous’ and ‘ill-advised’ comments recur in his preaching. If he sees a pattern of carelessness or sin, he should seek to address it. When I say a pattern of sin, I’m referring especially to pastors who frequently aim to shock with their words. These preachers like to be found on the ‘contemporary edge’ – a fine line between what is acceptable and what is not. Frankly, a lot of this tightrope walking quickly slips into patently sinful speech. Such sordid speech needs to be confronted and called-out like any sin (especially if it has become typical in our preaching).
On the other hand, some misdemeanors occur simply because of carelessness: a combination of a lack of preparation or laziness. For example, some preachers tend to prepare everything thoroughly except the conclusion. It may well be that it is within this ‘extemporaneous finale’ that the pastor tends to ‘say what he didn’t mean to.’ Yet once the pastor identifies the source of the problem, the solution is self-evident. Why not write out the conclusion in full?
5) He should query his motive. The preacher should honestly ask himself this question: Does the ‘weightiness’ of my after-sermon worry stem from a genuine concern over the congregations spiritual health (in light of my teaching/comments) or a fear over my precious reputation? Increasingly I am coming to realize that most of my feelings of failure after preaching are actually linked to a concern over what people will have made of me; not how harmful my misguided teaching might be for them.
6) He should – if the teaching has blatantly erroneous or a remark has been grossly unhelpful – later retract the comment publicly. By very definition, this would hopefully be an exceptional and extreme case. In such a situation, it would be better to protect the congregation from error than protect our pride. An apology can also remind the congregation of our own fallibility. Moreover, Scripture reveals that those who teach will be judged by God more strictly (James 3:1); it would be better then to remove some of the grounds of that judgment by correcting our errors as we go!
But I would also say, don’t be doing this every week. For one thing, the flock may lose any kind of confidence in the ability of their undershepherd to feed them solid food. Moreover, if the sermon has merely lacked some ‘balance’ on a doctrinal point, I would tend to think that consistently preaching the ‘full council of God’ would eventually redress the balance in any case.
7) He should normally move on by Monday morning. Its often said to be a discouraging thing that however well we preach on a Sunday, we have to create another ‘great sermon’ for only seven days hence. However the same is true following a sermon we would put in the ‘bad’ camp: seven days later we get a chance to put it right. Fix what we can. Improve what we must. Work even harder next time to handle the word of God in an ‘unashamed’ fashion.
I preached about 200 different expositions a year for the first nine years of my ministry (when I was age 24 through 33.) During that time I was considered interesting and good but I never got a lot of feedback that I was anything special. I’ve grown a lot through lots of practice.