Archive for March, 2009

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Logos Hope Arriving

March 31, 2009

OM’s latest ship Logos Hope (which I had the pleasure to visit in Germany last year) is shortly to dock right here in Edinburgh.

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Sermon Jams

March 30, 2009

In case you haven’t heard it: sermon jams. Its snippets of sermons put to music. What I will say is that whatever you think of the musical overlays, the preaching content is superb. Maybe I’ll jog home to it, and let you know if my times improve!

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A Terrific Battle

March 27, 2009

Having just finished the hard graft of my sermon preparations for another week, I can agree with every word from the pen of James Stalker:

“But preparation of this sort for the pulpit is not easy. It requires time, self conquest and hard work. Perhaps the greatest ministerial temptation is idleness in study – not in going about and doing something, but in finding and rightly using precious hours in one’s library, avoiding reverie and light or desultory reading, and sticking hard and fast to the Sabbath work. I, for one, must confess that I have had, and still have, a terrific battle to fight for this.”

(James Stalker, quoted in Toward an Exegetical Theology, W. Kaiser, p 243)

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Scott Ready for Harvest Glasgow

March 26, 2009

Its been exciting to hear about what pastor Scott Hamilton (a good friend in our young minister’s fellowship) is being given opportunity to do over in Glasgow. For everyone’s prayers, here’s the blurb from the ‘Straight Up’ blog:

New Harvest Bible Chapel in Scotland!

Posted By Gerald Hiestand on March 24, 2009

glasglow-family-pictureAs many of you are aware, the Harvest Bible Fellowship continues to plant churches both here in North America and abroad. We’re very excited about one of our newest projects, set to launch later this year in Glasgow, Scotland.

To the left is a picture of Scott and Allison Hamilton, and their two children. The Hamilton’s are residents of Glasgow, and have just returned there after six weeks at the HBF Training Center. Here’s the write-up from the HBF website:

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom—and the newest frontier for Harvest!

Yet it’s a frontier with history. An inscription on a local bell, made in 1637 for the Tron Kirk (or church, of which the Tron Steeple still exists) reads: “Lord, let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of Thy Word and praising Thy Name.” It became the city’s motto in 1663.

Today, the city’s motto is simply “Let Glasgow Flourish.”

This land once known for preaching God’s Word and praising the Name that is above all names, has misplaced its original purpose and calling.

Today, Glasgow is a complacent society that has rejected a heritage founded on the truth of God’s Word…and one that’s become very resistant to the Gospel.

But our hope is in God and the things unseen! A God who says,

“And now, brother, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago” (Acts 3:17-21).

With this hope, we’d ask you to join us in welcoming the newest family to Harvest Bible Fellowship. God has led Harvest to a group of Glaswegians (people from Glasgow) to plant a church.

Scott Hamilton and his wife, Alison, of Glasgow have just returned to Scotland after spending six energetic weeks completing their residency in Elgin with Fellowship staff—and their two young children. Blessed by their unwavering joy in our time together, we sent them home steeped in Harvest culture and reinforced in their commitment, as they begin developing a launch team for Harvest Glasgow.

We anticipate the Lord to use them greatly as He reinvigorates His church in Glasgow. Please pray together with us…

1. For protection, wisdom, and favor for the Hamiltons as they communicate the vision of the new church.

2. That God would raise up a qualified and committed team of worshipers who will serve as the launch team for Harvest Glasgow.

3. For a worship leader for this new work.

4. That God would provide a place of worship for the newly forming team as they commit themselves to God and one another for the purpose of lifting high the name of Jesus!

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Seven Signs Of A Genuine Ministry

March 25, 2009

Pointed out by Mark Dever in his overview sermon on 1 Thessalonians:

1. self sacrifice

1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 “You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.”

1 Thessalonians 2:3-6 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.

2. motherly love

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 “As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”

3. fatherly integrity and encouragement

1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 “You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

4. desire for fellowship

1 Thessalonians 2:17 But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you.”

1 Thessalonians 3:10-11 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.

5. joy

1 Thessalonians 3:7-9 “Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith.  For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?”

6. prayer

1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”

7. hope

1 Thessalonians 2:12 “encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

1 Thessalonians 2:19 “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”

(see Dever’s book, Promises Kept)

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The Expository Preaching of John Calvin

March 24, 2009

The whole post can be found here, but here is the summary:

First: Calvin’s pulpit was Biblical in content.

Second: Calvin’s preaching was sequential in exposition.

Third: direct in beginning.


Fourth: extemporaneous in delivery.

Fifth: Calvin’s preaching was exegetical in depth.

Sixth: Calvin’s preaching was familiar in language.


Seventh: Calvin’s preaching was pastoral in tone.

Eighth: Calvin’s preaching was polemic in confrontation.

Ninth: Calvin’s preaching was evangelistic in passion.


Tenth: Calvin’s preaching was God-centered in conclusion.

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Practice and Reflection

March 23, 2009

On the last post,  James commented that for preachers to grow there is sometimes a need to “preach less and reflect more.” In many cases that is very good advice. Truly: growing preachers need to practice and reflect.

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Just doing lots of preaching (practice) in isolation seldom produces significant growth in a person’s preaching. In and of itself it readily produces ruts and bad habits. Like James, one of the reasons I went to seminary was because I needed to do more biblical and theological study (reflection).

On the other hand, the act of preaching regularly is just as crucial to growth as reflection is. To use a silly illustration:  although I will be a better car-driver by doing my theory test, I will never be much of driver if I don’t spend time behind the wheel of an actual car!

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First Steps For Fledgling Preachers

March 18, 2009

What are some helpful steps younger preachers should take in order to grow and develop? I’ve been asked this question recently, so on the bus the other day I jotted down some suggestions. I do this, strictly speaking, as one who is himself a ‘beginner.’

1. Preach, preach, preach

2. Take on a variety of texts (psalms, prophecy, narrative, epistles), but don’t be too brave too early (eg. consecutive studies through Revelation!)

3. Continue to read formal instruction on expository preaching

4. Listen to a variety of good preachers, and learn things from each of them

5. Get feedback

6. Learn something every time, and work on that area next time

7. Pray for conversions

8. Read theology, especially biblical theology

9. Begin with the tried and tested styles of preaching, then begin to adapt to your own style

10. Guard yourself against pride and despondency, the two most common pitfalls

Perhaps you have some other suggestions to add?

(repost from April 2007)

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For Young Pastors

March 17, 2009

It was awfully nice of 9marks to produce an e-journal just for me! Well not really, but they could well have, given the apt focus this time round: Young Pastors. Here’s the info:

March/April 2009, Volume 6, Issue 2
Subscribe | Unsubscribe | Forward to a Friend! Click here for the eJournal in PDF format


Editor’s Note

“Clear vision but little depth perception.” That’s how I’ve heard Mark Dever characterize young pastors.

Young pastors see their doctrine with utter clarity. They know exactly what a church should look like. But they don’t know how to assess what’s important, what’s really important, and what can be overlooked. Their gauges haven’t developed.

Probably, the best solution for this is plain old experience. Yet a little battle wisdom from older men can’t hurt, either. So we turned to several pastors who have walked a few miles down ministry’s road, asking them to pass on a morsel or two of counsel.

Bob Johnson and Ken Swetland talk about getting started. Matt Schmucker, Mark Dever, and Phillip Jensen offer their thoughts on making changes. Philip Ryken and Robert Norris help us persevere to the end. And a couple of younger guys, like Aaron, Greg, and me, throw in our two cents.

One word of caution about an eJournal full of practical advice: Wisdom can be found in principles of the sort you’ll find here. But wisdom always begins with a posture of heart—a heart the trusts and fears the Lord. Only this heart finds the wisdom to know which principles apply when: “Is now the time not to answer the fool according to his folly (Prov. 26:4)? Or is now the time to answer him according to his folly (Prov. 26:5)?”

Only the Lord will make your paths straight.

That means that we cannot tell you exactly how to pastor your church, unless the matter is plainly Scriptural. You’re God’s man for that job. So take what’s offered here. Consider how it might apply in your context. But above all else, guard your heart, that it would fear only him.

We’re praying for your pastoral work, reader. Pray, too, for us.    — Jonathan Leeman


YOUNG PASTORS: WHERE DO YOU BEGIN?

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. Bio: Bob JohnsonA Pastor’s Priorities For Day One
So you’re a brand new pastor. What do you do when you show up at the office on Monday?
By Bob Johnson

 

The Goals and Benefits of an Installation Service
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks AuthorMore than a formality, an installation service gives you a chance to set the tone for your pastorate and begin the work of shepherding.
By Aaron Menikoff

 


YOUNG PASTORS: WHAT DID YOU INHERIT?

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks Author8 Steps for Dealing with Difficult Leaders
What do you do when influential members of your church are—shall we say—less than helpful?
By Ken Swetland

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks AuthorDealing with Bad Documents
You’re the pastor now, but the church constitution is clunky and the statement of faith is almost heretical. What do you do?
By Greg Gilbert

YOUNG PASTORS: HOW DO YOU LEAD CHANGE?

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks AuthorIs This a Hill Worth Dying On?
Some pastors make every dispute a hill to die on; others wouldn’t fight to save their grandmother’s life. Schmucker offers some guidance.
By Matt Schmucker

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks AuthorWhat I CAN and CANNOT Live With as a Pastor
What issues are worth fighting—or leaving—over? Are there any criteria?
By Mark Dever

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks AuthorLove the Church More than its Health
Pastors need to love the people in their church more than their dream of a healthy church.
By Jonathan Leeman

 

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks AuthorShould Pastors Change Anything in the First Year?
An old maxim says, “If you don’t change something in the first year you never will; and whatever you change in the first year will be a mistake.” Is that right?
By Phillip Jensen

One from the Vault: Mark Dever’s classic article from 2000, How to Change Your Church

 Young Pastors: How Do You Persevere?

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks AuthorWWJD—What Would Jim Do?
James Montgomery Boice’s successor shares a few lessons he learned from watching a master.
By Philip Graham Ryken

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks AuthorShepherding and Trust
A church doesn’t learn to trust its pastors overnight; he better be in it for the long haul.
By Robert Norris

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks AuthorA Pastor For Now
Why Mark loves the pastorate, but will be happy to proceed to what’s next.
By Mark Dever

 


MISCELLANEOUS BOOK REVIEWS

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks Book ReviewBook Review: Evangelism: Doing Justice and Preaching Grace, by Harvie M. Conn
Reviewed by Greg Gilbert

Book Review: Jesus the Evangelist, by Richard D. Phillips
Reviewed by Byron StraughnRight-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks Book Review

 

 

 

Book Review: The Heart of Evangelism, by Jerram Barrs
Reviewed by Geoff ChangRight-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks Book Review

 

 

 

Book Review: Vibrant Church, by Thom S. Rainer & Daniel L. Akin
Reviewed by Jonathan LeemanRight-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks Book Review

Book Review: Simple Church, by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger
Reviewed by Graham ShearerRight-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. 9Marks Book Review

 

 

 


AUDIO—LEADERSHIP INTERVIEWS

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. InterviewOn Books with D. A. Carson
Posted on February 25th, 2009
Mark Dever asks D. A. Carson for a tour of both how he writes and what he’s written.

 

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. InterviewChristian Discipleship and Growth with Donald Whitney
Posted on January 25th, 2009
Don Whitney discusses busyness, praying through Scripture, the disciplines, mysticism, and more.

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Pastor’s Day Off Poll

March 16, 2009

For me, a Monday…

Feel free to tell us why in the comments section.

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Learning From Murray McCheyne

March 14, 2009

One of the men who inspired me about Christian ministry was a Scot who lived in the 19th century, and didn’t live beyond his 29th birthday. Robert Murray McCheyne continues to be an example of God’s work in a young life, and a short ministry (Andrew Bonar’s Memoirs and Remains is a must read).

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So I was interested then to see yesterday that Blog of Dan was discussing lessons from McCheyne’s ministry:

Quiet Time: In the mornings, after reading the Scriptures, he prayed in response to them, and engaged in intercession for his flock and friends.

Biographies: McCheyne read biographies to discover and apply the principles of their godly lives to his own life.

Study: “All the subjects he studied fed his mind and broadened his horizons. Later they provided a rich source of illustrations in his preaching.”

Sermon Notes: He took copious notes of sermons and then wrote them up on a Sunday evening.

Key for McCheyne’s ministry: Excellent theological teaching, stimulating spiritual fellowship with one’s peers, preachers who provide good role models, and hands-on experience of Christian service.

Sermon Preparation:
Thorough exegesis, looking up the meaning of each word. Then followed a paraphrase of the verse or passage in his own words. Pages of notes and observations followed as he pondered the material. If sermons by others on the passage were available he would read them. Then he would draw out 3 or 4 main points before writing a full and complete outline. McCheyne aimed at simple and logical statements.

Sermon Delivery:
He tailored the length of his sermons to the congregation he was preaching to.

Public Prayers: By his public prayers he unconsciously taught his people how to pray.

Visiting: McCheyne aimed at visiting between 12 to 15 families in the parish each day he went out on his calls (at one time up to 20). At visits he gave an invitation to gather in the evening for a meeting. In addition to this he also visited the dying, injured and ill. He kept note books recording his visits.

Letter Writing: Wrote letters for spiritual and pastoral purposes.

Thank you Dan for re-stimulating my interest in McCheyne. I’m going to look for Bonar’s biography now…

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This Is NOT Expository Preaching

March 13, 2009

Richard L. Mayhue explains what expository preaching is not:

1. It is not a commentary running from word to word and verse to
verse without unity, outline, and pervasive drive.
2. It is not rambling comments and offhand remarks about a passage without a background of thorough exegesis and logical order.
3. It is not a mass of disconnected suggestions and inferences based on the surface meaning of a passage, but not sustained by a depth and-breadth study of the text.
4. It is not pure exegesis, no matter how scholarly, if it lacks a theme, thesis, outline and development.
5. It is not a mere structural outline of a passage with a few supporting comments, but without other rhetorical and sermonic elements.
6. It is not a topical homily using scattered parts of the passage, but omitting discussion of other equally important parts.
7. It is not a chopped-up collection of grammatical findings and quotations from commentaries without a fusing of the same into a smooth, flowing, interesting, and compelling message.
8. It is not a Sunday School-lesson type of discussion that has an outline of the contents, informality, and fervency, but lacks sermonic structure and rhetorical ingredients.
9. It is not a Bible reading that links a number of scattered passages treating a common theme, but fails to handle any of them in a thorough, grammatical, and contextual manner.
10. It is not the ordinary devotional or prayer meeting talk that combines running commentary, rambling remarks, disconnected suggestions, and personal reactions into a semi-inspirational discussion, but lacks the benefit of the basic exegetical-contextual study and persuasive elements.

Find out what expository preaching is, in Mayhue’s article “Recovering Expository Preaching.”

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