Tim Challies reviews a new book called “Expositional Listening.”
Archive for April, 2010
“I do not think this means that every preacher has to become a great cultural expert. It can be daunting to hear a speaker imply that unless we all become equipped to give deep and perceptive analyses of everything from the fashion industry to climate change, we cannot preach. We cannot each become experts in every aspect of our culture and contemporary issues. What we can and must do is love the people we serve and the people we seek to reach. And if we love people we will listen to them and begin to understand them. And if we do that thoughtfully we are bound to get an insight into culture.” (Christopher Ash, The Priority of Preaching, 56)
I have just arrived back in the United Kingdom from the USA, one week later than expected. After countless hours spent in airports and hotels, and following several days spent in first New York and then Barcelona, its good to finally be back on home turf. Summing up the whole experience in a word: humbling. Volcanic-dust left men´s finest machinery grounded, and the reminder was given that we are only dust.
(The stack from the conference. Slowing the travel-time even more!)
By the end of T4G, however, I for one was convinced that it was worth coming to this particular conference: even if I had to jet in from Mars!
It was biblical, pastoral; at times, deeply emotional. Above all, though, it was Gospel, Gospel, Gospel. This was a conference where the great truths of Christ’s person and work, Christ’s obedient life, substitutionary death, mighty resurrection, and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner, were compellingly declared and joyfully celebrated!
Honestly: we pastors were reminded that there’s something better, and even more important than being shepherds. Being saved.
My personal highlights?
- Singing biblically robust, gospel-saturated hymns along with 7000 men who also love Christ. Heaven is the next time it will get this good.
- John MacArthur, John Piper and CJ Mahaney. All the talks were excellent. These sermons were goldust.
- Matt Chandler recounting to us – with cancer embedded in his skull – just how much he still trusts in a Sovereign God, whether he lives or dies (Phil 1).
- Enjoying rich and long conversations with brothers, old and new, who know the same joys and sorrows of the ministry.
I will probably not attend Together for the Gospel again. It is a long and expensive way to come for a few days. But being here has been priceless. These are days I will never forget.
There probably won’t be posting this week. I’m flying Stateside tomorrow for Together 4 The Gospel. If you’re attending and you happen to hear the Scottish twang, do say hello.
Its not just evangelicals who are trying to improve their preaching.
“The Preaching Institute at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Pittsford recently launched a new initiative designed to help authorized preachers in the diocese become more adept at giving homilies.”
This involves priests receiving feedback on their homilies. The questions will include:
“Does the preacher make eye contact?” …”Did the homily work with the Scriptures? Can we summarize the homily in one line? Was it interesting? Was I challenged to understand the Good News of the Gospel in a way that I wasn’t able to prior to Mass today?”
The whole article.
“Here is a preacher who has nothing in the way of a winning personality, good looks, or charm. Here is a preacher who offers us nothing in the way of sophisticated homiletical packaging. No one would suggest that he is a master of the art of oratory. What he seems to have is a witness to true authority. He recognizes in Scripture the Word of God, and when he preaches, it is Scripture that one hears. It is not that the words of John MacArthur are so interesting as it is that the Word of God is of surpassing interest. That is why one listens.”
Read the whole excerpt by Hughes Oliphant Old.
1. The Bible…
An apt quote on a day when the UK general election is announced:
“The pulpit is not a psychiatrist’s couch or a seminar room. The preacher is a herald, an announcer, not a pollster.”
(Ed Clowney, Call to the Ministry, p 59)
52 weeks in a year….66 books in the Bible
So what will you preach on this Sunday morning?
And every Sunday morning of the year?
(and maybe every Sunday evening as well!)
An invitation to all pastors
• for those starting out in ministry
• for others seeking fresh ideas and insights
A PREACHERS’ WORKSHOP
• to help you plan your preaching
• factors determining what you preach
• providing a balanced diet for your congregation
• preaching to Christians and non-Christians
• single sermons and sermon series
• outlines and examples
• and much more!
Peter Grainger, Director of 2 Timothy 4* will share from 40 years of preaching, most recently as Senior Pastor of Charlotte Chapel from 1992 – 2009.
Colin Adams, former Associate Pastor at Charlotte Chapel, will share his experience from his first year as Pastor of Ballymoney Baptist Church, N. Ireland..
9.30 – 12.30, Saturday 8th May in Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh
£10 payable at the event. Book your place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
*2 Timothy 4 (www.2tim4.org) – “strengthening Scottish preaching”