Archive for March, 2007

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Workman’s Toolbox

March 17, 2007

Preaching
* Expository Thoughts has commenced what looks to be a heavy-going, but valuable series on The Relationships Between the Testaments.
* According to Raymond Van Neste, some people in the pews do what substantive sermons. (HT: Transforming Sermons)
* Adrian Warnock – “the risks and rewards of using technology in sermon preparation.” It did appeal to my sense of humour that only a few posts later, Adrian asked for help regarding a technological problem!
* Tim Keller with a fascinating two-parter: Preaching in a Postmodern City part one, and part two.
* Randy McKinion offers some resources for preaching the psalms.

Theology
* This book by Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey and Andrew Sach looks like an excellent treatment of the biblical basis for penal substitution.
* “Particular Redemption, the New Perspective and More with John Piper (and Bruce Ware)” – the latest audio interview over at Nine Marks.
* An interesting critique of Rob Bell’s latest book (Sex God) from someone who is sympathetic to his writings, but doesn’t always like his methods. (HT: Justin Buzzard)

Miscellaneous
* Eric Raymond was not impressed by his recent trip to Saddleback.
* Tony Reinke has started a new book review site: Take Up and Read.
* Fascinating: a non-Christian is reading through the whole bible and blogging about it. (HT: Transforming Sermons)
* Based on a recent survey, this is an interesting article on why so few younger men are entering full time Christian ministry in the UK.
* In his own words, Al Mohler has caused something of a “firestorm” by some recent comments on the issue of homosexuality. As he pleads, before jumping to conclusions, read the man himself.
* Here’s a great suggestion by Justin Taylor: make Operation World Pray Today your homepage.
* Tim Chester tries to define submission and headship in marriage, but not without difficulty!
* Last but not least, over at E-ministry notes a rather amusing spoof song about the Facebook obsession (if you don’t know what this is, don’t worry!).

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A Friday Question – Emotive Preaching?

March 16, 2007

A couple of months back, I posted a Tim Keller sermon on “Workman Watch.” It generated a lot of interest, with an interesting discussion ensuing about the role of emotion in preaching.

J. Gary Ellison kicked things off when he wrote of Keller:

“Last year he spoke on the Gospel and Postmodernism at John Piper’s conference. His analysis was very good and Haddon Robinson speaks highly of him as being in touch and able to speak to contemporaries, so I wanted to hear him preach when I saw your analysis of his sermon. What I found difficult was the _apparent_ (underline apparent) lack of passion. His message was excellent, but there was a great difference in his level of ethos and that of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones whom he quotes in is lecture on postmodernism. I once heard Leo Buscaglia, a secular professor, speak with great passion and conviction that gripped me. Have I missed something here? Do we have to speak calmly to get a hearing with contemporaries?

My response was:

“Gary, that’s why I (personally) have an ever so slight preference for listening to the likes of Piper/MacArthur than Keller. For me, the former ‘convey’ a greater sense of passion as they deliver the solid content. That said, I’m always careful about this because preaching is ‘truth through personality.’ My impression is that Keller is a laid back kind of guy and therefore its no surprise that this translates into his preaching. Moreover, sometimes when I’ve heard Keller speak I’ve detected that he is excited about what he’s talking about. Of course, Keller’s passion won’t ‘look’ the same as Piper’s!”

Finally, Tim Keller himself (most graciously!) weighed in on the debate:

“I’m a little worried about the ‘passion’ statements. I don’t take them personally at all–not at all. But they may be a bit short-sighted. We all have different temperments and Rev A can feel something just as strongly as Rev B and yet not be as intense and dramatic in his outward expression of it. But keep in mind that a lot of secular people simply can’t hear the gospel very well when the speaker gets highly emotional. There’s room for a great range of temperments in preachers because there is such a great range of temperments in the listeners.”

So I’m interested – what do you all think? Does passion need to be evident? Or is it an evident turn-off to post-modern people?

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Don Carson on Matthew 27:27-50

March 15, 2007

I’ve been a great admirer of Don Carson as a biblical scholar and theologian for some time now (for a recent tribute by Mark Dever, click here). But only a few years ago did I realise that Don is also a great preacher.

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We actually had the great priviledge of welcoming Dr Carson to our fellowship for a church anniversary in October 2005 (best of all, then enjoying lunch with him!). That day, Don spoke powerfully on “The Ironies of the Cross”, a sermon I’ve revisited for this week’s Workman Watch. Few of us will ever preach with the eloquence of Carson, but its good to hear ‘how its done’!

How long was the sermon?
52 minutes 13 seconds

What was the opening sentence?
“Three thousand years ago there was a very remarkable king; he was an excellent administrator -he imposed justice on the land.”

What was the introduction about?
The use of irony in Scripture, using Nathan’s confrontation of King David as an example. “At its best, it [irony] enables readers to see what’s going beyond text, behind the text, when people in the text don’t see themselves what’s going on. In that sense, irony enables you to see most clearly the significance of events as they unfold.”

Carson goes on to explain that along with John, Matthew is amongst the writers in the NT most given to irony. Now we are going to see the significance of Jesus’ crucifixion through the various ironies in the story.

What will you remember in a week’s time?
The way Carson read the passage; few people read in such a way that they invite you into the story. Perhaps also some lines from the closing poem.

What aspects of the preacher’s style did you find helpful?
Carson’s use of repitition was quite powerful: “But Nathan knows, and the writer knows, and God knows, and the reader knows, that David’s words are steeped in irony.” Then at the end of each point he reiterated the formula: “But Matthew knows, and the readers know, and God knows, that Jesus is king.” It was especially striking when Carson added “…and do you know it?”

What was the structure of the sermon?
Four profound ironies
1. The man who was mocked as king, is king. (27-31)
2. The man who is utterly powerless, is powerful. (v 32-40)
3. The man who can’t save himself, saves others (41-42)
4. The man who cries out in despair, trusts God (43-50)

What was the application?
Most of the application came at the end. We should believe these four truths, bow the knee to Jesus and worship. Carson drew this together in a beautiful poem at the end, which I’ll quote at length. Presumably Carson wrote this himself.

i) “On that wretched day the soldiers mocked him,
raucous laughter in a barracks room,
‘Hail the King’ they sneered while spitting on him,
brutal beatings on this day of doom,

Though his crown was thorn, he was born a King
holy brilliance bathed in bleeding loss,
All the soldiers blind to this stunning theme:
Jesus reigning from a bloody cross.”

ii) “Awful weakness marks the battered God-man,
far too broken now to hoist the beam,
Soldiers strip him bare and pound the nails in,
watch him hanging on a cruel tree

God’s own temple’s down,
he has been destroyed,
Death’s remains are laid in rot and sod,
but the temple rises in God’s wise ploy,
Our great temple is the Son of God.”

iii) “Here’s the one who says he cares for others,
one who said he came to save the lost,
How can we believe he’ll save another,
when he can’t get off that blood stained cross.

“‘Let him save himself, let him come down now!’,
savage jeering at the king’s disgrace,
But by hanging there is precisely how Christ saves others –
that’s the king of grace.”

iv) “Great in darkness, utterly rejected,
crying ‘why have you forsaken me?’
Jesus bears God’s wrath alone, dejected
weeps the bitterest tears instead of me

All the mockers cry “he has lost his trust”
“he’s defeated by hypocrisy!”
But with faith’s resolve
Jesus knows he must do God’s will
and swallow death for me.”

What one aspect of Don’s preaching will you attempt to adopt into your own?
Don’s use of vivid, concrete language (which I posted about earlier this week) kept me gripped all the way through. Without use of illustrations, Don’s word choice grabbed hold of my attention from start to finish. This is certainly something I need to work on. “Words are our weapons.”

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Dating with Purpose & Purity

March 14, 2007

The following was posted today on my wife’s blog titus2talk. If you’ve spoken before on the subject, I’d be interested to know about any resources you’ve found helpful…

Tonight my husband and I are giving a talk to our youth group at church. They have asked us to speak on dating. I don’t have time to go into all that we will touch on, except to say that the more we read on this issue, two things are continually brought home to us: Dating with purpose and dating with purity.

I simply therefore want to highlight a few resources that we have found helpful in our reading. For those of you who are contemplating dating, or are already involved in such a relationship, take time to read the short articles on this subject from Boundless, and for a more in depth read, both books by Joshua Harris are recommended.

Biblical Dating: An Introduction
Biblical Dating: Are You Ready to Date?
What Does a Biblical Relationship Look Like?
Biblical Dating: To Kiss or not to Kiss?
Does God Bring People Together?
Stop Test-Driving Your Girlfriend
Brother, You’re Like a Six!

“I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris
“Boy Meets Girl” By Joshua Harris

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Free Webcast of Ligonier Conference

March 14, 2007

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“John Piper will be speaking at the Ligonier National Conference next week, along with R.C. Sproul, Ravi Zacharias, Al Mohler, and John MacArthur. The conference is almost full, but they have just opened registration for a free live stream of the conference. Great job to Ligonier in offering the webcast for free!” (HT: Desiring God Blog)

I’ve already signed up. It starts tomorrow.

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Engaging the Congregation

March 13, 2007

For this week’s Classic Materials, we reflect on an extended quote from Sidney Greidanus’ “The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text.” In this section, the author touches on how we might better engage the congregation. I found these suggestions for ‘congregational involvement’ quite stimulating.

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Addressing Needs
Congregational involvement can be further heightened by aiming the sermon at specific needs in the congregation, by addressing the sermon, as the text before it, to specific questions. ‘There seems to be a lot of difference in the quality of the attention accorded when the preacher begins by giving the impression that he is going to try and answer a question which is real and important in the lives of the people in the pews.’ (Brooks, Communicationg Conviction, 87).

But how can one meet the many, varied needs of a large group of people? Donald Miller compares preaching to shooting quail: ‘If you aim for all the birds, you hit none, but if you aim for one, you are likely to get several.’ He suggests that this holds true for preaching because the basic spiritual needs of men are quite the same’ and because ‘oftimes the needs of individuals are best met in crowds.’ (Miller, Way to Biblical Preaching, 119) In any event, aiming the sermon at specific needs will promote congregational involvement in the sermon.

Addressing the whole person
One must further address the whole person. In the past, sermons have been aimed all too frequently at either the intellect or the will. Ian Pitt-Watson argues for emotional as well as intellectual and volitional involvement: ‘Unless there is some measure of emotional involvement on the part of the preacher and on the part of his hearers the kerygma cannot be heard in its fulness for the kerygma speaks to the whole man, emotions and all, and simply does not make sense to the intellect and the will alone.’ (Pitt Watson, Preaching, 47-48)

Today the case for addressing the whole person is frequently made in terms of the imagination and addressing the brain’s right hemisphere. Certainly narration, whether it be of a biblical passage or of an illustration, tends to involve the whole person. Craddock lists several characteristics of narration that are able to involve people

* the human condition is presented with genuine insight…
* primary attention is given to the specific and particular rather than the general…
* sermons are realistic rather than contrived….
* narration and description are with emotional restraint and an economy of words…Too many adjectives in effect tell the listeners what to see and hear and how they are to respond to what is described…
* events are viewed from a single perspective unless the hearer is instructed otherwise…
(Craddock, Preaching, 162-165)

Whatever strategies are used, the passage which in biblical times was directed at the ‘heart’ ought today also to be directed at the whole person.

Using Dialogue
Although most sermons are in the form of a monologue, the monologue ought to be a dialogue with the hearers, that is, it ought to respond to the reactions of the hearers as these might come up during the sermon. This requirement does not mean that one should interupt the flow of the sermon with the odd ‘But I hear you saying…” It means, rather, that one ought to consider what major objections and questions the audience might raise and try to address these issues in the sermon.

Responding in the sermon to the anticipated reactions of the hearers will, when done sensitively, promote their involvement. In fact, since dialogure incorporates into the sermon the possible reactions of people, the hearers will sense themselves to be very much a part of the sermon.

Using Concrete, Vivid Language
Finally, the hearers become involved in the message through the use of concrete vivid language. Henry Davis recommends using ‘as few words as possible’: ‘The chief quality of personal communication is that it says a great deal, and suggests more, in a very few words. Excess words therefore destroy its chief quality.’ He further advocates the use of ‘short, strong, clear, familiar words’, and ‘sensuous rather than abstract, and specific rather than general words.’ He explains that ‘sensuous words are words that are close to the five senses, suggesting pictures the mind can see, sounds it can hear, things it can touch, taste and smell.’ (Davis, Design for Preaching, 268-71)

Since pictorial language in the nature of the case stimulates the senses, figures of speech also invite involvement. ‘Like an artist or novelist a minister must learn to think in pictures,’ suggests Haddon Robinson. ‘Metaphors and similies produce sensations in the listener or cause him to recall images and experiences.’ (Robinson, Biblical Preaching, 186) Like good illustrations, figures of speech often function for the hearers as lights that illuminate and clarify the obscure concepts in the sermon.

Preachers must also learn to think in terms of specifics in order to avoid abstractions and generalisations. ‘When for example they call for their congregations to ‘witness to the world in the home, in the office, at school, or in the street’, preachers [ought to] ask themselves, ‘What specifically do you have in mind?”

Abstractions communicate little and generalisation even less. By pushing beyond generalisations to particulars, however, preachers will make their language concrete and specific and clarify their proposals so that their hearers can visualise what is demanded and become meaningfully involved. Thus even the choice of words contributes to the relevance of the sermon.

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Anchor Man (part four)

March 12, 2007

Today is probably my final post relating to Steve Farrar’s book “Anchor Man.” This is most certainly not because there are no more reflections I could share from the book. Rather, if these posts have been of interest to you, I’d like to encourage you to buy the book and thoughtfully read it through.

However, I’d like to close with a final challenge. In one of the most gripping chapters (“It takes more than sperm”), Farrar issues a rallying call to fatherhood’s necessary commitment.

“It was a full page ad in USA Today. The page was divided in two from top to bottom. On the left side of the page it simply said: What is takes to be a father. Underneath was a blown up, magnified picture of a single sperm. On the right-hand side of the page the heading read:

What it takes to be a dad
* read to your children
* keep your promises
* go for walks together
* let your children help with household projects
* spend time one-on-one with each child
* tell your children about your own childhood
* go to the zoo, museums, ball games as a family
* set a good example
* use good manners
* help your children with their homework
* show your children lots of warmth and affection
* set clear, consistent limits
* consider how your decisions will affect your children
* listen to your children
* know your children’s friends
* take your children to work
* open a savings account for your children
* resolve conflict quickly
* take your children to a place of worship

In the remainder of the chapter, Farrar explains that meeting the latter ideal will take commitment.

“I’m writing this chapter to persuade you never ever to leave your wife and your children. There can be no fathering without commitment. To be a father you must first be commited to your marriage. Commited to your kids. Commited to staying instead of leaving.

A real dad does more than simply produce children. A real dad keeps his promises. He chooses to work through the tough times, for the sake of his children. He refuses to abdicate being the head of his home. He leads his family and loves them. He provides for them and protects, both emotionally and physically. These things he cannot do once he walks out the door….

A father who walks away from his family walks away from fathering. And when he walks away from fathering, he has withdrawn the very thing his children need to grow up to be healthy adults. This is the simple, biblical truth that our culture wishes to deny, but that countless studies are beginning to overwhelmingly support.

Back in 1980 (the year that I was born), James Dobson made an insightful observation, which Farrar quotes in the book. I leave it with you, thankful for the commitment of my own father since then:

“The western world stands at a great crossroads in its history. It is my opinion that our very survival as a people will depend upon the presence or absence of male leadership in millions of homes…I believe with everything within me, that husbands hold the keys to the preservation of the family.”

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Workman’s Toolbox

March 10, 2007

Find below some more links around the blogs, with a special eye for things preacher’s might appreciate. If you are new to Unashamed Workman, read here an explanation of the blog format.

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Preaching
* Rev David Murray, a Scot from Stornoway, with some classes on sermon preparation. (HT: David Reimer)
* Adrian Warnock asks: Must Expository Preaching Always Be A Series Preaching Through A Book?
* Josh Harris on his “sermon coaches”
* Tim Bridges on how William Perkins models a preaching to both “town and gown.”
* This looks like an interesting book: The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African American Pastors.
* Martyn Lloyd Jones on Spurgeon: Are Sermon Series Compulsory?
* An excellent Walter Kaiser quote on how preaching should be both attractive and repelling.
* John Brand is on book review number nine (John Piper, Supremacy of God in Preaching) of book’s relating to preaching. If John achieves reading one preaching book a week, for a year, I will be most impressed!
* This looks like a great book soon to be released: Preaching the Cross, with contributors Mark Dever, RC Sproul, Al Mohler, CJ Mahaney, John Piper and others.

Miscellaneous
* I am almost in agony reading about such a mouth watering conference! If you are within geographical reach, go!
* Bob Kauflin with some sane advice on planning for Easter services.
* The latest Nine Marks Newsletter is available; the subject is elders.
* Mark Dever is interviewed about local church membership.
* Al Mohler on the Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage
* Justin Buzzard talks about a prudential practice for him: a Friday Sundown Shutdown.
* Find out how your church can legally use photos and images. (HT: David Reimer)

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Visual Aids Reloaded

March 9, 2007

After a barnstorming discussion last Friday about visual aids in the context of preaching, I thought I’d return to this for one more week. Basically, I’ve read through the comments and want to summarise some of the responses.

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FOR
Its helpful to note that those proposing the use of visual aids in preaching can be divided into two camps: those who use almost exclusively text (with the odd picture) and those who advocate much more frequent use of visual images. Either way, here were some of the arguments advanced in favour:

1. Visual images were frequently used by Jesus to illustrate the word he preached.
“I think Jesus’ own example in teaching shows that there was room for creativity without compromising the message.” (Peter Bogert)

2. In a visually conscious culture, images connect well and may provide an audio-visual double emphasis.
“I like it for images…since we are an image driven society (logos, commercials, advertising) and a good image can drive a great point home.” (Brandon)

“It is impossible to distract this generation with too much visual simuli as long as it is saying what God told you to say, go for it!” (Mark Morris)

“I think that using this works best because people are getting the main points and scriptures two ways via audio and video.” (Peter)

3.It can helpfully and quickly bring in cross-references.
“I use it to present additional scripture in my sermon. This helps the congregation to not be constantly flipping through the Bible and missing what I am saying.” (Bill Reichart)

4.Some people will especially benefit from the visual element.
“I preach in a Deaf church to Deaf people. Deaf people are primarily visual learners. It is infinitely easier to keep their attention and keep them in the flow of the message when the sermon (the outline, at least) is compiled in Powerpoint and the speaker can preach from such a medium.” (Stephen Newell)

5. If we are opposed to images on screens, what is our rationale for illustrations which paint pictures using words?
“For those opposed to powerpoints, I suppose I wonder if they are opposed to illustrations (verbal) in sermons. In an illustration, you attempt to paint a picture with your words that better illustrates your point. Just as visual illustrations can be abused, so can verbal illustrations. But I have never once heard of anybody who opposes powerpoint ALSO opposing verbal illustrations.” (Michael Garner)

AGAINST
1. It shows a lack of confidence in the word preached.
“I am afraid what drives many preachers to use PP is that they don’t think people will listen if they don’t have some cool graphic displayed behind them.” (Justin Childers)

“In a culture surrounded by visual religion (viz., idolatry), the OT prophets proclaimed the Word of the Lord. The same was true of the early church. Throughout history as the church began to rely more and more on images (e.g., statues of the Virgin Mary), it drifted farther and farther away from the Word.” (Milton Stanley)

“I appreciate that we live in a visual age but does that necessarily mean we should pander to it? Our congregations need encouragement to be word focussed – both written and spoken.” (John Brand)

2. It may produce a sloppiness of language
“A preacher should have or should be striving for such a mastery of words that it would be second rate to use powerpoint to illustrate a point in a sermon. Are not the powers of language enough? Spurgeon and Lloyd-Jones would agree, and I’m sure Whitefield would as well.” (Ryan Findlay)

3. It can produce a ‘lecture feel.’
“I do not want my sermon to be a lecture and I do not want people to be frantically taking down notes as though there was going to be a final exam. What I’m aiming at, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, is an encounter with the Living God in his Word resulting in reformation, renewal, conversion etc.” (Peter Foxwell)

4. It can take a long time to design
“I’ve sat through far too many sermons where the preacher clearly spent WAY more time on his slides than his preparation.” (Tim Challies)

5. It can discourage people from reading their bibles.
“I really dislike, though, having Bible verses on the screen, or photos. Already our congregation does not check in their Bibles (or even write the verse references down, as far as I can tell) to see if what is put on the screen and said from the pulpit is accurate. I think PP makes it worse; even those who would normally open their Bibles don’t now, because it’s all up there on the screen.” (Karen B)

(ps. I think the comments I liked best – and probably summarises my own approach – came from Justin Buzzard: “I’ve found…limited, in the background, use of PP to be beneficial to our people and to not distract from the preached Word. I understand, though, many of the no PP comments here. Visuals can quickly get out of hand and distracting if one’s not careful.” I also think Brendt asked a key question: “I think it comes down to ‘do you use it, or it use you?'”)

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Three Reasons to Give Thanks

March 8, 2007

I don’t usually get personal on this blog (its about preaching, not about this preacher) but today I will. I’m feeling quite reflective this morning. And thankful. There are several reasons…

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First, this is my birthday. As always on the 8th of March, I’m looking to the past, surveying the present, and dreaming about the future. God has been extraordinarily good to me and my family this past year. There have been many temporal blessings. But most of all, I feel a great sense of thankfulness to Him for his unfailing love in Christ.

Second, this is the anniversary of my grandfather’s death. Andrew Steen went to be with Jesus nine years ago today, on what was my 18th birthday. I was moved, therefore, to read John Piper’s post yesterday (Hello, my Father just died) about the passing of his father. Though I didn’t know my grandfather so well, I am thankful to God for his cherished memory. His godly example continues to spur me forward. By the grace of God, he was a passionate preacher and a good man. We loved him; we still miss him.

Third, though of lesser importance, this is almost the three month anniversary of Unashamed Workman (Sunday will be the official day). I’d like to say how much I’ve enjoyed posting six days out of seven on the theme of preaching. Its been even more pleasurable than I imagined to interact with many of you over this period. For what its worth, I’d like to link you to my ten favourite posts over this season. If you missed these the first time, you can read and comment on them now.

1. The Case for Preaching (part one) (Just reading these quotes makes me want to get behind a pulpit!)
2. Tim Keller on Luke 15 (This has to be highly rated, not least because Tim Keller commented on it himself!)
3. A Friday Question – Visual Props (The most commented post)
4. Preaching that Understands the World (Don Carson, with some helpful advice)
5. How John Stott Prepares a Sermon (Many sites linked to this)
6. Ten Reasons to Take Time Out (This one’s gone on my wall…)
7. Theology on Fire! (Truly, this belongs in the category of ‘classic materials’)
8. Twenty Reasons to Read Good Christian Books (This wasn’t a hard post to put together – the reasons are boundless)
9. Unashamed Additions (You can still make suggestions for this)
10. Anchor Man (part one) (Reading this again is no less challenging)

Soli Deo Gloria

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How You Prepare to Preach (4th edition)

March 7, 2007

For this week’s Under Construction, we return to how various people prepare sermons. Here is how Bryan Chapell suggests it should be done. Taken from his book “Christ Centered Preaching” (pg. 345) note that several of these steps may be interchangeable.

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1. Spiritual Preparation: Piety, Planning, Prayer.
2. Read and Digest the Thought of the Text.
3. Identify the Fallen Condition Focus.
4. Research the Text (history, grammar, exegetical outline, issues etc)
5. Consider Specific Applications.
6. Collect Developmental Matter (quotes, statistics, illustrations, key terms, commentary data etc)
7. Create a Homiletical Outline (proposition, main points etc)
8. Place Developmental Matter in Outline.
9. Write Conclusion and Introduction.
10. Write Sermon Body.
11. Reduce to Outline.
12. Practice.
13. Pray.
14. Preach.

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Adding Weight to Words

March 6, 2007

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I had a wonderful encouragement last week. The fellowship I serve (Charlotte Baptist Chapel) voted to extend my contract indefinitely. This has been a real answer to prayer. My Associate Pastor role will involve even more preaching, and falls within the context of a longer-term involvement with a congregation I am growing to love.

Looking back these four years, however, I have noticed something. It may just be my imagination but my impression is that my preaching has gained more of a hearing over the duration. As I’ve come to know the fellowship better, my exposition has been more readily received. This is probably one of the great blessings of a longer-term ministry, like that of John MacArthur (pictured) who has served Grace Community Church for around 40 years: our long and proven interaction with people makes them more readily receive our teaching.

In view of this, our Classic Materials this week may be of encouragement especially to young or new pastors of churches. From Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students, the great pastor/preacher calls for patience and diligence that we might “add weight to our words.”

“When the preacher first settles, he cannot expect that his congregation will give him that solemn attention which those obtain who stand up like fathers among their own children, endeared to their people by a thousand memories, and esteemed for age and experience. Our whole life must be such as to add weight to our words, so that in after years we shall be able to wield the invincible eloquence of a long-sustained character, and obtain, not merely the attention but the affectionate veneration of our flock.”