Archive for August, 2007

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Memorable Sermons

August 15, 2007

In light of today’s earlier post, I thought I might link you to some of the most memorable sermons I’ve heard PG preach. Well worth a download to your ipod.

“Wrestling with the Lord” (Genesis 32:22-32)
“No Other God” (Exodus 20:3)
“In Vain?” (Psalm 127)
“In the Divorce Court” (Jeremiah 2)
“Amen?” (Jeremiah 11)
“Where Wrath and Mercy Meet” (Hosea)
“Alone” (Mark 14:53-72)
“Sentenced to death” (Mark 15:1-20)
“Forsaken” (Mark 15:21-
“Buried and Raised” (Mark 15:42-16:20)
“Mid Year Resolution” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

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10 Questions – Grainger

August 15, 2007

I truly count it an honour to work with a man who has exposited the bible for over forty years. That man is Peter Grainger, the senior pastor of Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh. Prior to his fifteen years and counting (!) at the Chapel, he and his wife Nita worked with Wycliffe Bible Translators, with stints in India, Pakistan and Nigeria. Further to this, Peter pastored a church in Swindon. Today, Peter very kindly joins the ranks of respondees to our “Ten Questions for Expositors.”

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1. Where do you place the importance of preaching in the grand scheme of church life?
The preaching of God’s Word is at the heart of all that we do for through it, however imperfectly, we hear God speak and (at the risk of over-simplification) all that we do in the life of a church is a response to this

2. In a paragraph, how did you discover your gifts in preaching?
My father, grandfather, and great grandfather were all Methodist local preachers. As a teenager, I accompanied my father to the churches where he spoke and began by reading the Scriptures for him, singing (!), then leading and finally attempting to preach (around the age of 16).

3. How long (on average) does it take you to prepare a sermon?
Depending on the difficulty of the passage and my familiarity with it, between 15-25 hours.

4. Is it important to you that a sermon contain one major theme or idea? If so, how do you crystallise it?
I would usually look for a major theme and crystallize it with the title and the opening illustration which introduces that theme. I often try to conclude by returning to the illustration and theme to conclude the point.

5. What is the most important aspect of a preacher’s style and what should he avoid?
Be yourself – don’t try to imitate others.

6. What notes, if any, do you use?
I write full notes and thoroughly familiarise myself with them. When preaching I refer to them and follow the planned structure but don’t read from them.

7. What are the greatest perils that preacher must avoid?
The lure of popularity (being too worried what people might think) and complacency (not recognising that only the Spirit can bring about any lasting change).

8. How do you fight to balance preparation for preaching with other important responsibilities (eg. pastoral care, leadership responsibilities)
With great difficulty! Delegating to other members/staff non-preaching activities but at the same time earthing preaching in regular pastoral care with real people and their situations.

9. What books on preaching, or exemplars of it, have you found most influential in your own preaching?
I have read many of the usual books on preaching. I have benefited from listening to good preachers over the years (I try not to be away preaching elsewhere whenever someone else in the pulpit) and the Proclamation Trust and Evangelical Ministry Assembly has been a source of inspiration/reassurance since I attended it from its inception.

10. What steps do you take to nurture or encourage developing or future preachers?
Not enough! Training and encouraging younger preachers is one of the things I want to do but gets regularly squeezed out by other demands. I have been encouraged by seeing younger colleagues grow and develop in their preaching gifts and go on to serve in other places. One of the problems in a church like ours is that it is a daunting experience to put a potential preacher in front of a “critical” congregation of 800 people. There are not so many of the smaller fellowships in which a young preacher could cut his teeth around today.

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New Hercules Collins Book

August 14, 2007

The new book exploring the spirituality of 17th century Baptist pastor Hercules Collins is now in stock at Reformation Heritage Books and available for order online here.

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Description:

While largely forgotten in modern times, Hercules Collins (1646/7-1702) was highly influential among the late 17th and early 18th century Calvinistic Baptists of London. Through a biographical sketch and 35 sample selections collected from Collins’s writings, Michael A. G. Haykin and Steve Weaver introduce us to the vibrant spirituality of this colossal figure.

Product Details:

ISBN: 9781601780225

FORMAT: Paperback, 160 pages

RETAIL PRICE: $10.00

Commendations:

“Hercules Collins is one of the great figures from our Baptist heritage—a pastor who suffered much for the cause of Christ and left a great legacy for generations that followed. There is something especially compelling about the witness of a man who was oppressed and imprisoned for his faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The witness of Hercules Collins as pastor, prisoner, and preacher is worthy of the closest attention in our own times. We are indebted to Michael Haykin and Steve Weaver for bringing Hercules Collins to life for a new generation.” —R. ALBERT MOHLER, JR.

“The secret of Collins’s courage and strength lay in his relationship with the Lord Christ. The enormous contemporary value of reading his life and writings is not just in its exposition of his evangelistic methodology, and its indirect comments on today’s broader theological scene, but in the inspiration it gives to the heart of each Christian for growth in grace and deeper spirituality.” —GEOFF THOMAS

“We are indebted to Michael Haykin and Steve Weaver for these carefully chosen selections …. For too long Baptists have had little access to the richness of their theological tradition. We have a great past, and many able servants have given their lives to the cause of our churches, and yet so few of their works have been reprinted. This book continues a very encouraging recent trend, in which the best works are being restored to print. May the Lord bless this book, and the efforts of its editors.” – From the FOREWARD by JAMES M. RENIHAN

Authors:

MICHAEL A. G. HAYKIN is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky & Research Professor of Irish Baptist College, Constituent College of Queen’s University Belfast, N. Ireland.

STEVE WEAVER is the pastor of West Broadway Baptist Church in Lenoir City, Tennessee.

Previews:

Front Cover

Back Cover

Foreward by James Renihan

Excerpt #1: “God is the Gospel”

Excerpt #2: “Plain Preaching”

(HT: Steve Weaver blog)

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Under Discipline

August 13, 2007

For reasons which I won’t delve into, this week has been a hard one for our family. By the providence of God I also happened to be preaching yesterday morning on Hebrews 12:4-13. We considered together the charge to “endure hardship as discipline.” What are the odds?!

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Let me share a quote that I brought before the congregation. It reminded us all that in tough times it is far better to be under the Lord’s discipline, than his punishment:

“God’s punishment stems from his wrath against sin;
whereas his discipline stems from his love to his children.
Punishment is God acting as Judge;
discipline is God acting as Father.
Under punishment, the sinner pays for his sins.
Under discipline, Christ pays for our sins.
Punishment is God’s demand for justice.
Under discipline, justice is not in view….
Rather God intends to correct our faults and to develop holiness in us.”

(Steve Cole, pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, from his sermon God’s Loving Discipline)

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Dever on Calvinist Rise – Entire Series

August 12, 2007

I’ve been waiting until Mark Dever got through with his series, before linking you to the whole thing. His question for 10 has been “where have all these Calvinists come from?” His answers are well worth a read.

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1. Charles Spurgeon
2. Lloyd-Jones
3. Banner of Truth Trust
4. Evangelism Explosion
5. Inerrancy Controversy
6. Presbyterian Church in America
7. JI Packer
8. RC Sproul and John MacArthur
9. John Piper
10. The rise of secularism and decline of Christian nominalism

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Exceptional Pressure, Extra Grace

August 10, 2007

Thursday (rather than Tuesday!) is an exceptionally late start for my sermon preparation. But due to a couple of days off this week, this has been my lot. While I wouldn’t want to make this my normative pattern, I am finding that the Lord’s grace has been sufficient. Should I be surprised?

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Yesterday I was able to study the passage to a reasonable degree and prepare my rough outline. Today – God willing – I am on course to write the sermon up. I would never have thought it possible!

I wonder, preachers, if you have found God’s grace to be lavish when you have been ‘up against it?’ Has there a ‘worst case scenario’ in terms of prep time that actually turned out to demonstrate God’s power in your weakness?

Or maybe you’re too busy doing last minute sermon writing…

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Mbewe: Preaching the Whole Counsel of God

August 9, 2007

Thanks to Martin Downes for this link. If ever you wanted an endorsement of expository preaching, this is it:

“I also think that because my pulpit ministry is of a consecutive expository fashion, church members have learned to see the truth in its biblical context. Hence they are able to discern when someone is using texts out of context in order to peddle their own teachings. So, I have not had any experience in dealing with church members holding on to serious error.”

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Spiritual Mid-Life Crisis?

August 6, 2007

“Maybe you’ve been a Christian for quite a few years. But if truth is told, you are now flagging in your faith. You’re struggling. Maybe nobody else knows that. Or some people suspect it. Maybe you haven’t stopped going to church, but its not how it used to be. You’re just putting in appearances really. Things are tough, and you’re actually tempted to give up. The message for you this morning is: keep going.”

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“Maybe you’re are a Christian who’s run the Christian race for many, many years – and you’re in great danger of falling at the last hurdle. You might think when you’ve been a Christian for donkey’s years that’s not possible. I say to all of us who have been on the Christian path for many, many years…. keep praying that you don’t fall at the last hurdle.”

Listen to the whole of Peter Grainger’s challenging sermon here.

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Moving

August 6, 2007

We’re moving house today and tomorrow. 11 Midmar Gardens, Morningside exchanges for 41 Cramond Avenue, Cramond (South to North West Edinburgh). Its been a busy few months with house selling, redecorating and a new baby to boot!

In relation to all this, my own sermon last night on “Glorification” was even a good tonic for the preacher himself (as every sermon should be!). It was good to be reminded that houses and bodies and families, such as we have them, are not ultimate. We look forward to renewed bodies, and indeed, a renewed creation.

I may be offline for much of this week, but do listen to the sermon if you get the time.

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Ministry In Global City Centers – Keller

August 4, 2007

I know this week’s Featured Toolbox may not have direct relevance to everyone, but we are all affected by the shape of the cities in our nation. By the way Tim (Keller) – if you ever read this -please, please put all this in book-form sometime!

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Ministry in the New Global Culture of Major City Centers (part one)
Ministry in the New Global Culture of Major City Centers (part two)
Ministry in the New Global Culture of Major City Centers (part three)
Ministry in the New Global Culture of Major City Centers (part four)

Other Toolbox

*The Tentmakers Group
* Groothius: Apologetics Audio
* A Prayer for This Year: Thabiti
* Care for Pastor’s Wives
* The Dangerous Desire to be ‘Teachers’
* Why Doctrine is Practical: MacArthur
* Preaching in a Rut?
* Mahaney: Coping with Conflict
* Electronic Book Searches for Sermon Prep
* What Color Should Jesus Be?
*
Begg Back in the Pulpit
* Benefits of Exposition
* MacArthur’s Master’s Messages
* Church Planting and Expository Preaching
* Who Says the World Doesn’t Crave Forgiveness?
* Why Some Sermons Are Not Fresh

In case you’re wondering, I’m missing the odd post at the moment due to a house move next week. Christian first, then husband, father, pastor, blogger etc…

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‘Expositional Imposters’ – Mike Gilbart Smith

August 1, 2007

For the last 24 hours I’ve had the privilege of hosting Mike Gilbart Smith here in Edinburgh. Mike is an assistant pastor from Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C. It has been a rich time of hearing about the church where he serves and to share thoughts on various aspects of ministry. As it happens, I also stumbled today across an insightful article by Mike entitled “Expositional Imposters.” Reading the piece made me smile; far too often, some of the imposters he describes have barged their way into my own preaching.

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