Archive for July, 2008


God Centred Preaching?

July 30, 2008

Carrying on the Worldle craze, I’m pleased to see that my latest sermon shows at least some evidence of being God-centred preaching!


Hell-Less Preaching = Powerless Pulpits

July 30, 2008

Wielding a Different Kind of Authority

July 29, 2008

Today I’ve added two links to Unashamed Workman. First, Calvin 500 – a webplace celebrating the legacy of John Calvin on 500th anniversary of his death – to my ‘Other Helpful Places.’ Second, I’ve added Mike Gilbart Smith’s sermons to my ‘Unashamed Workmen’ links.

Regarding Calvin, I recently found Alistair McGrath’s appraisal of him to be striking:

“Calvin was no Genevan dictator, ruling the population with a rod of iron. He was not even a citizen of Geneva throughout his time there, and was thus denied access to political authority. His status was simply that of a pastor who was in no position to dictate to the magisterial authorities who administered the city….Calvin’s influence over Geneva rested ultimately not in his formal legal standing (which was insignificant) but in his considerable authority as a preacher and pastor.” (Alistair McGrath, quoted in Steve Lawson, The Expository Genius of John Calvin, p21)


Sky High Ironies

July 28, 2008

I awoke yesterday morning ready to preach my heart out on Psalm 19 (‘the heaven’s declare the glory of God’, ‘the skies the work of his hands’ etc). However all I could see of the sky out of my kitchen window was a thick, murky mist. Ironic.

In Edinburgh we call this the “harr” – a sea fog that affects Edinburgh every summer. This turn of events was even more ironic given that Edinburgh had been flooded with sunshine all week. But thanks, Lord: just around our service start time, the great ball of fire started to burn through, and my heart was warmed to preach with greater eagerness about the sun-glory which points to the Son’s glory.

(The sermon here)


Spurgeon’s ‘Very Great Embarassment’

July 26, 2008

While I’d join Mark Driscoll in his sentiment (not sure I’d use the exact phrase!) that ‘Spurgeon is the Man!’, I was interested to recently discover what Spurgeon perceived to be a chink in his own armory:

“To me still, I must confess, my text selection is a very great embarrassment….I must confess that I frequently sit hour after hour praying and waiting for a subject, and that this is the main part of my study; much hard labor have I spent in manipulating topics, ruminating upon points of doctrine, making skeletons out of verses and then burying every bone of them in the catacombs of oblivion, sailing on and on over leagues of broken water, till I see the red lights and make sail direct to the desired haven. I believe that almost any Saturday in my life I make enough outlines of sermons, if I felt the liberty to preach them, to last me for a month, but I no more dare use them than an honest mariner would run to shore a cargo of contraband goods.” (Lectures to my Students, C Spurgeon, pp84-85)

Alistair Begg’s comment:

“…All we need to acknowledge is that God does not come upon methods but upon men, even when our methods may not give the appearance of being the wisest or the best. I have often imagined how grand it would be to be able to turn to volumes of Spurgeon’s consecutive exposition rather than the collections of sermons he has actually left to us, as rich as they are. Spurgeon serves as a reminder that the best of men are men at best and that there has only ever been one perfect preacher, and that is Jesus. (Preaching For God’s Glory, A Begg, p39)


Preaching Is Culturally Neutral – & Other Notes

July 25, 2008

Today’s Featured Toolbox is a selection of notes taken by Dan Green from London’s EMA this year. Speakers included R Kent Hughes and Christopher Ash. The theme was preaching. The notes are worth scanning – not least for claims like ‘Preaching itself is a culturally neutral phenomenon!’

Other Toolbox This Week
Wow…My Good friend David Reimer Guest Blogging for Justin Taylor
Devotional Challenges with the Children (funny)
Spurgeon and Studying
Don’t Substitute Fact Finding For Thinking
10 Ways To Be A Miserable Christian
Evangelical Alliance Scotland Invites Brian McLaren
Superb Article By Jonathan Leeman: Individualism’s not the Problem; Community’s not the Solution
Exegeting Culture
How Important Is Church Membership?
The Preacher’s Authority
Audio Lecture: Preaching that Communicates (John Hosier)


Be A Pastor, Preacher

July 24, 2008

Recently I preached on Acts 11:1-18. I was struck by how Peter – often conveyed as a preacher in Acts – is here presented as Peter the pastor.

Here’s an audio excerpt of my application.


Preaching Above Mediocrity

July 23, 2008

Delivery isn’t everything; but it ain’t nothing either. Alex Montoya is right when he says:

“Congregations have long moved beyond the simple lecture on the Bible and the ‘sharing of a few nuggets’ from the Word. Every area of Christendom has moved into the next stage of its development. Music, Sunday school, buildings, sound systems, lighting, and church offices – all these have progressed to a level above mediocrity. The same expectation is held for the preacher. The people have gathered to worship where the pianist is skilled, where the soloist has perfected her voice, where the choir has rehearsed their cantata, and where the architect has yielded the fruit of his profession. Then in comes the preacher, who has not given his delivery a second thought! He blunders through an unprepared introduction, reads through his notes, and crash lands an unfinished sermon because his ‘time was up.’ Do you expect people to respond kindly to this contrast? We owe it to our people to be skillful in our preaching, from its exegesis to its exposition.”

(Preaching with Passion, Alex Montoya, pg 84)


Books to Plunder

July 22, 2008

The house we were staying in during our time in London had a rich supply of Christian books. Though one week is hardly enough time to plunder any library, I was able to identify a number of books that I’d like to read more carefully in the future.

A Method For Prayer – Henry
Under the Unpredictable Plant – Peterson
Redeemer Church Planting Manual – Keller
Urban Ministry – Conn and Ortiz
Letters Along the Way – Carson and Woodbridge
Delighting in the Trinity – Chester
The Single Issue – Hsu
Feed my Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching – Mohler and others
Preaching to a Shifting Culture – Gibson
Handbook of Church Discipline – Adams

Any more good books anyone has read recently and can recommend?


Loitering in London

July 18, 2008

Thanks to Glen (my budding four year old photographer) for some of these shots… Oh, and the eagle eyed will spot the Mayor of London.


Leaving For London

July 14, 2008

As of today, I’m off with family to London for a week’s holiday. I’m not sure whether I’ll have net access there or not, so it may be this time next week before I re-emerge.

(London at Night Panorama 2, photo by Ian Muttoo;Creative Commons License)


Workman’s Toolbox – 11. Jul. 08

July 11, 2008

Preaching and Teaching Resources
Driscoll: Marks of A Missional Church (audio)
The Glory of Preaching the Bible – Piper
Complicated Passages
An Insightful Breakdown of Sermon Preparation
Grudem’s 10 Tips for Bible Interpretation
A Different Kind of Evening Service
10 Ways Not To Measure Success
Doctrinal Books For Children
How To Begin a Commentary Collection
Journelling and Preaching
Thinking of Doing a PhD?
Fruitfulness and Plodding