Archive for September, 2008



September 12, 2008

Someone asked me over the phone today to recommend some commentaries on Genesis, then the Psalms, then Acts, then

Pretty soon my memory was failing me!

Thankfully one thing I did remember was a useful reference website I’ve been periodically using. is a webplace that does exactly what it says on the tin. Yet in my opinion, its possibly the best resource available in terms of online commentary-recommendations.

It has profitable listings for both Old and New Testament’s books respectively, where commentaries are rated according to their excellence.

Helpfully too there are various letters next to each commentary volume, denoting things like “more technical/academic” (T) or “more pastorally” focused (P). There is also a forthcoming section which lists future commentary releases, whilst the home page lists the latest commentary reviews from the likes of RC Sproul and Jim Rosscup.

Well worth a look.

Other Toolbox This Week

John about to preach on John
Kent Hughes – Defining Biblical Exposition
Berbatov’s a ‘Bible Basher’
Mahaney Audio: Sustaining the Pastor’s Soul
In What Direction Do You Preach?
Defending Two Service Sundays
Men, 30 is the new 40
Video: Ligon Duncan on Evangelism Trends
Bible Guide for Journalists
Preaching the Movies


Teacher Testing

September 11, 2008

In the school of Christianity it is not just students who need to be tested; teachers need to be tested. And teachers in the Christian school are graded against the Word of God.

(The Bereans… received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11)


Alistair Begg Online & In Edinburgh

September 10, 2008

In just over a month’s time, Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh will celebrate its 200th anniversary. Joining us for our festivities, Alistair Begg (who many years ago was an Assistant Pastor at the Chapel) will be preaching twice on the Sunday. That evening, he will also be accompanied by singer-songwriters Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. More details about the event at the end of October (24th-26th) will be forthcoming.

If you can’t make it to Edinburgh – or can’t wait that long – you should know that Alistair Begg is available in full-technicolor on the web. The Parkside services are available to view online in their entirety.



Confrontational-Dialogue in Acts 17

September 9, 2008

I discovered this morning an apparent juxtaposition in Acts 17:1-15. In this story (the evangelisation of Thessalonica and Berea) Paul utilises both “reasoning” and “proclaiming” in his gospel presentation.

Sometimes Paul is open, interactive, considerate; at other times he is closed, mono-directional, confrontational. The apostle dialogues and demands. He converses and contends.

As usual, John Stott provides some helpful commentary:

“Although there is an important place for ‘dialogue’ with men of other faiths…there is also need for ‘encounter’ with them, and even for ‘confrontation’, in which we seek to both disclose the inadequacies and falsities of non-religion and to demonstrate the adequacy and truth of, absoluteness and finality of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Paul believed in doctrine (his message had theological content) but not in indoctrination (tyrannical instruction demanding uncritical acceptance.)”


Piper’s Problem with ‘Perfect’ Sermons

September 8, 2008

“P. S. Lest the generation of younger preachers who don’t give a fig for eloquence think they have this one solved, beware. There is an “eloquence” of “hip” and “dress” and “slang” and “savvy” and “casual” and the “appearance of artlessness” that can have the exact same mesmerizing effect in our day that Whitefield’s eloquence had in his: People like it without sharing any of the convictions.”

Read the whole thing here.


NOT Preaching? Really?!

September 4, 2008

I’m not preaching this Sunday. Since preaching tends to be a weekly occurrence for me these days, this phenomenon actually takes some getting used to. In no particular order, here are a few observations about my ‘non-preaching week’.

1) It feels strange. Its like I’m in some kind of twilight zone. Not having to contend with some colossal Scriptural text? Not having to struggle and wrestle and pray and tremble over God’s Word? I feel like a fighter with no foe!

2) The week is no less busy. To the contrary. I try to do lots of things I wouldn’t otherwise have time for: pre-prepare bible studies, write letters, prepare training seminars, spend time with people! Consequently…

3) The week is far more ‘bitty’. Since I don’t have that one great thing around which everything else hangs, life seems somewhat fragmented.

4) I am more tempted to spiritual sloth. I’ve detected this sin previously too. When I’m preaching on Sunday I tend to keep myself spiritually sharp, but when I’m not preaching I more readily ease off in my prayers and reliance on God.

5) I miss preaching and regain a hunger for it. This is one of the great benefits of occasionally not preaching: it provides a break from the week on week demands of preaching that can make it feel like negotiating a treadmill! On the Sunday when I’m not preaching, I miss the challenge; but by the following Sunday (two weeks since preaching!) I’m champing at the bit to proclaim God’s Word!

I may come back and add more observations, but I’ve got too many things to attend to (apart from preaching!).


Talking Lots But Teaching Little?

September 2, 2008

“Average teachers don’t discipline themselves…and therefore talk a lot but teach little. Great teachers are as skilled at knowing what should be excluded as what should be included. Excellent teachers eliminate average material in order to focus on superior material…

“How do you choose which elements are most important? There are three shapers of material: first, the audience; second, the time available; and third, the purpose of the class.”

(Bruce Wilkinson, p 239, ‘The Seven Laws of the Learner’)


Seven Years Strong!

September 1, 2008

Happy Anniversary Nicki… (Ready for the next seven? DV)

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22)