Archive for March, 2009


Logos Hope Arriving

March 31, 2009

OM’s latest ship Logos Hope (which I had the pleasure to visit in Germany last year) is shortly to dock right here in Edinburgh.



Sermon Jams

March 30, 2009

In case you haven’t heard it: sermon jams. Its snippets of sermons put to music. What I will say is that whatever you think of the musical overlays, the preaching content is superb. Maybe I’ll jog home to it, and let you know if my times improve!



A Terrific Battle

March 27, 2009

Having just finished the hard graft of my sermon preparations for another week, I can agree with every word from the pen of James Stalker:

“But preparation of this sort for the pulpit is not easy. It requires time, self conquest and hard work. Perhaps the greatest ministerial temptation is idleness in study – not in going about and doing something, but in finding and rightly using precious hours in one’s library, avoiding reverie and light or desultory reading, and sticking hard and fast to the Sabbath work. I, for one, must confess that I have had, and still have, a terrific battle to fight for this.”

(James Stalker, quoted in Toward an Exegetical Theology, W. Kaiser, p 243)


Scott Ready for Harvest Glasgow

March 26, 2009

Its been exciting to hear about what pastor Scott Hamilton (a good friend in our young minister’s fellowship) is being given opportunity to do over in Glasgow. For everyone’s prayers, here’s the blurb from the ‘Straight Up’ blog:

New Harvest Bible Chapel in Scotland!

Posted By Gerald Hiestand on March 24, 2009

glasglow-family-pictureAs many of you are aware, the Harvest Bible Fellowship continues to plant churches both here in North America and abroad. We’re very excited about one of our newest projects, set to launch later this year in Glasgow, Scotland.

To the left is a picture of Scott and Allison Hamilton, and their two children. The Hamilton’s are residents of Glasgow, and have just returned there after six weeks at the HBF Training Center. Here’s the write-up from the HBF website:

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom—and the newest frontier for Harvest!

Yet it’s a frontier with history. An inscription on a local bell, made in 1637 for the Tron Kirk (or church, of which the Tron Steeple still exists) reads: “Lord, let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of Thy Word and praising Thy Name.” It became the city’s motto in 1663.

Today, the city’s motto is simply “Let Glasgow Flourish.”

This land once known for preaching God’s Word and praising the Name that is above all names, has misplaced its original purpose and calling.

Today, Glasgow is a complacent society that has rejected a heritage founded on the truth of God’s Word…and one that’s become very resistant to the Gospel.

But our hope is in God and the things unseen! A God who says,

“And now, brother, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago” (Acts 3:17-21).

With this hope, we’d ask you to join us in welcoming the newest family to Harvest Bible Fellowship. God has led Harvest to a group of Glaswegians (people from Glasgow) to plant a church.

Scott Hamilton and his wife, Alison, of Glasgow have just returned to Scotland after spending six energetic weeks completing their residency in Elgin with Fellowship staff—and their two young children. Blessed by their unwavering joy in our time together, we sent them home steeped in Harvest culture and reinforced in their commitment, as they begin developing a launch team for Harvest Glasgow.

We anticipate the Lord to use them greatly as He reinvigorates His church in Glasgow. Please pray together with us…

1. For protection, wisdom, and favor for the Hamiltons as they communicate the vision of the new church.

2. That God would raise up a qualified and committed team of worshipers who will serve as the launch team for Harvest Glasgow.

3. For a worship leader for this new work.

4. That God would provide a place of worship for the newly forming team as they commit themselves to God and one another for the purpose of lifting high the name of Jesus!


Seven Signs Of A Genuine Ministry

March 25, 2009

Pointed out by Mark Dever in his overview sermon on 1 Thessalonians:

1. self sacrifice

1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 “You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.”

1 Thessalonians 2:3-6 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.

2. motherly love

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 “As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”

3. fatherly integrity and encouragement

1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 “You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

4. desire for fellowship

1 Thessalonians 2:17 But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you.”

1 Thessalonians 3:10-11 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.

5. joy

1 Thessalonians 3:7-9 “Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith.  For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?”

6. prayer

1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”

7. hope

1 Thessalonians 2:12 “encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

1 Thessalonians 2:19 “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”

(see Dever’s book, Promises Kept)


The Expository Preaching of John Calvin

March 24, 2009

The whole post can be found here, but here is the summary:

First: Calvin’s pulpit was Biblical in content.

Second: Calvin’s preaching was sequential in exposition.

Third: direct in beginning.

Fourth: extemporaneous in delivery.

Fifth: Calvin’s preaching was exegetical in depth.

Sixth: Calvin’s preaching was familiar in language.

Seventh: Calvin’s preaching was pastoral in tone.

Eighth: Calvin’s preaching was polemic in confrontation.

Ninth: Calvin’s preaching was evangelistic in passion.

Tenth: Calvin’s preaching was God-centered in conclusion.


Practice and Reflection

March 23, 2009

On the last post,  James commented that for preachers to grow there is sometimes a need to “preach less and reflect more.” In many cases that is very good advice. Truly: growing preachers need to practice and reflect.


Just doing lots of preaching (practice) in isolation seldom produces significant growth in a person’s preaching. In and of itself it readily produces ruts and bad habits. Like James, one of the reasons I went to seminary was because I needed to do more biblical and theological study (reflection).

On the other hand, the act of preaching regularly is just as crucial to growth as reflection is. To use a silly illustration:  although I will be a better car-driver by doing my theory test, I will never be much of driver if I don’t spend time behind the wheel of an actual car!