Archive for May, 2009


This is How They Learn to Preach In China!

May 27, 2009

“Each student, by the end of the year, has to be ready to preach (without notes) a one-hour sermon on each of the 66 books of the Bible.  This sermon is to include an outline of the content of the book, and contemporary application to the individual, the church and the nation of China.  At the end of the year, 3 books would be selected at random, then the student has five seconds to launch into their message.”

Read about the rest of the course here!


Deliberate Church

May 27, 2009

The Deliberate Church is, in my opinion,  probably Mark Dever’s best book. Though 9 Marks of a Healthy Church was superb, Deliberate Church covers much of the same biblical material relating to ‘how we do church’ but also blends it with discussion of the pastoral and prudent. It is a theological and practical ecclesiology.


Right now, I’m reading through Deliberate Church again with the elders of Ballymoney Baptist – one chapter per week. Here are some great quotes from chapter 2 (“Beginning the Work”) which should encourage anyone who hasn’t as yet bought this book, to get their hands on a copy:

  • “Patience is a pastoral virtue. But the one thing you don’t want to be slow about is preaching the Gospel.”
  • “What you win them with is what you’ll win them to…If you win them with technique, programs, entertainment, and personal charisma, you might end up wining them to yourself and your methods…but its likely that they won’t be won to the Gospel first and foremost.”
  • “So how do we begin positively? For starters, put yourself in the background and preach Christ crucified.”
  • “The more your congregation is clear on the Gospel, the less likely it is that either tepid nominalism or carnal divisiveness will find air to breath – and the more likely it is that you will forge healthy and growing unity around the Good News that distinguishes the church from the world.”
  • “An uncorrectable pastor breeds uncorrectable people.”
  • “No one is saved by either church membership or attendance. But membership in the local church is a church’s external, public affirmation that the member is continuing to give evidence of genuine Christian conversion.”
  • “Do you really want to be held accountable for the spiritual well being of a member whom you have not seen at church in four years – or worse, a member you’ve never even met?”
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    Pastor’s Wives Part 2

    May 26, 2009

    The 10 Questions for pastor’s wives series continues over at Titus 2 Talk, this time interviewing Alison Hamilton.



    ‘Basics’ Conference – audio and video

    May 25, 2009

    …is online for free. The speakers include John Piper, Alistair Begg and John Lennox. There is a two part lecture on ‘persuasive preaching.’



    Like to Hear Spurgeon?

    May 23, 2009

    Would you like to hear Charles H Spurgeon preaching? You can. Well, kind of – courtesy of Doug Whitley. I would be interested to know what people think about this kind of thing? Imitating classic preachers – full dress and all!!?


    Profits and Perils of Preaching Twice

    May 21, 2009

    I’m preaching twice this week, which is not typical for me. Here’s what I’ve been discovering:

    1) You need to prepare your sermons far more rapidly when you have two.

    2) You can actually prepare your sermons much more quickly than you imagined, when you need to.

    3) You read four or five commentaries, not ten to fifteen.

    4) Point 3 doesn’t seem to matter too much. Is this because most of the commentaries repeat other commentaries? Plus, you can still look up the rest when you get stuck on a particularly trying interpretive problem.

    5) You move almost immediately from researching to writing! (ie. little time to plan and plot your outline)

    6) Whilst doing other tasks, you find your mind randomly wandering between the two passages, and sometimes you get slightly confused about which sermon you’re thinking about.

    7) You can get slightly more excited about one passage over the other, especially early in the week.

    8 ) Later in the week, the passage you were least excited about can overtake the frontrunner in your enthusiasm!

    9) Writing it out in full still matters, but you have to do it fast (eg. with smoke coming off the keys!).

    10) Though you are preparing only twice as much material, you have to trust in God ten times as much. And that, friends, can’t be a bad thing!


    Scotland: Preaching Conference

    May 21, 2009

    “Dear All,

    Can I remind and encourage you to book up for this year’s Servants of the Word conference? You’ll remember what a good time we have had together these last few years, and as you know we’re privileged this year to have with us Dick Lucas as well as Richard Coekin and Paul Levy as our main speakers, along with a number of others leading expository workshops.

    There’s no-one better than Dick to crack open the word in ways that brings fresh light to us for the expository task. And Richard and Paul both have a great deal to teach us. They are both involved in church networks in london which have been pioneering church planting and ministry training in ways that we in Scotland really do need to learn from. Don’t miss that opportunity. We hope to build on last year’s conference, in terms of developing a growing fellowship of younger ministers committed to expository ministries that build real, living 21st century churches. There will be opportunity to eat together, pray together, and, we trust, share some fun together too. Please, do book up as soon as you can, because we need to plan the groups and so on. You can do that directly here.  Or else phone Ann at the office 0141 333 0152 .

    If the cost is the only thing that would bar you from coming, then please don’t let that be so. Get in touch with me directly (, and we will sort something out if at all possible. We are all up to our eyes in work, I know (believe me!). To be honest, the thought of finding time for a conference just seems impossible for me personally at the moment. But all the more important to be able to step back and have some time to immerse ourselves in being re-prepared for the core task of our ministries. For that reason, I am determined to be there!

    I do hope you will make it a priority too. I need your encouragment and fellowship, and I want to offer you mine. So please do come. Look forward to seeing you in June, I hope. 

     William J U Philip”


    Thabiti Talks Manuscripts

    May 20, 2009

    “…I preach from a full manuscript. It’s nothing fancy, pretty much word-for-word what I intend to preach. Though that never happens. My main points are in bold, and sometimes sub-points as well. I underline the first sentence of each paragraph in red. If there is a cross-reference, I’ll either bold the reference in the text, or if it’s extended and I don’t want people to actually turn to it, I’ll include it as a block quote. I think I’m probably a better preacher with an outline rather than a manuscript, but I prefer a manuscript at this point for four reasons. One, I’m still learning to preach. I got a ways to go. Two, like Mike, I’m working on content and accuracy with the text. Three, I want people drawn to the content rather than to personality in the pulpit. Four, I don’t know that the Lord would ever be pleased to use my sermons beyond the local church I pastor. And I’m so thrilled to be a pastor, I won’t feel any loss if He doesn’t. But one of the tragedies of the African-American pulpit is that so few men have left any considerable manuscript evidence of their labors. Some of the greatest pulpit preachers in history are vaguely remembered but not studied. In case my labors may be of use to someone at some point, I don’t want to make the mistake of leaving little to nothing behind. So, I write–but not with an eye to someone else’s profit but for the profit of the people in my charge.”

    (Thabiti Anyabwile,  read the whole article at 9marks blog)


    What’s Next? Electronic Sermon Notes?!

    May 19, 2009



    Read Michael Luerhmann’s explanation.


    Praise Factory

    May 19, 2009

    Praise Factory: a great new website with free resources for childrens programs from Capitol Hill Baptist – written by Connie Dever. (HT: Paul Rees)



    10 Questions For Pastor’s Wives

    May 18, 2009

    A great idea: Ten Questions for Pastor’s Wives. Over at Titus 2 Talk.

    1. What do you think is your most important responsibility as a pastor’s wife?
    2. Is there anything that you think is not part of your role that others may assume is?
    3. What boundaries have you established in order to protect your marriage and family life?
    4. How do you apply Galatians 6:2 (“Carry each other’s burdens”) when facing difficulties or frustrations in ministry?
    5. Where do you and your husband find your own pastoral care?
    6. How do you deal with criticism of you or your husband?
    7. What is the greatest blessing and what the greatest burden of being a pastor’s wife?
    8. Are there any books you would recommend that you’ve found particularly helpful as a pastor’s wife?
    9. What one piece of advice would you pass on to a new pastor’s wife?
    10. How can the other women in a congregation best support you practically and in prayer?


    The Preacher’s Job

    May 17, 2009

    The preacher’s job is to minimize his own opinions, and to explain what the bible says and apply it to people’s lives.  The preachers job is to do that in a way that enables you to see in the bible where his opinons comes from; because if you don’t see where they come from,you’ll end up putting your faith in a man, not in God’s Word.” (John Piper)