Archive for January, 2010


Expanding Preparation

January 29, 2010

I’m preaching twice on Sunday, but one sermon has been previously prepared.

You would think that sermon prep should take much less time with one, rather than two, sermons. But what I’ve found is that preparation for sermons expands to fill the time.

It’s a strange phenomenon. On weeks when I’m preparing less, I take almost as long to prepare.

Am I the only one?



January 26, 2010

Kevin De Young has a great IDEA for preachers.


Thabiti on Commentaries

January 26, 2010

Thabiti Anyabwile gives some helpful insight into his use of commentaries:

1. If I spend 16 hours on a sermon, I would guess that on average 12 of those hours are spent in the text itself and working on my first draft of the sermon.

2. When I turn to commentaries, I turn to exegetical commentaries first. I do use them as “Bible study partners” to check my handling and understanding of the text.

3. I really enjoy the Baker Exegetical Commentary Series and the Pillar New Testament Commentary Series. I’ve found helpful volumes in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament.

4. I don’t often consult one-volume commentaries. Henry is about the only one I’ll dip into occasionally, though I own a couple others.

5. After I’ve spent my time in the text and written a draft, I first consult exegetical commentaries. Then I’ll normally do any re-writing or re-thinking I need to do. I do also like to read one or two expositional commentaries. I enjoy seeing how others handle the same passages. Among my favorites to read the night before are Boice and Lloyd-Jones.


Two Thought Provoking Sermons on Mission

January 18, 2010

Really, really insightful preaching from Ian Parry yesterday:

Ian is the pastor of The Bay Church in Cardiff, Wales.


9 Marks, 1 Month

January 14, 2010

Don’t forget the 9Marks Conferences. One month from now.

Ballymena and Edinburgh.


Are You A Gospel Maniac?

January 14, 2010

“Have you ever been accused of madness in your preaching? Jesus was (John 10:20), and so were the apostles (2 Corinthians 5:13). Its not unusual for a gospel preacher to be accused of madness…Paul was a gospel maniac [Acts 26:24]. He was captivated by God’s Word. He was a Psalm 1 man of the Book. He was ‘insane’ about Christ and the cross and the resurrection… Preaching today is so often passive, apathetic, impotent, soft, spineless and lame. It lacks fervour, heat and heart. It is passionless. What can turn preaching around? What can restore fire-breathing, white-hot power preaching in our day? The answer is quite simple. Preachers must become gospel maniacs. Preachers must become captivated and re-captivated by the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel. No intoxication for the gospel, no mania for the good news means no fire.”

(David Eby, Power Preaching for Church Growth, p48)


No Preaching, No Church Growth

January 12, 2010

Recently, I heard a venerable lover of Christian books wax-lyrical about “a must read book for any preacher.” That book was by David Eby: “Power Preaching for Church Growth.” I bought it yesterday. What I have read so far is pulsating. In the next post or two, a few quotes to whet your appetite:

According to the New Testament, and particularly the book of Acts, we cannot have church growth without preaching. There we discover that preaching is no side issue. Rather, the ministry of the Word is the main weapon in the spiritual arsenal, the only seed for church planting, the primary tool for church building, and the principal strategy in God’s plan to disciple the nations. No preaching, no church. No proclamation, no church growth. Preaching is the heart, the blood, the whole circulatory system of the life of the church.  (p 11)


Peter O’Brien

January 11, 2010

Understanding Ephesians with Peter O’Brien

Saturday 6 March 2010

St. Elizabeth’s, Dundonald, Northern Ireland


Peter will give 3 talks on the book of Ephesians:

1. ‘All things under Christ’: Searching for the Theme of Ephesians

 2. ‘The Richest Sentence in the Bible’: Unpacking Ephesians 1:3–14

 3. ‘Onward Christian soldiers’?: Rethinking Ephesians 6:10–18 This is a day for all Christians to come and understand the book of Ephesians better.

Peter is a New Testament Lecturer from Moore Theological College, Sydney. He is the author of a number of books, but is best known for his commentaries on Philippians, Colossians & Philemon and Ephesians.


20 Thoughts On Worship Services

January 5, 2010

Donald Whitney has many good things to say in his two articles: Ten ways to improve your worship service and Ten more ways to improve your worship service. His main points are…

  1. Focus on God in every element in worship.
  2. Have clear Biblical support for every element in worship.
  3. “Offer to God an acceptable service [i.e., worship] in reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28).
  4. Preach expositionally.
  5. “Give attention to the public reading of Scripture” (1 Timothy 4:13).
  6. Pray!
  7. Transition smoothly between elements of worship.
  8. Do as much as possible congregationally.
  9. Have congregational singing with musical accompaniment, not music with congregational accompaniment.
  10. Evaluate your worship service each week with several leaders.
  11. Plan worship only for people who can worship.
  12. Keep technology on a leash.
  13. Move the announcements, welcome, and time of greeting to the beginning or the end of the service.
  14. Prepare the congregation for worship.
  15. Construct a call to worship.
  16. Introduce new music wisely.
  17. Don’t hide the ordinances.
  18. Use confessional material.
  19. Lead in the corporate confession of sins.
  20. Scripturalize routine prayers.

Titus Series

January 4, 2010

JI Packer once summarised the Puritan era with the words “A quest for godliness.” At the outset of my recent Titus series, I began with this challenge:

“Many of us have goals. There is nothing necessarily wrong with having goals. But is godliness one of them? Is godliness something we aspire to as a church congregation? Is godliness a passionate pursuit for this church? Does the truth that we believe lead to godliness? Could a biographer of this church, 300 years from now, write as our summary: “Ballymoney Baptist Church: A Quest for Godliness” ?

The letter of Titus is a letter about godliness. Its an epistle that, perhaps above all others, stresses the importance of godliness. It promotes – if we may put a finer point on it:  a godliness that accords with the truth. It shows us that believing gospel truths, must go hand in hand with living godly lives.”

Here is the audio:

Truth and Godliness (1:1-4) – Listen; download

Eldership (1:5- 16) – Listen; download

Teach What is Good (2:1-10) – Listen; download

The Doctrine That Motivates Duty (2:11-14) – Listen; download.  Phil Dunn preaching

Salvation and Society (3:1-10) – Listen; download

Five Final Words (3:9-14) – Listen; download


Extemporaneous Preaching

January 4, 2010

Thanks to Tim Bailey for the following comment and link:

I was profoundly impressed with a special lecture I heard recently titled “The Extemporaneous Mode of Preaching” by Dr. Carrick of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

It’s a powerful address that compares this mode of preaching to other methods such as sermon reading and sermon reciting. Dr Carrick often calls to our attention such noble preachers as Dr Lloyd-Jones, Spurgeon, Broadus, Dabney, and more recent men such as Al Martin, to make his case.

The lecture is located on Sermon Audio, here:

Don’t miss the ending especially!


Experiences In ‘Winging It’

January 2, 2010

As one who doesn’t ‘preach on his feet’ (so to speak), I was intrigued to read Craig Brian Larson’s experiences of trying to depart from sermon-manuscripts after 33 years of preaching with them.

Larson talks up the positives: greater freedom for the speaker, more ‘oral’ (and less ‘written’) word choice, and being able to focus on God and the congregation instead of on written notes. On the downside, he mentions the dangers of rambling, and saying something you might later regret.