Archive for August, 2011


Bible Conference – Saturday, September 24th

August 26, 2011

I’m involved in a conference in about a month from now in Edinburgh. Looking forward to it.

Bible Conference 2011  at Duncan Street Baptist

Duncan Street Baptist Church, Edinburgh

May we take this opportunity to warmly invite you to this year’s conference which takes place on Saturday the 24th of September from 09:30-16:00.  The theme for this year’s conference is God’s Glorious Gospel of Grace.

The aim of this year’s conference is simple – to encourage & equip believers in Gospel ministry.

On the theme of God’s Glorious Gospel of Grace, there will be 3 talks and also a panel discussion.

John Brand will preach on the topic ‘What is it?’  In this session, John will explain the content of the Biblical Gospel and will outline the key doctrines that are central to a proper understanding of the Gospel.

Following on from this, Colin Adams will preach on the topic ‘Why do I need it?’  In this session, Colin will set out why Christians need the Gospel each and every day and why we must preach the Gospel to ourselves.

In our last session, Craig Dyer will preach on the topic ‘Why should I share it … and how?’  Craig will set out the Biblical basis for evangelism and will explain to us how we can be more effective in communicating the Gospel.

At a time when there is much confusion over the content & centrality of the Gospel, this is very much a conference in season.

In addition to the sessions, there will be a fully stocked bookshop which the Faith Mission will run for us and there will also be other resource partners who will provide great Gospel resources.

We look forward to welcoming you and spending time with you in September as we partner and unite around God’s Glorious Gospel of Grace.

Bible Conference website.


Tim Keller: Prayer Is Your Life

August 16, 2011

Praying & The Preacher

August 16, 2011

Michael Lawrence wrote a stellar article in Christianity Today about how prayer affects a preacher’s preaching. I’m planning to employ one of his practical suggestions:

‘I pray each day for some of my members by name out of the text I’m going to preach on. As I do this, I move beyond the circumstances of life—health, jobs, and relationships—to address spiritual realities as well. Prayer like this produces divinely directed sympathy for the congregation and leads to divinely directed agendas in our sermons. We’re not content any longer with pious platitudes or personal hot-buttons. Instead, through prayer, our sermons reflect the heart of God for his people.’


How Long The Sermon? Appendix.

August 16, 2011

Brian Croft gives us three great guidelines:

1) Based on where your people are, not where you think they should be. 

2) Based on how good and seasoned a preacher you are.

3) To leave your people longing for more, not less.

I would add a few more:

4) Give yourself sufficient time to explain your ‘particular’ text. The length of a sermon is partly, though not entirely, dictated by the density of the text itself. Some passages require little explanation: even if application is extensive, these sermons may be slightly shorter.  But others passages are more oscure. A sermon on Revelation 20 will understandably  involve  more explanation than an exposition of Psalm 1. It is likely, and perhaps necessary, that some sermons will be slightly longer.

5) Don’t take more time than you need to explain a text sufficiently. One reason why some preachers preach too long is because their discussion of a text is not ‘sufficient’ but   ‘exhaustive.’ They want to say everything about everything. Every fine point of Hebrew grammar is pointed out; every rabbit trail of historical background is followed. But that is a commentary, not a sermon.

6) Don’t completely ‘can’ your sermons. There are ocassions when I know God’s ‘special help’ in preaching in His Word. I wish these rare ocassions were more frequent! When I know God’s unusual assistance, I have a tendency to go slightly longer. When that doesn’t happen, I may shut up shop more quickly. We must always evaluate what God is doing in the moment of preaching. To put it another way, I don’t think we can entirely ‘can’ our sermons beforehand. This doesn’t mean that preachers will not have a ‘typical sermon length’ at a given point in their ministry. At the moment, I’m about a ’40 minute preacher’. But that doesn’t mean I can never preach 30 or 50 minutes. It depends.