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Tag Archives: preaching

Writing Projects I’m Working on ….

One of the benefits of being retired is that I can get back into writing — which I normally love to do.  I say “normally” because I’m venturing into the world of fiction which I find really difficult.  Here are some of the projects I’m working on.

1. I just had an article posted on patheos.com which you might find interesting. It is found at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/evangelicalpulpit/2017/10/stephen-paddock-hell/  I originally entitled the article “Gambling with God: Five Certainties in the Stephen Paddock Tragedy.”  The Patheos editor thought his title would draw more interest — and it has generated 163 comments!

2.  Some of you know that I am quite committed to the idea of friendship evangelism.  So I’m working on a book entitled Unlike Jesus:  One Area Where Jesus-Followers Excel.  We are not a friend of sinners like Jesus was — and I’m praying my small effort might help to change that!  I also want to develop a four-message weekend conference on this theme.  Those four messages are just about ready.  Consider having your church invite me for a weekend!

3.  For years I have been working on a novel whose central character is Dr. Theophilus Hornby, a Bible college teacher, who solves mysteries and crimes (part-time, of course).  I find fiction really tough to do well, but I’m working on my first adventure with this sixty-some-year-old professor (who looks and acts a lot like …. me!).  [Some of you might be aware that I wrote a short novel a few years ago entitled Abandon All Hope (which is still available on Amazon.com)].

4.  I have a great interest in producing a full year DocDevos, daily devotionals in biblical doctrine.  The original DocDevos was published in 2002 by Christian Publications and was subtitled Ten-Minute Daily Devotional on the Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith.  That volume only covered the first three areas of theology (Introductory Matters, Bibliology, and Theology Proper).

5.  I would like to write several shorter (and smaller) books similar to, say, this one by the folks at the Christian Research Journal or Robert Morgan’s fantastic The Red Sea Rules.  One would be a study of the man born blind in John 9 and entitled Insight from a Blind Man.  The other might be a survey of the minor prophet Jonah and entitled Belief Contradicted by Behavior: A Study of Jonah.   Some of you know that I’ve worked a bit on helping myself and others improve their preaching, so I might expand on my little pamphlet which is entitled Ten Specific Steps You Can Take To Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!

Well, those are a couple of projects I’m working on.  (I also want to write some Christian comedy, but that’s a topic for another day!).

Prayers are definitely appreciated, friends.  Thanks for lifting me and my efforts up before the King!

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2017 in writing, writing projects

 

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STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #8- SERMONS!) (con’t)

Is preaching passé?  Some would say that SERMONS are no longer needed by the saints.

Bible studies, discussion groups, casual conversations are all well and good — but we need the authoritative proclamation of God’s Word!  The saints should be committed to good SERMONS, but sometimes we get STUCK!

We get STUCK with poor preaching, with inadequate study, with irrelevant sermonizing.  [I’ve put together some suggestions for improving one’s preaching in my small booklet “Ten Specific Steps You Can Take To Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!”  Just send me your email address and I will send you that pdf.]

Let’s think a bit more about our text from Acts 17:

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

Paul and Silas preached in the synagogue!  They preached Jesus and gave evidence that He, indeed, was the promised Messiah.  We often confine our preaching to our churches, to our turf.  How about proclaiming the good news about Jesus in other forums?

There is one other point that this text is making that we dare not miss.  We don’t get even a hint that Paul objects to the Bereans’ examining the Scriptures to see if what he said was true!  He was not afraid of his message being biblically evaluated.  And we should not fear that either.  It is a noble act for others to compare what we say (even in the context of a sermon delivered from a podium at the front of the church) with the rest of the Word of God.  And that will keep us preachers from getting STUCK in our own opinions!

 

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in christian growth

 

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Please Pray for Our Next Assignment!

What a wonderful chapter this has been!  After being downsized and losing my seminary teaching position a year ago, the Lord graciously connected us with this wonderful church in Augusta, Georgia.

I’ve had the privilege of being their preaching pastor for the last year and a half.  That’s a lot of Sunday sermons!

But they have now found their next pastor and my tenure ended on September 24th.

Would you consider praying for Linda and me as we await our next assignment from the Lord?  I’m very open to helping another church that is between pastors.  The Lord is also providing some work in teaching online courses.

We are so grateful to the Lord for these last almost 1 1/2 years.  Thanks in advance for praying for us!

If we can serve your church, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email or call us.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2017 in Christian ministry

 

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STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #8- SERMONS!)

The American humorist Will Rogers (I think) once said, “I refuse to accept my religion from anyone who earns his living only by the sweat of his jaw!”

Jesus-followers sometimes get STUCK in the area of SERMONS!  How?  Well, we believe that one of the primary ways that God communicates His truth to His people is through preaching.  And sometimes that preaching is poor, or unorganized, or just ho-hum.

What is the believer’s responsibility when it comes to this area of SERMONS?  How can we get UN-STUCK in this major aspect of life among other Christians?

We want to think about a text from Acts 17 for our next two posts:

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

There are a number of steps that a preacher can take to improve his preaching (drop me an email and ask for my short booklet “Ten Specific Steps You Can Take To Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!”).  But we want to focus on the listener.  How can those of us who listen to sermons improve?  Here are some specific suggestions that might help:

1. Come to church prepared to hear from God!  The preacher may not be your favorite, but pray that the Lord will speak through him.
2.  Take notes on what you hear!  Don’t be afraid to ask him about his message.  The very fact that you are jotting things down will encourage him to work harder in preparing his messages!
3.  Prepare your heart to “receive the message with great eagerness”!  God’s Word is true — and we can be changed and encouraged IF our hearts are right and ready.
4.  Examine the Scriptures daily to see if what you are hearing is true to the rest of the Word of God!  I’ve sometimes fantasized about pastoring a small church and saying to the congregation:  “You all need to become Berean believers who examine what I teach with the rest of the Bible.  So once every month I’m going to preach a sermon that has some heresy in it.  I won’t tell you which one.  You’ll have to figure that out for yourselves!”  I could never do that, but you get the point.  (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2017 in christian growth

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 31)

The Ninevite king did not know that Jonah’s God, the real God, would forgive their sins and withhold His judgment.  But they repented anyway.  Biblical preaching involves both proclaiming God’s judgment and offering His forgiveness.  If the message preached is only forgiveness, listeners may simply yawn and think they have no repenting to do.  If the message preached is only judgment, they may fall into despair and conclude there is no hope.

Jonah needed to remember his compatriot Micah’s message in Micah 7:

18 Who is a God like you, who
    pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
    and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
    in days long ago. (Micah 7)

Micah is speaking of forgiveness for God’s covenant people, but outsiders (like the Ninevites) are invited into God’s family as early as Genesis 12 where Abraham was promised that he would be a blessing “to all nations.”

God is not willing that any should perish, as we read in 2 Peter 3:9- “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (see also Mt. 18:14).  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 29)

The Ninevite revival was more than dust and sackcloth.  The king proclaimed to his people: “Let everyone call urgently on God.  Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.  Who knows?  God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” (vv. 8-9).

I find this challenge from the Ninevite king amazing!  He calls for a city-wide repentance marked by earnest prayers (to Jonah’s God) and behavioral change.

What is truly fascinating is that the king doesn’t know that Jonah’s God will forgive!  He says, “WHO KNOWS?  God may yet relent . . ..”  This seems to indicate that Jonah never mentioned the possibility of forgiveness, perhaps because he did not want the Ninevites forgiven.

Jonah’s orthodox statement in this chapter — “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown” — is what God wanted Jonah to say.  I wonder, however, if he said it with tears or with taunting?  With grief or with glee?  Judgment from a holy God is inevitable.  How does one prepare for that coming judgment?  Apparently Jonah had no interest in explaining to the Ninevites how God’s wrath could be averted.  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 27)

As we continue our study of Jonah chapter 3 (“Jonah’s Preaching”), I’m reminded of the statement by the American humorist Will Rogers (I think) who said, “I refuse to accept my religion from anyone who earns his living only by the sweat of his jaw!”  The three elements of a calling, an audience, and a message are given to Jonah.  Now it was his choice to go . . . and sweat!

We receive a few details about the city of Nineveh.  It is called “a very large city” and that it took three days to go through it.  I wonder what that felt like for Jonah, a Jew, to walk into the capital city of Assyria, a nation that would enslave Jonah’s own people within several decades!

And his message was not some positive-thinking, your-best-life-today sermon!  His message was a brief eight words:  “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”  Forty days.  Forty more days!  Although the text doesn’t tell us, I suspect that the only words in Assyrian that Jonah learned were those eight words.  It is very clear from his reaction in chapter four that he did not want the Ninevites to repent.

If people came up to him and began asking him questions, “Forty days from right now?!  What do you mean, ‘overthrown’?, What can we do?  How do we avoid such a judgment?”, I think Jonah had no answers in their language.  He just wanted them judged!

The Bible says that judgment is God’s “strange work” (Is. 28:21 KJV).  John 3 says that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through [Jesus].” (v. 17).  God prefers to save.  And, aren’t you and I glad? (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Jonah

 

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