Archive for the ‘Preaching’ Category

Redeeming Words

My new blog project exists to redeem Christian terminology from misuse and misunderstanding.

Check it out: Redeeming Words


I’ll Be Over Here:

So coming back to this particular blog doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. However, the other blogs to which I’ve been contributing have been revamped and that’s where I’ll be spending most of my blogging time. Hope to see you over there!

Re: Fundamentals KJV Only Debate Blog

The Sovereignty of God Conference, Day 2 (am)

sovGodconfDue to work, I missed the morning session of Day 2, which included 2 messages. However, I was able to listen to them yesterday on CD. What a blessing! Each message fit right into the theme and continued in this wonderful conference of solid, biblical preaching.

Bill Poss, an elder at the host church, kicked it off with the topic, “God’s Sovereign Choice of the Younger Son.” His sermon was very exegetical, drawing from the text the only conclusion that can be consistently made: God will mercy whom He will and harden whom He will. Consequently, the message focused on Romans 9 and God’s unconditional election based on His purpose.

Eric Redmond followed him and spoke on “God’s Sovereignty and the Call of the Pastor.” He had us open to 2 Timothy, and I smugly thought I knew where he was going, but I was surprised. I figured he would preach on Paul’s charge to Timothy, or the qualifications of a pastor, or something to that extent. He did touch on those things, but the thrust of his message actually dealt with Paul’s terrible conditions in chapter 4:9-22 and how Timothy was called to be by his side. The point was clear: the call of God on one’s life is more important than the place in which he serves. Coming from a leader familiar with the tough, transient, often unrecognized nature of urban ministry, this message was profound. For me, it hit home, for I’ve been involved in urban ministry myself and feel that is where God will be using me for the rest of my life.

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Curious Findings


I’m working on my next set of posts, and it’s taking a little longer than expected. In the meantime, I’ve stumbled upon some things that I find just plain weird. 

At times, I don’t even know what is supposed to be satire and what’s real.

Steven Anderson tells us that the Bible is God! (sadly, I’m aware that this isn’t satire. . .)

David Cloud warns of the evil of Chiropractic. Bout’ time somebody told ’em!

And the latest in the saga concerning KJVO semantics includes a response from Jack Schaap. I’m not really interested in the controversy so much as something in the article that struck me as telling. If you open the PDF and scroll down to page 9, you’ll find Schaap continuing to vindicate himself as a true heir to the Hyles throne. In doing so, he provides a summary of Hyles’ message, ‘How to Call a Pastor.’  12 things are listed, 11 of which I’m not surprised to see as IFBx prerequisites. However, I find #3 a bit curious:

3. Do not choose a Bible expositor – topical only.

Topical onlyism? It’s true? Wow. See I know that an over emphasis on topical preaching has plagued IFBx-dom for a while, but I didn’t think it was admitted like this. I was unaware that it was considered that important as to require it for a pastor. But I guess when your doctrine doesn’t come from the scriptures, why would you want an exposition of them?

Keep Staying Tuned

Boy, time surely does fly! It’s almost February and I’m still not ready for the re-launch. But I’m close. So, in the meantime, I’ve got a semi-re-launch here, with a a bit of a new look and the riddance of some dead weight (TJ). Don’t worry, TJ and I are still friends! This was a mutual agreement and he’ll be back periodically as a contributor. 

Here’s a video that’s probably already made its rounds in the blogosphere, but provides some strong commentary by John Piper:

Fighting the Real Battle

II Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

There’s a battle raging in America today. While some seek to “unite” the country, many are becoming increasingly polarized from one another. The battle of the worldviews is culminating in a head-on collision. Debates about abortion, stem-cell research, and especially gay marriage are bringing out the fight in everyone from all sides. 

While Christians are called to stand for the truth at all times, it seems we sometimes get too carried away with fighting the wrong battle. I sympathize for the churches that have been attacked and mocked. I am for this moment even on Rick Warren’s side. As a matter of fact, the Mormons have my pity at this time as well.

But, Christians – this is not the real battle! A friend pointed this out to me recently: there’s nothing wrong with taking a stand in society or voting for a referendum that would promote morality. But many of the Christians who are pouring their energy into these social issues have never personally shared the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation.

While it seems this “fight” is noble and godly, it is really the social gospel repackaged, and an outward expression of worldliness.

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Authentic Boldness

Acts 4:17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

If you haven’t, check out the news lately – people are afraid. We’re facing all kinds of crises, it seems. And aside from the looming threats of financial insecutiry and political unrest, American Christians today face the menaces of increasing opposition. This threat comes from many different angles. New Athesists and Muslims are on the offensive. Liberals and skeptics are subtely undermining absolute truth in this postmodern world. And many who call themselves Christians are growing increasingly apathetic. No matter who it is, let’s face it – they don’t want us to preach Christ.

And yet, we must. And we must preach Him with boldness. It’s time we take off the shelf our most valuable tool and put it to use. Let us pray with boldness so we may preach with boldness. This is what the early church did in the face of opposition:

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Sunday and Machen: God Weaves His Tapestry

Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

The Bible leaves no room for doubt that God has a purpose for this world. The purpose of God is in His heart, and is enacted according to His good pleasure. It is a privilege, as a Christian, to be a part of God’s amazing purpose.

Sometimes we are exhorted to try to make our own way through life. This is an unbiblical idea. It is the Lord Who orders our steps. He is weaving together a beautiful tapestry in our lives and in this world. This tapestry is to be a display of His glory. If I try to weave it myself, it would turn out to be rather ugly. God is the Weaver. Therefore, I am not here to try to earn my way into some high ministerial position. Nor am I to compete or campaign for a good seat in Heaven. I am here to glorify the Lord by being faithful to Him. 

When we understand this principle, it helps us to realize that oftentimes God will use people we wouldn’t expect. If choosing spiritual leaders were a task given to us, we would often choose the wrong men, even though we may devise a system whereby we choose them. God is not obligated to call the men we think can handle the job. Rather, He chooses whom He will, period. This is demonstrated wonderfully in the lives and ministries of Billy Sunday and J. Greshem Machen.

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Counting the Cost

In one of His sermons on discipleship, Jesus tells those who would follow Him that they must count the cost of making such a decision:

Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him

This is a missing principle today. Too often, modern evangelism has produced many “converts” who were “not able to finish.” We have to ask, was it a result of not counting the cost?

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The Morality of Warning

Many preachers have used the illustration of a bridge being out to drive home the point of urgent evangelism. Usually, it is said that up ahead the bridge is out, and in order to warn people of the consequent destruction, some brave soul exits his car and begins screaming and waving his arms to warn drivers to stop before it’s everlastingly too late. From this scenario, we glean a necessary truth about evangelism: warning plays a major part in the evangelistic life.

I’d like to suggest that today we must add one more element to this common sermon illustration. Typically, we understand that in this situation, many will drive right past the preacher on the side of the road and fall miserably off the bridge. Those same people may even call that screaming preacher “crazy”. Now, however, there is more to the story. On the other side of the road, there is another guy. He is just as energetic, just as bold, and just as convinced he is right. He is holding a sign that reads: “Don’t trust the guy on the other side. The bridge is not out. He is lying to you.”

As we’ve noted before, there is a growing, offensive movement to undermine Christianity. It appears in the form of Jesusanity, the New Atheism, and other various forms of liberalism. It is not just one of unbelief – driving by the preacher and thinking he’s crazy. It is one that vehemently opposes all that Christians stand for – trying to convince the world that we’re wrong about the bridge being out. As I listen to more of this kind of thinking, I’ve realized that we’re actually accused of being immoral because we warn people of the coming judgment. Are they right? Are we immoral?

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Encouraging Sunday Video, 7.20.08

If you have yet to be acquainted with Blair Wingo’s poetry, allow me to introduce you to one of her gems: “Don’t Add On”

A Program of Practice

Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

If one were to take a look at many of the blogs produced by young fundamentalists such as myself, he would find that it is becoming more common to reject virtually everything fundamentalism is known for. While it is true that some changes need to be made, and are being made, we must be careful to not change simply for the sake of change. There were and are still some things about fundamentalism that are extremely helpful. We may not all like certain details, but how we go about these things is between us and God.

One such area up for dispute is that of evangelism. As fundamentalists, we are taught that the highest priority in life – the reason God left us here on earth – is to share the gospel with the lost. Of all the commandments Jesus gave to us, the one we all call the Great Commission deals with that very thing. And so, being the movement known for its passion and zeal, fundamentalism has placed an intense emphasis on personal evangelism as well as church-organized evangelism. As many leave, or consider leaving the movement, evangelism as a program is being rejected. The reasoning seems to be, that since it is everyone’s job to preach the gospel, as long as the church is training people to do so, an organized program is not needed. Programs, after all, can easily become a substitution for one’s personal spirituality. While I agree with some of this reasoning, I conclude differently. Evangelism should be both a personal practice and an organized program.

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Encouraging Sunday Video, 7.13.08

The honesty of the biblical penmen is just one of the Bible’s marks of Divine Authorship.

Double Standards in Fundamentalism Today, #5: Me

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Galatians 4:16
 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

True friends tell you what you need to hear. As much as I covet those comments in which people say, “great website!”, I need much more to hear about the things I need to change. Those things have been brought to my attention, and it seems like I’ve been one of the biggest Double Standards all along. I hope now to articulate some of the problems, and offer some possible solutions.

(No, that’s not really me in the picture.)

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On Headset Microphones. . .

Yes, headset microphones – those oh-so-liberal looking devices of the devil! They have done almost as much damage as screens being employed in the services. No self-respecting fundamentalist would ever be caught preaching with one of those!

Or so we’re told to believe. But all sarcasm aside, the headset microphone has taught me a few valuable lessons.

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Maybe It’s the Change We Need

There’s a lot of talk about change from the Democratic side of the Presidential election, and it’s literally making conservative sick. Presumptive Democratic nominee Barak Obama is running his campaign on such an idea, but political pundits are rightly pointing out, “where’s the substance behind the claims?” As most Bible believing Christians tend to be political conservatives, we are saying the same thing. The only “change” we could imagine a very liberal political leader bringing to the White House is an agenda that is more socialistic than ever, and more secular than ever.

As we have made clear, and will continue to do so, on this blog, we believe that Christianity thrives on challenge. You and I may not want someone in the oval office who is all talk and no walk. We may not want someone who will make the government even bigger than it is now and fund more unnecessary projects and unmotivated people with our money. We may not want someone who says he’s a Christian, but his liberal leaning only seems to pave way for more religious regulation in this country. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a conservative evangelical who is going to vote for Obama. Yet with all that said, maybe a victory for the liberals is what we need. Not what America needs, but what the church in America needs for a wake-up call.

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Ambition in the Ministry

Get this picture: a conference with a couple thousand in attendance, an older but very prominent figure in southern IFB circles as the keynote speaker, the host pastor introduces the preacher.

Truth be told, a large percentage of the audience in attendance was a result of the old preacher’s ministry, either directly or indirectly. He had pastored the same church longer than many of the pastors at the conference had been alive. As the hosting pastor introduced the preacher, he waxed eloquent about having vision and attempting to do “big things” for God. He quoted Proverbs 29:18 (“Where there is no vision, the people perish:”) and maked several honorable statements about the old preacher’s vision and the resulting ministry that was built. The crowd gave a hearty “Amen” and the preacher approached the pulpit. He gave a few comments in salutation and appreciation. He then explained, “Really, in the beginning, I had no vision. I only asked God to use me as he saw fit.” Oddly, there were fewer amens.

That night, I sat amongst those in attendance. I can only speak for myself, but the litany of accomplishments that were listed prior to that statement seemed to pale in comparison to the humility with which the veteran preacher spoke. At that moment and each time I replay it in my mind, I have to ask the question: is it supposed to be any other way? Continue reading

“Well, what are ya!?!”

Perhaps this is a story to which only a preacher’s kid can relate, nonetheless it starts a good conversation.

A few years ago, my father (who is a preacher) and I were in our hometown area attending the funeral of the wife of a long time missionary and long time friend of my father. The missionary was originally from the area, so the funeral home was packed with local preachers and church members who knew him well. One such preacher, a loud and imposing man, approached my dad and struck up one of those “long-time, no-see” conversations.

In the process of catching up, the man asked my father about my brother, who is also a preacher. The preacher then turned to me and asked about recent events in my life. I was obliged to tell him that I was an education major at a particular Bible college with which he was familiar. His disinterest in those details was made obvious, though, when he abruptly asked me, “Are you a preacher?”

At that point, a multitude of thoughts flooded my mind. During that period of time, I had been asking myself very similar questions concerning God’s will for my life. The problem was my time at Bible college had left me a bit discontented with the modern fundamentalist’s definition of a preacher. I knew that every Christian was in a sense “called to preach”, but I also knew that there are specific men who are called out to be “preachers.” Despite all this, I knew what that preacher was asking for, so I simply answered, “No.” After an awkward pause and a befuddled look, he retorted, “Well,… what are ya!?!”

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