Archive for the ‘preaching’ Category

Why Johnny Can’t Preach

I heard of this book on the White Horse Inn (which just redid their website and you should check it out), then Tony Reinke published the quote below on his blog.  I think I might have to read this book…

“Faith is not built by preaching introspectively (constantly challenging people to question whether they have faith); faith is not built by preaching moralistically (which has exactly the opposite effect of focusing attention on the self rather than on Christ, in whom our faith is placed); faith is not built by joining the culture wars and taking potshots at what is wrong with our culture. Faith is built by careful, thorough exposition of the person, character, and work of Christ….

We feed on Christ himself, and we do so not by some physical eating of his body, but through faith in the Christ proclaimed in Word and sacrament. These four alternatives [moralism, how-to, introspection, and social gospel] have left much of the evangelical and Reformed church malnourished. People know what they ought to do, but they are dispirited and lethargic, without the vision, drive, or impetus to live with and for Christ. And the reason for this dispirited condition is that the pulpit is largely silent about Christ. He is mentioned only as an afterthought or appendage to a sermon; in many churches, he is never proclaimed as the central point of a sermon, and surely not on a regular, weekly basis.”

T. David Gordon, Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers

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My Podcasts – Capitol Hill Baptist Church

I apologize for the absence, but there are some things that are more important than blogging.

…so where were we?  My podcasts – Capital Hill Baptist Church.

The first time I heard of Mark Dever was when I happened upon the 9 marks of a healthy church on the internet.  Dever and the 9 marks ministry have been a blessing to me ever since.  This podcast is of his weekly sermons.

Mark Dever heads up 9 Marks ministries, is one of the four men who arranges the Together for the Gospel conference coming up next year, has written and is writing excellent books, speaks at engagements for Ligonier Ministries/Desiring God ministries/Shepherd’s conference to name just a few, runs a pastoral training program at his church, and sits on the council at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. Busy guy, huh? Well, he is also the pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in downtown Washington D.C. and so preaches there nearly every Sunday. You can’t find much more consistent and expository preaching than what takes place in the pulpit and Capitol Hill Baptist Church. I thank God for the congregation and it’s leaders.

He is an excellent expositor, committed to biblical exposition in the pulpit every Sunday. Plus, I believe, just about every message he has preached in the pulpit at his church contains a clear gospel message. His messages are challenging and filled with wisdom. He is currently making his way through Revelation.

Dever has a real gift for giving the listener a view of a passage that encompasses all of scripture. He never has his blinders on as he teaches a passage of scripture. His messages always contain a perspective on a passage that fits it into the overarching message of the Bible. It is a real gift.

So check out this podcast and especially pick up the older podcasts so you can listen to the entire series on Revelation.

Resurrection Sermons

My brother is a pastor and has preached a great series of sermons leading up to Resurrection Sunday – Dying to Live.  The series is based in 1 Corinthians 15, which would be a great chapter in the Bible to memorize.  You should go and listen to this series of sermons – and his others while you’re at it.  Also, you can subscribe to the podcast that his church produces.   Enjoy.

Dying to Live – The Reality of the Resurrection

Dying to Live – The Necessity of the Resurrection

Dying to Live – The Eventuality of the Resurrection

Dying to Live – The Continuity of the Resurrection

Dying to Live – The Victory of the Resurrection

Piper on Whitefield on not Being a Velvet-mouthed Preacher

Dr. John Piper spoke on the life of George Whitefield at the most recent Desiring God Conference for Pastors, Commending Christ.  I highly recommend listening to it, especially if you are a preacher.  Piper references a quote from Whitefield:

I’ll tell you a story. The Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 1675 was acquainted with Mr. Butterton the [actor]. One day the Archbishop . . . said to Butterton . . . ‘pray inform me Mr. Butterton, what is the reason you actors on stage can affect your congregations with speaking of things imaginary, as if they were real, while we in church speak of things real, which our congregations only receive as if they were imaginary?’ ‘Why my Lord,’ says Butterton, ‘the reason is very plain. We actors on stage speak of things imaginary, as if they were real and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.’ Therefore I will bawl [shout loudly], I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher.

The Piper comments;

This means that there are three ways to speak. First, you can speak of an unreal, imaginary world as if it were real—that is what actors do in a play. Second, you can speak about a real world as if it were unreal—that is what half-hearted pastors do when they preach about glorious things in a way that says they are not as terrifying and wonderful as they are. And third is: You can speak about a real spiritual world as if it were wonderfully, terrifyingly, magnificently real (because it is).

The Life and Ministry of George Whitefield: Living and Preaching as Though God Were Real (Because He Is), by John Piper

Mahaney on Receiving God’s Gifts

When a child receives a birthday present accompanied by a card, a wise parent teaches their child to first open the card and read the card and thank the person for the card and gift before opening the gift.  Because, properly understood, gifts should draw our attention to the one giving the gift and create affection for the one giving the gift, not reinforce the self-centeredness of the child.  Each day, I/you/we receive innumerable gifts from God – each and every one intended to draw our attention to God resulting in gratefulness to God.  But how often do I go through my day tearing the wrapping paper off of one gift after another not reading the card – not thanking God.

C.J. Mahaney, Don’t Waste Your Sports

Seeing What is in the Text and Feeling it

I preached this week.  My intense prayer of preparation during the week leading up to my sermon, which I learned from John Piper, is that the LORD would give me the grace to see the truth that is in the text I’m preaching and also the anointing of the Holy Spirit to feel the truth that is in the text.  I want to be, I HAVE to be, impacted by the truth of the text if I stand any chance of being used by God to communicate the gravity of the truths I’m preaching about.

Our church takes great pride in being expository in our preaching (read what Al Mohler writes in this article to understand what is meant by expository preaching).  I’m afraid, many times, there is a trap for those who preach in this way.  It is this – that the job is to just expose the meaning of the text and if this is done then the task is complete.  Listen to what David Wells said about this danger on this week’s broadcast of the White Horse Inn:

There has been a tremendous decline of preaching.  Even those that sometimes are attempting to do clear, expository preaching…even them…you do not hear in those sermons a summons to stand before God and hear God speaking.  What you tend to hear is words – period.  And sometimes words, we all know, put together perilously close to the time of delivery.  And the sermon, really…it’s so obvious that the preacher has not, himself, first stood before God and heard that word in his own soul and had it’s truth buried in the midst of his own life.  So he goes through the motions and does his best, no doubt, in the short time that he has given himself for it.  But at the end of the day people come in and out of church and they are left untouched by it.

Wow!  That was so convicting to me as I begin this week leading up to my sermon.  So if you preach, I pray you will encounter the Sovereign God in His word this week as you prepare – pray the same for me.  If you listen to preaching – pray for the man of God who will stand before you, and more importantly before God, and deliver a message from God’s word.  Pray that he will see the truth in the scripture he is preaching from and pray that he will be deeply impacted by the truth in that scripture so that the people sitting under his preaching will be touched by the transforming power of God.