Monday, February 28, 2011

Random thought

Matt Redmond: "I thought about buying one of those cheesy bumper stickers at the local Christian bookstore but then I thought, "Why would I do that when I can say it on Twitter and facebook?!""

Slow change and preaching

This weblog is committed to the transformation of Christians into the image of Christ. And, as Trevin Wax points out, a major vehicle for that transformation is biblical preaching:
Pastors, don’t underestimate the cumulative effect of your preaching. You are not dumping information into brains. You are forming the habits of your people, teaching them how to read and understand and apply the Bible for themselves. How you preach week after week matters just as much as what you preach.

Weekly confrontation with the Word of God slowly changes how we look at the world. We see God more clearly, our human state, and the future of the world within the Bible’s framework, even if we don’t remember all the information in an individual message. Sermons gradually change the way we think and feel and believe and hope.
Amen. And thanks to Darryl Dash for the link.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Entitled to nothing

Ben Witherington: "One of the things that constantly strikes me about the U.S. when I come back from overseas doing preaching or teaching or writing, or mission work of some kind, is just how spoiled so many Americans are, perhaps even the majority of Americans."

Of hospitals and healing

"The modern cliché is that a church is not a showcase for saints, but a hospital for sinners. That is good as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough. The truth is that yes, the church is a hospital for sinners, but it is for those who know they are sinners. Those who come to a hospital are not there to stay sick, but to get well. Those that seem to want to stay sick are perhaps those who think that they are already well, just by virtue of being at the hospital. The church is a hospital, but it is also to be a holy habitation, a place for those who have gotten well, and these also know they need to provide hospice care for one another while we are on the way to heaven."

Churches that make a difference

Dan Edelen considers why churches in the U.S. don't seem to be conducive for Christians to openly and honestly share their true needs. Consider this example:
I once told an Internet friend who had been out of work for a long time and suffering greatly that he should stand up in the middle of his church service one day and just say, “I need a job. Can any of you help?” I suggested to another that he call a well-known parachurch ministry in his area that is always talking about how men must be the breadwinner in order to be good Christians and ask them, “What jobs do you have available for me to do so I can be the man you insist I must be? I can report to work tomorrow.”
Good point. I wonder how that went?

Update: Dan answers that question here in the comments section.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A little extra today

Yesterday I was afraid that if I waited till after evening Bible study to update the weblog, I wouldn't get around to it doing it all day. And guess what? That's exactly what happened. So here's a little more than usual today; I hope you find it edifying.

Keeping the right standard

Royce Ogle offers a solid little reminder on the importance of resisting the temptation of examining ourselves by looking around and seeing how we compare:
When God gives finals he will not grade on the curve. We must sincerely look into the mirror of his Word and see ourselves as he sees us. The Bible must be the final authority for both faith and practice."

Healing, obedience, and proclamation

Have you ever wondered why Jesus, especially in Mark's gospel, did works of healing and told the healed person not to tell? Most of us who have thought about it have probably settled on an answer or two. J.D. Hatfield suggests one lesson I'd never really considered:
Sometimes, when Jesus helps and heals us, it is not yet time to tell the whole world about it. Rather, it is time to be obedient, and get back into those things that are expected of whole people. Just because Jesus breaks the patterns of sin doesn’t mean we are free to break the patterns of life. You need to let your life show that you have been healed, and its purpose, being obedient, rather than just trying to go and tell everyone about it, without the obedience. If we want to be mature, we won’t let our zeal make our announcements premature. When we are healed the first place to go is not the public square, but into the secret place, for the sacred giving of thanks.
Good points.

Don't try

Real church growth, as Keith Brenton reminds us, comes not from planning or technique, but from preaching Jesus Christ:
Don’t worry about uplifting worship times, awesome praise teams or incredibly gifted worship bands or dynamic speakers or cool videos or special programs or targeted ministries or awesome marketing or a big, sprawling building or sufficient parking or offering seeker services or traditional services or progressive services. Some of that may come, but fend it off as long as you can.

Tell them about Jesus. Show them Jesus. Win them to Jesus. Demonstrate to them how they are visiting Him in jail; how they are clothing His nakedness and feeding His hunger. When they have worked side by side with each other and with the Spirit, they will want to gather in praise, as often and as devotedly as possible.
I strongly recommend Keith's whole article.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Praying for the persecuted

Christian Persecution Blog offers three vital prayer requests for persecuted Christians around the world.

Notes on preaching the OT

Paul Lamey offers some very sound advice on preaching the OT. I found this one especially helpful:
Thirdly, I am somewhat questioning of the constant pleas for Christ-centered preaching if that means excluding Jesus’ own emphasis on glorifying the Father (see John 17) or downplaying the activity of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. I think it is important that our preaching not be Christless but for that matter it should not be deficient in any aspect or person of the holy Trinity.
I recommend Paul's whole article.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Friday, February 18, 2011


Jeff Weddle: "If we flippantly deal with God because 'He’s gracious,' rather than out of humility and utter dependence, it shows we have no concept of what God’s grace is and, more than likely, have never been recipients of it."

Dealing with regret

Preachers, here's some very good advice from Charles Spurgeon (via. Darryl Dash) on dealing with regrets.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We're not the heroes

J.D. Hatfield: "Jesus doesn’t want a statement of loyal willpower; He wants to change our hearts so that we trust Him when we don’t feel so heroic. "

Listing toward lists

If you're well trained in preaching, some this material may be familiar to you, but in any case here is a good, brief explanation of the value of preaching biblical lists.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Awaiting Cruciform

Jimmy Davis has a new book coming out April 1.

The test is in the dying

"Dirty little secret that Satan doesn’t want you to know: you’re dying right now. Take care of your faith."

'Missional sheen' and true discipleship

Bob Spencer, with a little help from Dirty Shame, points out how the "can-do spirit" is not necessarily compatible with true gospel discipleship:
I know plenty of people who try to hitch these two--ambition and mission--and hope that the kingdom is served as well as the ego. In other words, hope that we can serve God and be "successful" (in the commonplace sense of that word) at the same time. But it seems to me the early disciples gave up ambition for mission. They didn't try to serve both at once.

Along similar lines, Darryl Dash really prompted a light bulb to come on in my head with his short, illuminating blog post on the desire to be forgotten.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Reading the crowd

Peter Mead offers some very sound advice for preachers on the pros and cons of trying to read one's listeners while preaching.

Reminder on serving the master

Change and church

Dan Edelen believes that most Americans are burned out on change:
When it comes down to it, most of our daily existence as Americans consists of dancing to the pied piper of change. We live in a perpetual conga line of following some leader as he/she/it takes us to the promised land guaranteed by change.

Is it any wonder that some people are desperate to stop the unending jig their life has become?

Into this comes the Church.
Dan's whole article is worth reading.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Work and help

Phillip Fletcher has a helpful blog post on work and financial assistance from the local church.

Expository preaching caution

As one committed to the value of expository preaching, I really appreciate Iain Murray's Caution for Expository Preaching. And thanks to BibleX for the link.

The real deal

Being Frank reminds readers that hell is real:
We, the western church again, do not help God by acting as if Heaven is the destiny for the saved and that the rest just rot in the ground for not following God. There is a eternal destiny for all of us. Those that reject God, those that mock God, those that have no interest in their eternal life reap a destiny in Hell. It may not be popular, but it is what the Bible tells us to be true.
You can read Frank's whole article here.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Trends in Bible software

Thanks to BibleX for pointing to an article by Kevin Prucell on Exciting and Troubling Trends in Bible Software Development (1.24 MB .pdf file). In my mind, the best free Bible software is The Sword Project. Also, you can access great free, online and downloadable commentaries on NT books from one of my other sites, Expository Links.

Building on grass

Posts like this remind me why Jeff Weddle is one of my most favorite bloggers:
Theology is not always based on Scripture. Much theology is based on what some guy said about Scripture. We then take a stand on our theology, build a reputation for standing for that theology, and we get stuck.

Even if we see cracks in our theology, maybe even the walls start to crumble around us, but we’ve got our group and our guys and we’ve bought all their books and it would hurt our reputation to admit we were wrong and to change.
Amen. And if you haven't already gotten a copy, you might enjoy Jeff's book on money.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Eyes on whom?

At Wilderness Fandango Bob Spencer, with a little help from Mark Galli, looks at the pitfalls of personal testimonies.

A little translation perspective

I rarely paste whole blog posts onto this site, but this little post by Eddie Arthur is so pithy, I want to share it all:
We are rightly celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Authorised Version. It is a remarkable piece of work, which continues to have an impact on English speaking people across the globe. Even those who are not convinced by its claims of divine authority appreciate it for the clarity and beauty of its English.

However, as someone who does accept the divine authority of the Bible and who seeks, however imperfectly, to live his life according to its precepts, the fact that 340, 000,000 people speaking over 2,000 different languages do not have a single word of Scripture in any translation is of far greater importance to me than our domestic celebrations.
Eddie works for Wycliffe Bible Translators and writes about translational issues with both passion and experience on his blog, Kouya Chronicle. I recommend clicking over and giving it a look.

Friday, February 04, 2011


". . . no one is called to preach. One is called to preach the Word."

What happens after we die?

At Parchment and Pen, Michael Patton presents a very thoughtful study of what happens to Christians after we die. Although I don't affirm everything he posits in the essay, I strongly recommend his article as a way of looking frankly and biblically at a topic many Christians are at best vague in understanding.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

On 'doing well'

Jeff Weddle: "Societies create standards of success. These standards are frequently in opposition to God’s standards."

Why do you keep preaching?

"Do you get up and preach again because you love preaching? Or because you need affirmation? Or because of some other self-gripped motive? Or, or do you get up and preach again because God is with you and you cannot keep inside what He has given to you?"

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Praying for Egypt

Stacy Harp reminds us that Egyptian Christians need our prayers.

The double-threat of illness

Glen Scrivener writes on the offense of illness. Here's a sample:
Maybe I’m imagining it, but I often sense a note of anger in the advice of others regarding illness. It doesn’t fit our view of the world for people to just get sick. We need to believe that there are practical reasons for the suffering and dependable remedies to fix it.
As Glen points out, suffering isn't always preventable. I recommend his whole article.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Reading recommendation

Transforming lives

At Biblical Preaching Peter Mead offers some sound advice on tightening a message:
When you’re preaching, the clock is ticking. In one setting you may have 20 minutes, in another you may have 45. The reality is, though, that messages expand to fill the time available fairly easily. So it is important to think carefully about what to include. Perhaps more importantly, what to exclude. Where can time be trimmed?
That's a good question, and one that Peter answers quite well.