Tuesday, January 31, 2006

When is it time to shake off the dust?

Rick Thompson at the road we travel passes on some thoughts from a missionary in the field:
I have a friend who says that no one should be allowed to hear the gospel twice before everyone has heard it once. I don’t totally subscribe to this; however, it is an interesting line of thinking. . .

Seems to me that Evangelical America spends enormous resources to share the gospel with people who have already heard it again and again and again… While there are 1000’s of people who die everyday having never even heard it even once.
Jesus told his disciples that there's a time to shake the dust off and move on. How far should we go before we shake the dust off today?

HT: Caught in the Middle.

Keeping the main thing the main thing

Thanks to my good blogging friend Bob for pointing me to this post by Mark Lauterbach at GospelDrivenLife:
Pastors: we are called to build a church and to preach a picture. What we do is much like painting a face. The eyes, ears, mouth, lips, nose, eyebrows, hairline, and shape of the face are in a certain proportion. That means we must emphasize what God emphasizes and make small what God makes small. The goal is a picture of Jesus and his truth for others so see. Otherise, when we exaggerate a particular feature of truth, we paint a cartoon.

The reality of Scripture is this -- read through your NT and note how often some subjects are repeated dozens of time and others are mentioned once or twice. Certainly the glory of Jesus and his accomplishment in his death and resurrection dominates. Alongside of that is the fruit of godliness he works in us as individuals, families, and the church. We have a great deal about how we relate to each other as well. . . .

I know this -- that the dominant theme of the NT is the glory of Christ -- not our duties, not morality, not ethics, not politics, not family, not gender -- but Jesus. He is the center of the NT in the way that the Sun is the center of the solar system -- he is over 95% of its mass. When I speak of Gospel centeredness, I am simply describing the apostolic emphases of the Scriptures.
Amen. Those are only highlights, by the way. I think you'll be blessed in reading the whole article.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Template changes

Until today the "Friends and Favorites" section of this blog hadn't been updated in months. For quite a while I'd been agonizing over how best to update the F&F section to keep it current and accurate. The problem was that as soon as I formulated a top-25 list, I realized there were more folks who ought to be on the list.

So I've done away with the list altogether, which, I'm convinced, is not a cop-out at all. The problem with having a favorites list is that it creates an insider-outsider dichotomy which I really don't hold to. In fact, my favorite blogs are not the ones on some list, but the ones I regularly read, quote, and comment on. Where applicable, I've moved the links from the F&F section to the Reciprocal Links. It's not only your links I've moved down on the page; the vanity section of TS's blog awards has been moved down the page even further.

To each of you formerly on my F&Fs list: please understand that I'm doing more than simply linking to your blog. I'm reading it.

Flexibility, preaching, and service

Darrin Brooker, quoting Michael Haykin, shares a story of how Samuel Pearce did a commendable job of adjusting his preaching to the situation at hand. The story took place in the eighteenth century, but it expresses a concern for souls that preachers today could benefit from hearing.

Sharp teaching on the narrow gate

Scot McKnight's post on the narrow gate teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is worth reading.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Praying the Psalms

Claude Mariottini has posted another noteworthy essay; this time it's on praying the Psalms:

The Book of Psalms is . . . a priceless source of assistance to those pilgrims who embark on a journey of faith and discovery. Those who seek communion with God will find in the Psalms the strength and the encouragement they need to meet God in their daily pilgrimage.

Claude's advice is particularly on-target for Christians unfamiliar with liturgical traditions that include the Psalms in prayer.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Discipleship and repentance

David Wayne has (re)posted an excellent article on repentance for believers. Not only is repentance essential in coming to Christ, David explains, it's essential for growing in Christ. John Schroeder has posted on the topic as well, noting that repentance is especially difficult in a culture where an awareness of sin is discouraged.

Preaching and the OT

Claude Mariottini has posted an excellent essay on OT preaching in general and Gen. 22:8 in particular. Preachers, it's good, practical advice worth reading.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bible resources site

Many thanks to Peter Bogert for drawing attention on his blog to Bible Researcher. According to the Bible Researcher site, it's "for Bible students who are looking for detailed information on the history of the canon, texts, and versions of Scripture." It does indeed provide that kind of information, in a very eye-appealing format. I plan to visit the site more in the future, and I'm adding a link to it in the Scripture Resources section of this page.

Judge for yourselves

Scot McKnight, with his usual no-frills brevity, has written a short, informative post on one one of the most misunderstood verses of the Bible: "Judge not, that you be not judged" (Mt. 7:1).

The need for broken leaders

I haven't been able to access Phil McAmond's blog lately, but last time I was able to visit, Phil had written a challenging essay on 2 Cor. 3:2-3. Why challenging? For what it says about the responsibility of Christian leaders to help their congregations mature in Christ:
Something must change. We cannot just keep blaming the people for their lack of growth in Christ Jesus, or their lack of personal witness of Christ Jesus, or their lack of reflecting the genuine letter from Christ Jesus in their hearts and lives for all to read. We must, as leadership, be the most willing to learn, by the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, to read our own mail first. . . . Just as surely as we cannot give away what we do not have, we cannot write upon the hearts and lives of others, a letter of and from the Lord Jesus Christ, if this same letter hasn’t first been written upon our own hearts and lives, as leaders.

As leaders we should be the most broken before the Lord, the most self examining, the most contrite, the most aware of our own human shortcomings, the most humble and the most dependent upon the Lord Jesus of all. We as leaders should be those who stand amazed that we are even allowed to be leaders.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

How do you inoculate against affluenza?

At Christianity Today online, Tim Stafford writes about the affluenza epidemic among young people:
Middle-class North American children face abundance on every hand. Possibilities and opportunities have expanded so greatly that the very shape of life has changed. They can do anything, go anywhere, be anybody. They see no risk—they can always start over, and they will not starve. The real risk is spiritual. They could lose their souls. . . .
A million options promise five million happinesses, but they often lead to a billion disappointments.
John Schroeder, whose blog pointed me to the CT article, sums up the disease this way:
It used to be you had to decide what was important to you because you only had so much to work with. Now, you can have a little of everything, you never really have to learn to decide what's really valuable and what is not.
Too true. Still, there's hope, and Mr. Stafford offers ideas on where we might find it.

Index of indices

Or maybe compendium of compendia. Here's a list of all the lists by topic of preaching posts on this blog over the past year (look, Mom, five prepositional phrases in one sentence!).
Call of preaching

Centrality of the Word
Christ and him crucified
Discipleship and the Kingdom
Exegesis and interpretation
Expository preaching
Powers and principalities
Practical preaching advice
Resources for preaching
Specific biblical texts
Other preaching posts
Hope you find these topical collections helpful.

Preaching archive: The rest of the posts

This is the final list of preaching posts from the past year. These are posts that don't easily fit into any of the categories so far.
Another preacher dies in the pulpit
Classic counsel on preaching the gospel
Cross carrying and cost counting
Court jesters and the Kingdom of God
Dialogic preaching
Differences in preaching and teaching
From the homiletical hash house
How to hear preaching
John Piper on meaty preaching
Learning to lie down beside cool waters
"Let me learn by paradox"
Marketing our preaching
Not by might, but by weakness
Performance or paternity?
Preaching as art (June)
Preaching with passion, force, and tenderness
Shaking the dust off
The church, discouragement, and hope
The skinny on current sermon series
What does it take for preaching to "stick"?
What we have here . . .
Many thanks to those whose original writings are linked in these posts: Reed Williams via Christianity Today weblog, D. L. Moody and Charles G. Finney via Scotwise, Rick Davis, Matt Self, Brian Colmery (twice), Conrad Gempf, Mike Murdock, George Whitefield via Gleanings of Grace, John Piper via Adrian Warnock, Dan Edelen, Gregory Jensen, Kerry Doyal, Charles Spurgeon via Adrian Warnock, Terry Pruitt, Shizuka Blog, Out of the Bloo, T. J. Rogers, Phil McAlmond, Peter Bogert, John Schroeder, Adrian Warnock (twice more) and Bene Diction.

Weak spot of the blogosphere

Thanks to SmartChristian for pointing me to a new blog, Together for the Gospel, by a few writers you may have already heard of. One of the blogging team, Mark Dever, expresses well one of the weak spots of the blogging community:
One reason that I've been reluctant to enter the blogosphere is that I am concerned that blog-writing and reading only adds to a bad tendency that we today already have--a fascination with the newest, latest, and most recent. And the newest and latest also often means that which is of only immediate value, that which is passing. That is opposed to that which is enduring, and which has in fact endured and lasted. We write words here which crawl along electronically and leap out through your fingers and eyes to take precious minutes and hours that the Lord has entrusted to us. Could these small things we write really be that important?
Good question, and good points. I for one can't say that what I write is of any particular value. That's why I try to spend some time each day linking to writings that are!

Courage to be vulnerable

Ted Gossard has written a noteworthy post about the value of Christians daring to be vulnerable (HT: Jesus Creed). As Mr. Gossard points out, we have plenty of examples of vulnerability by characters in Scripture, including Jesus himself.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Preaching archives: Transformation

As the first-anniversary roundups near completion, here are links to posts over the past twelve months on tranformational preaching:
Another word on transforming sermons
Discussion continues on power of preaching
How does preaching transform?
Knowing real biblical preaching
More on the mind and preaching
Preaching and heart change
Preaching and transformation of the mind
Preaching as art
Questioning Q and me
Sermons and changed lives
The goal of our transformation
The need for preaching--not just sermons
The "transforming effect of preaching"
Thanks again to the writers whose work is linked from these posts: Sam Wood, John Schroeder (twice and thrice), Adrian Warnock (one, two, three, four, and five times), J. A. Gillmartin, John Ortberg, Michael Duduit, Mike Cope, Anthony Harvey, Hershael York via BP News, Albert Mohler via the same, and David Wayne.

Preaching archive: Specific biblical texts

Here's another one-year anniversary roundup of preaching posts at Transforming Sermons. The posts linked here (in canonical order) offer help in preaching or teaching specific biblical texts:
Genesis 21 resources at Textweek
Genesis 22 resources available at Textweek
Avoiding the misuse of Isaiah 55:11
One-paragraph commentary on Jonah
Matthew 9 resources at Textweek
The redemptive context of Mt. 18:15-20
More on the parable of the prodigal sons
Luke 24 resources at textweek
Online exegetical notes on John 3:1-17
Jesus, the woman, and the well in John 4
Preaching John 4
John 10 resources at textweek
John 11:1-45 resources
John 20 resources at textweek
John 20 resources at textweek blog
A better approach to Paul's Aereopagus speech
Romans sermon texts at Sermon Links
Sermon texts on Romans
Text of 2 Cor. 12:7-10 sermon now posted
Online resources on Revelation
Thanks to the sites where these resources were originally posted: textweek and The Text This Week (over and over), Anti-itch Meditation, Not QuiteArt--Not Quite Living, eucatastrophe, Unveiled Face, Jollyblogger, To the Word (my other blog), Pulpit.org, Religion-online, Tabletalk, Sermon Links, and Primal Subversion.

Christians are not called to be a subculture

Michael S. Horton's recent post at Christianity Today online begins with the tension expressed in the two hymns, "This World is Not My Home" and "This Is My Father's World." He then goes on to look at the mission of the church amid North American culture:
The church . . . as the communion of saints gathered by God for preaching, teaching, sacrament, prayer, and fellowship (Acts 2:46–47), is distinct from the broader cultural activities to which Christians are called in love and service to their neighbors. In our day, this pattern is often reversed, creating a pseudo-Christian subculture that fails to take either calling seriously. Instead of being in the world but not of it, we easily become of the world but not in it.
Ouch. What then, should we do?
If the church is not to be identified with culture, is it necessarily a counterculture? If Christians as well as non-Christians participate in the common curse and common grace of this age in secular affairs, then there is no "Christian politics" or "Christian art" or "Christian literature," any more than there is "Christian plumbing." The church has no authority to bind Christian (much less non-Christian) consciences beyond Scripture. When it does, the church as "counterculture" is really just another subculture, an auxiliary of one faction of the current culture wars, distracted from its proper ministry of witnessing to Christ and the new society that he is forming around himself (Gal. 3:26–29). This new society neither ignores nor is consumed by the cultural conflicts of the day. . . .

Being "countercultural" today often amounts to superficial moralism about sex and suvs, or perhaps creating wholesome novels with Christian heroes, removing offensive language from music lyrics, and encouraging positive values. Beyond that, many of the churches with which I am familiar are captivated by the same obsessions as our culture: religion as individual spirituality, therapy, and sentimentalism. It all serves to keep us turned in on ourselves, like a kid at a carnival instead of a pilgrim en route.
Strong stuff. It's worth the time to read the whole article (HT: Steve Wynkoop).

Update: John Schroeder has also linked to Michael's post and makes this observation: "It has always struck me as he height of hubris to assume that Christianity has to be made relevant - it defines relevant."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Preaching archive: Resources for preaching

One of the reasons I began Transforming Sermons was to bring attention to the wealth of preaching resources available online. Here's a roundup of what's available, a list of posts describing the very best I've found online.
Another go-to site for Christian scholarship
As One Without Authority
Daily illustration
Fleer article now available online
Good, free commentaries on all OT and NT books
Good sermon collections
Great site on Postmodern (or any kind of) preaching
Helps for a stronger church
Links to Christian scholars
New "Art of Preaching" link
New lectionary blogging
New ministry blog: Unveiled Face
New preaching resources at textweek blog
New preaching series at Sycamore
Online classic: "Freeing the American Pulpit"
Powerful preachers at Scotwise
Preaching resource: BibleGateway
Preaching resource: Bible.org
Preaching resource: Desiring God online
Preaching resource: Expository sermon texts
Preaching resource: New Testament Gateway
Preaching resource: Online interlinears
Preaching reource: Preaching Now
Preaching resource: Religion Online
Preaching resources at Churches of Christ Online
Preaching resource: Textweek
Preaching resource: The Ray C. Stedman Library
Recommended preaching resource
Recommended reading
Resources for preaching on the Trinity
Review of Christ-Centered Preaching
Review online of "What's the Matter with Preaching Today?"
Rich content at Preaching Now
Speaking of Barth...
Text and audio of "My King"
The best free Bible software
Weekly homiletical tidbit--urban legends
What five would you choose?
Where to find articles on specific biblical texts
Rather than reading my posts, why not simply visit the sites they link to: Andrew Goddard, Religion Online, Preaching, Leaven, Dr. Constable's notes, David Chadwell's sermons, John Piper's sermons, Rubel Shelly's sermons, Ray Stedman's sermons, postmodern preaching, Stronger Church, Christian Scholars, Conrad Gempf's lectionary blogging, Unveiled Face, textweek, Sycamore, "Freeing the American Pulpit," Scotwise, BibleGateway, Bible.org, NET Bible, Desiring God online library, expository sermon texts, New Testament Gateway, online interlinears, Preaching Now, Churches of Christ Online, Barth's Prayer and Preaching, 3:17, The Sword Project, Urban Legends Reference Pages, The Text This Week, and World Wide Study Bible.

Powerful stuff on the poor

Here's an eye-opening video on poverty in the United States. Or, if you want the facts all at once, here it is in text (.pdf) format (HT: Chris Gonzalez).

Preaching archive: Practical preaching advice

Here's a list of posts from the past year with practical advice on preaching:
February book forum: Four Pages of the Sermon
Keeping topical preaching biblical
Nuts and blots: Effective PowerPointing
Nuts and bolts of expository preaching
Nuts-and-bolts of sermon prep and delivery
Online course on expository preaching
Practical advice on preaching and theology
Practical steps for sermon preparation
Prayer and preaching
Prayer, preparation, and preaching
Preaching funeral sermons
Still working on the sermon today?
The benefits of sermon teams
Two types of illustrations to avoid
Weekly homiletical tidbit: The palliative lie
Thanks to those whose writings are linked in these posts: Donald Sunukjian, Michael Hyatt, Terry Pruitt, Phil A. Newton, David Wayne, Adrian Warnock, Mark Dever, Peter Bogert, Josh Harris, Phil McAlmond, Craig Loscalzo, Chris Erdman, Len Wilson & Jason Moore, and Bryan Chapell.

Preaching archive: Powers and Principalities

Continuing the series of links to the past year's preaching posts, here's what has appeared at Transforming Sermons on preaching as it relates to powers and principalities:
Are the feds monitoring your preaching?
Being heard among powers and principalities
Do we preach "the Jesus of suburia"?
Good quote today at Preaching magazine
Is your preaching an instrument of war?
"It is written"
Jailed for preaching
Preached on demons lately?
Preaching for Terri Schiavo
Preaching in the culture of passivity
Preaching on Terri Schiavo
Preaching peace (March)
Preaching peace (November)
Red, white, and blue in the church
Remember Darfur in our prayers and preaching
Remembering history
Secularism does not exist
That'll preach!
The language we use to interpret the gospel
The need for preaching politics
U. S. Independence Day preaching
What did you not hear this past Sunday?
What have we really lost?
Here's a tip of the hat to those whose original writings formed the nucleus of each post: Jim Muir, Brad Huston, Chris Erdman once, twice, thrice, and four times, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones via Michael Duduit (twice), James Savage, Eric Ragle, Blogs for Terri, Dory of Wittenberg Gate (twice), John Schroeder, Peter Bogert, Catez Stevens, Jeff Krantz and Michael Hardin, Sandra Dufield, Ingrid Jones, Carl Trueman, Acid Ink, Ted Olsen, Keith Plummer, Eugene Peterson, Marc Porlier via Will Hinton, Jenee Woodard, Larry James, and Paul McCain.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mercy for those who fall short

Vas Avramidis gives Christians a valuable reminder this week at Hour Eleven.
In reading the Gospels and studying the words and actions of Jesus, we rarely if ever see Jesus admonish someone for falling short of righteousness and falling into sin. We do however see Jesus sternly rebuking the so-called righteous. Those who thought themselves better than others.

Preaching archive: Illustrations

Because this site is intended to be more about transformation than technique, I haven't posted many illustrations during the past year. Here's what we had:

A what in my head?
Illustration on cooperation
Jack Arnold--the rest of the rest of the story
The offense of grace and scandal of the cross

Thanks to those who provided illustrations so strong that I had to link to them: Shannon Woodward, Dean W. Arnold, and The Bluefish Project.

Preaching archive: Expository preaching

Grace transforms

Bob at Gratitude and Hoopla is posting excerpts from Thomas Oden's The Transforming Power of Grace. Here's a sample from the latest post:
"When the Bible is treated as a vending machine and evangelization as a marketing plan, grace is tamed and reduced to routine." p18

"Lacking grace, the task of personal growth turns into a frantic search for innovative strategies. Grace works to find that very person who is desperately searching for a strategy. We have tried to manufacture spiritual growth while missing the very grace that would enable it." p19

"Only that which is enabled by divine grace will endure in the church. All ploys and maneuvers circumventing grace will atrophy." p19

Christians and bumpy roads

Rob Waller considers the "Just World Theory," that good deeds result in good outcomes and vice-versa. He points out the shortcomings, however, of thinking life is always that simple:
It doesn't help when Christians teach that life is what you make of it and if you are not suceeding in your life then this must be all your own fault. I believe that God wants us to prosper and that if we follows his ways we will see the very best for our lives - but to demand that my life goes smoothly is to manipulate God and to fail to be like my Saviour who had a far from smooth life and was ultimately killed for his beliefs.
Amen. As Rob points out, the book of Habbakuk deals with that very issue. Not to mention Job. The lesson? If we're suffering, it doesn't necessarily mean God is angry with us.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Preaching archive: Exegesis and interpretation

The list continues the compendia of links to preaching posts, by topic, that appeared the past twelve months on this blog. Here are the posts on biblical exposition--most of them ought to be of interest not only to preachers, but to any Christian interested in better interpreting the Bible.
Are you Christ's donkey?
Exegesis and Associate Pastor Syndrome
More on interpreting scripture
More reflections on not boiling down
Mountain worship: the dangers of proof-texting
Moving beyond scripture-mining
New Testament exegesis bibliography
On misusing the Greek text
On staying close to the Scriptures
Opening up, not boiling down
Preachers! Avoid the agape fallacy
Reading it ourselves
"The Bible is not a personal love letter from God"
The Black list
The prodigal sons and Bible exposition
Using wisdom literature wisely
Wrestling with the text
Thanks once again to those whose original writings prompted these posts: Ramesh Richard via Peter Bogert (again and again and again!), Brian Colmery, Richard Hall, Bible Archive, Moderately Informed Paul, Craig Blomberg and William W. Klein, M. Goodacre, Thomas A. Howe, Kevin Barr, Adrian Warnock, TheDickensfamily.org, Paul Middleton, Allen Black, David Wayne, and Conrad Gempf.

Perfectionism or the grace of God?

Rob Wilkerson has written an enlightening post on perfectionism and Christian discipleship. If you wade through the first few paragraphs, where Rob (obsessively?) describes his former obsessive perfectionism, it's really quite a good essay. Here's a sample:
Anyone who has lived with a perfectionist can attest to the fact that part of his goal in life is to either force others to become like himself or get extremely irritated at their inconsiderate attitude toward the order that everything in this life ought to have! But this denies the gospel because it operates from a hypocritical, Pharisaical mindset that doesn't recognize it's own inherent in sinfulness while pointing it out in everyone else.
Amen. (By the way, I probably shouldn't kid a fellow recovering perfectionist, but I have a feeling Rob can take it). Thanks to John Schroeder for linking to Rob's post, and for offering more thoughts on the topic at Blogotional.

Preaching archive: Evangelism

This post continues the series for the next week or so of gathering links to the preaching posts from the past year at this blog. Links here are to posts on preaching and evangelism.
Challenging thoughts on evangelism
Preaching and postmoderns
Preaching to the lost in the church
Soul-winning sermons
The treasure of street preaching
The urgency of our mission
What do you mean no invitations?
Whom do you attract?
As always, credit should go to each of those whose original writings formed the nucleus of a post linked here: Nathan Colquhoun, Daniel Hill, Lynn Jost, Peter Bogert, Charles Spurgeon via Adrian Warnock, Chris Erdman, Mark Loughridge, Mike Cope, and David Wayne.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Preaching archive: Discipleship & the Kingdom

These are links to the past year's posts at Transforming Sermons on preaching, discipleship, and the Kingdom of God:
A place for the Gospels’ hard teaching
More on preaching to the found
Preaching and community
Preaching and teaching discipleship
Preaching to the found
Proclaiming the gospel to sinner and saint
Purging the herd
Soaking up the blog shower
The wonder of the good news
To whom should we preach?
We need to tell more dirty stories
Whom do we preach to?
Thanks to all those whose writings are quoted and linked in these posts: Michael Spencer, Adrian Warnock, David Wayne, Matt Self, Brad Huston, Buzz Trexler, Brad Hightower, John Schroeder, Mick Porter, Tommy Ham, J. A. Gillmartin, Adrian Warnock, Andy Jackson, Patricia Paddey, Diane of Crossroads, Peter Bogert, Agent Tim, Adam Ellis, and Scot McKnight.

Preaching archive: Jesus Christ and him crucified

Here's a compendium of the past year's posts on the essence of faithful preaching: Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2).
Jesus Christ and him crucified
The end of preaching and discipleship
The fallen condition focus and preaching
The need for cross-centered preaching
We'd better be misunderstood
What do we attract them to?
And here's a tip of the hat to those whose original writings are linked in these posts: David Smith, Alex Arnold, Bryan Chapell, Mr. Standfast, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (via David Wayne and Adrian Warnock), and Ravi Zacharias (via Jeff Weddle).

"I really am about to worship you. Really"

At Blogotional John Schroeder riffs on the absurdity of certain praise songs (in John's post you can read the lyrics of one of them). Here is John's take on one song whose lyrics are all about how the singers are going to praise God:
Praise is about God, not us. Note the words "I," and "my" and how they are repeated over and over. It seems to me that genuine praise might start there, but that those words would soon leave the lexicon of praise.
Right. John also reminds us of the need, in the midst of songs proclaiming what we will give God, for giving him all we are.

Update: There are a couple of good counter-points on this topic in the comments section.

Another update: John has expanded on his original post.

Preaching archive: Character

Here are links to the Transforming Sermons posts from the past year on character in preaching:
Character and preaching
Costs and rewards of gospel preaching
Great preaching and discipleship
How authentic do we have to be?
"Large enough to hold the truth of the Word"
Leading people to the gospel of grace
Leading with more than words
Learning to say, "No"
Lessons from suffering
Letting the text speak to us over time
Life outside the pulpit
Life outside the pulpit again
More on opening a vein in preaching
Preaching from our weakness
Stop trying to be good already!
Ten qualities of a great preacher
The problem of stealing sermons
"You can't fake it forever"
Many thanks to those whose original writings each formed the nucleus for one of these posts:
Debra of As I See it Now, Adrian Warnock (twice), John Schroeder, Mick Porter, Craig Barnes, David P. Teague, Chaille Brindley, Chris Erdman (twice) and (thrice), Mike DeVries, Michael Duduit (repeatedly), Brad Hightower, Jason Retherford, Alistair Begg, Austin B. Tucker, D. A. Carson, and Chris Gonzalez.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

But what's in it for me?

Jim Bublitz, a self-proclaimed "refugee" from the "Seeker Sensitive/Purpose Driven movement" has a wonderful post and spoof video on "The Me Church." Besides the over-the-top but too-true-to-be-funny video, Jim gives these signs of a me-church:
  • Are you treated like a "consumer" who needs customer service?
  • Does your pastor preach sermons on topics that you want to hear, instead of what you really need to hear?
  • Are his sermons packed with feel-good psychology and philosophy?
  • Does your church try to entertain you with worldly music and drama?
  • Do the sermons minimize or eliminate negative things in the bible?
  • Is your worship music virtually indistinguishable from MTV and radio?
  • What gets boosted more, your self-esteem or your bible knowledge?
Jim goes on to show how the church really ought to look. I recommend the post (HT: Pastur-ise me!).

Preaching archive: Centrality of the Word

Here is a compendium of the past year's posts at TS on the centrality of the Word in preaching:
The centrality of the Word
Internet classic: Preaching as worship
Interpreting the world through the Word
Leaving our little stories behind
Let's stop preaching biblical principles
Lots of discussion on preaching
Preaching in The Zone
The benefits of truth-trail preaching
The importance of Scripture in preaching
The power of preaching
The startling power of the Word

The value of congregational preaching
Thanks once again to those whose original writings were each an impetus for these posts: Peter Bogert (twice), Robert Spinney, David Wayne (twice), Keith Plummer, Ed Spetzer, John Telfer Brown, Dan Edelen, J. A. Gillmartin, John Schroeder, Adrian Warnock, Mick Porter, Chris Erdman, Lee Eclov, Phil Steiger, Danny Fast, Jim Martin, and Karl Barth.

Monday, January 16, 2006

It's Hobbes for my money

This one would be worth reading for the title alone, but the content is just as good (it couldn't, after all, be any better).

Preaching archive: The call of preaching

Here are the past year's posts at Transforming Sermons on the call of preaching:
Another reminder of why we preach
Discerning the call

Do we welcome the prophet?
Fire in the bones
Following one man
More on the purpose of preaching
"Nothing quite like it"
Not just desire
Obedience and success
On the offense for the Word
Our mission isn't to be friendly and cuddly
Preachers: Understanding our charge
Preaching and anointing
Preaching and breakouts
Preaching and church discipline
Preaching and imagination
Preaching and the anointing of the Holy Spirit
Preaching as truthtelling
Preaching, authenticity, and style
Preaching with blood and heart
Sanctification, purity, and leadership
"The art of pleading with the souls of men"
The dangers of insipid preaching
The need to keep preaching
The side we'd rather forget
We're not in the "helping profession"

Why we preach
Writing with care
Most of these posts are simply links to original articles by some of my favorite writers: Bill Wallo, Adrian Warnock (again and again), Dave Harvey, Paul Littleton, Brian Colmery (again and again) Skye Jethani, Scot McKnight, Jim Martin, Erwin Lutzer, Conrad Gempf (twice), Goebel Music, Phil McAlmond (twice), Michael Duduit, Phil Schroeder, Dave Fleer, Pete Porter, Brad Huston (twice), Chris Erdman, Ron Shanks, Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon, Albert Mohler, and Peter Bogert. Praise God for all who keep reminding us of the nature of our calling.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Praying when we don't feel like it

Ekklesia reminds us that some of the most powerful prayer comes when our emotions aren't really involved.

Preaching archive: Posts on boldness

During the next couple of weeks I'll be posting links to preaching posts, by category, from the first year of Transforming Sermons. Here's the first group, on the topic of boldness and preaching:
Granted, these are links to links to links, but if you're interested in posts on a given topic related to preaching, here's a convenient way to find them. Hats off to those authors whose originally essays prompted the posts about them here: The Internet Monk, Jollyblogger, Cross Blog, As I See It Now, and Preaching Now.

One year old today

One year ago today the first post at Transforming Sermons stated that "This blog is for preachers who want to preach transforming sermons and other Christians who want to experience them." That's still the goal -- to help all Christians be transformed more and more into the image of Christ.

When I began this blog I thought it would primarily be of interest to preachers, but it's come to be read by Christians of all vocations. Over the past twelve months I've begun to blog a little less about preaching and a little more about discipleship in general. That emphasis, I hope, is of benefit to all Christians. Still, I always write with fellow preachers in mind, because if our own hearts are not transformed, why would anyone else want to hear what we have to say?

In the coming year I hope to continue posting twice each day, except for Saturdays. And as I've been doing, the emphasis will be more on others' writing than my own. The Internet is full of good material, and this blog is a place where all Christians, especially preachers, can find links to some of that material.

God has blessed me in so many ways through this blog---through giving me a ministry of sorts during the four months I was unemployed, through the virtual fellowship of like-minded souls, through the privilege of reading and sharing some of the best, most encouraging, and most soul-scorching writings on the web.

May this site be a blessing to you, and in all things may we give the glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who makes all things new.

The work of God, not men

Pete Porter asks why Christians don't really seem to believe and follow the Word of God. Here's one of his points:
If someone is sick, instead of the truth "with His stripes you were healed", people want me to pray that God gives the doctors wisdom, or the right medication. What happened to "the word of God is life, and health to all your flesh".
Good question. I recommend you read the whole article.