Friends, I just can’t put into words how much I look forward to writing more. Oh, I’m writing, but it’s not here. It’s just that I have priorities.
But let me tell you, God is good, His grace is sufficient (and I know about that) for every need – and oh, how deep a truth that is!
Life is not easy, nor is it always fun. Some of you in other countries have so many struggles that you look at us in America with disdain. However, please don’t do that . . . you are literally blessed beyond comprehension, not us.
Regardless, compared to heaven, our final reward, the place “not made with hands,” even the most fantastically-rich member of society is as poor in the sight of our Creator as a starving dog on the side of the road is to us.
No matter how rich by comparison to others, we are all poor, needy, broken, wounded, etc. “None are righteous, no not one.
Those who are the most wealthy are those who walk with God on a daily, even hourly basis.
The ones with true joy are the ones who’ve surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.
Anyway, please have a sefe and glorious Easter weekend!
See you at church somewhere this Sunday!
In the meantime, I’m going to keep looking up and looking forward to great and mighty things!
Today is Sunday, and many of you will be going to church somewhere (or watching online). So here is a question:
Does the “preaching” part of the service have anything to do with your decision?
There are many opinions as to what constitutes “good” preaching. Some prefer a preacher who spits and hollers, bangs the pulpit, and makes that little “huh” sound between every amplified phrase. Others prefer the professor/preacher who reads from a manuscript in a mono-tone, non-offensive, Winnie the Pooh-like voice.
Either way, what we are talking about is delivery, not substance.
Does delivery matter?
When Paul told Timothy to pay close attention to his doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16) and to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), content was the issue. However, if a sermon is poorly delivered, the efforts of the preacher could be nullified. If the hearer is distracted, bored, offended, lulled to sleep, or has his ear drums wounded, what is the point?
In my opinion, good preaching is preaching that contains solid, biblical content, but also keeps the audience engaged. One should never discount the importance of the power of the Spirit working through the weakness of men (1 Cor. 2:4; 2 Cor. 12:9). But, as ambassadors of the King (2 Cor. 5:20) who have been charged by our Sovereign to “compel” (persuade) hungry souls to come to His table (Luke 14:23), shouldn’t how we say what we say be important?
It is reported that Abraham Lincoln preferred listening to preachers who looked like they were swatting at a swarm of bees. In a similar vein, I think it was Charles Wesley who said that a preacher should “put some fire in his sermon, or put his sermon in the fire.”
On the other hand, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is said to have read his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” with a steady, monotone voice, as the audience screamed in terror at the thought of falling into hell. So, delivery shouldn’t matter?
It would make sense that those entrusted with delivering sermons should do so in a manner befitting the “greatest story ever told,” but does delivery make a difference? After all, some of the greatest public speakers of all time were tyrants (Adolph Hitler).
Should delivery be an issue? Should we simply focus on truth?
What about you?
What type of preaching style do you prefer?
Has a particular style of sermon delivery ever caused you to tune out to what was being said?
What suggestions would you like to offer to one just beginning public ministry?
Now, to be fair, below is a link to our church Facebook page and one of the last sermons I preached. It was Sunday morning, last week, on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
The preaching starts at around the 11-minute mark.
In your objective opinion, how would you describe my style in this sermon? Did my delivery enhance or distract from the subject of the sermon?
Ultimately, no sermon, no matter how well it’s delivered, can change hearts and minds and lives without the power of the Holy Spirit. Even the worst preacher, filled with God’s power, can be the most effective. In reality, one’s supreme goal should be for God to be heard and the preacher to be forgotten.
Yet, we are human, aren’t we? We should always want to strive to do better. Even Elijah presided over a “prophet’s school” (1 Samuel 19:18-24).*
This month will see a lot of Christmas sermons preached, and if you actually go to church somewhere, you might actually get to hear some 😉
But if you aren’t planning on attending any church services this December, or if you just can’t get enough of sermons on the subject of Christmas, I would encourage you to listen to the one I’m attaching below.
Several years ago (2012) while pastoring at another church, I delivered a sermon entitled “Christmas Is the Gospel.” It was recorded on my iPhone that was sitting on the pulpit, so don’t expect too high a quality of production.
Why did the angels tell the shepherds what they are about to hear was “good tidings”? Pick up a Bible and turn to the book of Luke, chapter two, and follow along.
In my last post about the possibility of Biden listening to and acting upon questionable or sinister science, I might have given the wrong impression. I say that based on a comment I received from a friend, Joel Ziegenmier.
If Joel was correct, then I do apologize for the confusion or spurious impression. Please allow me to clarify my stance on science and faith.
I believe that science and faith are completely compatible and non-exclusionary. Both can exist side-by-side without conflict. Why do I believe that?
First of all, we must understand what faith and science are. Once we do that, everything will become a little more clear.
Science, unlike what it’s made out to be in the news media, is a process of acquiring knowledge. It is not dogma, doctrine, philosophy, or religion. All it is – or what it is supposed to be – is a process through which knowledge and understanding can be acquired through theorizing, testing, observing, repeating and replicating, and so on. The scientific method is not a Truth in itself, but a process by which we discover and make application.
Faith is trusting in something. Blind faith is putting one’s trust in something without any evidence that the thing is trustworthy. On the contrary, orthodox Christianity is not a religion or set of beliefs based on a blind faith, but on tangible, historical, and verifiable evidence and Truth claims.
Science and faith are not opposites, but complimentary. Where faith can be tested, it should welcome it. Where science yields information, faith is placed in the interpretation of the evidence obtained.
Certain things, however, are beyond the realm of the scientific method. Those things that are supernatural (outside of the realm of what is considered naturally possible) cannot be observed, tested, and repeated, especially if the supernatural event is beyond natural capability.
Science, too, is limited in its ability. A prime example is the question of the origin of the universe. Although observable and repeatable theories can be applied to current natural processes, science in and of itself cannot observe and test the origin of the universe, nor account for where natural law may have been broken. Ironically, it takes faith for both the Christian and the naturalist or atheist to make dogmatic claims about the origin of all that is.
But for the Christian, science is not an enemy; it is only a tool. Thanks to a quick Google search, I was easily able to find a list of famous scientist whose works contributed to the way we live today, and each one was a Christian. They include the likes of Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, Arthur Compton, Gregor Mendel, Isaac Newton, George Washington Carver, Francis Collins, and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine John Eccles.
So therefore, it’s not a matter of whether or not Joe Biden listens to the scientists, for that’s a fine and noble thing to do. The problem is which scientists he’s listening to. Every scientist has presuppositions and assumptions. Every scientist has a personal worldview. Are the scientists that Biden trusts knowledge seekers or agenda pushers? Are they rabid naturalists who deny their own presuppositions and assumptions, or simply honest men and women who simply go where the facts lead them?
I’m not trying to be hyperbolic, but just keep in mind that it was the “scientists” of the 1930s and 1940s who concluded that a perfect and superior race was achievable through the elimination of all who were sick, retarded, deformed, homosexual, and Jewish.
It’s when “science” determines that faith is a detriment to society, a scourge on humanity, or a drug from which society must be weened for its own sake, that we have a problem.
It’s happened before. It’s been observed. It can be repeated.
OH! Look! It’s my birthday! I am a whopping 53 years old today, and I’m excited! Why? I don’t know, but probably because I’m alive.
Yes, 53 years have passed since I was born in Chattanooga, TN. A whole lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.
But just last night, as we were heading home from Waffle House – that’s where we went for my pre-birthday dinner, I noted that, in reality, I didn’t do anything to be recognized for; my mother did all the work! She, of all people, should be celebrated!
It was long overdue, but I said, “I didn’t do anything on my own to be born; it was YOU who made the choice to have me … thank you.”
It was then that my wife said, “Then maybe we should not buy you a birthday present, but get your mom something!”
Ummm, nice, but it doesn’t work like that.
The OTHER Birthday
But then there was another birthday: the day I was born again. And the interesting thing about THAT day is that once again, similar to my earthly birth, the credit really belongs to a parent – my dad.
On a Wednesday night in September, 1973, I realized that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. Unfortunately, although I was convicted of my lostness, I didn’t know what to do about it. That’s when my daddy, my godly father, took notice and asked me what was wrong.
“I’m not saved…I’m going to hell!” I said.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked. I nodded.
Then, right in the middle of a song service at 34th Street Baptist Tabernacle, my dad I snuck off to a tiny Sunday school room with tiny tables and tiny chairs, and there he walked me through a classic “sinner’s prayer.”
I was gloriously and miraculously regenerated! I was born again! I was saved!
I can’t remember if I ever actually thanked him for that day, but because of that day I know I’ll get another chance.
Below is what is written in my dad’s tattered old Bible. My new-birth certificate 🙂
Sometimes God uses the smallest things to remind us of His caring love, provision, and strength.
As I look at this recent picture of my little George when he wasn’t feeling well, I can’t help but notice how at rest he is. Look at how little, yet how trusting. Just a tiny little guy, but he knows where he is loved, safe, and taken care of.
In reality, how much bigger is God than us? How much more capable is He than me when it comes to protecting, providing, and comforting? Why is it I run around the yard in a panic like a little dog with no home?
Trust – the word so often missing in our relationship with our heavenly Father. But with trust (and unconditional love) comes a readiness to lay our head on God’s strong arm. There we will find rest.
Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.