Tag Archives: Jonathan Edwards

Good Preaching?

Does preaching 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, or should we simply focus on truth?

What about you?

bibleWhat 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?

Below is an example of me preaching. This sermon was delivered several years ago on a Sunday evening at Riverside Baptist (in the gym, while our auditorium was being remodeled). It was part of a series I did on the book of Ephesians and focused on the blessing of the Holy Spirit and the simple two word phrase, “but God.”

I’m interested in your feedback.

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13 Comments

Filed under Preaching

Sure of Your Next Step?

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Preaching on hell is not something I like to do, but every so often I need to. You see, to love people is to warn people, especially when their next step could be their last.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Future, ministry, Preaching, salvation

Good Preaching?

Today is Sunday, and many of you will be going to church somewhere. Many of you will not. So here is a question:

Does preaching 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, or should we simply focus on truth?

What about you?

bibleWhat 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?

Below is an example of me preaching. This sermon was delivered on a Sunday evening at Riverside Baptist (in the gym, while our auditorium was being remodeled). It was part of a series I did on the book of Ephesians and focused on the blessing of the Holy Spirit and the simple two word phrase, “but God.”

I’m interested in your feedback.

14 Comments

Filed under Preaching

Ashamed?

Sometimes I’m Ashamed

Of my past. Do you have a past? I do. We all do. And I have done many things in my past of which I am ashamed. Some things I did while I was an unbeliever, but others were after I had become a Christian. My past haunts me. Does yours?

Of course, on a positive note, one’s past can prove beneficial when rearing children. For example, my children are not totally sure if I was a secret agent, a hired gun, or a former special ops helicopter pilot who had his license taken away for excessively brutal conduct. They will never know for sure, either. The “not knowing” helps keep boyfriends away.

Of my accomplishments (or lack of). Have you ever stopped to compare yourself to others? Bad idea. There are always going to be people who can do what you do a lot better than you ever could – some before they even start elementary school.

I am a preacher, a pastor, an aspiring writer, etc. I am also 44 years old. Have you ever looked at what preachers of yesteryear were able to accomplish by my age? Don’t even start with Jonathan Edwards, Wesley, or even Billy Graham. I have been faithful, but I have little by way of accomplishments to show for it. For crying out loud, I haven’t even written one book!

Of my education. At 44 years of age I am working on my Master of Ministry degree. Guys younger than me are teaching in the seminary, for Pete’s sake! By the time I receive a doctorate, I will need full-time hospice care.

What could I have done if only I had gone to school earlier instead of working, getting married, learning about life, having beautiful children, or experiencing God’s grace? I mean, I could have been a pastor at age 20! Now that would have been shameful.

Of my lack of discipline. There are some people who wake up two hours early in order to pray. If I tried that, I’d have to be on my knees at 3 a.m.! I rarely even get to sleep until after 11 p.m.!

There are some who read at least one book a week. There are others who do all this and run, ride bikes, climb tall mountains, hunt mountain lions, and keep a spotless house. I hate them.

Seriously, I am ashamed at my lack of discipline. As a pastor, a pillar of society, I should be an example of what a disciplined person should look like. But I’m not. I struggle for every minute of sleep I can get. Sad, isn’t it?

Of my appearance. If I had the previously mentioned discipline, the kind that says, “Hey, I have a long day ahead of me, so how ’bout we go run 5 miles before breakfast,” I would be a stud. Before long I would look like a Green Beret, or Joel Osteen (with less perfect teeth). Instead, I look more like a tall Danny DeVito who has a thing for monkeys.

Yes, I can be ashamed of a lot…

But Never of the Gospel

I thank God for being able to use a weak, inadequate, undisciplined, uneducated, unattractive fool. As a matter of fact, it is only because of the gospel that I can accept my shortcomings, putting everything behind me, and look forward to what lies ahead.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. – Romans 1:16

Only through someone who admits his shortcomings can Christ bring glory unto the Father. If I had it all together I might take all the credit, but I can’t. If there is anything good in me, it is because of Jesus (Rom 7:18; 2 Cor 3:5).

One last thing. Many times I am tempted to feel ashamed of myself. Nevertheless, even with my lack of accomplishments, etc., I know that God is not ashamed of me. And if He is not ashamed of me, then maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I just need to keep walking and looking ahead, hoping for the day when I will be home.

But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. – Hebrews 11:16

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, General Observations, God, Life Lessons, Uncategorized