Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Prayer Pouring Out of Psalm 119


I am presently preaching through the stanzas of Psalm 119 and it has been a spiritually enriching exercise.  Today, I am struck by my need to pray through this Psalm as I preach through it.  One of the greatest things about verse-by-verse preaching is its sanctifying effect on the preacher.  What follows come from the handwritten prayer in my journal as I worked through Psalm 119:17-24 (The Trials That Come our Way).  The prayer was motivated by the cross-references that I followed as the sermon notes unfolded.

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Public Reading of Scripture

Quite some time ago, I was studying some of the practices of the ancient apostolic church and ran across some of the writings of Justin Martyr.  In his Apology 1.67, he describes just a portion of what took place in ancient times:

. . . and on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. . .

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Recommendation—Reformed Preaching by Joel Beeke

This blog is a salute to a pastor that I have yet to meet face-to-face.  Several months ago, I was contacted thru Twitter by Pastor Tony Mansinho who is serving his church, Calvary Apostolic Church, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I am unsure as to how that he found me but he has been an incredible blessing to me because at this point, he has sent me nearly 200 books.  The books that he has sent to me are not your pop Christianity sorts of books that litter the bookshelves of most chain bookstores.  Rather he has sent me some of the richest volumes from the New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT) and OldTestament (NICOT), IVP commentaries, a host of books on preaching, hermeneutics, and even several specialty study Bibles.  Because I love books on preaching, I have benefited tremendously from that genre of books he has sent to me.  I thought that I should do a book review/recommendation on one of the many he has sent.  Obviously as he and I both would affirm that everything we read needs to be done so carefully and with discernment. 

This book is one written by Joel Beeke.  Joel Beeke is a familiar author with me as I have enjoyed his book on spiritual warfare, backsliding, history of the Puritans, and theology of the Puritans.  Beeke is the president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and the pastor of Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids.  The book that he has recently written is Reformed Preaching and is part historical and part instructional.  The book is so good that I even found the beginning written endorsements to be good.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

When Preaching Becomes Entertainment

If there is a priority focus in my life at this point, it would have to be preaching and teaching the Bible.  In my thoughts there is nothing that is more crucial to the life of a church than a pastor who entirely concentrates on the principle set aside in Acts 6:4—prayer and ministry of the Word.  It is a BIG deal!  There are so many voices that are vying for my ears, my mind, and ultimately my soul and I realize that others are in this same cycle of life as well.  The most important voice we can hear is the one that is rooted in Scripture.  The spiritual health of the minister and the life of the church often rise and fall with the commitment that a man has to this calling of preaching.  It requires discipline to stick with preaching through the Bible week-in and week-out, year after year.  At this point of preaching for almost 30 years, I cannot even scratch the surface of what has taken place within my soul because of the untold hours of Bible study, prayer, reading of books, listening to sermons, meditating on the text, agonizing over the lack of personal skill, and knowing the highs and the lows of sermon delivery.  When we take preaching seriously, we align ourselves with the emphasis that Paul put on preaching in 1 Corinthians 1:17-31.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Why I Read Books

There is a periodic thought that rolls through my mind that I think at times is stimulated by something nostalgic.  Nostalgia is often a feeling that comes to us when we think about the distant past.  That thought has to do with my affinity to books.  I am incredibly thankful that I grew up in a home where reading and books were highly promoted by my parents.  My brother and I were latch-key kids in a time when culture did not seem to be nearly as confused and violent as it is now.  Around the time I got in the seventh grade, our parents let us stay home during the summer and sort of keep up with ourselves.  I am certain that there were those occasional times of sibling rivalry and bickering that naturally goes on between brothers but it is hard to remember any instances of that at this point in my life.  What I do remember are the Saturday visits to the church for visitation and door knocking which was followed by a trip to the local library which in turn was followed by a trip to grocery store.  The time frame was the mid to late 70’s where life seemed to be much slower and certainly more innocent.  Obviously, there was no internet, smart phones, twenty-four-hour stores and all of the other things that put us on the fast track now.  One of the greatest blessings of my life was growing up without a television in our home because of religious reasons.  I know that can seem like a shocking thing in our times but our church expressed a need for a clear-cut separation from the world and that was one of the things that my parents practiced.  So, I grew up without all of the popular sitcoms of the 70’s and 80’s that now seem so benign compared to what is piped into homes today.  Because of that “lack” (blessing!), we read books. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Interview on Expository Preaching

The following is an interview that was requested by Greg Stone who is one of the editors of the Indiana Bible College Perspectives magazine.  I thought it might be helpful on the Barnabas Blog.

1.    Briefly tell us about yourself and your ministry.

The apostolic Pentecostal church is all that I have ever known.  I grew up in a home missions’ settings and was kept very involved by my parents (who were not in the pastorate but just very good saints) as the years went by.  I am now the pastor of the church that I grew up in.  I have been married for almost 33 years and have three children, two sons who are married and are ministers, and a daughter who is involved in ministry as well.  I was bivocational much of my early years in ministry and worked as an RN in various areas such as critical care and cath labs and I have to admit that some of my approach to both preaching and teaching was influenced by all of the years of working with physicians and other health care workers. 

A Prayer Pouring Out of Psalm 119

--> I am presently preaching through the stanzas of Psalm 119 and it has been a spiritually enriching exercise.   Toda...