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Showing posts from February, 2006

Top Ten Sermons - # 4 - Three Days from Nowhere - T. F. Tenney

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I have probably heard thousands of sermons in my lifetime. I am certain that I have read, if not thousands, at least hundreds of sermons, and I have even written quite a few. I am starting to realize that listening to a sermon is an art that few ever really come to appreciate. I believe that there are things that we "hear" and things we do not "hear." There have been hundreds of times that a message has spoken directly into a situation in my life and has provided necessary wisdom to navigate through the situation. Sermons have brought comfort, relief, direction, and vision into my soul and spirit. Some wonder as to why I place such a crucial importance on preaching, the specific reasons that I just mentioned are why. One of my Bible college instructors once leaned very heavily on us one morning in class as he pointedly and directly made the following statement, "Poor preaching is a heavy cross to bear!" He was having reference to those poor saints who of

Top Ten Sermons - # 5 - Unknown Yet Known - G. A. Mangun

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The fifth sermon that lodges in my mind and spirit is one that I have increasingly had on my mind particularly for the last couple of years. As time passes on and I move out of that category of a "young preacher," I am beginning to wonder if I (and my peers) have a responsibility to the past. Our times (the last decade) have made an incredible assault on some long held core doctrines. Even some of our traditions have been taken to the gauntlet which I cannot say is all bad. I am more than willing to admit that there have been some abuses and abused in the past particularly in areas that one would refer to as "standards." In looking at some of those abuses that occurred, it appears to me that our foundation has to be the Word and not preference. Yet, if one is not careful, the swing back in the other direction in trying to correct the abuses and ignorance, there will be a drastic overcorrection. This overcorrection may not affect the current generation bu

"The Ministry is Perilous. . . " A. W. Tozer

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I found this following quote today when I was putting together a message about temptation and pride. May it strike your soul with the same force it struck mine. . . . “The ministry is one of the most perilous of professions. . . Satan knows that the downfall of a prophet of God is a strategic victory for him, so he rests not day or night devising hidden snares and deadfalls for the ministry. Perhaps a better figure would be the poison dart that only paralyzes its victim, for I think that Satan has little interest in killing the preacher outright. An ineffective, half-alive minister is a better advertisement for hell than a good man dead. . . There are indeed some very real dangers of the grosser sort which the minister must guard against, such as love of money and women; but the deadliest of perils are far more subtle than these. . . There is, for one, the danger that the minister shall come to think of himself as belonging to a privileged class. Our “Christian” soci

Top Ten Sermons - # 6 - Postpone the Wedding - Curtis Spears

I have to admit that this little run of the "top ten" sermons that I have heard in my life has been a very thought-provoking and treasurable experience. I am honored that you are spending time reading through all of this. My highest hope is that if you are a minister that these thoughts provoke you to spend time in the Word and prayer. Only God can help you to bring out the best to the folks that you serve week-in and week-out. The American church (I use that term loosely) is experiencing a dearth of solid preaching and those who are preaching the Word must develop their minds, hearts, and skills to the utmost to preach to this generation. My second highest hope is that if you are only a "listener" to the preaching week-in and week-out that you pray for your pastor, minister, evangelist, or Bible teacher. Pray that God gives them the words that not only encourage you but convict you and change you. Most often, what we need to hear and want to hear are two dif

Top Ten Sermons - # 7 - The Beauty of the Beast - Ken Gurley

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Ken Gurley is another one of the most remarkable men that I have ever met. Just as Kelsey Griffin would place his very valuable influence on my life, so would Bro. Gurley. I met Bro. Gurley in August 1989 in my early days of Bible college. He preached the opening chapel that year and in my mind, even to this day, there was only one other minister who held the power of words as did Bro. Gurley. It had been (apparently) a long held tradition that the opening chapel of the year was to be preached by the Texas District Superintendent. During my tenure at TBC, E. L. Holley held that position and interestingly enough, he would only preach one chapel during my whole stay. For whatever reason, Bro. Holley was unable to make the trip and so Bro. Gurley was summoned to preach. At the time, he was serving as the pastor of Pearland Tabernacle (now First Church of Pearland, www.firstchurch.net) and was the Texas District Youth President. He continues his role as pastor and is now the So

Top Ten Sermons - # 8 - Blessed Assurance Series - Kelsey Griffin

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Kelsey Griffin is one of the most remarkable men that I have ever met. Little did I know how much he would effect me when I first came into contact with him in August 1989. He was, at that point, an instructor at Texas Bible College and the first class that he taught me was Bible Study Methods. I had never met someone who was so consumed with the Word of God like Bro. Griffin was. I would have the joy of being a "Griffinite" for three years and he would open my soul in Old Testament Survey, Doctrine 2 & 3, Prophets 1 & 2, Typology, Pastoral Theology, and Creative Bible Study. He was constantly encouraging us to read the Word and try to assimilate as much of it as possible into our every day lives. One of his statements that continues to remain true until this day was, "A lot of people say they cannot understand the Bible. You have to read the Bible to understand it. That is the majority of folks problem with the Bible. They don't read it." An

Top Ten Sermons - # 9 - Two Different Worlds - Daniel Calk

This happened to be another one of the great preaching events of my life. I have to admit that I was an outsider looking in on this one. When I say that I mean that I was not a member of the Life Tabernacle family in Houston, Texas, I just happened to be passing through on the journey. I was in Houston attending Texas Bible College from August 1989 until May 1992. The Preacher: Bro. Daniel Calk had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma earlier in the year and had been in and out of Methodist Hospital and this was his first return to the pulpit. It was there that he was serving as co-pastor with Bro. James Kilgore. Bro. Calk was a class Christian and had a very kind and easy spirit about him. My time around him was very limited but I always enjoyed hearing him preach and teach. It was with great admiration that I watched this great church find itself under great duress during this point of its history. When Bro. Calk had been diagnosed with multiple myeoloma, the elders and s

Top Ten Sermons - # 10 - Spiritual Creativity - J. T. Pugh

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Over the course of my life, I have been exposed to some of the greatest preaching in the world. Catalogued in my mind are certain sermons that have stood out over the years. This sermon was not just a sermon, it was a message. It was one of those "magic" moments that happens sometimes (and not nearly enough) when both the preacher and the congregation get caught up into the very act of worship. Some would dismiss preaching as an act of worship but that is where they are wrong. . . . some will be deadly wrong about that. I am going to do my best to pick out the "top ten" that have stood out to me over the last 15 years of my life. Some of them are available by cassette (since they are so old) and a few of them are available by CD and I will try to get you the information about gaining access to the message. The Occasion: I had been invited (along with several other pastors) to speak at two sessions of a licensing seminar for ministers who were preparing to be cre

What If. . .

There is a great desire born in my heart for true revival. Revival that shakes men and churches to the core. Revival that frees men from the grip of sin. Revival that creates an incredible love for the Word of God and it's presentation through preaching and teaching. Revival that stirs my emotions for authentic worship. Revival that challenges my mind and intellectual capacities. Revival that shatters flakiness and revival that wilts formality. There is a place where the soul can drink deeply from the wells that only God can un-stop. I plan to invest myself from this point on in my life to prayer, fasting, and the ministry of the Word. How can I expect to be above the bar when my efforts are so mediocre and so average. Anointing follows humility, submission, study, prayer, fasting, personal sacrifice, and perhaps much pain too. The great men of the past were those who did not live in conformity with their own desires or their own falterings. They were men who w

Old Books

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Old books can be some of the most incredible friends that you will ever have. I can remember visits to the library when I was a kid and from that time I have developed a passion for reading. The old adage is that "readers are leaders" and it is very true. When you open a book, you are in the very early stages of starting to stretch your mind. The concepts behind the words will cause to you embrace disiciplines that can change you forever. Part of the joy of reading comes from the "hunt." The "hunt" is the journey that begins when you take a trip to a library, a new bookstore, or even better yet, when you can find an old bookstore that has old books. There is something about the sights, sounds, and smells of an old bookstore that can challenge not only your physical senses but also your mental senses (which you do have). A few years ago, I "stumbled" across one such author. He has been dead for a few years now but his stories live beyond his