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Showing posts from March, 2009

The Disicipline of Study

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Last week, after the blog on “The Challenges of Preaching the Word ” I had a couple of things happen that has helped create this idea for this particular blog. First, I had a pastor (David Bethel) to send me an e-mail basically discussing the sometimes ups and downs of disciplined study. He admitted that there were some weeks that all seemed to flow well and then there were other weeks of poor study due to the demands of the unexpected of pastoral work. Secondly, one of our members was in the hospital for close to a week and in addition to seeing her, I went down to the Radiology Department and saw quite a number of people that I used to work with. One of those days, I ran into one of the physicians (Sibley Turner, M.D.) that I used to work with and had a good time reconnecting with him. While I did not work with him as much as with some of the other radiologists, his partners almost to a man had told me numerous times that he had the sharpest mind of their group. So between t

The Challenges to Preaching the Word

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How many times have you heard the statement: “Don’t preach to me!”? How many times have you heard someone prior to giving some sort of instruction say, “I don’t mean to preach to you!”? Our generation at large has a low regard for preaching. Righteous instruction is often looked upon with disdain as “controlling” and “manipulative.” I recently ran across a conference message by D. A. Carson concerning this challenge of preaching the Word in our generation. While I do not find complete agreement with all Carson considers, he had some very worthy points to mention in his address. I took his list and then expanded on some of the points. Decline of spiritual life and activity in the churches is commonly accompanied by lifeless, formal unfruitful preaching. . . the great revivals of Christian history can be directly traced to the work of the pulpit and in their progress they have rendered and developed a high order of preaching. . . . preaching can stimulate revival under God an

Book Recommendation -- William Gurnall -- The Christian in Complete Armor

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Several years ago, E. E. Jolley pulled his famous line on me. “This page is worth the price of this book! If you don’t get something out of it, send it back to me and I will give you a refund.” In his hand, he was holding the second volume of the abridged “The Christian in Complete Armor.” Needless to say, I bought the little three volume set of paperbacks and have gotten my $27 worth out of them a long time ago. My paperback collection has become tattered, dog-eared, and marked up over the years and I have gotten a lot of inspiration for preaching from it. There are some very good things concerning Lot and his relationship with Sodom and Gomorrah. The abridged books contain much food for thought that will provoke your thinking. Following are some quotes that may whet your appetite for considering this book for your own library. Of Satan ‘s Subtlety to choose out the most advantageous Seasons for tempting. . . 1. The first season he takes to tempt in is, when newly conver

Uhhmmm. . . . George, I Couldn't Care Less What You Think. . .

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A long time ago, I was interested in what George thought. You see, George, and me, and all of his nifty little stats were going to help me do the will of God and build a huge church (thank you, Jesus!!!). George had insight. George had savvy. George was cool. George had his hand on the pulse of America. He knew what the Boomers, Busters, X’ers, Y’ers, and Z’ers thought about the Church, God, and His Book. But when Bill repented for following some of George’s ideas, we all stopped and paused for a minute. You see, Bill, had accrued a monstrosity that every “spiritual and motivated” pastor ought to be trying to build. The Willow Creek model (interestingly outdated now) was cutting edge until they found out that very, very little spiritual growth had been going on in their little nexus of spiritual wizardry. In fact, George’s surveys had caused Bill’s sermons to go awry because Bill was questing in hot pursuit the theories that George had found out. However, what Bill did not

The Shepherd's Crosses -- Unreasonable Expectations

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Ministry and medicine have a lot in common (although I am not sure if the faith healers would agree with me or not). Sometime ago I was involved in a procedure that was blissfully incredible. A patient had been having problems with extreme weight loss, nausea and vomiting, general malaise, and a lack of appetite. After the attending physician had determined through a CT scan that the patient did not have an underlying cancer diagnosis, it was determined that they possibly had some called mesenteric ischemia which is a fancy medical doo-dad term that basically says “the gut is not getting any blood.” So off we went in the chase. During the procedure, my job was to keep the patient asleep with hefty doses of IV narcotics and monitor their cardiac status as we attempted to find the problem. As the procedure progressed, four sets of eyes in the interventional radiology lab saw the problem. A small but very vital mesenteric artery was about 90% closed off and our job was to fish a

The Shepherd's Crosses -- Fighting Parasites

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Charles Jefferson -- Without pastoral work the minister himself cannot be saved. If salvation is health, and health is the kind of life we find in Jesus of Nazareth, then how can a minister be in sound health who lacks the shepherd heart, and how can he have peace and joy if he shirks the shepherd’s responsibilities and runs away from the shepherd’s crosses? ( The Minister as Shepherd—The Privileges and Responsibilities of Pastoral Leadership , Charles Jefferson, pp. 29-20) This single sentence and question so arrested my attention several months ago and I have not been able to get away from the thought. This is a reprint of some lectures that Jefferson gave in 1912 to a group of pastors. He never explains what he means by the “shepherd’s crosses” in the lectures, but his thoughts on the crosses that a shepherd bears has been on my mind for several months now. What did he mean by that? Does a shepherd have crosses that others do not have to bear? Are the crosses of a s

Book Recommendation -- Blaine Allen - When People Throw Stones

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Blaine Allen has managed to do it again. Allen is one of those authors that I “accidentally” found a few years ago when I was trolling our local Lifeway Christian book store. He has previously written a book entitled “Before You Quit: When Ministry Is Not What You Thought.” That book was a good one and it comes from the heart of one who obviously knows what it is like in the trenches. His second book “When People Throw Stones” is also a very worthy follow-up to his first book. Again, you don’t have to read two pages into the book before you realize that man has worked through some acreage to be able to write as he does. Pastoral ministry is challenging at best but it can be even more of a cross when the words of critics pour out toward the man who is attempting to guide a church. Recently I was on the other end of a pastor(s) conversation who shared with me the dilemmas they are facing in having to endure some very sharp, unwarranted, and malicious criticism from the church