To Preach Well We Must Know the Flock

Singing & Slaying

Pastors need to know the flock to preach effectively. Here is a comment from the Westminster Directory of Public Worship. Bold is mine. The pastor

Needs not always to prosecute every doctrine which lies in his text, so is he wisely to make choice of such uses as, by his residence and conversing with the flock, he finds most needful and seasonable; and among these, such as may draw their souls to Christ the fountain of light, holiness, and comfort.

A man who knows his sheep will be able to bring the Word of God to them each Lord’s Day in such a way as to rebuke their sins where they are falling, encourage perseverance where they are growing in holiness, comfort them in the midst of pain and difficulties, and most of all draw them to Christ.

I know it is not possible in every church for the pastor…

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Battle Plan for Lust and Pornography

Singing & Slaying

There are no easy answers in the battle with pornography. There is hardly a man around who is not been exposed to it. Many men have been addicted to it for extended periods of time. It has also become a much bigger problem among females over the last decade. The marriage bed is often compromised because of it. For pastors, it is one of the dominant themes of our ministries. It does not go away.  If it is not being addressed regularly that is not because it is not there, but rather because it is being ignored. 


As a pastor, one the questions I ask the men in my church is, “Are you looking at pornography/sexually provocative materially?”  If they say, “Yes.” I pester them until I get a good idea of how much and how often they look at it.  Then I develop with them a plan to fight…

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The word preached

I woke up at 2 am today and couldn’t go back to sleep, so naturally I decided to take advantage of the time. Part of doing that was writing in my journal, and as I frequently do, I went and read some old stuff I’ve written.  Today I happened upon notes from a sermon I heard on October 5th, 2014, out of Matthew 26:69-27:10. Here’s what I wrote as a summary of the message:

“Be sorrowful over sins. It is appropriate to weep bitterly over them. Proceed then to an understanding of the glory of Christ’s majesty in his resurrection. We are saved through him, and we triumph in his blood!”

This spoke to me, and I hope it does to you as well. Be sorrowful for your sins, yes. More importantly, have a proper knowledge of Christ’s status and your standing before him.

Moral of the story: Preaching is powerful, and good notes allow good preaching to continue to be powerful long after the last word has faded from your ears.

Loved by God

Please note: This is the third in a series of 4. If you haven’t read the first 2, read them here and here.

Love is one of the most overused and wrongly used words in the entire English language. You love your dog, french fries and your spouse. There’s clearly a difference, but it is critically important for us as Christians to make this difference explicit, especially in light of the great love with which God has loved us.  This post seeks to reclaim an element of the particularity of the word, and to show not only that God loves you, but also how and to what extent he loves you.

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Comforted by God

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming a couple of things about you. First, you are a human, and thus have feelings and emotions. Second, because of these feelings and emotions, you have been hurt at some point in your life, some of you deeply hurt by those who should have taken care of you. The third thing I assume about you is that you did not enjoy the process of being hurt. This part isn’t complicated. People hurt other people and the consequences are not fun. This is the result of sin in the world, and as long as there is still sin, there will be pain.

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Trinitarian fellowship

Q. What is the meaning and significance of our confession of the “homoousia” and “perichoresis” of Father Son and Spirit? How does this speak to the unity or simplicity of God?
A. By this we confess that each member of the Trinity, while distinct in subsistence (or self-awareness), is of the same substance (meaning that they are each fully, truly and eternally God) and that each mutually indwells the others so as to eternally coexist as one, unified God (Jn. 10:38, Rom. 8:9-11). By this we affirm that God is one God (Deut. 6:4), and that he is indeed three persons who mutually glorify one another and participate in all of his works (albeit with different emphases and focuses), thereby drawing believers to participate in the life of the Trinity. (Originally published in a Catechism I turned in to Dr. Clark at the Moody Bible Institute for Systematic Theology I) 

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The Incarnation of God

eucharist6

Christmas Eve. No big deal, just the day before Christmas, right? Even Christmas isn’t so important, just a randomly selected day with major pagan influences to celebrate the birth of Jesus, right?

Wrong.

While we realize that Christmas is not the actual date of Christ’s birth, and that there are major pagan underpinnings to our celebrations, we must carefully consider the implications of our celebrations. Christ is born. The Incarnation of God himself is the root of our celebration. How does this impact us? What significance does it carry? According to Dr. John Clark, one of my professors here at Moody,

“God, without ever ceasing to be God, actually became what he created in order to reconcile us to himself.” (The Incarnation of God)

Does that move you? The knowledge that God himself would stoop so low as to come live among us, experiencing everything we do and ultimately offering his own life as a payment for our sins is one of the very few things which can consistently move me to tears. He loved us so much that he came to live among us as a man, willingly giving his life for us!

Therefore, on this Christmas Eve, I challenge you to carefully consider who Christ is, and how your understanding of his life affects you. Do not be deceived into thinking that the actions of a man who walked the earth nearly two millennia ago are irrelevant. What will you do with this knowledge? I challenge you to let it make a difference, not only in your beliefs, but also in your actions. Be the person Christ has called you to be. I pray that each and every one of you would have a safe and blessed Christmas, that you will enjoy time with loved ones, and most importantly, that you will all know and experience the love, mercy, and grace of God in your lives.

Let us seek God

Please note: This post is especially for my brothers and sisters in Christ, and is intended to promote discussion and foster loving community in which we can build each other up in love to accomplish greater things for God’s kingdom.

On June 26th, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that each state must not only recognize a marriage between a couple of the same sex, they must also issue marriage licenses to them. I’m going to assume you haven’t been living under a rock and leave my explanation at that. What I want to discuss is the response that we should have as Americans, and far more importantly, as followers of Christ.

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The Art of Lament

Note: The title for this post comes directly from an excellent video which was produced by my good friend Pavel Adámek. Check out the video here.

Something that has been weighing heavily on my mind in the last week or so is the idea of Christian lament. How should Christians go about the grieving, mourning or lamenting process? I believe this is an issue the church has failed to address for a long time, and one that we must speak out on. Continue reading