If you’re thinking “Wow, this guy hasn’t written an actual blog post in a while” you’re right. The weekly Happy Monday posts will turn 5 this summer but I spend a lot more time now on social media (lots of Facebook, little bit of Twitter) than I do blogging. I’m pastoring a church and maintaining the church website, hopefully some readers are following that as well. There is an RSS feed in the left-hand sidebar, most of the posts are Sunday sermons.
The title of this post is not “Expository vs. Topical Preaching.” I’m not doing a straight compare and contrast of the two forms, but kind of hoping you know at least a little something about them. What I want to do is explain why I prefer one to the other without avoiding the other completely. Continue reading →
After the 9/11 attacks on New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spoke at a live taping of Saturday Night Live. The show has always been distinctly New York and he spoke very frankly with the cast, audience and show creator Lorne Michaels. He wanted the show the go on and encouraged them to do it. Michaels asked “Can we be funny?” And with a straight face Giuliani wryly replied “Why start now?” Continue reading →
The spiritual condition of Judas is an age-old debate and not the one I mean to engage in today. I want to add a new wrinkle to the discussion; did Judas preach the Gospel? When the Apostles were sent out with the power to heal the sick and cast out demons (Matthew 10, Luke 9) did Judas do those things as well?
Praying for a politician running for re-election. Celebrating with a brother whose son finally came to Christ. Receiving a praise report from a member who had surgery. Hearing how the Lord used a particular sermon I preached to change a life. Meeting a little girl who begged her parents to talk to the pastor. Receiving an update on a sick member. Ministering to a new resident of the city who is looking for a church. Thanking a faithful volunteer for his faithful but often unnoticed service.
These encounters were not part of my office schedule from last week. They were opportunities I had by shaking hands after church this past Sunday.
I have read a couple of articles at churchleaders.com and browsed seveal others and decided to add that site to the list of Useful Links in the right-hand sidebar. The site is for any person in a church leadership role. Under the Find Your Ministry tab you can choose from senior pastor, worship leader, youth leader, small group leader and outreach.
Jesus practiced what he preached, perhaps the greatest understatement ever made, and of course what he preached was the Gospel. “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” Mark 1:14-15
Jesus preached the Gospel.
Let’s deconstruct that passage. Jesus said “the time is fulfilled.” His first century Jewish audience would have been familiar with the many messianic prophecies. Jesus didn’t spend a great deal of time trying to convince people he was the Messiah; by contrast he told his disciples to keep to themselves even as they began to figure it out. Without announcing that Messiah (or Christ in the Greek) was present he began his first sermon by declaring in effect “now is the appointed time, today is the day of salvation.” Continue reading →
In Mark 1 (also Matthew 4) Jesus began his public ministry. Before healing the sick or calling disciples, Jesus preached his first sermon:
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15, ESV)
Jesus preached the gospel. Gospel is one of those words we borrowed from Greek when translating the scriptures. It means good news. You can easily recognize Christians that share the gospel by one simple test: is what they are sharing good news? At the first opportunity, Jesus preached the Gospel. He did not preach a four part message series on having a happy marriage or managing a successful business. The Bible has a lot to say about marriage, business, raising children and so forth. But those things are not of the most importance. Where Jesus spent the balance of his time and energy was on spreading the gospel. Continue reading →