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Tim Challies

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Ramblings

July 10, 2005

I’m so tired today I can barely think. And I’m not quite sure why. Thankfully it’s a Sunday afternoon - a time perfectly constructed for naps. So as soon as I hit the Post button I’m going to turn on the ball game, settle on the couch with a Coke (actually, a Diet Coke with Lime) and have a snooze.

I may be tired because yesterday I helped clean someone else’s house. And it was the messiest house I’ve ever seen. Think of the worst mess you’ve ever seen inside a house, mutiply it a few times, and that’s what we were dealing with. We’re talking about a house in which we felt the need (not merely the desire) to wear masks just to go inside the place. Anyways, I spent most of the day cleaning and lifting heavy things and it took a lot out of me.

And while I’m rambling on, I thought I’d tell you that my sister now has a blog. That’s right. My younger sister Susanna has begun blogging at Letter’ Rip. She is a very capable writer (much better than I am, I should think) and I hope she keeps on blogging. She began months ago, posted a couple of times and then forgot about it. But she has picked it up again and ensures me she intends to stick with it this time. She’s got a good article about my Aunt Nancy, whom I wrote about a couple of months ago.

A friend of mine from across the pond has also begun blogging. Andrew spent a couple of years living in Canada before deciding to head back to his native land far across the ocean.

And before I close and head for the sofa, Phil Johnson has promised more BlogSpotting posts as the week goes on. Merely by finding some witty way of talking about him or his site or one of his posts, you can get a link from his site that is sure to pay off with some visitors. So find a way of posting a meaingless and gratuitous link to his site, and I’m sure he’ll give you a shout-out. Prizes go to the person who does the most shameless job of begging a BlogSpotting link.

That’s all you’re getting out of me. I’m so tired I’m just about drooling on the keyboard. It’s time for me to go catch some z’s. Enjoy the rest of your Lord’s Day!

June 29, 2005

Adrian Warnock, who is one of the reviewers for the Diet of Bookworms book review program wants to begin reviewing commentaries. I told him that I in my opinion there would not be enough interest among readers of blogs. After all, the book review program only makes sense to publishers if the people reading the reviews are interested in the book. I thought a 352 page linguistic, literary, and theological commentary on the first four chapters of Genesis would not have popular appeal. He disagreed, so we decided to take it to a poll. You can vote at Adrian’s site.

A couple of months ago Albert Mohler mentioned that he would provide some commentary on D.A. Carson’s book Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church. He has finally posted the first part of his review which you can read here. I am not sure how many parts there will be to this article series. Part two will be posted tomorrow.

My friend Dan has just completed his 13-part mega-series on The Christian & the Business World. Dan, please create an index, at least on the first and last articles! While I have given the series a quick read, now that it’s complete I will go back and read it carefully. You might just benefit from doing the same.

Jollyblogger is selling I Think Therefore I Blog t-shirts. You know you want one! I can file this away in the “I wish I’d thought of that first” files…

And finally, Phil Johnson has a wonderful obituary for Dr. Jack MacArthur who died two weeks ago at the age of 91. He sums up MacArthur’s life with beautiful words from Scripture. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord … that they may rest from their labours” (Revelation 14:13).

June 05, 2005

As some may have noticed, this was a busy week in the forums, and particularly in threads relating to Rick Warren (of which there are too many!). Richard Abanes has made some helpful posts where he tries to clarify certain matters. There have been many back-and-forth exchanges with him and various readers. Richard is publishing a book, set to release next month, and has agreed to an interview with me before then. So sometime later this month I will ask him all the tough questions that those who disagree with Purpose Driven teachings would like to ask of one who defends them. I will also be reading and reviewing his book as soon as it becomes available.

Coral Ridge Ministries is giving away a free book if you’re interested. It is entitled Save A Marriage, Save Our Nation and is written, of course, by D. James Kennedy. The description is as follows: “D. James Kennedy looks at the personal and public importance of marriage in this eye-opening examination into why marriage matters for all of us. Happy homes it turns out, make for a healthy culture. Dr. Kennedy also speaks candidly about what it takes to make your own marriage work, offering insight and biblical teaching to help you be everything you (and your spouse) want to be as a husband or wife.”

And finally…

Earlier this week I read a quote about preaching that caught my attention. I guess it interested me because I have been doing lots of reading about preaching this year, having read books like Famine in the Land, 9 Marks of a Healthy Church and Rediscovering Expository Preaching. Each of these books teaches that expository preaching is most faithful to the biblical model.

One defining characteristic of expository preaching is that it does not dwell on non-biblical examples. It does not focus on stories, jokes and anecdotes. Instead, it seeks to stay focused on the text in question.

Here is the quote. Realize that who said it is not the point, but rather, it is the words that matter. “I do believe in confessional preaching. I believe that you should confess both your strengths and your weaknesses. You don’t dwell on yourself, but in many ways the minister is the message. The word must become flesh. The best kind of preaching is incarnational preaching. The most effective message is when I am able to get up and say, ‘This is what God is doing in [the pastor’s] life this week. This is what I am learning. This is what I need to believe, what I need not to believe, what I need to do, what to not do.’”

I’m wondering if this type of preaching can be consistent with expository preaching. Does the pastor need to share what he is learning and what he needs to believe, or should he instead try to stick closely with the text? Or as this person says, is the minister the message, or should the minister try to do the exact opposite and fade into the background so that the message is the message and the minister is but a mouthpiece?

Help me out here as I try to understand different types of preaching…

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