What I’ve Learned Along the Way

This is an article about preaching that is meant to be read by non-preachers. I am an unlikely preacher, a guy who was paralyzingly shy through high school and college and into later life who rather suddenly found himself speaking at conferences and preaching at churches. As someone who is rather new to the pulpit, I thought it might be helpful to tell you what some of the surprises have been as I’ve somehow transitioned to a person who preaches on …

Prayer for the Ministry of the Word

There are a few hymns–just a few–that have been written to be sung as a petition to God immediately before the minister opens God’s Word. A favorite of mine is John Newton’s “Prayer for the Ministry of the Word.” It can be sung to any number of tunes including “Amazing Grace.” The best lines come right at the end. After asking that God would bless both the preacher and the hearers, the song concludes that if God is to do …

Become a Patron

A Word to Those Who Preach the Word

It has been a couple of months since I’ve had the privilege of preaching, and I am looking forward to stepping into the pulpit again a couple of weeks from now. It is always a joy and always a weighty responsibility. In reading Kent Hughes’ commentary on Isaiah I was challenged by his “Word to Those Who Preach the Word”–his preface to the Preach the Word commentary series for which he serves as general editor. It’s a powerful meditation on …

On Doing Ordinary Things

It has come as kind of a shock to me, now that I am a pastor and preaching on a regular basis, that the vast majority of the sermons I preach will be rather ordinary. I will study hard and pray hard and work hard, I’ll get started early in the week and give it a couple of days to germinate and give it another look-through early on Sunday morning, and at the end of it all I will have …

Consequence Free

I had an unusual and unexpected experience on Sunday–one that struck me as rather significant. I have been doing quite a bit of preaching at Grace Fellowship Church and elsewhere and knew that Sunday marked the last time I would have to prepare a fresh sermon until the end of the calendar year. Somehow this made me feel like I would be crossing a finish line when the service came to a close. It was a milestone I was looking …

A Preacher’s Prayer

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I have the privilege of preaching at Grace Fellowship Church this morning. I awoke feeling tired and worn, believing that fatigue is God’s means of rebuking me, of calling me to depend on him instead of myself. So I turned to the Valley of Vision, looking for a prayer that I could make my own. Here is how that book ministered to me today. My Master God, I am desired to preach …

A Ministry of Unity

My morning reading today took me to the fourth chapter of Ephesians. This is a chapter that deals primarily with the topic of unity within the body of Christ. Through the first three chapters of the book Paul has been laying the theological framework for the life of good works he describes in the final three chapters. The first topic he discusses in this regard is unity. He encourages believers to live together in humility and patience, bearing with one …

Banner of Truth Conference (IV)

Last night I grabbed a few of the newest Banner books from the rather well-stocked bookstore here at the conference. This morning Rick Phillips preached his second message on the book of Hebrews, this was entitled “Outside the Camp.” It was based on Hebrews 13:9-14: “Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have …

The Extraordinary Ordinary

Theologians sometimes speak of the ordinary means of grace, a term that refers to the preaching of the Word, the sacraments (or ordinances, if you prefer, as most Baptists do) and prayer. These three means are to be the foundation of the church’s activity. They are simple measures and ones that can often be overlooked. We tend to encounter these means on a regular basis and for that reason these ordinary means of grace can really begin to feel, well, …

Twin Lakes (II)

Ligon Duncan kicked things off with an explanation of this fellowship (they do not refer to it as a conference), the reason it exists and what they mean by continually referring to “the ordinary means of grace.” The Twin Lakes Fellowship is a ministerial fraternal committed to connecting gospel ministers and elders with one another. Duncan quoted Jonathan Edwards who said that when God prepares His church for a significant blessing, He brings together a brotherhood of ministers. These people …