How R.C. Sproul Blessed the Church by Preaching the Curse

It was the 2008 Together for the Gospel Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. This was the early days of this movement called The New Calvinism and this conference was meant to introduce all of these enthusiastic young Calvinists to the old guard, to those few men who had been faithfully preaching these truths for many, many years. It was only right that R.C. Sproul was there, it was only fitting that he was asked to preach. And did he ever! His …

Matt Chandler’s Radical Reminder that “God Is For God”

It takes two ingredients to deliver a message that really sticks. It takes the right message and it takes the right time. Matt Chandler’s 2012 sermon “God is For God” is an example of this kind of timely message. When I announced this Great Sermons Series, it did not take long for a whole lot of people to ask for it to be included. So here it is: Matt Chandler’s Radical Reminder that “God Is For God.” This video is brought to …

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Why John Piper’s “Shells” Illustration Transformed a Generation

If you were one of the 40,000 students at the Passion One Day conference in Memphis, Tennessee back in May 2000, just one little word may well have changed your life. You know the word, don’t you? Shells. Yes, shells. Seashells. It was the most memorable illustration and the most powerful sermon from one of the most influential Christian leaders of our time. And it is the subject of this second entry in the Great Sermons Series. (Click here for the first entry in …

What Made Paul Washer’s “Shocking Message” So Very Shocking?

Today I am kicking off a new series of videos I’m calling The Great Sermon Series. The premise of the series is finding and examining modern-day sermons that the Lord has chosen to use in unusually significant ways. What we will find, I think, is that the Lord uses sermons to save, stir, and edify his people–and that sometimes he does this through unexpected messages and messengers. The series begins in 2002 in Montgomery, Alabama, with Paul Washer’s “Shocking Message.” …

If Preaching Was Like Playing

I went to the Blue Jay game last week. The Rays were in town and I like to go and cheer/jeer for my buddy Ben who plays for the bad guys. “You stink! And thanks for the tickets!” Don’t mention it to him, but at the end of the game he represented the winning run…and struck out. That was kind of fun (for me, at least). Anyway, while I was watching the game I began to think about some of …

More Lessons Learned Along the Way

A few months ago I shared a few lessons I’ve learned along the way–a few things I’ve learned about preaching since I rather unexpectedly found myself regularly standing in the pulpit. I learned that preaching can be discouraging, that preachers are fragile, that success in preaching is difficult to measure, and that preaching is a joy. Upon further reflection, I want to add a couple of items to my list. Don’t Romanticize It Another lesson I’ve learned is that the …

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 …

The Freedom and the Burden

I think I knew more about preaching before I began to preach. At least I was more sure of the things I was sure of. Now that I preach on a regular basis I have a better assessment of how little I really know about the art or science or whatever it is of preaching God’s Word. There is a mystery to preaching that makes it so very different from anything else I have attempted, succeeded at or failed at—and …

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 …

The Divine in Preaching

I’ve always found the word unction to be a bit of a strange one. I see it as a part of the Christian lexicon since, in my experience, we are pretty much the only ones who use it. We typically use it in prayer, asking that God would give unction to a man who is about to preach. I’ve never known it in another context. In Power Through Prayer, E.M. Bounds talks about this word, giving its context and explaining …