Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What should be included in a sermon and what should be excluded?

I may be the world's worst to address this topic, because I never want to leave anything out!!! In actuality though, knowing the main point of the text let's us know what to keep and what to save for something else. For instance, Lloyd-Jones did a whole series once from "good things" that he left out of other sermons and that fit well together. So the questions I ask myself each week: "Is this information part of the main point?" "Will this information help clarify, explain, support, or illustrate the main point?" "Why should this material be included/excluded?" "Do I have a selfish motive for wanting to include this information (i.e. an axe I want to grind)?" "Will this info help someone in our congregation who is walking through something right now (i.e. because I know those I shepherd, I know that this one point though brief may still be beneficial for them)?" In John 16:12, Jesus said, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." Knowing when to say what always requires dependence upon the Spirit. The beauty of pastoring though is you can take those extra things and send them in an email to your people as a part of shepherding them. You could use them on a Wednesday night to say "There were some great truths in our text last Sunday, but we could not cover all of them, but I wanted to share them on a Wed night with you so that we just didn't move past and ignore them." There are a lot of venues for you to still communicate what you see in the text without loading all of it into one sermon. You know your people better than anyone else. You know what they've been accustomed to hearing and handling from a text. No one will ever be upset with simple, clear, and faithful sermons. If it is the main point, supports the main point, or illustrates the main point then include it. If it's not the main point, but still a good point, then find another way to put it in front of your people.

Friday, April 24, 2015

So You're Not John Piper, So What?

Here is a note of encouragement I sent to the men of our faith family to encourage them in shepherding their families: Men, So you're not John Piper, so what? Be the shepherd in your home that God has made you. You may not have had 60 years to walk in Christ, but His grace is sufficient for whatever # day this is for you. I often beat myself up because I feel I need to do more and be more as the shepherd in our home. Today, however, as I sang praise songs with our kids and prayed with them on the way to school, and as I contemplated leading our family in reading the Word around our table last night - I realized my dad never did any of these things. While I'm not all I want to be yet, I'm also not the worst I could be and all of this is because of His grace. So I want to encourage you today. Don't be paralyzed just because you may not be able to provide a definition for the hypostatic union off the top of your head. If you know the Gospel, you already know the starting place for discipleship in your home. Shepherd those in your care with all that God teaches you each day from His Word. In Christ, we can do it, especially, if we encourage one another as brothers. So here's my encouragement for you. Be who God has made you to be up to this point and who He is making you to be as each moment in Christ passes. If you fail at something today, do not let it be in at least trying something as the shepherd in your home!

Monday, March 23, 2015

After Laodicea

Laodicea "did not realize" their true spiritual condition. Because He loved them, Jesus spoke plainly and said "You are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." After revealing who they really were, Jesus called them to "be zealous and repent." Both of these are written in a present tense, so Jesus was calling Laodicea to keep being zealous and to keep repenting. What did Laodicea do with what Jesus shared with them? Only Heaven will tell the full story, but we do know there is not much of a Christian influence there today. To be honest, there was not much of a Christian influence in their day either was there? What about us? What do we do after God reveals truth about Himself and ourselves to us? Do we ignore Him? Do we reject His version? Or do we respond in repentance begging the Lord for every grace to lay down our self-reliance/arrogance and to move forward in Christ? I hope we will not go on with "business as usual." As we look to Christ, may He empower us to "keep being zealous" and to "keep repenting," because we know the "Amen, the faithful and true witness" knows exactly what He is talking about and can be trusted. Lead on King Jesus. Lead on! Thank You for graciously not leaving us to ourselves but for pursuing us that we might pursue You.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

William Carey's view of a Christian Minister

A Christian minister is a person who is “not his own” (1 Cor. 6:19); he is the servant of God, and therefore ought to be wholly devoted to him. By entering on that sacred office he solemnly undertakes to be always engaged as much as possible in the Lord’s work, and not to choose his own pleasure or employment, or pursue the ministry as something that is to subserve his own interest, or as a kind of sideline. He engages to go where God pleases, and to do or endure what he sees fit to command or call him to in the exercise of his function. He virtually bids farewell to friends, pleasures, and comforts, and stands in readiness to endure the greatest sufferings in the work of the Lord, his Master. It is inconsistent for ministers to please themselves with thoughts of numerous congregations, cordial friends, a civilized country, legal protection, affluence, splendor, or even an income that is sufficient. The slights and hatred of men, and even pretended friends, gloomy prisons, and tortures, the society of barbarians of uncouth speech, miserable accommodations in wretched wildernesses, hunger and thirst, nakedness, weariness, and diligence, hard work, and but little worldly encouragement, should rather be the objects of their expectation. . . . I question whether all are justified in staying here, while so many are perishing without means of grace in other lands. . . . On the contrary the commission is a sufficient call to them to venture all, and, like the primitive Christians, go everywhere preaching the gospel. (Quoted in Danny Akin's 10 Who Changed the World pp. 11-12)

Friday, May 3, 2013


1. FEARLESS. You are afraid of nothing and no one except the Lord. Your courage steals my breath and challenges me to be a braver man. 2. STRONG. I’ve never met a stronger woman anywhere. You are a rock that refuses to let the waves of life diminish you. 3. DOER. You are not a talk-about it kind of girl; you are a get-it-done kind of woman. You see needs and you meet them. You see opportunities and you seize them. You help spur me out of my hesitancy and move me to accomplishment rather than just aspiration. 4. FRIEND. You are loyal and faithful to those you love. You meet people as they are and graciously walk beside them. You also never meet a stranger, they are just friends you’ve never met before. 5. ORGANIZER/LEADER. Whether in our home or an entire Christmas program for our church, your gifts of organization and administration are unparalleled. You always know the right place for every thing and can deftly break large tasks into manageable portions. You are a great leader and are a blessing to any team you guide. 6. MOTHER. How foolish I once was to wonder when we dated what kind of mother you would be. You have exceeded and continue to exceed every hope I could pray for my children in their mother. Though these 4 munchkins may not say it often now, the days are coming in which they will rise up and call you Blessed! 7. LOVER. A man could never be more blessed than I am by your love. In every way, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, you bless my life. I’m thankful for all the days your love has not wavered though I was clearly unlovable. 8. FULL OF LIFE. If not for you, I would not know that roses existed, much less take time to smell them. Of course, in our home, they would be tulips! You steadily help me see what are the most important things. You take time to live life. You are adventurous. You are never and will never be boring. 9. LAUGHTER. My favorite sound in the world is to hear you laugh. I love to hear your uninhibited joy when something makes you smile. I then love to hear you say “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe.” Nothing makes me smile more than your laugh. 10. GIFT. At our blessing party, I read Proverbs 19:14 which says, “Houses and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” Outside of salvation, you are and will always be the greatest gift the Lord has ever given me. Ten years later that statement is as true as ever. Because of you, many thanksgivings are offered to the Lord, especially from me. I am blessed beyond words. May the Lord give us many more healthy, happy, and holy days together. Happy Anniversary! MTML, Landon

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Swish of the Pages

From John Piper's first sermon at Bethlehem Baptist Church (taken from desiringgod.org): If I could choose a symbolic sound that Bethlehem Baptist Church would come to be known for, you know what it would be? The swish of the pages of 500 Bibles turning simultaneously to the morning and evening texts. The reason is this: the source of my authority in this pulpit is not . . . my wisdom; nor is it a private revelation granted to me beyond the revelation of Scripture. My words have authority only insofar as they are the repetition, unfolding and proper application of the words of Scripture. I have authority only when I stand under authority. And our corporate symbol of that truth is the sound of your Bibles opening to the text. My deep conviction about preaching is that a pastor must show the people that what he is saying was already said or implied in the Bible. If it cannot be shown it has no special authority. My heart aches for the pastor who increases his own burden by trying to come up with ideas to preach to his people. As for me, I have nothing of abiding worth to say to you. But God does. And of that word I hope and pray that I never tire of speaking. The life of the church depends on it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jesus and Preaching

Without any triteness, I thank Jesus for salvation and the transformation that has been wrought in my life because of grace. I thank Jesus also for not letting me stand in the pulpit alone, but providing His own Spirit so that His Word might be efficacious. Thanks for doing all that I am powerless to accomplish.