Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Four Qualities of Good Preacing!

Kevin DeYoung shares four qualities essential to good preaching:

 1. VeracityThis is the more crucial quality. Without this your preaching is not faithful. It may attract a crowd. It may win you applause. But it will not be good. Christian preaching must first of all be true–true to the text, true to the whole counsel of God, true in whatever else you say or cite. A seminary student or lay elder or new pastor may not be the most comfortable or the most gifted behind the pulpit, but so long as he says what is true and biblical, God can use that preaching.

2. ClarityTruth is first, but if you say what is true but don’t say it so people can understand you, it isn’t worth much. Clarity means we pay attention to the structure, the flow, the pace, and the length of our sermons. Clarity doesn’t mean the congregation must remember your three points, but they should know what the text was about and what you were trying to say. If your pastor is true and clear, rejoice! You have more than many congregations.

3. Authority This quality is easily abused, but without it you are left with a fine sounding lecture. Remember, what surprised the crowds most about Jesus’ teaching was that he spoke with authority (Matt. 7:28-29). Good preaching sounds forth with certainty, not because the preacher is infallible, but because God speaks through him, making claims on people’s lives, declaring the truth with boldness, taking courageous stands where others cower in fear.

 4. AuthenticityThis is the hardest quality to describe and it takes the longest to acquire.....Does your unique personality come through in preaching? Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you have a connection with the congregation? Does your preaching sound like someone talking about the gospel or calling people to believe the gospel? Are you an advocate for Christ or a witness to Christ? Is there, to use John Murray’s phrase, personal, passionate, pleading in your preaching? This is what I mean by authenticity.

Veracity is a non-negotiable. After that, work hard at clarity. Then pray for Spirit-anointed authority. And finally, stick with preaching for at least five years and you’ll start to grow in authenticity."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Standard Bearers Should Encounter Tough Grace!

"Christianity Today" posted a great article regarding sexual standards for Pastors and other roles that are divinely designed to be standard bearers for God's people.  

Personally, I am more than fatigued with the "compromised compassiontes" who are willing to extend unprincipled mercy and all to eager to pervert biblical grace when leaders are caught or exposed for committing sexual sin.

 You will note that I took the liberty to underline certain points. Refreshing  indeeeed! 


"...among Christians, consistent enforcement constantly butts heads with grace. How do we apply grace to pastors, teachers, and others whose calling involves modeling the Christian life for those younger and still very much in formation?

 Often when institutions exercise discipline, someone cries, "I thought Christianity was all about grace!"

 Grace does not always, everywhere, and immediately mean wiping the slate clean. Communities need to take into account the impact that leaders' misbehavior has on others. To express the comprehensiveness of God's grace, institutional forgiveness of an offender must also focus pastoral support on the wounded and betrayed.

We apply grace differently to students and others whose lives are, by definition,
 still in development. We rightly expect Christian faculty and clergy to model the Christian life."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Do You Despise Authority?

This is a very timely article posted by Adrian Warnock today. 
Surely our journey together has provided ample opportunity
 to see the reality of  how easy it is for a minister to be guilty
of this most besetting sin within our own stream. 

With that in mind, along with the caution of this article, may we
adhere to the Apostle Paul's admonition to remain mutually
submitted to one another my brothers!


"It is very easy to despise authority without even realizing that you are doing so. Especially living in our modern world which emphasizes independence and being a “self-made man”.

In the quote below which follows a crucial verse that stresses the importance of leadership, Spurgeon says it well. A self-made man is a failure by definition. Maybe you are a pastor yourself, and your immediate response to this is to say “Amen, my people really should listen to me more!”

But I ask you, who are you following? One of the greatest perils of evangelical church structures is that we have removed the concept of a single global pope, and replaced it with a myriad of mini-popes.

Each of us can have a tendency to think that we have all the answers and we do not need to listen to anyone else. Are you at the top of a pyramid? Is there no one who you are submitted to? Do you see no need to learn from another?

Then, with the respect that is due your office, I urge you to beware. For I fear that you are in a perilous position. Could it be that one of the reasons for the terrible statistics surrounding pastors resigning their ministry is simply that they were never meant to walk alone?

Like many today, I react strongly against some of the formal, institutional structures that denominations bring. But, the solution to the ills of denoninationalism is not independence. God has designed us for inter-dependence and to be first a follower before we expect others to follow us."

           Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you;
           and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
                                               Hebrews 13:7

"Some, under the pretence of being taught of the Spirit of God, refuse to be instructed by books or by living men. This is no honoring of the Spirit of God. It is disrespect to Him, for if He gives to some of His servants more light than to others—and it is clear He does—then they are bound to give that light to others, and to use it for the good of the church. But if the other part of the church refuse to receive that light, to what end did the Spirit of God give it? This would imply that there is a mistake somewhere in the economy of God’s gifts and graces, which is managed by the Holy Spirit."

—Charles Spurgeon, Words of Counsel for Christian Workers (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim Publications, 1985), pp. 112–113. cited in John Piper, A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1997), 182.