Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (Proverbs 18:1-2) This proverbial couplet expresses a simple wisdom principle: surround yourself with wise people and listen to them. Most of us hear that and say, “Good nugget. Ok, I’m gonna try to listen to people today.” But Proverbs is designed to do more than give us fortune cookie sayings that we strive hard to apply. Proverbs is still a part of the story. It is an extended, poetic, reflection on what it means to live within … Continue reading The Gospel Discipline of Listening
I’m fairly new to this whole preaching thing. Don’t get me wrong, I have preached and taught for several years–I served with Campus Crusade and as a pastoral intern at our last church. But I have not preached on a regular basis week-in and week-out for several years in a row. Even now in my new role at Grace Chapel, I’m not our primary Sunday preacher. This week, I will have preached four times. That’s nothing. I’ve heard it takes about preaching about 100 times to really feel like you are in a groove. Yikes. Since I’m preaching this Sunday, I … Continue reading 3 Points and a Cloud of Dust
When you listen to a sermon at church, what do you hear? In his book Transforming Conversion, Gordon T. Smith has some very important words for all Christians to keep at the forefront of their minds: Preaching is not about urging hearers to work harder, try harder, and do more so that they are more faithful. They cannot do so; the depth of the human predicament makes this impossible and thus futile and (rightly) results in much cynicism about the Christian life—better put, it is cynicism about a false conception of the Christian life. Rather, preaching is about drawing the people … Continue reading What is Preaching?