Preacher: Be Clear and Concise!

What makes for a good sermon? Sound exegesis? An understanding of passage’s place in redemptive history? Quality application? These are necessary, of course. But you can have these things and still be a terrible preacher because your communication is incoherent and your organization sloppy. The art of communicating the sermon—homiletics—is just as vital as focusing on exegesis and theology. As I try to hone my preaching, I’m working on two simple homiletical elements: being clear and concise. Clarity First, ensure you are being clear. Have you ever heard a preacher begin a sermon by meandering for ten or even twenty minutes in an attempt to set up a tension (or try … Continue reading Preacher: Be Clear and Concise!

A Reading List for 2014

One of the great joys of being a pastor is that taking time to read books is part of the job. You cannot effectively teach, shepherd, rebuke, exhort, and develop yourself in mind and heart without reading good books. The great British preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.” So here’s a reading list for me this year. There … Continue reading A Reading List for 2014

Reading Ruth: Four Themes to Keep in Mind

Ruth is a literary masterpiece. Death. Suspense. Love. Brokenness. Redemption. Often we think it is mainly about a romantic encounter between a strong man-hunk and an unworthy pauper girl. That’s in there, of course, and it certainly adds to the drama. The author knew what he was doing–it draws us in! Ruth is, however, mainly about God and his activity and purpose. Here’s four themes to keep in mind as you read the book. God welcomes non-Israelites into his covenant. From the outset of the book, the author makes clear that Ruth is a Moabite (1:4). She is referred to as “the Moabite” … Continue reading Reading Ruth: Four Themes to Keep in Mind

Review: Preaching: A Biblical Theology

Jason Meyer. Preaching: A Biblical Theology. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013. $16.73 (Amazon). 368 pp. Some of the best books on preaching contribute to the larger conversation with one or two insights that no other book seems to make. That’s why most preachers have several books on preaching on their shelves. Those who are familiar with evangelical preaching know that there is a “crisis” in preaching today. Preaching often looks like a collection of random Bible verses, some self-help advice, and cute stories. Jason Meyer, lead pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, has written a new book … Continue reading Review: Preaching: A Biblical Theology

What Are the Psalms Designed to Do?

I answer that question in a portion of my sermon last Sunday on Psalm 47 titled, “God Is King of All the Earth.” Let me start by saying the psalms are not primarily meant to teach us theology. They do that, of course. The theology of the psalms is deep, it’s robust. Theology literally means “a word about God.” The psalms are dripping with words about God, and we certainly learn theology from the psalms—the whole Bible is theological. The picture you get of God in the psalms is full-orbed and multi-faceted. They give our finite brains explosive theological insight … Continue reading What Are the Psalms Designed to Do?

Review: Wesley on the Christian Life

Fred Sanders. Wesley on the Christian Life: The Heart Renewed in Love. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013. $14.79 (Amazon). 262 pp. When I was first introduced to Reformed theology, I quickly labeled John Wesley as a no-zone for developing my beliefs. This was due mostly to the waywardness of many Wesleyan and Methodist churches today. Associating Wesley with his followers was unnecessary and unfortunate. After reading Wesley on the Christian LIfe, the newest book by Fred Sanders in Crossway’s Theologians on the Christian Life series, I have since repented of my theological bigotry. If you stop reading this review now, know this: … Continue reading Review: Wesley on the Christian Life