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Archive for May, 2009

Preaching is not what it used to be.  In many cases it is not what it was meant to be.  Many local church bodies today suffer from a lack or true Biblical preaching.  The unfortunate reality is many ministers have replaced Biblical sermon’s with “how to” guides to better daily living.  In many churches all across the country you are  just as likely to hear a “message series ” on How to Manage Your Money, Home Improvement, How to Lead a Balanced Life, How to Have a Happy Marriage, or How to Build Authentic Community, as you are a sermon deeply rooted in the sacred scriptures.  All of these are great topics, the problem in most cases is just that though, they are topics not sermons.  Dr. David Platt Senior Pastor of The Church at BrookHills said recently in a sermon, “God does not tell us specifically in the Bible how to raise teenagers, or manage our finances”.  Yet this is precisely the types of sermons people hear week after week.  The preaching becomes the preacher’s ideas and opinions, and not God’s Word for humanity. It  is not God honoring, , blood drenched, Christ centered preaching.  It is a desperate attempt by a man to be relevant and impressive to a culture and a church starving for the true gospel of Jesus Christ(John 3:16, Romans 3:23-26, Romans 5:8).  Dr. Platt went on to say many use the Bible as a “diving” or “spring board to jump off of”, but never to return.  He commented that we ought to be “swimming” in the richness of God’s Holy Word.  It is to be the preacher’s starting point, body of work, and ending plea.  Preacher’s are not to use the Word in an effort to support a point by quoting an occasional passage of scripture.  Those who occupy the pulpit need to be teaching the Word of God to the people of God, and sinners who desperately need Christ.  A close friend of mine went to a very well attended and known church last Sunday only to walk away extremely disappointed.  The Pastor referred to one passage of scripture in his entire message.  And he wasn’t doing as men like John Piper and other great teachers do in camping out and unpacking a passage or text with great detail and exposition.  No, he simply referred to a passage along his way.  How does any preacher get away with such a crime as this?  To rob people of the one thing that God has blessed and declared as His Word (II Tim. 3:16), replacing with mere human wisdom and insights for daily living.  There should be an uproar amongst congregations everywhere where this type of preaching occurs.  Why is there not such an uproar?  Because the Word says such a day will come, and such a day has come.  Paul to writes Timothy his beloved son in the faith, 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry (II Tim. 4:3-5).  The reason people love topical, light sermons is because they focus on the individual and not Christ.  People really don’t want to hear sermons that cause them to confront their sin problems and live their lives in complete submission to Jesus Christ.  No, it is much easier to walk out of church after hearing a message on How to Better Budget Your Money In Tough Economic Times.  A true encounter with God is never easy, it causes us to examine our sin problems, realize our own insignificance before God, our deep and desperate need for Him alone to satisfy our souls, and His greatness and value which is supreme to all others and beyond our limited and finite comprehension (Isaiah 6:1-9).  Biblical Christ centered preaching will lead us to this type of encounter with God.  An encounter which uses scripture alone as the chief source of pointing and leading people to the person and cross of Jesus Christ.  So long have so many compromised in the ministry of preaching that congregations have forgotten/never known what Biblical preaching sounds like.  John Piper in his book The Supremacy of God In Preaching writes, “Most people wouldn’t know good preaching if they heard it.”   Preachers need to examine what has been modeled for us in the scriptures when it comes to preaching.  What did the apostles teach and preach?  Was it How to Make Time For God In the Midst of a Hectic Life?  No!  It was Jesus Christ and him crucified and resurrected (I Corinthians 1:23, 2:2, Galatians 5:24, 6:14, Romans 3:23-26, Romans 6:5, Acts 4:33, I Corinthians 15:13)!  George Muller in his auto biography wrote that his goal in preaching to his congregation was “to make them mighty in the scriptures”.  The main criteria for my wife and I in finding a church when we moved to Atlanta was , expository preaching.  That is preaching that exposes the truth that is God’s Word.  Sermons that are soley and deeply rooted in scripture and point in every way to Jesus Christ.  That my friends is the only form of preaching endorsed by scripture (I Corinthians 1:17, 15:2, II Tim 2:4).  Thankfully there are many in our culture you faithfully in love preach the Word of God each week to those they Shepard.  Nothing else is acceptable and endorsed by God, except for the preaching that comes directly from His Word.  We as the church should accept and hunger for nothing less.  For nothing else will give us all what we truly need, a deeper understating of our own sin and rebellion against God, in light of his greatness, justness and love through Jesus Christ.  This is what preaching was meant to be.

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Sorry for the lack of posts recently.  I am working in a piece which examines the state of preaching in our culture today.  Should have it up by tomorrow.  Taylor

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Gay’s and Lesbian’s everywhere were outraged over Miss. California’s answer to a simple question regarding marriage from the recent Miss USA Pageant.  Miss Cali stated she believed marriage should be defined and exist between a man and a woman.  This made many homosexuals very angry.  Many began to protest through writing blogs, giving interviews, and holding rally’s.  Well I have just one question for the gay and lesbian community…Have you forgot where you came from?  No, I don’t mean the history and plight of the homosexual community in their efforts for what they consider equal rights based solely on their sexual preference.   Rather I am talking about man and woman, sperm and egg, and hopefully marriage.  I realize not every child comes from a married couple, but every child does come from the result of a man’s sperm fertilizing a woman’s egg.  The formula for pro-creation is not adaptable, nor difficult to understand.  Producing off-spring takes a man and a woman every time.  NO homosexual couple has ever conceived a child without some type of surgical procedure or fertilization technique.  All gay people are a result of a man and a woman in some form or another.  Gay’s can disagree with heterosexual’s on the issue of sexual preference, but they better be careful when speaking out against things such as marriage.  Many, many of them came from married homes, and without the heterosexual’s taking part in sexual intimacy (both inside and outside of marriage, but there is not enough time to discuss this here and now) they (homosexual’s) would not exist.  Furthermore, if all people were gay then the human population of the world would cease to exist.  Paul The Apostle of Jesus Christ makes the argument in Romans 1:26-27 that homosexuality is “un natural”.  This can be seen even by the non-Christian (Roman’s 1:18-32).  And before anyone says, “yeah but Jesus never spoke against homosexuality.”  True, but he never spoke against bestiality or pedophilia either, and I’m pretty sure he is against those too.  Paul’s writings are the Words of Christ about Christ (John 1:1-14).  Jesus agrees with Paul’s view of sexuality and marriage, because it is His own.  So homosexual’s can call us heterosexual’s conservatives, breeder’s, straights, old fashion, out-dated, and any thing else they like, as long as they remember it’s because of people like us that they are able to even have an opinion.

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Coach Brian Shelton didn’t come right say those exact words, but he basically said that.  On the night he was formally inducted into the Alabama Tennis Hall of Fame he did what Brian Shelton so often does…he credited everyone else for hissuccesses on and off the court.  He began by boldly (still in his gentle way) proclaiming Jesus Christ as the the truest reason for any and all of his accomplishments.  He wasn’t like so many others you and I have heard before after receiving and award, “I want to thank God…”  Yeah well which God?  And do you know him personally?  No, Coach said specifically his personal saviour Jesus Christ.  He thanked his mother who was in attendance, his wife, family, and many friends who helped and supported him along his way in the world.  He thanked pretty much everyone but himself.  Which is the exact opposite thing most successful athletes do. “I would like to begin by thanking myself for all the talent, hard work, and heart I have.  But most of all I want to thank me for being me.”  The tennis world is especially full of self indulgent people whose only real opposition to themselves are their own ego’s.  Coach Shelton is a light shining for Christ in the dark place.  He went on to say tennis was simply a “vehicle”, or a way to make and develop realtionships and fulfill God’s purpose through his life.  That is right folks…tennis is just a game to Brian Shelton.  Maybe some good Auburn and Alabama fans will read this blog and remember that come September football is just a GAME.  Coach has used tennis to glorify God in his life, while impacting the lives of many on and off the court.  It was a special night honoring a special man.  If there was one word I could use to describe Coach’s 5 minute speech that night it would be  Humble.  I can’t recall if it was C.S. Lewis, John Owen, or someone else I read say, “Humility is not thinking less of ones self, it’s rather not thinking of ones self.”  That was and is Coach Brian Shelton as I know him, thinking and thanking  of others above himself.

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