PreacherTalk

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WHO’S FIRST? AN EASTER REFLECTION

The media recognized Jeanne Calment in 1997 as the oldest living human whose age could be verified. She died on August 4, 1997, at the age of 122 years and 164 days. On her 120th birthday, she was asked to describe her vision for the future. “Very brief,” she replied.
 
Life is brief from earth’s perspective but not from Christ’s. Paul wrote that Christ was the “firstborn out of the dead ones” (Col. 1:18). The resurrection of Christ changes everything about our future. Easter teaches us that there is hope for the future beyond the grave, and our hope is grounded in Jesus Christ.

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READ WIDELY TO PREACH WELL

Why is so much preaching today shallow? Many sermons give a superficial examination of the biblical text in the quest for a sound bite theology with its popular appeal. Why? I just finished reading Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers by T. David Gordon. Gordon challenges us with his first thesis.
 
Johnny can’t preach because Johnny can’t read! 

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AN ORPHAN GOSPEL

The gospel preached today is often a man-centered gospel.
 
“Are you lonely? Do you feel afraid? Do you feel ashamed? Are you hurting and broken? Jesus came to meet your needs. God loves you as you are and has a great plan for your life. Jesus died on the cross to give you abundant life. Come to Jesus today and live.”
 
Much missional preaching today identifies needs and proclaims Christ as a need fulfiller. It is a man-centered gospel, but the apostolic gospel was God-centered.

What are the characteristics of missional preaching in Acts?


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HOMILETICS AND HERMENEUTICS: A REVIEW

One of the most recent books – if not the most recent – to be published for preachers is Homiletics and Hermeneutics: Four Views on Preaching Today. Edited by Scott Gibson and Matthew Kim, the book became available in December 2018. What are the theological and hermeneutical underpinnings of our preaching? Do we preach Christ-centered or gospel-centered sermons? How does the flood narrative in Genesis 6 relate to the New Testament? This book will spark discussions about those questions and many others as preachers think through the different evangelical preaching traditions.
 
The book follows a simple format. Each practitioner presents his position followed by responses from the other three writers. Each writer interacts with four topics in advocating his position: 1) A biblical rationale, 2) A theological rationale, 3) A homiletical rationale and 4) An applicational rationale. There is a refreshing irenic spirit throughout the book as each writer debates the merits of each position with a heart of respect for each other. 

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CHRISTMAS THROUGH HEAVEN’S EYES

Earthly events are the result of heavenly actions. There are cause and effect relationships between heaven and earth. We can see Christmas through heaven’s eyes portrayed for us in Revelation 12:1-5. In this story, there is a woman, a dragon and a baby. The woman is Israel. The baby is Messiah – Jesus – who will rule the nations with a rod of iron. The great, red dragon represents Satan (cf. 12:9). Satan wages war against Israel over the birth of the Messiah.

Satan is the enemy of God and God’s people. He is determined to rule this world and will do whatever he can to maintain his rule. Milton wrote of Lucifer in Paradise Lost, “To reign is worth ambition, though in hell. Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.” Power is what drives Satan. That same ambition is what drives all those who serve Satan in this world. We see Satan’s global strategy pictured in these verses. He works through humans who will swear allegiance to him. In return, Satan offers such pawns the illusions of earthly success, wealth and power.


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