Monthly Archives: October 2008

More from Warren Wiersbe on Preaching

Here are a few more quotes from Warren Wiersbe’s article entitled, “The patented preacher,” in The art & craft of biblical preaching, edited by Haddon Robinson and Craig Brian Larson. 

“Knowing I am God’s man in God’s place of ministry has encouraged me to study harder and do my best work. When the harvests were lean, the assurance that God put me there helped to keep me going.  When the battles raged and the storm blew, my secure refuge was ‘God put me here, and I will stay here until he tells me to go.’ How often I’ve remembered V. Raymond Edman’s counsel: ‘It is always too soon to quit!'”

“If God has called you, then he has given you what you need to do the job. You may not have all that others have, or all you wish you had, but you have what God wants you to have. Accept it, be faithful to use it, and in due time God will give you more.”

“Preaching is not what we do; it’s what we are. When God wants to make a preacher, he has to make the person, because the work we do cannot be isolated from the life we live. God prepares the person for the work and the work for the person, and, if we permit him, he brings them together in his providence.”

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Posted by on October 31, 2008 in Books, Preaching, Quotes


Warren Wiersbe on Preaching

Warren Wiersbe wrote an article entitled, “The patented preacher,” in The art & craft of biblical preaching, edited by Haddon Robinson and Craig Brian Larson. Here are some of his statements that I found to be very encouraging.

“If God has called you to preach, then who you are, what you are, and where you are also must be part of God’s plan. You do not preach in spite of this, but because of this.”

“God prepares the person who prepares the message. Martin Luther said that prayer, meditation, and temptation made a preacher. Prayer and meditation give you a sermon, but only temptation–the daily experience of life–can transform that sermon into a message. It’s the difference between the recipe and the meal.”

“You must know yourself, accept yourself, be yourself, and develop yourself–your best self–if preaching is to be most effective.”

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Posted by on October 30, 2008 in Books, Preaching, Quotes


Looking beyond your favorite verse

Romans 8:28-30 is a tremendous promise about God’s power to accomplish his purpose. The problem is that far too often we stop at verse 28. We read that God works everything together for good. As wonderful and encouraging as that promise is, we miss out on how God will accomplish his purpose if we don’t read verses 29 & 30. If we stop at verse 28, we come away with the impression that God is involved in a divine recovery operation where he cleans up our mistakes and somehow gets his plan done. However, verse 29-30 explain that God is in control from start to finish. He determines his plan from the beginning. He calls us to join him in his plan. He provides salvation so that we might be justified. He then causes us to grow which ultimately leads to us being glorified.

Praise God that we serve a sovereign God who is in control of the details of life. Praise God that he weaves everything together to accomplish his plan and purpose. Thank you, Lord!

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Posted by on October 28, 2008 in Personal growth, Theology


Snoqualmie Falls, Washington

Snoqaulmie Falls in October

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Posted by on October 27, 2008 in Photos, Washington State


Fall in the Pacific Northwest


Photos from the eastside of Seattle – Sammamish, Fall City, and Snoqualmie

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Posted by on October 27, 2008 in Photos, Washington State


Calling people to change

I have been an instructor for Walk Thru the Bible Ministries since 1987. At the “graduation ceremony” of the first training session, Bruce Wilkinson, the founder of the organization challenged all the instructors to make three commitments whenever we taught a WTB seminar.

  1. We were to approach every seminar with the mindset that 2 out of every 3 people at the seminar were out of fellowship with God, but wanted to come back. We should never teach a seminar without inviting people to recommit themselves to follow God.
  2. We were to expect that non-Christians would be present at every seminar. We should never teach a seminar without presenting the gospel and inviting people to accept God’s free gift of salvation.
  3. We were never to teach a seminar with unconfessed sin in our lives.

I have since discovered that those commitments are foundational to every area of my life and ministry, not just to Walk Thru the Bible.

Every time I preach, I ask myself the questions, “What commitment am I asking people to make? How do I want them to change?” I try to approach each class, lesson, or sermon with the mindset that people want to follow God, but either don’t know how, don’t believe they can, or have failed in trying. They need to be instructed, encouraged, and invited to recommit themselves to obedience. They need to know how to change and be invited to change.

While I don’t give an evangelistic invitation with every sermon or lesson, I do look for regular opportunities to preach the gospel and invite people to trust Christ as Savior. I do not assume that everyone who attends the church is a believer. When it is appropriate, I call people to repent, believe, and put their faith in Christ.

I also recognize that the success of my ministry is directly related to the purity of my life. Granted, God can use any and every person. He has used unfaithful people to accomplish his plan. But why make it harder for him? I figure he can do more with a clean vessel than a dirty one. On top of that, I feel better when I know my sins are confessed and I am more confident in God’s power than when I am trying to cover up my sins and hoping that no one sees through my hypocrisy.

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Posted by on October 26, 2008 in Ministry, Preaching


The weight of the world

There are days . . .

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Posted by on October 25, 2008 in Fun, Photos


Is preaching effective?

When a preacher sees his congregation go into a “thousand-yard-stare” when he steps into the pulpit, he questions if preaching really makes a difference. When heads begin to nod, a pastor wonders how to keep the people engaged in his message. When people seem to struggle with the same issues year after year, a minister doubts whether or not people can really change.

I know. I’ve wrestled with those doubts. I’ve pondered those questions. I’m tempted to give up and just go through the motions. That’s why I found Crawford Loritts’ words so encouraging.

In an article entitled, “Preaching that raises our sights,” in The art and craft of biblical preaching, edited by Haddon Robinson and Craig Brian Larson, Loritts says that every preacher needs to keep in mind three great truths:

  1. Don’t ever dare to stand in front of a group of people with a Bible in your hand and not expect change. We must have a holy confidence–confidence in God and his Word, confidence that God is going to change lives whenever we speak from his book.
  2. Remember that the goal of all ministry is transformation. It’s not about being liked. It’s not about being accepted. God’s ultimate goal is to change lives.
  3. At the end of the day, the effectiveness of our preaching will burst forth from the holiness of our personal lives.

A good locker room pre-game pep talk to give myself before I step into the pulpit on Sunday.

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Posted by on October 25, 2008 in Books, Preaching, Quotes


Let’s have an argument

I have attended too many meetings where people simply did the “smile-and-nod” routine, but never indicated if they agreed, disagreed, or thought that was the dumbest thing they ever heard. There was no indication of response–good or bad. The best and the worst thing you could say was that it was a “nice” meeting.

Driving home from such a gathering, I was reminded of a story told by Dr. Howard Hendricks about an elderly friend who attended a social event and found it less than stimulating. She said, “This is boring. Let’s have a discussion. If we don’t have anything to discuss, let’s have an argument.”

Sounds like a good idea to me. At least it would liven things up.

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Posted by on October 24, 2008 in Personal growth


Memorable weddings

Talk to any pastor, and you’ll hear tales of memorable wedding ceremonies–some funny, some tragic, but definitely stories worth retelling. I’ve heard some of the stories and told a few of my own.

The first wedding I ever performed was my mother’s. Try doing premarital counseling with your mother and future step-father.

I performed a wedding where the bride became progressively whiter and glassy eyed. It became evident she was going to pass out because she had locked her knees. I quickly ended my remarks and had the couple kneel for prayer so she could lean against the altar and catch her breath.

My wife and I attended a wedding on a hot summer night in Southern California. The doors and windows of the church were open to let in some air. In walked a cat who proceeded to go in and out of the groomsmen’s legs. When the couple was introduced as man and wife, she tripped going down the altar. The groom caught her, picked her up, and carried her out in his arms. The audience erupted in applause and laughter.

My secretary told of a cousin’s wedding in inner-city Chicago where the church was next to an outdoor basketball court where children were playing. During the ceremony, one of the children found an unlocked door and discovered a wedding was taking place. He poked his head in the door and shouted, “Man and wife, man and wife, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah!”

Now, there is a video making the rounds of a best man’s worst nightmare. It is hilarious, as long as you aren’t the pastor and the bride. Here’s the link where you can watch it.

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Posted by on October 24, 2008 in Fun, Videos, Weddings