Powerful speakers or faithful preachers?

February 19, 2013 § 2 Comments

There seems to be no end of seminars, tape series or books that are guaranteed to make me a better preacher.  I regularly receive emails with enticing subject titles like “Preach sermons that will move your people!” “Preach with power” and “Is your preaching changing lives?”

No preacher wants to believe that his sermons are without power, and no congregation desires a preacher who does not trust that God will use his preaching in powerful ways.  People have a high expectation of their pastors when it comes to preaching, and rightly so.  They want to “show him off” when friends or family visit, they want him to make the Bible “come alive” when they bring unchurched friends; and, in between, they want him to hit “home runs” every week.  In short, they want him to be a dynamic, powerful speaker who makes sitting for half an hour worth it. « Read the rest of this entry »

“…and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor…”

December 13, 2012 § 4 Comments

We all want advice—but we are often afraid of seeking it.  Studies show that, though more Americans than ever are seeking professional counseling of one kind or another, most seek help only as a last resort; ironically, most of the very same people do not want anyone else to know they are seeking counsel!  Whenever I ask why those who come to me for counseling haven’t come sooner, the answer ultimately comes down to “I didn’t want to ask for help.”  « Read the rest of this entry »

2012 Commencement Homily for Trinitas Christian School

June 11, 2012 § 1 Comment

On May 25, for the second year in a row, I was privileged to share the rostrum with Rev. Uri Brito, each of us delivering a “tag” commencement homily for the graduating class.  Our text this year was Hebrews 12; my portion covered the first 17 verses but I primarily focused on the first two.  My title was “Run!”

Graduates, tonight we rightly congratulate and honor you for your successful achievement.  Twelve-plus years of cultivating hard and diligent work have borne fruit—and because the hardworking farmer has the right to enjoy the fruit of his labor, I earnestly hope that tonight and in the coming days and weeks you will feast with satisfaction and gratitude upon this harvest.

But it’s not over.  Not by a long shot.  In fact, in some ways it is really just beginning.  By “it” I don’t mean college, per se—and you are going to probably think this sounds sentimental and clichéic—but what I mean to say is really just beginning for you is the race of life.

Now, I hate sentimentality more than anyone—but I hate it most in sermons and things like commencement homilies.  « Read the rest of this entry »

God-Dependent Spiritual Maturity

March 11, 2012 § 1 Comment

We often struggle with growth in grace because we transfer what we understand about physical and social maturity to what we think is true about spiritual maturity.  By physical and social maturity I mean, quite literally, growing up and becoming responsible, productive adults.  In these two areas the goal is, ultimately, to “stand on our own two feet,” so to speak, to depend less and less on others and do more ourselves. It is one of the primary goals of parents to raise children who are not dependent but independent and mature young adults who tackle more and more things that give them a sense of confidence, ability and responsibility. « Read the rest of this entry »

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