you read about Arizona’s pounding pavement pelicans this summer? In July the Arizona
Game and Fish Department was called upon to nurse over 30 dehydrated, emaciated,
banged-up pelicans. From Yuma to Phoenix, these birds were literally flying into
the pavement.

did it happen? Affected by a fish shortage along the west coast, they headed inland
toward Arizona. Tired and deluded by the heat, the pelicans mistook the shining
summer sidewalks and roads for creeks and lakes. They headed for water but it
wasn’t water, it was pavement! BAM! Some died. Almost all the survivors were seriously

are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the
circumcision group” (Titus 1:10). He sounds good and millions gather to hear
him preach the good news. The problem is his news is not good. It is, in fact,
as the apostle tells us, “another gospel.” It may sound appealing but
it will never be “A-Pauline” – that is, it will never fit the model
of Paul’s faithful preaching.

says, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name,
claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:4,5). His
name is Moon, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and millions follow him. Even a number
of pastors have been lured into participation in groups that turn out to be sponsored
by Moon-connected organizations.

it amazing that so many bad things first come dressed in the garb of good things?
It’s like a package containing a bomb. It troubles me that Sun Moon was first
ordained as a Presbyterian. Then, somehow, he went astray. Or, maybe he was always
astray and it just showed better with the passing of time.

I remember Paul’s warning to young Timothy, “Some have wandered away from
these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but
they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm”
(1 Timothy 1:6,7), and horror strikes me: “It could have been me. It could
be me!” It could have been you! Don’t let it be. Never allow the allure of
popularity and large crowds to be the final measure of your faithfulness in preaching.
Make sure your preaching is both appealing and “a Pauline.” Ask the
Holy Spirit to guard your words and your ways every day and every time you mount
your pulpit.


Leslie Holmes is pastor of Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church near Columbia, SC and
a contributing editor to Preaching. His new book, When Good Enough
Just Isn’t Good Enough: Pursuing Organizational Excellence (Ambassador-Emerald
Intl.) is due out later this year. He may be reached at rlesholmes@aol.com

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About The Author


The Rev. Dr. Leslie Holmes is professor of ministry and preaching at Erskine Theological Seminary in Columbia and Due West, SC. A Presbyterian minister, he was most recently senior pastor of Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Augusta, GA. Dr. Holmes has served churches in six states, including Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, and First Presbyterian Church in Pascagoula, MS. He has taught preaching, worship, and pastoral leadership on six continents and throughout North America. He is the author of several books.

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