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(Zig Ziglar)

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    Vol. 7, No. 9 February 26, 2008    

Michael Duduit

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we learned many professors at New Orleans Baptist Seminary had lost their entire libraries to the rising waters. We shared this concern with readers of PreachingNow, resulting in hundreds of books being shipped to the seminary for distribution to faculty and students.

Now there’s a similar need. When a tornado tore through the campus of Union University in Jackson, TN, it ripped the ceiling off the building where the Christian Studies Department is housed on the top floor. As a result, many faculty members lost some, or all, of their own libraries.

Would you reach out to help these colleagues in ministry by contributing books? While the losses are probably greatest in the areas of biblical studies and theology, books in any related area will be welcomed. Faculty will use donated volumes to replenish their own collections, and any additional contributions will be given to ministerial students who suffered losses in the storm (80 percent of the dorms were damaged – half of those completely destroyed).

Send your book donations to: Book Project/Christian Studies, Union University, 1050 Union University Drive, Jackson, TN 38305. Thanks for whatever you can do to help!

Michael Duduit, Editor

March 1 is the deadline to save $55 on registration for the National Conference on Preaching, April 7-9 in Washington. Go to to check it out!


In this political season, it’s helpful to hear Gordon Macdonald describe a lesson he learned during his seminary days: “On weekends I pastored a tiny, rural church in northwestern Kansas. As I was preaching my first sermons, Lyndon Johnson was running against Barry Goldwater for the Presidency. I determined to break from my Republican roots and associate with the Democrats. I pasted a Johnson sticker on the back of my Volkswagen. I did this in a Kansas county that would eventually vote overwhelmingly for Goldwater! Was I brave or stupid?

“My father (full disclosure: He was a Goldwater man), always candid, saw my Johnson sticker and said, ‘Are you prepared to take a political position that will cause some people to stop listening to you when you preach the gospel?’

“Now there was a showstopper of a question, and not a bad one. It challenged me to rise to a new level of consciousness in determining when I should go to the wall for an issue and when it might be prudent to avoid the wall. In truth, I had not moved to Cheyenne County in Kansas to stump for Lyndon Johnson; I was there, presumably, to represent the interests of Jesus.

“In that case I removed the sticker. My political preferences would not be a deal-breaker when it came to engaging people in my congregation. And the moment birthed a new insight: In matters political, I needed to discern the difference between a preference and a conviction.

“On another occasion two years later, it was a conviction that caused me, as a young pastor, to take a stand for civil rights. After a racial disturbance in our southern Illinois town, I encouraged the leaders of churches, African-American and white, to meet and discuss the matter. I held one of the meetings in our home. That was daring in 1966. It resulted in a confrontation at the next deacons’ meeting and the forced resignation of one of our leaders.

“In both of these cases, I was free to assert my rights, but while I asserted that right in the second event because of conviction, I chose not to in the earlier account because it involved preference.

“As the years passed, I came to see the practicalities of a Christ-following faith almost always have political, social, and economic implications, but when and how to use my pulpit privileges or the influence of my pastoral position to bring attention to these issues was a serious challenge.” (Click here to read the full article.)


In the book Preach the Word (Crossway), contributor D.A. Carson offers an essay on the challenges of preaching in the 21st century. One of those challenges he cites is “Integration,” by which he means “the need for Christian preachers so to think through God’s Word that they can wrestle discerningly, penetratingly, critically, and integratively with the manifold movements and cultural (including moral and ethical) questions of the day. This does not mean the agenda of the age becomes the preacher’s agenda. It means, rather, that we must not pretend we can preach the Bible in a cultural vacuum.

“Most of us have met preachers who have spent years of their lives reading the Puritans (or the Reformers, or the Fathers) and little else, and whose entire imaginations are locked in a time warp several centuries old. They should not deter us from reading history, of course; history opens our eyes to other cultures, introduces us to brothers and sisters in other times and places, and weaves depth and perspective into our lives. Nevertheless, we must address the challenges of our time and place …

“At a time when Internet porn now outsells cigarettes, booze, and hard drugs combined; when digital worlds open up new horizons and yet shut down human intimacy; when globalization reminds us we are one world and yet sometimes exploits the weak; when AIDS threatens tens of millions of human beings; and when Islam, fueled by oil, strengthened by demographic trends, and disgusted by the immorality of the West, is once again resurgent, the preacher who never demonstrates how the gospel of Jesus Christ addresses these things has, at best, retreated to an individualistic form of piety not sanctioned by the biblical prophetic tradition.

“Christian preachers are not authorized to duck important issues. At the same time, these issues must not determine his message. Yet failure to show the bearing of the gospel on such issues is merely to trumpet that there is no bearing. Our task, then, is to be expositors of the Word of God yet to exercise that ministry in the time and place where God has providentially placed us.” (Click here to learn more about the book Preach the Word.)


Plan now to join us for the 19th annual National Conference on Preaching, which will be held April 7-9 in suburban Washington, DC. “Preaching and the Public Square: Where Do Pulpit and Culture Meet?” is the provocative theme of the three-day event. You’ll hear speakers and panelists explore how preaching can and should engage cultural issues in the 21st century. You’ll get great ideas from a selection of practical preaching workshops.

At NCP 2008, you’ll enjoy insights and inspiration from some of America’s finest preachers and teachers, including:


Chuck Colson

Rick Warren James MacDonald

Barry Black

William Willimon A.R. Bernard

Mark Batterson

James Emery White Robert Smith Jr.

J. Alfred Smith

Timothy Warren Greg Thornbury

and many more. To learn more or to register, visit the NCP website at or call (toll free) 1-800-527-5226. Register before March 1 to save $55 off the regular registration fee!


Rick Ezell shares this story: Everett Alvarez Jr. was the first American pilot shot down over North Vietnam on August 5, 1964. He spent eight and a half years as a prisoner of war, the first one and a half in solitary confinement. He was beaten and tortured.

His darkest hour came after seven years in prison. On Christmas Day 1971, his captors let him read a letter from his mother that said his wife had left him.

Alvarez emerged from captivity with a new spirit. He remarried soon after his release in February 1973. He earned a law degree in night school. He held two senior political posts in the Reagan administration. In 1988, he started Conwal Inc., the executive management consulting firm that employs more than 200 people and pulls in more than $15 million a year.

In an interview, he said, “The hardest part was being alone. I used to do a lot of talking. I talked to God, and I realized I wasn’t really alone.” He scratched a cross outside his hut. Christian faith does not deny the problems and challenges of life. It does not turn away from reality, but it understands that beyond the realities of this world, a greater reality exists.  (One Minute Uplift newsletter,


Omar Nelson Bradley served in the U.S. Army between 1915 and 1953. He achieved the rank of General and served as the Army Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He served in three major wars-World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Known as “The G.I.’s General,” he was beloved by those who served with him and for him. In an essay he wrote during his years as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, titled “On Wishful Thinking,” Bradley wrote:

“We must accept reality and react promptly to all the facts-not only to those we want to hear. And we must fight constantly for the whole truth. For peace can come only from truth, knowledge, and honest understanding. Half the truth will produce only half a peace-and half a peace is no longer enough.” (Tom Barnard, “Tuesday Morning” newsletter; to subscribe email to

From the March-April issue of Preaching …

In an article about “Preaching in a Multicultural World,” Daniel Wong begins: “Do you approach preaching as a missionary approaches interaction with people from another culture? Like a missionary, are you sensitive to the cultural context? Do you intentionally attempt to connect with people who are different than yourself in your preaching?

“Even if our congregation members look similar, there are varieties of culture residing in the church. People visit our churches with marked visible differences and foreign accents. We also see the reality of our multicultural world as we keep current with the news and when we travel across an international border. From the example of missionaries, we learn how to understand people among whom we minister, be culturally self-reflective, and to preach in the cultural context.”

Every issue of Preaching contains insightful articles on preaching, plus great model sermons and practical resources. If you’re not a current subscriber to Preaching magazine, click here (or call, toll free, 1-800-527-5226) to go begin your subscription!

Also in the March-April issue of Preaching: Insightful articles on preaching and culture – including Mike Milton’s article, “Biblical Preaching in a Pluralistic Culture,” plus our annual survey of the past year’s best books for preachers (including our Preaching Book of the Year and our Top Ten list), sermons by Chuck Swindoll and Stuart Briscoe, and much more. Order your subscription today!

The Proclaim Sermon Archive at the LifeWay pastors’ site has several hundred sermons available for reference. You can visit the site by clicking here.


“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

(Martin Luther King Jr.)


Understanding the cultural context of a biblical text is one of the key components in properly interpreting a text. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes (IVP) by Kenneth E. Bailey is a wonderful resource in studying the life of Jesus within the life setting in which He lived. This is a powerful tool to give fresh insights as you preach and teach the life of Jesus.


In Worshiping in the Small Membership Church (Abingdon), Robin Knowles Wallace discusses the unique challenges of leading worship in a smaller church, and offers practical counsel to those who serve in such settings. A helpful tool for leaders of smaller churches – you might consider giving to each person who helps with worship leadership in your congregation.


Where Is God When We Suffer?

Eternal Impact B&H Books) by Kenneth Hemphill offers a biblical analysis of the New Testament church. He discusses characteristics of kingdom-centered churches and giftedness among believers.

(Click on the title to learn more or order from



During the minister’s prayer, one Sunday, there was a loud whistle from one of the back pews. Gary’s mother was horrified. She pinched him into silence and, after church, asked,
“Gary, whatever made you do such a thing?”

Gary answered, soberly, “I asked God to teach me to whistle, and He just then did!”


10. “You know you’re the only one for me!”

9. “Do you come here often?”

8. “Trust me, this was meant to be!”

7. “Look around, baby. All the other guys around here are animals!”

6. “I already feel like you’re a part of me!”

5. “Honey, you were made for me!”

4. “Why don’t you come over to my place and we can name some animals?”

3. “You’re the girl of my dreams!” (Gen. 2:21)

2. “I like a girl who doesn’t mind being ribbed!”
And the number one pick up line from Adam is:

1. “You’re the apple of my eye!”
(From Grant’s Graceland)

It’s good to be relaxed in your job, but this is carrying it a bit far.

It seems that two pilots for Go! Airlines may have flown 15 miles past their destination in Hilo, Hawaii, because they had fallen asleep, according to a Feb. 20 story in the Arizona Republic. Air traffic controllers, who had been tracking the plane by radar, were unable to reach the plane for 25 minutes. The plane remained at 21,000 feet as it flew past Hilo, before returning to the airport.

The FAA plans to interview the pilots, who could be subject to a warning, suspension or license revocation depending on the findings. A spokesman says there is no FAA regulation that allows pilots to sleep during a flight.

The pilots did return to the airport and land safely. No word on whether or not they enjoyed a good night’s sleep after landing.

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