The ninth annual National Conference on Preaching was held February 24-26 at the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. “We Preach Christ Crucified” was the conference theme. Registrants from New York to California enjoyed an inspiring and insightful team of speakers, including O.S. Hawkins, W.A. Criswell, Brian Harbour, Al Fasol, Keith Wilhite, and others.
Here are some “quotable quotes” drawn from the plenary addresses and sermons presented at NCP9:
E. K. Bailey
Serving God is a Choice
Joshua 24:14
The question of the text is not have you decided to follow Jesus. That’s a good question, but that’s not the question of the text. The question of the text is, “Did you decide to follow Him this morning?”
God wanted to teach them a new style of living. So He put a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night and led them out into what the Bible calls Belzephan. Out there in that cul-de-sac with Egypt behind them, the mountains on the side and the sweltering desert on another and facing a watery grave called the Red Sea. It was there that God taught them how to lean and depend on Him.
There are some things you must let go of in order to serve the Lord. There are other things you must lay hold on … What are you carrying in your back pocket that’s keeping you from giving God your best?
Choose Him because of Who He is He came down through 42 generations, got off in a little town called Bethlehem, grew up in the fear of the Lord, and then on one Friday took a cross and put it on His shoulders, gave His mother to John, gave His back to the cross, gave His Hands to the nails, gave His feet to the rivet, gave his head to the thorns and gave His Spirit to the Father. But after He went in that tomb, He didn’t stay dead. Early Sunday morning, He got up with all power in His hands. Serve God because of who He is but also because of what He has done.
Leslie Holmes
This Pregnant Gospel
I Thessalonians 1:1-10
In oratory, they remember the speaker. In preaching they remember the message that was delivered … Spurgeon said, “Let it be your ambition to so proclaim the word of God that the people say of you, not ‘What a great preacher!’ but instead, ‘How glorious is his Christ!'”
You and I ought to be where we would rather die than preach a sermon we are not trying to live!
Reg Grant
Preaching the Cross Creatively
Part of the imago Dei is the creative impulse. It may have been anesthetized … the trick is in allowing God to resuscitate it…. It will not come naturally but it can come supernaturally.
You can take the road less traveled but it is still a road. Someone has walked it before you.
In the life of Jesus Christ we discover a paradox that can help us to preach the cross creatively: While it is true that Jesus is the only begotten of God, unique, one of a kind, it is equally true that He is the most unoriginal man who ever lived. And it is in that divinely inspired un-originality that we will discover the key to preaching the cross creatively.
We are not in the business of making something new out of something old. We are in the business of making something now out of something eternal. Our job is not to create something ex nihilo as if that were an option, but to reveal Jesus Christ and to apply His truth to life.
Simply put: Preaching the cross creatively means that we should be about the business of re-incarnating Jesus Christ to the world in all of His sacrificial love … The degree to which we pursue unoriginality in our preaching of the cross is the degree to which we may discover true creativity.
William Hinson
Preaching the Cross
God chose the cross supremely as the way of confronting the world with His love. Through the cross of Jesus Christ we are confronted forever with the radical nature of God’s love for His creation.
I serve a God like that who has loved me in spite of what I’ve done to Him. And when I’ve been confronted by that love, time and time again supremely, I see it in the cross, it works a miracle of transformation in every life who is confronted by it.
James Earl Massey
We Beheld His Glory
John 1:14-18
Always there’s something about Jesus that bids us pause and reflect, or kneel and worship.
Afterward as Jesus walked out of the water, John stopped baptizing and he said, with a pointed finger, “Behold the Lamb of God. He takes away the sin of the world.”
Any minister who sees Jesus and who recognizes who he is must pause in what he or she does and point to Jesus and point the attention of the people to who is really important.
It’s in being so transparent that, somehow, God breaks through, through us as He did on the mountain when Jesus was praying and shows us Himself.
William Hinson
The Bitterest Curse Becomes the Sweetest Promise – I Corinthians 1:18-25
A young man on how he deals with the temptation to bitterness. “I get hold of Satan and I drag him to Calvary. I’ve never been able to get him quite to calvary because he looked at that cross once 1900 years ago and it scared him so bad he won’t go near it again.”
Timothy Warren
The Cross and the Word
Preaching is, as is always the case it seems, in crisis. Even within the Christian community there are those who summon me and you to abandon the word of the cross for a more acceptable, more loving, more inclusive, human-centered message
There are some who say that the word of the cross is neither a valuable nor an appropriate message to preach in our time. Let me try to set this argument before you: Those who try to summon you to abandon the word of the cross — Christ crucified — believe that a massive cultural shift from a world-view shaped by reason and argument to a worldview shaped by image and experience requires not only a different medium but also a different message … In this post-modern world view, God does not speak truth. Reason does not provide meaning; we form our realities, including God, within ourselves.
Those who summon you to abandon the word of the cross are elite academicians, recreational theologians, ivory-tower intellectuals, like avant-garde designers of fashion clothing or shock artists. They put on a provocative show but they fail to provide the essential stuff of life.
How, in a postmodern world, should we preach Christ crucified? Our preaching must be Word-centered and audience focused.
James Earl Massey
We Preach Christ Crucified
When we ask, “What does the cross mean?” we’re really asking the question, “Why did Jesus die?”
The preaching that is rooted at the center of the New Testament message involves reporting on the cross-event and the implications of that event. Telling people about it. Calling attention to it… Rightly understood, the call to preach is an assignment to herald the meaning of the cross.
When we preach on the cross, there is an awe that attends what we say. The preaching of the cross presents a divine claim that demands a human response.
You cannot move further than the cross. You move into it.
He accepted a hellish moment so that we could know an eternal peace
The power of the cross is not best conveyed or experienced through theories about it, but by preaching it.
The tenth annual National Conference on Preaching is scheduled for May 11-13, 1999, at the First Baptist Church of Charlotte, NC. Speakers already committed include Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Erwin Lutzer (Moody Church), and William Willimon. Mark your calendar today to hold those dates!

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