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From the Editor:

Lost in Translation

The Danger of Process

Being a Good Preacher
Without Trying


Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

“If you preach to hurting hearts, you will never want for a congregation; there is one in every pew.”

  (Joseph Parker)

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    Vol. 6, No. 35 October 9, 2007    

Michael Duduit

The professor was lecturing in Latin America. He was going to use a translator, but he thought that it would be a nice way to identify with his audience if he began his talk by saying in Spanish, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.” He did not know the Spanish words for ladies and gentlemen, so he arrived at the auditorium a little early, went to the part of the building where the restrooms were, looked at the signs on the two doors, and memorized those two words.

When the audience arrived and he was introduced, he stood up and said in Spanish, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.”

The audience was shocked. He didn’t know whether he had offended them or perhaps they hadn’t heard him or understood him. So he decided to repeat it. Again in Spanish he said, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.”

One person in the audience began to snicker. Pretty soon the entire audience was laughing. Finally, someone told him that he had said, “Good evening, bathrooms and broom closets!”

It’s a good reminder to those of us who are called to be communicators: don’t assume you know the language and culture of a group – take time to learn about the people to whom you’ll be speaking. And don’t neglect to ask for help when you need it!

Michael Duduit, Editor

Click here to visit “I Was Just Thinking” (Michael’s blog) for insights and observations about faith and culture issues. Recent topics: Our political dynasties; Has church planting replaced evangelism?

If you’ve never attended one of our one-day preaching conferences, think about joining us for one of nine events planned this fall. (See below for more information.) You can also visit for more information on all of our conferences.


In his book Spirit-Led Preaching (B&H), Greg Heisler identifies a danger we face as preachers: getting absorbed by the process rather than the purpose of our proclamation. He writes: “One temptation we face as preachers is to fall in love with the tools and the process of exposition, to the degree that we become sermon factories and preaching machines.

“We get more excited about opening up our favorite commentary than we do about praying over the biblical text and meditating on its powerful truth. We focus more on trying to get our outlines to alliterate than we do for the Holy Spirit to illuminate. We begin to worship the process rather than the person who saved us, Jesus Christ.

“Let me caution you not to make an idol out of your preparation time or your preaching. Spirit-led preaching by design helps us keep the emphasis on the Spirit, not on the sermon manuscript you think might be up for an Oscar in the category of creative beauty. My prayer for all preachers is that we fall more deeply in love with God than we do with the act of preaching.”  (Click here to learn more about the book Spirit-Led Preaching.)


In his new book Countdown to Sunday (Brazos Press), pastor Chris Erdman writes, “The best way to be a really good preacher is by not trying to be good at all. If you’re going to be good, you must put being good out of your mind. Trying to be good has at best produced some silly caricatures of preaching, At worst, trying to be good is an alluring Siren that has caused many a preacher to crash on the rocks of ambition. You are not sent by the Lord Jesus to be good. . . .

When you’re trying to be good, you spin off mental and spiritual energy that you need to rightly handle the Word. You split your energies between preaching the Word and evaluating how you’re doing at preaching. When you’re preaching you must inhabit the moment as fully as possible. You cannot afford to split yourself. When you do, something becomes false, rings hollow. . . . There is a self-consciousness that wanting to be good brings into the preaching moment that has no business there at all. Self-consciousness creates an anxiety to impress that most of us can sniff out a mile away.”  (Click here to learn more about the book Countdown to Sunday)


It’s time to register for one of the Preaching magazine one-day preaching conferences in cities across the US, featuring two different seminar topics.

Our popular seminar “Preaching Truth in a Whatever World” deals with strategies for effective biblical preaching in a postmodern culture. It will be offered in the following cities:

New Orleans (Oct 30)
Quincy, IL (Nov 6)

This fall we are also launching a brand new seminar, “Growing a Biblical Sermon.” Developed in response to many requests, the conference will offer a solid guide to developing biblical sermons. The conference will be held in:

Nashville (Oct. 25)
Tampa (Oct 29)
Birmingham (Nov 1)
Columbus, Ohio (Nov 8)
Oakland, CA (Dec 10)

Each conference features Dr. Michael Duduit, editor of Preaching magazine, plus a guest speaker. Cost is $95 for the first participant from a church, and $50 for each additional person; the cost includes lunch and a notebook packed with helpful resources. For more information or to register, visit


The average price for a gallon of gas in 1957 was around 27 cents a gallon. Fifty years later we are paying around $3.21 per gallon. A lot of people, especially those with larger vehicles, cannot even afford to fill up their tanks completely and must consolidate trips around town in order to make the gasoline last as long as possible. One thing is for sure, it is getting harder and harder to keep our vehicles fueled up and ready for travel.

There is an alternative fuel that has remained at the same price since it was first introduced. It is the fuel Christians put into their spiritual life, namely prayer, and it is free. Just like driving through traffic at rush hour, the Christian life can be very challenging and wearisome at times; and if we are not properly fueled up, we may find ourselves running on empty.

So whether you are sputtering along and about to burn out or you just need a spiritual boost, go to God in prayer and ask Him to give you strength for each new day and endurance for the Christian journey. (David Jeremiah, Turning Point Daily Devotional, 9-27-07)


Mickey Rivers, a one time outfielder for the Texas Rangers professional baseball team, stated his philosophy of life: “Ain’t no sense worrying about things you got control over, because if you got control over them, ain’t no sense worrying. And there ain’t no sense worrying about things you got no control over either, because if you got no control over them, ain’t no sense worrying.”  (Dallas Morning News, 5-20-84)

From the November-December issue of Preaching . . .

In an article on Experience Preaching, Rod Casey uses the Blue Man Group as an illustration of a presentation that engages the audience through involvement. He writes: “Is the audience participant merely observing and passive in the experience happening – such as would be true if one were merely watching TV – or is the participant in some way immersed and active in the experience, becoming a factor in the experience’s outcome? Most preaching is strictly lecture; little, if any, attention is given to environmental factors that contemporary sermon hearers have grown accustomed to in culture.

“The expectations of an emerging generation of sermon hearers are that they will be immersed and active in the things to which they give themselves to, whether it is for purposes of entertainment or self-improvement or discipleship.  To each environment there are varying degrees of audience involvement or ‘realms of experience.’  The Blue Man Group is an example from theater of an audience that is active and immersed in the experience created. Their unique mix of experiential art and music is creating a stir in pop culture.”

“Are those the guys whose head and hands are covered with blue stuff and beat the large drums?” interrupted Bill.  “I’ve seen them on Jay Leno.”

“Yep, that’s them,” replied Greg.  “I think attending one of their performances should be mandatory for every preacher. Their show has a message, yet words are never spoken throughout the entire performance by the primary communicators. The ‘blue men’ come into the audience and choose people to come on stage and help determine that show’s unique shape. Interruptions are fodder for communication, albeit non-verbal, and welcomed as opportunities for building community among the audience guests. 

“It’s a lesson in creative communication. In an image-driven culture, it’s a tutorial we preachers shouldn’t easily dismiss.”

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 November-December issue of Preaching: Interviews with Eugene Peterson and Max Lucado, “Blue Man Preaching,” “Preaching the Psalms as Stories,” Part 3 of Michael Quicke’s series on “Preaching and Trinitarian Worship” and much more.
Order your subscription today!


Rick Warren and Saddleback Church will be sponsoring a Global Summit on AIDS & the Church Nov. 28-30. The summit will provide you with the information and tools you need to discover how your congregation, organization, or agency can start to make a positive change.

To learn more click here.


Charles Lowery writes: “Once I went to lunch with a wealthy man in the church. I left a large tip, and he told me if I would leave a small tip, one day I would be a rich man like him. I told him that if he gave a large tip like me, he would be a happy man and, one day, a great ambassador for Christ.” (SBC Life, June/July 2007)


In Revival in the Rubble (CLC Publications), John Kitchen uses Nehemiah to trace what he sees as an enduring pattern of revival among God’s people. The book features a nice blend of biblical exposition and contemporary illustration, and there’s an excellent chapter on the place of preaching in revival.


The Psalms are among the most challenging biblical texts for contemporary preachers. Interpreting the Psalms (Kregel) by Mark D. Futato is a helpful volume for pastors seeking to think strategically about preaching and teaching the Psalms.


In Thank God It’s Friday (Abingdon), William Willimon addresses the seven last words from the cross. Willimon is always insightful and frequently provocative. Any preacher planning a series on the seven last words next spring will be able to gain ideas and inspiration from this brief volume.


(Click on the title to learn more or order from


Despite the “Do Not Touch” signs, a museum was having no success in keeping patrons from touching–and soiling–priceless furniture and art. But the problem evaporated overnight when a clever museum employee replaced the signs with ones that read: “Caution: Wash Hands After Touching!” (Today in the Word)

“Never question the truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is filled with wonders.” (Frederick Buechner, The Sacred Journey)


On Red Sea crossing:
Enforcement Officials Killed While Pursuing Unruly Mob

On David vs. Goliath:
Psychologist Questions Significance of Rock Used as Weapon

On the prophet Elijah on Mt. Carmel:
400 Killed In Unprovoked Attack

On the birth of Christ:
Animal Rights Advocates Enraged by Insensitive Couple

On feeding the 5,000:
Disciples Mystified Over Behavior

On healing the 10 lepers:
Authorities Investigating Use of Non-traditional Medical Procedure 

On healing of the two demon-possessed men in Gadarenes:
Local Farmer Faces Bankruptcy After Loss of Hogs

On raising Lazarus from the dead:
Will Now Being Contested by Lawyers of Heirs

(from Mikey’s Funnies)

These are two loyal employees.

Wal-Mart employees Chet Eldridge and Danna Hornback were married last week in a ceremony held in the lawn and garden section of the Springfield, MO retail store where they both work.

According to an Oct. 5 AP story, the two lovebirds – Eldridge, 51, an automotive manager, and Hornback, 45, an arts and crafts associate – met during the store’s employee orientation. She agreed to their first date in the furniture section. After the couple became engaged, a manager suggested they exchange vows at the store.

“We met here; he asked me out here. Why not?” Hornback said.

No word as to whether they are registered at Target.

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