From the Editor:

All Things to All Men

Dealing with Adultolescence

Church Planting on the Rise

Usefulness, Age
Money, Integrity

Help, Urgency

Link of the Week

Preacher's Bookshelf


And Finally...

"The older I get, the better I used to be."

(Lee Trevino)

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    Vol. 6, No. 41 November 28, 2007    

Michael Duduit

When Paul talks about being "all things to all men" in 1 Corinthians 9, was that a strategy to identify with various groups by adapting to their lifestyle or methods? No, according to John MacArthur, who said in a recent interview, "All he is saying is there's a foundation in the proclamation of the gospel with the Jew, and there's a different starting point with the Gentile. If I'm going to evangelize a Jew, I'm going to start with the Old Testament because that's the substantial basis. So, every time the Apostle Paul preached to the Jews, he started with the Scripture - the Old Testament Scripture. Every time he evangelized Gentiles, he started with Creation. For example, in Acts 14 and 17 he talks about the unknown God. Who is the unknown God? He's the God who made everything; that was the foundation. 

All he is saying in 1 Corinthians 9 is we must understand the starting point of our audience ideologically. In other words, how do they think ideologically, philosophically, religiously? What are the ideas, theories, and viewpoints they hold? It's not about identifying with their lifestyle, nor being able to converse about every episode of South Park, every R-rated movie, and rap songs - that's not it at all.

How do people think religiously; how do they perceive truth? Those are the starting points Paul was establishing. That's a far cry from saying that in order to reach this generation we must like their music, dress the way they dress, live the way they live, and be familiar with the baser components of their culture. That's a million miles from what the Apostle Paul had in mind. He was talking about those things that controlled their thought process and their worldview."  (Click here to listen to the full interview.)

Michael Duduit, Editor

Plan to be part of the 2008 National Conference on Preaching in Washington, DC. To learn more visit


In his blog, pastor John Piper quotes from a review by professor Christine Smith dealing with the issue of "adultolescence" – as many of today's young adults seem determined to perpetuate their adolescent years into their 20s and beyond.

Smith writes: "'Teenager' and 'adolescence' as representing a distinct stage of life were very much 20th-century inventions, brought into being by changes in mass education, child labor laws, urbanization and suburbanization, mass consumerism, and the media. Similarly, a new, distinct, and important stage in life, situated between the teenage years and full-fledged adulthood, has emerged in our culture in recent decades-reshaping the meaning of self, youth, relationships, and life commitments, as well as a variety of behaviors and dispositions among the young. What has emerged from this new situation has been variously labeled 'extended adolescence,' 'youthhood,' 'adultolescence,' 'young adulthood,' the 'twenty-somethings,' and 'emerging adulthood.'"

Piper discusses how the church can respond to this cultural and sociological shift. Among his 15 suggestions:

1. The church will encourage maturity, not the opposite. "Do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature" (1 Corinthians 4:20).

2. While celebrating the call to lifelong singleness, the church will not encourage those who don't have the call to wait till late in their 20s or 30s to marry, even if it means marrying while in school.

3. The church will help parents prepare their youth for independent financial living by age 22 or sooner, where disabilities do not prevent.

4. The church will provide stability and steadiness in life for young adults who find a significant identity there.

5. The church will provide inspiring, worldview-forming teaching week in and week out that will deepen the mature mind.

6. The church will be a corporate communion of believers with God in his word and his ordinances that provide a regular experience of universal significance.

7. The church will be a beacon of truth that helps young adults keep their bearings in the uncertainties of cultural fog and riptides.

8. The church will regularly sound the trumpet for young adults that Christ is Lord of their lives and that they are not dependent on their parents for ultimate guidance.

9. The church will provide leadership and service roles that call for the responsibility of maturity in the young adults who fill them. (To read the full posting, click here.)


Some 4,000 new churches are being planted each year, according to a new research study from Leadership Network, which reports: "The energy of successful church planting seems to be moving quickly from denominational structures to hands-on local churches and networks. Denominations have always had an inescapable impact upon church plants and church planting in the United States, and most church plants are still denominationally connected at some level. However, today most denominations are partnering to develop resources to help their church planters."

The report also indicates that today's church planters are taking a different approach than many in the past: "This generation of church planting leaders is committed to increasing not only the survivability and multiplication of church plants but also the evangelistic effectiveness of those plants. Today there is an increasing emphasis on systems that will produce better and more consistent results in church planting. These systems include recruitment, assessment, training, coaching, prayer, and funding.

"Although new models continue to emerge, the research seems to indicate that seeker models, purpose-driven, and ethnic church planting produce more evangelistic conversions. Also, with few exceptions, church planters involved in church planting systems (e.g. assessment, basic training, coaching, etc.) reach more unchurched people and grow more rapidly than those who are not. Also, the church plants that grow larger, more quickly, tend to be more heavily resourced and staffed than those that do not." (Click here to read more about the report.)


December 10 is the last one-day preaching conference we'll be holding in 2007. It will be at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, CA, and the theme is "Growing a Biblical Sermon." In addition to several theme sessions with Preaching magazine editor Michael Duduit, this event will feature two guest speakers and promises to be a wonderful and productive time together. To learn more or to register, call (toll free) 1-800-527-5226 or visit the website at


A Peanuts cartoon showed Peppermint Patty talking to Charlie Brown. She said, "Guess what, Chuck? The first day of school, and I got sent to the principal's office. It was your fault, Chuck."
He said, "My fault? How could it be my fault? Why do you say everything is my fault?"
She said, "You're my friend, aren't you, Chuck? You should have been a better influence on me."


Myrtie Howell was a devoted Christian woman who had lived a hard life. Her family was very poor. When she was 10, she quit school and went to work in a steel mill for 10 cents a day. She married at age 17, then in early 1940, her husband was killed in an accident. When that happened, she lost her home, and she had to go back to work to support herself and three children.

Years later, her declining health forced her to move into an old, high-rise nursing home. A few weeks later, her youngest son died, and that's when she fell into a depression. She said, "Lord, what more can I do for you? I've lost everything that ever meant something to me, and now I'm stuck in this dark, dreary room. I have nothing left to live for! I want to die! I've had enough of this prison. Take me home."

Then God spoke to her as clearly as possible. He said, "I'm not through with you yet, Myrtie. Write to prisoners."

So, she wrote a letter and sent it to the Atlanta Penitentiary. This is what the letter said: "Dear inmate, I am a grandmother who loves and cares for you. I am willing to be a friend. If you'd like to hear from me, write me. I will answer every letter you write. A Christian friend, Grandmother Howell."

The letter was given to the prison chaplain, and he gave her the names of eight prisoners to whom she could. Prison Fellowship gave her some more names. Soon, she was corresponding with up to 40 inmates a day. She became a one-woman ministry reaching into prisons across America. She said, "I thought my life was over, but these past few years have been the most fulfilling years of my life!"

Myrtie Howell became a great missionary for God out of a one-room apartment. No matter where you live or what your situation is like, God can still do wonderful things through your life. As long as your heart is still beating and your blood is still pumping, Jesus Christ is not through with you. (Mark Axelrod,

From the November-December issue of Preaching . . .

In a sermon called "Rivers of Living Water," pastor Roger Willmore begins: "Over 30 years ago, when I was a very young pastor still adjusting to all the demands that fall upon one in pastoral ministry, I found myself neglecting my study in order to meet other needs.  One Sunday evening, following the worship service, a dear lady – a person who loved and cared for her pastor – said to me, 'Pastor, I can hear the dipper banging against the bottom of the bucket.'

"I have never in all these years gotten over that remark. It was her way of admonishing me to not neglect my time in the Word and with the Lord. My pitcher was empty … and she knew it."


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!

"The Text This Week" is a useful resource for worship planners. As you look for preaching and worship resources relating to Advent, here's a useful page of links:




It was the day of the big exam, and the professor handed out the test papers to his students. When time was up, he called for the students to hand the tests back in.

As he was grading exams, the professor noticed one of the students had attached a $100 bill to his test with a note saying "A dollar per point."

At the next class session, the professor handed the tests back out. That student got back his test paper plus $56 change.



Lovers of church history will be glad to find Church History: A Crash Course for the Curious(Crossway) by Christopher Catherwood. This is a concise, well-written introduction to the history of the church, but it is not a dry, academic treatise. It is written in a very personal style, aimed at a popular audience, and filled with various contemporary references and illustrations that address the contemporary implications and influence of historical events. Preachers will find any number of illustrations in these pages.


Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary(Abingdon) by Gail R. O'Day and Charles Hackett is a useful guide to the history and use of a lectionary for preaching. (A lectionary is a multi-year cycle of biblical texts.) Though an interesting introduction for those unfamiliar with lectionaries, the book's primary value will be for its ideas and insights to help lectionary-based preachers more effectively use this planning resource. Of particular interest is the section dealing with the history and development of the lectionary within the context of the Christian year.


Marriage and family issues are an ever-present concern for pastors and church leaders. Better Than Ever: 7 Secrets to a Great Marriage (Jordan House) by David and Jan Stroop draws on more than 20,000 hours of conversations to identify key characteristics of healthy marriages. This volume will offer helpful insights for us as we counsel couples as well as preach and teach on marriage.



As he was filling out an employment application, a man paused over this question: "Person to notify in case of an accident."

Finally he wrote, "Anybody in sight."  (from Good Clean Funnies List)


Here are more actual excerpts from real resumes and cover letters. Think you'd hire them?

    * I demand a salary commiserate with my extensive experience.

    * I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0 computor and spreasheet progroms.

    * Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year.

    * Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions.

    * Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave.

    * Failed bar exam with relatively high grades.

    * It's best for employers that I not work with people.

    * Let's meet, so you can 'ooh' and 'aah' over my experience.

    * You will want me to be Head Honcho in no time.

    * Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store

    * Please don't misconstrue my 14 jobs as 'job-hopping.' I have never quit a job.

Who knew turkeys had attitude?

Fifteen wild turkeys strutted into the suburban village of Greenlawn, NY, on Thanksgiving Day and then left just in time to avoid dinner, according to a Nov. 24 AP story.

The turkeys drew crowds of spectators as they showed up Thursday morning. Then they left – marching in single file – about 1 p.m. Police were called because the turkeys created a traffic hazard while crossing a road, but officers never intervened because the birds kept walking. No one has seen or heard from them since, residents report.

Unlike some Greenlawn residents, Joyce Logan said she never had thoughts of catching one of the turkeys in her yard and turning it into dinner.

"I can't eat something that I've met," she explained.

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