From the Editor:

Summer Reading

Preaching the Word?
Preaching West

Transformation, Prayer

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?”

(Ben Franklin)

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    Vol. 7, No. 23 June 17, 2008    
Michael Duduit

With gas prices rising to new highs, our budgets are getting tight. What’s a preacher to do?

While a certain amount of driving is necessary for most ministers, let me make a suggestion.This summer, find some times to park the car and read a good book.

While summer doesn’t have quite the same “lazy, hazy, crazy days” feel it once did, it still is a time when patterns often shift, and we find a bit more time on our hands. Rather than fritter away that time with reruns of TV shows that weren’t all that good the first time around, why not carve out some time to read a book that will leave a lasting impression?

Among those I’ve been reading recently:

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, whose actual lecture has been seen by millions on the Web. This follow-up book (by a professor dying of cancer) is a celebration of life and family and reaching for goals. You can read it quickly, but it will stay with you much longer.

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which reminds us part of Abraham Lincoln’s greatness as a leader was his willingness to reach out to those who had been his rivals for power and use them to help him guide the nation. (Think there might be some insights for church leaders there?)

Booknotes on American Character by Brian Lamb, the C-Span host whose interviews with eminent historians produced this fascinating collection of observations about the people, events and influences that have shaped our nation.

I’ve rarely known a great preacher who was not an avid reader. Whether you read one of these or one of the other great books now available, take some time this summer to nourish your mind and soul.

Michael Duduit, Editor

This week’s featured podcast is with John Ortberg and next week is with Steve Sjogren, as we revisit some of our top podcasts of the past year during June. Go to our podcast page to hear this or one of several dozen other podcast interviews.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the 20th annual National Conference on Preaching, April 20-22, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. We’ll have a great line-up of speakers, including John Ortberg, Stuart Briscoe, Jack Graham, Robert Smith, Dave Stone, Steve Brown, Ralph Douglas West and many more. To take advantage of the deepest discounts available on registration, click here.


In an article adapted from his book, A New Kind of Church (Baker), Aubrey Malphurs says many critics of the new model churches argue that “preaching in these new churches is topical and not expositional, that the sermons are essentially ‘feel good’ practical messages that are a soft-sell of Christianity. Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California, faced these criticisms early in his ministry as he addressed certain topics from the Bible that his audience struggled with, such as various addictions and fears.

“I’ll address two issues raised here. Critics must be more careful about their use of the terms topical and expositional when used of preaching. What some mean is the preaching in the new churches is topical as done in liberal churches, where often the message is on a topic that may not be found in the Bible, or the preacher ignores the Bible. Again, this may be true of a handful of new-model churches but by no means all.

“Many of us who teach preaching at a seminary level divide expository preaching into several areas, all of which are based on preaching the Bible. Three such areas are book exposition, biographical exposition, and topical exposition. Book exposition involves preaching through various books of the Bible. Biographical exposition is preaching the lives of biblical characters, based on what the text says about them. Topical exposition is preaching on various topics addressed in Scripture, for example, what the Bible says about worry, money, abortion, capital punishment, and such theological topics as angels, salvation, sin, the Trinity, and so on. Thus it is okay to preach a topical sermon, as long as it is topical exposition. How else might we preach systematic or biblical theology or some other subject of the Bible?

“Critics must be careful of the terminology they use when it comes to preaching and teaching the Bible. The accusation that sermons are ‘feel good,’ practical messages that do a soft-sell of Christianity is somewhat nebulous. The natural response is, ‘Says who?’ This is strictly a judgment call on someone’s part. What may be ‘feel good’ and ‘soft-sell’ to one person isn’t to another. I believe many of these new pastors are reacting to what they believe are long, boring, pointless sermons preached in older model churches. They want their audiences to see how the Bible is practical and applies to our lives in the 21st century, as well as the first century. However, the critics may be right about some of the new churches — likely a small number–who go overboard in the wrong direction.” (Click here to read the full article.)


Join us October 20-21 for Preaching West, a two-day preaching conference in Newport Beach, California. The theme is “Preaching Biblical Truth in a Changing Culture,” and speakers will include: Dan Kimball, Pastor, Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, Calif., and author of They Like Jesus but Not the Church; James L. Wilson, Professor of Leadership at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary and author of Future Church; John A. Huffman, Senior Pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, Calif.; Michael Duduit, Editor of Preaching magazine; and John Webb, Professor of Communication and Ministry at Hope International University. To learn more, click here.


John Killinger tells a powerful story about a man who is all alone in a hotel room in Canada. The man is in a state of deep depression. He is so depressed that he can’t even bring himself to go downstairs to the restaurant to eat.
He is a powerful man — the chairman of a large shipping company — but at this moment, he is absolutely overwhelmed by the pressures and demands of life — and he lies there on a lonely hotel bed far from home, wallowing in self-pity.
All his life, he has been fastidious, worrying about everything, anxious and fretful, always fussing and stewing over every detail. Now, at mid-life, his anxiety has gotten the best of him, even to the extent that it is difficult for him to sleep and to eat.
He worries and broods and agonizes about everything: his business, his investments, his decisions, his family, his health, even his dogs. Then, on this day in this Canadian hotel, he craters. He hits bottom. Filled with anxiety, completely immobilized, paralyzed by his emotional despair, unable to leave his room, lying on his bed, he moans out loud: “Life isn’t worth living this way; I wish I were dead!”
Then, he wonders what God would think if He heard him talking this way. Speaking aloud again he says, “God, it’s a joke, isn’t it? Life is nothing but a joke.” Suddenly, it occurs to the man this is the first time he’s talked to God since he was a little boy. He is silent for a moment, then he begins to pray. He describes it like this: “I just talked out loud about what a mess my life was in, how tired I was, and how much I wanted things to be different in my life. You know what happened next? A voice!! I heard a voice say, “It doesn’t have to be that way!” That’s all.”
He went home and talked to his wife about what happened. He talked to his brother, who is a minister, and asked him: “Do you think it was God speaking to me?” The brother said, “Of course, because that is the message of God to you and everyone of us. That’s the message of the Bible. That’s why Jesus Christ came into the world to save us, to deliver us, to free us, to change us and to show us ‘It doesn’t have to be that way.'” A few days later, the man called his brother and said, “You were right. It has really happened. I’ve done it. I’ve had a rebirth. I’m a new man. Christ has turned it around for me.”
The man still is prone to anxiety. He still has to work hard. But now, he has a source of strength. During the week, he often leaves work and goes to the church near his office. He sits there and prays. He says, “It clears my head. It reminds me of who I am and whose I am. Each time as I sit there in the sanctuary, I think back to the day in a hotel room in Canada and how depressed and lonely and lost I felt, and I hear God’s voice saying, ‘It doesn’t have to be that way.'”  (eSermons.com newsletter, 6-20-04)


“It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts, and then heals, than falsehood that comforts, then kills. It is not love, and it is not friendship, if we fail do declare the whole counsel of God. It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie. It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated. It’s better to stand alone with the truth than to be wrong with a multitude. It is better ultimately to succeed with truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie.”  (Adrian Rogers)

From the July-August issue of Preaching …

In an interview with Robert Smith, he says, “Doctrine doesn’t have to be dull. Doctrine can dance. I’m using that metaphor of dance — the whole idea of rhythm and excitement and joy and exuberance — and marrying exegesis with exuberance. In fact, I use the metaphor of the exegetical escort and the doxological dancer. Those are the two pillars that hold it up. 

“The exegetical escort has to do with substance; our purpose as preachers is to escort people into the presence of God with exegesis. Exegetical escorts are to escort people into the presence of God for the purpose of transformation. The doxological dancer exists to embrace the doctrinal verities of Scripture so the exuberant hearer can exalt in the exaltation of God — exalting in, rejoicing in God.”

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 July-August issue of Preaching: Interviews with Chuck Colson and Robert Smith, a survey of visual resources for preaching, “Preaching in a World Hostile to Truth,” plus sermons by Mike Milton, Marvin McMickle, David Dykes, Robert Smith and much more. Order your subscription today!

One of the remarkable blessings of the Internet has been the opportunity not only to hear, but also see many of the finest preachers and teachers at a time when it’s convenient for you. LightSource.com is an excellent place to find lots of options, including preachers like Jack Graham, Jim Shaddix, Erwin Lutzer, Ed Young and many more.

“Twenty years from now you wil be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” (Mark Twain)

Some excellent new commentaries have recently been released …

The Preaching the Word series (Crossway) is a valuable resource for pastors, and the latest additions to that collection are 1 & 2 Peter and Jude by David R. Helm, and 1 Samuel by John Woodhouse. This series is an excellent tool for preaching and teaching, and I strongly recommend it to pastors as one of those “top of the list” resources for your library.


Staying in that same area of the New Testament, Peter H. Davids is author of The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude in the Pillar New Testament Commentary Series (Eerdmans).



The Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms offers a series of substantial volumes on these OT books. John Goldingay is author of Psalms, Volume 1: Psalms 1-41 and Psalms Volume 2: Psalms 42-89, and Tremper Longman III has written Proverbs. Both are useful tools for study and teaching.

(Click on the title to learn more or order from Amazon.)


The preacher used “Forgive Your Enemies” as his sermon subject. After preaching 20 minutes, he asked how many were willing to forgive their enemies. About half held up their hands. Not satisfied, he harangued the congregation for another 20 minutes and repeated his question. This time he received a response of 80 percent. Still unsatisfied, he lectured for 15 minutes, then repeated his question. With all thoughts now on Sunday dinner, all responded except one elderly lady in the rear.

“Miss Jones, are you not willing to forgive your enemies?”

“I don’t have any.”

“Miss Jones, that is very unusual. How old are you?”


“Miss Jones, please come down front and tell the congregation how a person can live to 93 and not have an enemy in the world.”

The little elderly lady teetered down the aisle, very slowly turned around and said, “It’s easy. I just outlived them all.”


10. I guess I’m lost! Looks like we’ll have to stop and ask for directions.

9. You know, honey, now that you’re 13, you’ll be ready for unchaperoned car dates. Won’t that be fun?

8. I noticed all your friends have a certain hostile attitude. I like that.

7. Here’s a credit card and the keys to my new car. Go have fun!

6. What do you mean you want to play football? Figure skating’s not good enough for you, Son?

5. Your mother and I are going away for the weekend. You might want to consider throwing a party.

4. Well, I don’t know what’s wrong with your car. Probably one of those doo-hickey thingies that makes it run or something. Just have it towed to a mechanic and pay whatever he asks.

3. No son of mine is going to live under this roof without an earring. Now quit your belly-aching, and let’s go to the mall.

2. Why do you want to go and get a job? I make plenty of money for you to spend.

1. What do I want for my birthday? Oh, don’t worry about that. It’s no big deal. (Okay, they might say it, but they don’t mean it.)

(from The Daily Dilly)


Next time he should ask for help.

According to a May 13 article in the Dallas Morning News, a Fort Worth man had an itch and decided to scratch his back with the first thing he could grab – a revolver. He got a bit more than a scratch when he accidentally shot himself in the back.

The 44-year-old man had been drinking beer and playing poker – a sure combination for good judgment – when he got up from the table and retrieved the gun. When he came back in the room he told his buddies he had shot himself. They were skeptical until they saw blood on his back. He was taken to an area hospital where he was treated and released.

Here’s hoping they sent him home with a less lethal back scratcher.

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