From the Editor:

Word Power

Keep Gospel and Politics Distinct
Leader as Shepherd

Warning, Announcements

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.”
(Lou Holtz)

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    Vol. 7, No. 32 September 9, 2008    
Michael Duduit

Words are powerful things.

Witness the current presidential election. It’s easy to recognize Barack Obama’s presidential run has been built largely on the power of his rhetoric. Then last week, Sarah Palin went from beleaguered nominee to political star on the basis of a powerful and well-received speech. In politics, words make a difference.

That’s not the only place where words matter. If God has called you to proclaim His good news, then He has called you to use words, and to use them faithfully and effectively.

May God bless you this week as you preach His Word powerfully.

Michael Duduit, Editor

This week’s featured podcast is with Eric Redmond, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Temple Hills, MD, and author of the book, Where Are All the Brothers? Go to our podcast page to hear this or one of several dozen other podcast interviews.


In the Summer 2008 issue of Leadership, Mark Dever reminds us not to forget there is a difference between the gospel and the political realm: “Too many Christians today are trying to improve on the gospel. The gospel is what it is: the Cross of Christ. Christians on both the political right and left are downplaying the effects of the Fall, and instead buying into a secular myth of progress through market economics or socialism. That is not something a Christian preacher should adopt.

“A Christian preacher should be critical of any temptation toward earthly Utopianism. The answer to the world’s ills is not even something as good as outlawing abortion. I certainly would like for us to have such laws, but even more, I’d like people not to want to kill unborn babies. There’s only so much outward conformity that laws can build into a people who are not in agreement with the heart issues.

“It serves us well to understand the difference between the gospel and the implications of the gospel.”


In his excellent new book, The Leadership Dynamic (Crossway), Harry Reeder reminds us the pastor must be a shepherd, not a rancher — and a faithful shepherd at that: “While a false shepherd will abandon his sheep in hard times, a true shepherd will lay down his life for his sheep at all times. Christ is our model, and Christ-centered leadership stands in contrast to self-centered leadership.

“The world’s leadership models are self-centered and manipulative, which leads to using and sometimes abusing followers. Worldly leadership is all about power, control and personal promotion. It’s a cattle drive. Sometimes it’s effective in reaching a goal, but inevitably it’s all about the leader, and those who pay the cost are the followers. Whether it succeeds or fails, it usually leaves behind unbelievable human wreckage.

“The biblical model of leadership must be distinctively different. It’s Christ-centered, not self-centered. The Christian leader who practices Christ-centered leadership shepherds his sheep, which is achieved by positioning himself in front of the flock to lead and set the pace for it. The dramatic contrast between the false shepherd and the good shepherd is the good shepherd pays the cost for the sheep while the false shepherd seeks to profit from the sheep, and therefore the sheep pay the price.” (Click here to learn more about The Leadership Dynamic.)


Register now to save! 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, CA 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. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, CA; Michael Duduit, Editor of Preaching magazine; and John Webb, Professor of Communication and Ministry at Hope International University. To learn more, click here.

Plan now to join us 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, Tommy Green, Timothy Warren and many more. The deadline for early registration is October 13, 2008. To take advantage of the discounts available on advance registrations, click here.



A Romanian hiker who lost his life high on Mount Rainier lay down in the snow and used his body’s warmth to save his wife and a friend from the 70-mph winds of a freak June blizzard, national park officials say. The story was reported on June 13 by Associated Press.
When it became obvious the trio of friends could not find their way back to base camp in whiteout conditions, they dug a snow trench with their hands. Then 31-year-old Eduard Burceag lay down on the snow and his wife and a friend lay on top of him. Later, when they begged him to switch places, Burceag refused, saying he was OK.

“In doing so, he probably saved their lives,” park spokesman Kevin Bacher said Thursday. Mariana Burceag, also 31, survived the storm, as did the couple’s good friend, Daniel Vlad, 34. All three of the hikers were from Romania.


Coach Tom Landry once observed, “Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.”

From the September-October issue of Preaching …

In his article on Expository Scripture Reading, Wayne McDill begins: “I happened to go by the local library recently during ‘Story Time.’  Some 20 or 30 preschoolers were there with their mothers and some fathers. These adults were trying to herd them into a bunch and get them seated on the floor near the woman who was to read to them. She sat down and opened an oversized children’s book. The little people were chattering, wiggling, poking and some whimpering. Then she began to read. 

“Very soon the children became quiet and still. I was impressed, but what struck me was the way she read. Her voice rose and fell with the music of the story. Various characters in the story spoke differently. Surprises sounded surprising. Danger sounded dangerous, and the happy ending sounded happy. Very simply, she read the meaning of the story and not just the sound of the words.

“I couldn’t help but think of how public Bible reading usually sounds. Most reading of Scripture is done in a listless, lifeless, muttering fashion that seems to communicate nothing more than the sound of the words without penetrating the meaning of the words. Unless a person knew better, he might think the reader is really expressing disrespect for Scripture and apathy about its message.”

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 September-October issue of Preaching: Interviews with John Ortberg and Ralph Douglas West, articles on “The Preacher as Storyteller” and preaching in a “post-everything world,” plus great sermons and much more. Order your subscription today!

Any time you’ve had a bad Sunday, just watch this video and you’ll realize no matter how badly it went, you couldn’t be worse than this poor guy. Click here to see the worst weatherman ever. (Thanks to Todd Rhoades of Monday Morning Insight for the link.)

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” (Albert Einstein)

Last week I invited Preaching Now readers to suggest some of the best books they’ve read in the past year. Here are some of the responses:

“The most valuable book I’ve read this year (and plan to use it as a teaching tool in my church) is Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Bishop Robert Schnase. He gives five excellent truths concerning Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-taking Mission and Service, and Extravagant Generosity. (Robert Herron, Liberty United Methodist Church, Hiddenite, North Carolina)

“As a minister of the Word who reads a lot, only sometimes does a book knock me flat. This year that book was UnChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. It stops short of sounding an all out trumpet of alarm, but sternly sets the record straight. Postmodernism is the most ominous threat for the Christian church, of any flavor, in our time. Not only does the book address the issue but offers helpful advice. I have made good use of this material already in my ministry.” (George Mansfield, Church of Christ, Grimsby, Ontario, Canada)

“The most valuable book I have read this year was Humility by C.J. Mahaney. A great challenge to wrestle with the pride in our lives.” (Pastor Jack, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Tyrone, Pennsylvania)

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


The new preacher was a little nervous, and about 10 minutes into the sermon his mind went blank. After a few seconds of complete panic, he remembered what they had taught him in seminary about situations like this: repeat the last point. His teacher assured him this would help him remember what was supposed to come next. So he gave it a try.

“Behold, I come quickly,” he said. Still his mind was blank. He stepped to the side of the pulpit and tried again: “Behold, I come quickly.” Still nothing. He tried one more time — speaking and gesturing with such force that he fell forward, falling into the lap of an older lady in the front row.

The young preacher apologized profusely, but she said, “That’s all right, young man. I should have gotten out of the way. You told me four times you were coming!”



Come observe the start of Lint with us.

Remember the Christian Youth Fellowship House Sexuality Course, offered at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Youth participating in this are asked to please park in the rear parking lot for this activity.

The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.

Come join us next week for a traditional Latin Mass in English.

All current and “former” Scouts and Scouters, February 11 is Scouting Sunday. Please wear your uniform if you are able.

Thanks to those persons in the Women’s group who served lurch to workers at the Habitat for Humanity House last week.

Remember, the grand opening and dedication of the new worship center Sunday, March 10.   Ushers are asked to arrive early to help create visitors.

As we start our new choir season, please come help pack the loft. You will receive a special blessing by taking a part in the Worship Choir Mystery.

Don’t forget the Child Watch banquet next Tuesday. They’ve been serving children for 18 years.

This guy just didn’t really get the idea of identity theft.

According to a Sept. 3 AP story, Iowa City police say they didn’t have much trouble finding a man accused of using a stolen credit card — he signed his own name to the receipts.

Police said the man used the stolen credit card — reported stolen from an unlocked apartment last month — to buy a latte at a coffee house, a deli, and to buy cigarettes. The man also tried to use it at another store, but the card was declined because it came up as stolen.

He has been charged with four counts of unauthorized use of a credit card.

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