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From the Editor:

Preaching for God’s Glory

The Call is Essential

Mileage Rate Goes Up for 2008

Register Now for NCP 2008

Intergrity, Truth
Death, Anticipation

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


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(Henry Kaiser)

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    Vol. 7, No. 5 January 29, 2008    

Michael Duduit

As one who is committed to solid biblical preaching that is in touch with the culture, I was interested to read the insights of Alistair Begg, himself a gifted expositor. In his booklet Preaching for God’s Glory (Crossway), Begg talks about those preachers who “are committed to the faithful exposition of the Scripture but are so buried in the text that they are completely divorced from the culture to which they have been called to preach.

“They are like those John Stott describes who shoot arrows from the island of the biblical text but fail to hit the island of contemporary culture. The arrows go straight up and come down on their own heads. These well-meaning and faithful students of the Word are so tied up in their ‘systems’ that they do not discover what happens when one makes a reasonable attempt to bring together the two horizons of biblical theology and contemporary culture.

“One of the reasons for the disinterest in expository preaching is surely that so many attempts at it prove lifeless, dull, and even thoroughly boring. I never cease to be amazed by the ingenuity of those who are capable of taking the powerful, life-changing text of Scripture and communicating it with all the passion of someone reading aloud from the Yellow Pages!”

(Click here to learn more about Preaching for God’s Glory)

Michael Duduit, Editor

New at – a weekly featured video sermon and audio sermon available, along with Preaching Podcast and much more. See it all at


There is no substitute for a clear sense of call to ministry, according to Mac Brunson and James Bryant in their recent book, The New Guidebook for Pastors (B&H Publishers).
“If you are in the ministry and do not have a clear, unquestionable sense of God’s call, even though you may not be able to explain it, then you should leave the ministry immediately. The harm you can do to people, a congregation, your family, yourself, and the kingdom is beyond description.”
For pastors confident in their call, however, the authors concede, “There will be many times when the only thing that holds your hand to the plow is your call.”
The chapter titled, “The Pastor and His First Church” cites questions that both the pastoral candidate and pastor search committee should ask each other.
“Very few pastors stay at their first church throughout their entire pastoral career,” the authors write, adding, “Many young pastors make mistakes in their first church that would be fatal if the church were not small, loving, and forgiving.
“If a pastor wants to stay at a church, he should learn to practice servant leadership rather than raw pastoral authority, in spite of what many church growth publications suggest,” Brunson and Bryant write, noting that a pastor who practices servant leadership gradually gains pastoral authority and long tenure.
“God has used many difficult churches in the lives of pastors to teach them how to be crucified with Christ and to stay on the cross like Jesus did,” the authors observe. “The default attitude for the pastor is to stay, not to leave.” (Baptist Press, 1/24/08)


For those of you who receive mileage reimbursement for ministry-related driving (or deduct for charitable mileage), you’ll want to know about this update from the American Payroll Association:

The IRS has announced the standard business mileage rate for transportation expenses paid or incurred beginning January 1, 2008, will be 50.5 cents per mile, up from the 48.5 cents per mile rate in effect during 2007 [Rev. Proc. 2007-70, released 11-27-07; see].

The mileage rate may be used to compute the deductible cost of operating a passenger car for business purposes. It may also be used by employers who elect to use the “cents-per-mile” valuation method for purposes of determining the amount that needs to be imputed to an employee’s income for personal use of certain company-owned or leased non-luxury vehicles.

In addition, the 2008 standard mileage rate for operating a passenger car for charitable purposes will stay at 14 cents per mile.


Plan now to join us for the 19th annual National Conference on Preaching, which will be held April 7-9 in suburban Washington, DC. “Preaching and the Public Square: Where Do Pulpit and Culture Meet?” is the provocative theme of the three-day event. You’ll enjoy insights and inspiration from some of America’s finest preachers and teachers, including:

Chuck Colson

Rick Warren James MacDonald

Barry Black

William Willimon A.R. Bernard

Mark Batterson

James Emery White Robert Smith Jr.

J. Alfred Smith

Timothy Warren Greg Thornbury

and many more. To learn more or to register, visit the NCP website at or call (toll free) 1-866-460-0950.


Colonel Clayton E. Wheat was head Chaplain at the United States Military Academy between 1918 and 1926. One thing for which he is remembered is his writing of the West Point Cadet’s Prayer. It is a classic piece of literature. I am particularly impressed with these words from the heart of the prayer:

“Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life.
Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong,
and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.”

Society has grown content to accept half truths as whole truths. We see this everywhere-advertising, testimonies given under oath, marriage vows, and promises made. When faced with choices, expediency often wins out over integrity. Our powers of rationalization allow us to makes choices based on their being practical rather than reasonable. When we do this, we choose the easier wrong over the harder right.  (Tom Barnard, “Tuesday Morning” newsletter; to subscribe email to


“There was once a woman who was disappointed, who was disillusioned, who was depressed. She wanted a good world, a peaceful world, and she wanted to be a good person. But the newspaper and television showed her how far we were from such a reality. So she decided to go shopping. She went to the mall and wandered into a new store – where the person behind the counter looked strangely like Jesus. Gathering up her courage she went up to the counter and asked, “Are you Jesus?” “Well, yes, I am,” the man answered. “Do you work here?” “Actually,” Jesus responded, “I own the store. You are free to wander up and down the aisles, see what it is I sell, and then make a list of what you want. When you are finished, come back here, and we’ll see what we can do for you.”
So, the woman did just that. And what she saw thrilled her. There was peace on earth, no more war, no hunger or poverty, peace in families, no more drugs, harmony, clean air. She wrote furiously and finally approached the counter, handing a long list to Jesus. He skimmed the paper, and then smiling at her said, “No problem.” Reaching under the counter, he grabbed some packets and laid them out on the counter. Confused, she asked, “What are these?” Jesus replied: “These are seed packets. You see, this is a catalogue store.” Surprised the woman blurted out, “You mean I don’t get the finished product?” “No,” Jesus gently responded. “This is a place of dreams. You come and see what it looks like, and I give you the seeds. Then you plant the seeds. You go home and nurture them and help them to grow and someone else reaps the benefits.” “Oh,” she said, deeply disappointed in Jesus. Then she turned around and left the store without buying anything.”  (Adapted by Susan R. Andrews, as told in Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life; via newsletter, 12-16-07)

From the January-February issue of Preaching …

In a sermon called “Directions for Disciples,” Marvin McMickle illustrates a point: “Sometimes in our desire to achieve at a higher and higher level we may be tempted into doing some things that are wrong and things we live to regret. Last fall the track star, Marion Jones acknowledged that she had, indeed, used banned substances when she competed in the 2000 Olympic Games. She won five medals at the games in Sydney, Australia – three gold medals and two bronze medals. It had long been rumored that she been using steroids or some other performance-enhancing drugs, but for seven years she vehemently denied using any banned substances.

“Then she suddenly decided to tell the truth; she had been using those illegal substances. She wanted to achieve her goal of winning Olympic medals. She wanted to come in first place. She wanted to perform better than everybody else on the field. That was the culture in which she operated and that was the idea floating around in her mind.

“Now the truth has come out and she has to return all of her medals and have her name removed from the record books. Because one of her races was as part of a relay team, all of her teammates in that race may also be stripped of their medals because of her substance abuse. Our culture drives us to achieve, to advance, to be the best, to come out on top; sometimes in pursuit of that objective we do things we should not do.”

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 January-February issue of Preaching: An exclusive interview with Charles Stanley, articles on “Preaching with Flavor,” “The Expository Method,” the final installment in Michael Quicke’s series on “Preaching and Trinitarian Worship,” sermons by Stuart Briscoe, Marvin McMickle, Michael Milton, and much more. Order your subscription today!

Through a technical error, the link in last week’s Link of the Week didn’t work. (Nothing worse than an unlinked link, is there?) Therefore, we are reprinting that item below:
The Brook is a valuable web-based ministry resource provided through the efforts of Pastor Mel Lawrenz and Elmbrook Church, featuring the “faith conversation of the week,” the message of the week, leadership interviews, articles and much more. It’s all free, and you can find it here.

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)


An appreciation for church history offers a healthy perspective on contemporary church issues. An excellent introduction to the writings of the early church is available in The Apostolic Fathers in English (Baker). Editor Michael W. Holmes makes these ancient texts accessible to any contemporary reader.



N.T. Wright is one of the most influential thinkers in today’s church, and his book Evil and the Justice of God (InterVarsity) helps us better understand why evil exists and points us to a day when it will be ultimately defeated. Wright’s discussion of the power of the cross makes this excellent reading for pastors as we move toward Easter.

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


David Lim is a bright young Korean preacher and theologian now studying in America. His brief volume Expository Preaching and Generation X (Emanuel University Press) does an excellent job in addressing how biblical preaching can engage a postmodern wordview. It’s not available through Amazon – it is published by a university press in Romania – but if you run across a copy it is well worth reading.



A six-year-old goes to the hospital with his grandma to visit his grandpa. When they get to the hospital, he runs ahead of his grandma and bursts into his grandpa’s room.
“Grandpa, Grandpa!” he says excitedly, “As soon as Grandma comes into the room, make a noise like a frog!”
“What?” said his grandpa.
“Make a noise like a frog because Grandma said that as soon as you croak, we’re going to Disneyland!”  (Mikey’s Funnies


On their 50th wedding anniversary, a couple summed up the reason for their long and happy marriage.
The husband said, “I have tried never to be selfish. After all, there is no ‘I’ in the word ‘marriage.'”
The wife said, “For my part, I have never corrected my husband’s spelling.”

(from Mikey’s Funnies)


At an Optometrist’s Office
“If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.”

On a Taxidermist’s window:
“We really know our stuff.”

In a Podiatrist’s office:
“Time wounds all heels.”

On a Fence:
“Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive.”

At a Car Dealership:
“The best way to get back on your feet – miss a car payment.”

Outside a Muffler Shop:
“No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.”

In a Veterinarian’s waiting room:
“Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”

In a Restaurant window:
“Don’t stand there and be hungry. Come on in and get fed up.”

In the front yard of a Funeral Home:
“Drive carefully. We’ll wait.”

At a Propane Filling Station:
“Thank heaven for little grills.”

When people make mistakes that cause them to fail at something, we say they “shot themselves in the foot.” Apparently Kelvin Roberts took that a little too literally.

Police say the 28-year-old botched his plans to rob a Cherryville, NC, convenience store by accidentally shooting himself in his right foot. A Jan. 23 AP story reports that he dropped a .45-caliber handgun in front of the store, and when the gun hit the ground and went off, a bullet struck Roberts in the foot.

He faces several charges, including attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a weapon of mass destruction. Police said the handgun had been altered to fire .410 shotgun shells.

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