From the Editor:

Holy Week


Resurrection and the First Christians
Reading: Good for Your Health



Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

“The less a preacher comes between the Word and its hearers, the better.”
(John R.W. Stott)


Subscribe to Preaching Magazine

Sign up now for a

1-year subscription to Preaching Magazine. That’s 6 great
issues for only $39.95—a savings of over 15% off the newsstand price!









    Vol. 8, No. 14 April 7, 2009    
Michael Duduit

This is Holy Week, leading to the triumph of Easter Sunday–the greatest day of the year to preach. Easter is one of the days I most wish I was again a pastor because it’s the day I most want to preach–but no pastor wants to give up his pulpit on Easter!

Then again, every day is a great day to be a preacher, isn’t it?

You are called to be a student, looking through the microscope to discover the intricacies of God’s Word and through the telescope to scan the vast expanse of His truth.

You are called to be a steward, feeding the nourishment of God’s Word to a hungry people.

You are a herald, proclaiming the truth of the gospel to a lost world.

You are an ambassador, representing the reality of God’s reign to a broken land.

You are a servant, ministering the comfort of God to a hurting world.

You are a witness, testifying to the salvation available to all who will claim the name of Christ and surrender their lives to His love.

What a great week to be a preacher. May your church, your community and your world be touched by your faithful proclamation of His good news this Sunday!

Michael Duduit, Editor

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MichaelDuduit

On this week’s Preaching Podcast: This week’s podcast features an interview with Mark Galli, who talks about his new book on the attributes of God and why that issue is important to preaching.


In an article on pagan, Jewish and early Christian views of resurrection, N.T. Wright argues that the earliest Christian beliefs were shaped by their own experience of Christ’s literal resurrection:

“The early Christians looked forward to a resurrection which was not a mere resuscitation, nor yet the abandonment of the body and the liberation of the soul, but a transformation, a new type of body living within a new type of world. This belief is embroidered with biblical motifs, articulated in rich theology. Yet in the gospel narratives we find a story, told from different angles of course, without such embroidering and theology–told indeed in restrained, largely unadorned prose. Yet the story is precisely of a single body neither abandoned, nor merely resuscitated, but transformed; and this, though itself totally unexpected, could give rise to exactly that developed view of which I have spoken. The Easter narratives, in other words, appear to offer an answer to why the early Christian hope and life took the form and shape they did. …

“The gospel stories themselves, though no doubt written down a good deal later than Paul, go back with minimal editorial addition to the very early stories told by the first disciples in the earliest days of Christianity. They are not the later narratival adaptation of early Christian theology; they are its foundation.” (Click here to read the full article.)


I’m an avid reader myself, and I’m always counseling pastors to read as a way to grow in their own ministry effectiveness. Now there’s another reason to read: It makes you healthier! As Al Mohler writes in his blog last week:

“Here is a health alert we can all understand. Researchers at the University of Sussex have determined that the very best way to relieve stress, both physical and mental, is to read a book. Got your attention?

“As reported in The Telegraph, the researchers found that stress levels and heart rate showed a 68 percent reduction in measurable stress after reading from a book. After achieving a high stress level through exercise and mental tests, just six minutes of reading slowed the heart rate and decreased other measures of physical stress in the muscles. Reading reduced stress to levels even lower than the baseline before the high stress was reached.

“Other stress relievers included listening to music (61 percent reduction), having a cup of tea or coffee (54 percent reduction) and taking a walk (42 percent reduction). Playing video games lowered stress rates by only 21 percent but left heart rates racing.

“Dr. David Lewis, who directed the study for Mindlab International at the University of Sussex, said, ‘Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.'” (Click here to read the full post.)


Would you like to invest a week and come away with your year’s preaching plan? Preaching magazine and Anderson University jointly are sponsoring the first Preaching Boot Camp, May 18-22, 2009, on the campus in Anderson, South Carolina. The focus of this year’s camp is on planning a preaching schedule, and the keynote speaker is Stephen Rummage, preaching pastor at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte and author of the book Planning Your Preaching (Kregel). Other speakers will include Mike Glenn, Michael Duduit, Ryan Neal and more. Built into the schedule is time for participants to work on their own preaching plan for 2009-2010. To learn more, visit www.preachingbootcamp.com.


The Call to Worship had just been pronounced, starting the Easter Sunday service in an East Texas church. The choir started its processional, singing “Up from the Grave He Arose” as they marched in perfect step down the center aisle to the front of the church.

The last lady was wearing shoes with very slender heels. Without a thought for her fancy heels, she marched toward the grating that covered that hot air register in the middle of the aisle. Suddenly the heel of one shoe sank into the hole in the register grate. In a flash, she realized her predicament. Not wishing to hold up the whole processional, without missing a step, she slipped her foot out of her shoe and continued marching down the aisle.

There wasn’t a hitch. The processional moved with clock-like precision. The first man after her spotted the situation and, without losing a step, reached down and pulled up her shoe; but the entire grate came with it! Surprised, but still singing, the man kept on going down the aisle, holding in his hand the grate with the shoe attached. Everything still moved like clockwork.

Still in tune and still in step, the next man in line stepped into the open register and disappeared from sight. The service took on a special meaning that Sunday, for just as the choir ended with “Alleluia! Christ arose!” a voice was heard under the church shouting, “I hope all of you are out of the way ’cause I’m coming out now!”

The little girl closest to the aisle shouted down the register, “Come on, Jesus! We’ll stay out of the way.” (Bob Hager, SermonCentral.com)


It was Saturday, the day before Easter, and Joanne was sitting at the kitchen table coloring eggs with her 3-year-old son, Dan, and her 2-year-old daughter, Debbie. She told her kids about the meaning of Easter and taught them the traditional Easter morning greeting and response, “He is risen. He is risen indeed!” The children planned to surprise their dad, a Presbyterian minister, with that greeting as soon as he awoke the next morning.

Easter arrived, and little Dan heard his father stirring about in his bedroom; so the boy got up quickly, dashed down the hall and shouted the good news: “Daddy, Daddy, God’s back!” (David E. Leininger, “Laugh, Thomas, Laugh!” from eSermons.com newsletter)

From the May-June issue of Preaching …

In his article on The Teaching Pool, Matt Conner points out, “An Industry Week article from September 2000 by Peter Strozniak noted that businesses are now more team-oriented than ever. Strozniak goes on to say that ‘leadership must shift from the traditional command-and-control mode to a coach-and-collaboration style that supports a team environment.’ Peter B. Grazier, founder of Teambuilding, Inc., also notices this trend, saying that more companies than ever are redesigning workspace for collaboration, using team-oriented software and tapping into the collective mind of the work force.

“But while the business world may be moving forward, the church is still behind the shift. Pastors still continue the hard work of solo leadership. Rather than seeking alternatives to the loneliness at the top, they choose harmful methods of dealing with the issue. A leader might mask the pain or loneliness, pretending everything is going OK. Another leader will just continue to push himself until he can work no more. And this, in a large part, is where the statistics of burning out in ministry come from.”

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 May-June issue of Preaching: Why Preaching Matters, Multi-Sensory Preaching, plus sermons by Charles Stanley and much more. Order your subscription today!

One of the challenges every good preacher faces is maintaining access to all the great ideas, illustrations and resources you run across in your reading. There are lots of systems out there, from 3 x 5 cards to fancy digital databases. In a recent blog entry, John Maxwell describes his own system. (Be sure to read the comments below his posting because there are more useful ideas there as well!) You can read it all here.

“Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.” (Robert Jarvik)

It’s theology week on the Preacher’s Bookshelf . . .

Pete Briscoe is an engaging preacher, and that shines through in his new book, Belief Matters (Harvest House). Subtitled “Grappling with the Essentials of the Christian Faith,” Briscoe uses the Apostles Creed as a guide to talk about why what we believe matters and to guide readers through an understanding of doctrinal essentials. This will be a useful book for study groups or as a resource for your own doctrinal preaching.


Speaking of theology, this year is the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, and that means a variety of new books on the Genevan reformer. One good one recently released is John Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life (InterVarsity Press) by Herman J. Selderhuis. Drawing on a study of Calvin’s letters and other writings, he paints an interesting personal portrait of this influential leader and thinker who continues to influence the church today.



Finally, a key element of thinking theologically involves interpreting Scripture. In Elements of Biblical Exegesis (Hendrickson), Michael J. Gorman offers a basic survey of the process of exegeting a text. He identifies seven elements in the exegetical process: survey; contextual analysis; formal analysis; detailed analysis of the text; synthesis; reflection–theological interpretation; and expansion and refinement of the exegesis. The preacher who has not formally studied hermeneutics–or would just like a refresher–will benefit from this guide.

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


One Easter Sunday morning as the minister was preaching the children’s sermon, he reached into his bag of props and pulled out an egg. He pointed at the egg and asked the children, “What’s in here?”

“I know!” a little boy exclaimed, “Pantyhose!”



Dear Pastor,
I know God loves everybody, but He never met my sister.
Arnold (age 8, Nashville)

Dear Pastor,
Please say in your sermon that Peter Peterson has been a good boy all week. I am Peter Peterson.
Pete (age 9, Phoenix)

Dear Pastor,
My father should be a minister. Every day he gives us a sermon about something.
Robert (age 11, Anderson)

Dear Pastor,
I’m sorry I can’t leave more money in the plate, but my father didn’t give me a raise in my allowance. Could you have a sermon about a raise in my allowance?
Patty (age 10, New Haven)

Dear Pastor,
My mother is very religious. She goes to play bingo at church every week even if she has a cold.
Annette (age 9, Albany) 

Dear Pastor,
I would like to go to heaven someday because I know my brother won’t be there.
Stephen (age 8, Chicago)

Dear Pastor,
I think a lot more people would come to your church if you moved it to Disneyland.
Loreen (age 9, Tacoma)

Sometimes solving a problem is simpler than it first appears.

A Kissimmee, Fla., woman discovered that when she called 911 to report she was locked in her car.

“It’s getting very hot in here, and I’m not feeling well,” the caller told the dispatcher.

The woman said nothing electrical was working, so her locks wouldn’t open, according to a story at www.WESH.com. The dispatcher calmly told her to pull the lock up with her hand.

“Um, I’m sorry,” said the woman after the lock opened. She was not identified.

Share This On: