From the Editor:


Switching Denominations
Finding Balance

Temptation, Trials

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

“Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?”
(Henry Ward Beecher)

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    Vol. 8, No. 17 May 5 , 2009    
Michael Duduit

David T. Clamp grew up on a South Carolina cotton farm and later became an accountant and spent his life working for the Civil Aeronautics Board. He lived frugally all of his life, saving and investing his government salary, never even buying a home for himself. In his final years he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and went to be with the Lord last October.

Last Saturday, it was announced that Mr. Clamp left an estate of $8 million as a gift to Anderson University for a school of ministry — the school I serve as Dean, now renamed the David T. Clamp Graduate School of Christian Ministry.

I am amazed at people such as Mr. Clamp and his wife, Jane, who have a dream of accomplishing something for the Kingdom of God and focus a lifetime of energies and resources toward that goal. Mr. Clamp did not even want his gift known during his lifetime. They are models of kingdom faithfulness.

Mr. Clamp has left a legacy that will touch countless lives over the years to come. What is your dream for kingdom service? What will be your legacy — and mine?

Michael Duduit, Editor

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

On this week’s Preaching Podcast: Michael Quicke is former principal (president) of Spurgeon’s College in the United Kingdom and now teaches preaching at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. In this edition of the podcast, we visit with him about preaching, worship and leadership.


From Church Leaders Intelligence Report: In an in-depth survey released this week, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that more than half of all Americans have switched religions at least once. The reasons vary widely: 71 percent of Catholics and nearly 60 percent of Protestants who switched to another religion didn’t think their spiritual needs were being met, they just liked another faith more or they changed their views on religious or moral beliefs.

Life circumstances, not religious doctrinal differences, prompt most Protestants who switch denominations — relocating to a new community (nearly four in 10) or marrying someone of a different tradition are the most oft-cited reasons. However, 36 percent cited “likes and dislikes about religious institutions, practices and people.” Many people who left a religion to become unaffiliated say they did so, in part, because they think of religious people as hypocritical or judgmental, because religious organizations focus too much on rules or because religious leaders are too focused on power and money.

“Among the 16 percent of Americans who say they are now unaffiliated with any religion, most are former Protestants and Catholics who say they didn’t quit in a huff or get lured away by science or by atheist philosophy; about 70 percent say ‘they just gradually drifted away’ from their childhood religion. Some people (16 percent) return to the fold, saying they tried another religion or two but are now back in the faith of their childhood.

“Combined with the 44 percent of the public that currently espouses a religion different than their childhood faith, this means that roughly half of the U.S. adult population has changed religion at some point in their life,” the report says. John Green, a Pew senior fellow, sees “no simple answer for retaining members. [The findings] suggest that one thing that might be needed to recruit and keep members is vibrant and vital congregations — a tough thing to create.” (adapted from USA Today report, 4-27-09)


In a recent article in the Southern Seminary magazine, Hershael York shares: “PBS documentary ‘Carrier’ is a fascinating look at life on board the USS Nimitz, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that bestowed its name on an entire class of ships. More than 5,000 sailors and marines live in this floating armed city that the president can dispatch to extend the military might of the United States wherever in the world it may be needed. An aircraft carrier is a mobile, four-acre expression of United States sovereignty in the global matrix of power and diplomacy.

“Though the crew who serve on the Nimitz may perform radically different jobs, they all work toward one purpose: to maintain and launch aircraft that can deliver ordinance and demolish chosen targets. Food service personnel, pilots and machinists are all there to make sure that the Nimitz does its job in any circumstance and at any place in the world.

“Every day crews from various departments abandon their usual assignments and leave their typical tasks to participate in a curious ritual called an ‘FOD walk.’ FOD, an acronym for ‘foreign object damage,’ is anathema to the 85 aircraft that call Nimitz home. On an FOD walk, the crews walk every inch of the deck in three or four lines that stretch from one side of the ship to the other. With their heads down and their eyes focused on the deck beneath them, they painstakingly search for an errant screw or a shred of metal because they know that a tiny sliver of metal can damage and ruin a multi-million dollar aircraft and even cost lives. They have been made painfully aware that carelessness can do what the most sophisticated enemy weapons can seldom accomplish: take the Nimitz and its flight deck out of commission.

“While we’ve all heard the horror stories of pastors who fall into sexual sin or embezzle funds, far more pastors lose their ministries — or, at the very least their joy — because they don’t vigilantly keep watch on the little things in their lives and ministries. In the same way that a screw or a piece of metal that is useful in its proper place can cause a crash if separated from its purpose, pastors who don’t faithfully guard against it can find that even a good thing out of place can wreak havoc.”

York concludes with this: “No pastor can find the perfect formula for success, the failsafe recipe for balancing church and home, ministry and family. But if he is willing to take as much care for his calling as sailors take for the deck of an aircraft carrier, he can identify and remove the little things that would disable him. If God has called him to shepherd both a family and a church, then God is most glorified when he sees that these ministries complement each other rather than compete.” (Click here to read the full article.)


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.


An Aesop’s Fable tells of a flea who questioned an ox, saying: “Why do you, being so huge and strong, submit to the wrongs you receive from men and slave for them day by day, while I, being so small a creature, mercilessly feed on their flesh?”

The ox replied: “I do not wish to be ungrateful, for I am loved and well cared for by men, and they often pat my head and shoulders.”

“Woe is me,” said the flea, “this very patting which you like, when it happens to me, brings with it my destruction.”

David Jeremiah observes: “When we experience trials, we should be grateful because God only allows such testing in order to bring out the good … to strengthen us. But when Satan tempts us to sin, he is looking to bring out the worst in us … to bring about our destruction. We must be careful to examine every situation and discern whether it is a trial from God or a temptation from Satan, lest we get knocked down by sin when we expected a pat on the head.” (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 4-29-09)


In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. The satellite’s primary mission was to reach Jupiter with a life span of three years. Remarkably, by 1997, 25 years after its launch, Pioneer 10 was more than six billion miles from the sun, beaming back radio signals to scientists on Earth from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a bedroom night light.

In like manner, the seed of faith planted within us is like that tiny 8-watt transmitter. We can keep going and going and going. God has implanted with us all the faith we need. As long as we keep our heart focused on him, God can work. (Rick Ezell, One Minute Uplift newsletter; www.rickezell.net)

From the May-June issue of Preaching …

In an article on the great preacher John Chrysostom, Doug Webster writes: “The best preachers are those who preach first to themselves and then to others. The herald hears the Word in the soul before it is spoken in the sanctuary. This was true of John. His ‘prison epistles’ are free from lament and bitterness. He modeled the spiritual direction he sought to give.

“John’s own life was the unspoken metaphor behind the message. He was the hidden parable in the proclamation. The messenger and the message were one. He was the illustration illuminating the text. The end in faithfulness to the end may be a long way off, but it is the only end worth pursuing. I agree with my brother, Saint John, the golden mouth and stalwart contender for the Faith, when he wrote:

“‘Let us then, I encourage you, be sober and vigilant at all times, and let us endure all painful things bravely that we may obtain those everlasting and pure blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power, now and ever throughout all ages. Amen.'”

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: The Teaching Pool, The Power of Multi-sensory Preaching, plus sermons by Charles Stanley and much more. Order your subscription today!

If you want an example of how to introduce a guest speaker in a memorable way — OK, unforgettable way — click here to take a look at this intro of Francis Chan at the recent Exponential ’09 conference.

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
(Ray Bradbury)

The New Testament in Antiquity (Zondervan) is a helpful reference work that provides historical and cultural background on each book of the New Testament. The volume features lots of illustrations and resources to aid in New Testament study.


And speaking of New Testament study, we’ve recently been enjoying three outstanding new commentary releases that should be on the radar of pastors preaching in these texts:

James by Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam K. Kamell, part of the Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series from Zondervan;

Jude & 2 Peter by Gene L. Green, part of the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament;

The Acts of the Apostles by David G. Peterson, a hefty addition to the Pillar New Testament Commentary series from Wm. B. Eerdmans.

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



Bob was nearly frantic — he had an urgent meeting and couldn’t find a parking place. Looking up to heaven, he said, “Lord, take pity on me. If You find me a parking place, I will go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life and give up smoking and drinking!”

Miraculously, a parking place appeared.

Bob looked up again and said, “Never mind, I found one.”



Little children can come up with some very interesting ideas. Listen to what some children wrote to their mothers for Mother’s Day.

Angie, 8 years old, wrote: “Dear Mother, I’m going to make dinner for you on Mother’s Day. It’s going to be a surprise. P.S. I hope you like pizza & popcorn.”

Robert wrote: “I got you a turtle for Mother’s Day. I hope you like the turtle better than the snake I got you last year.”

Eileen wrote: “Dear Mother, I wish Mother’s Day wasn’t always on Sunday. It would be better if it were on Monday so we wouldn’t have to go to school.”

Little Diane wrote: “I hope you like the flowers I got you for Mother’s Day. I picked them myself when Mr. Smith wasn’t looking.”

And how about this one from Carol? “Dear Mother, Here are two aspirins. Have a happy Mother’s Day!”

Next time maybe he’ll try a rolled-up newspaper.

A Portsmouth, England, man learned that a lighter is not an effective tool for killing a spider — after he set his own house on fire.

When firefighters arrived, the man was trying to douse the flames with a garden hose, according to an April 27 UPI news report. They spent about two hours putting out the fire.

Noting that there was surprisingly little damage to the house, a firefighter spokesman said, “We obviously had a chat with the man, but I don’t think he’ll be doing this again.”

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