From the Editor:



Preach in the Present Tense
Principles of Authentic Worship


Encouragement, Vision
God’s Will
Strategy, Mistakes

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend."
Martin Luther
King Jr.


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    Vol. 8, No. 18 May 12 , 2009    

Michael Duduit

As I wrote this week’s newsletter, I’m dealing with a frustrating pop-up ad that keeps showing up on my laptop screen every 30 seconds or so. It is powered by some spyware that found its way onto my computer, probably through an attachment containing a wonderful article or sermon for Preaching magazine. At least I’m telling myself that, since it satisfies my sense of irony.

Even more ironic is that the pop-up says my computer has been infected and that I should buy their spyware. Duh! That’s a bit like the defendant who had killed his parents and then asked the judge for mercy because he was an orphan.

I asked someone who follows such things why they use such an annoying technique; and my friend pointed out that a certain percentage of people pull out their credit cards in the face of such annoyance, hoping that it will cause the ads to go away.

It strikes me that our culture often has a similar effect on believers. The constant wear of secularizing influences takes its toll, and too often the church simply decides to go along in hopes that it will somehow appease its attackers. But it doesn’t, and we end up in far worse shape than if we hadn’t given in.

Meanwhile, please pray for me and my laptop. And pray for the salvation of the people who wrote this spyware!

Michael Duduit, Editor

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

There will not be an issue of Preaching Now next week.

On this week’s Preaching Podcast: Does the type of biblical literary genre impact the kind of sermon you preach? Jeffrey Arthurs of Gordon-Conwell Seminary says "yes" in his book Preaching with Variety (Kregel), and in this podcast we visit with him about that topic.


In a recent article for Pastors.com, Warren Wiersbe relates: "A father was showing his young son the wonders of the city museum, when his son spoke up rather loudly and said, ‘Dad, let’s go someplace where the people and animals are real!’ They went to the zoo.

"A museum is a great place to study the past, and there is nothing wrong with that; but most of us confess that the zoo is far more interesting. When you get tired of looking at animals, you can always watch the people. After all, that’s how the animals are entertained!

"Too often, we treat the Bible like a museum and do all of our preaching in the past tense. The sermon is a history lesson instead of an exciting encounter with the living truth. We are guides in a museum, dusting off the artifacts and explaining the exhibits. And while we are lecturing, our people are saying to themselves, ‘We wish we could go someplace where things are alive and real!’"

Among the techniques Wiersbe suggests to help us preach in the present tense is imagination. He writes:

"Imagination is the ability to take something old and from it make something new. It is penetrating deeper into reality so that we see relationships that we never saw before. There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new ways to understand and apply old truths.

"The Bible is a book of symbols, images, parables and other forms of imaginative literature; and it is impossible to interpret it accurately without a sanctified imagination. As we better understand what the Bible record says, we can better apply it to the needs of people today. This the work of the imagination — building a bridge of truth from an ancient Book to needy hearts today." (Click here to read the full article.)


In his chapter on worship in the book innovatechurch (B&H Books), Charles Billingsley shares five principles that he learned from Vernon Whaley:

1. "Our success in public worship is a direct reflection of our commitment to worshiping together in unity. We must get along with each other.

2. Our success for genuine worship replicates our heart motive for worship. The only one deserving credit for what God has done is God Himself. At Thomas Road Church, we have come to depend on the individual and corporate policy of ‘Not I, but Christ.’

3. Our success for acceptable worship is not dependent upon ability or skill. No one is indispensable. God can do quite well without us.

4. Our success for holy worship displays our own personal desire to see the glory of God revealed. God’s desire for all nations is likewise that His glory is revealed.

5. Our success in leading worship is in direct proportion to the presence of God upon our own lives. We cannot expect to lead anyone in worship if we haven’t been in His presence ourselves."


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.


Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band, he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch; and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you." (from Mikey’s Funnies)


In 1968 army surgeon Kenneth Swan arrived in Vietnam and received his first case: a 19-year-old soldier who had lost his eyesight and both legs to a grenade. Dr. Swan fought for seven grueling hours to put the young soldier back together. To his surprise, the next day Swan was criticized by his colleagues; they felt the soldier would have been better off dead. For 20 years those words haunted Dr. Swan, and he wondered if he had done the right thing. He got his answer when, after two years of searching, he found the soldier, in his 40s, living a full life as a husband and father who had attended college, learned to scuba dive, trained others with debilitating injuries and had a loving relationship with the Lord.

When God asks us to do something, we rarely, if ever, know all the details. We can either choose to do God’s will and trust Him for the outcome, or back away and miss the blessing simply because we don’t know the details. God knows the beginning from the end; and you can trust that even when it doesn’t make sense to you, it’s all a part of God’s glorious plan. (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 10-24-08)

From the May-June issue of Preaching …

In a sermon titled "Almost Persuaded," Bill Bouknight shares this illustration: "In one of his books, Bruce Larson tells about a Presbyterian conference that was held in Omaha. It began with a worship service. As the people entered the auditorium they were given helium-filled balloons attached to strings. They were instructed to release those balloons at any point during the service when they felt real joy in their hearts. Larson noted that since they were Presbyterian, they were not free to say, ‘Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!’ (Sometimes we Methodists have a hard time with that, too.) All through the service, balloons ascended. But when the service was over, it was discovered that one-third of the worshipers were still holding on to their balloons. They had not felt the joy. It’s sad but true. Lots of folks in churches have never felt the unique joy of knowing Christ personally."

Every issue of Preaching contains insightful articles
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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!

Union University recently sponsored a conference called "Word Within the Word: New Testament Uses of the Old Testament." They have made available audio recordings of sessions by D.A. Carson and a host of others. You can find them (and listen) here.

"Satan would like nothing better than to have you stop your ministry and start answering your critics." (Billy Graham)

Cleophus LaRue has compiled a second volume offering a sampling of sermons from well-known African-American preachers. More Power in the Pulpit (Westminster John Knox) offers essays on preaching, followed by sermons from the contributors.


The May-June issue of Preaching features an article on the growing trend of using teams as part of a church’s preaching ministry. In a related vein, Len Wilson and Jason Moore have written Taking Flight with Creativity: Worship Design Teams That Work (Abingdon) packed with practical counsel on how to develop and use teams that plan and lead the worship experience in local churches.



And in a more traditional approach to worship planning, Mark Dever and Sinclair Ferguson present an interesting volume of The Westminster Directory of Public Worship. The book includes the original text of the Westminster Directory, plus an essay by Ferguson on "Puritans — Ministers of the World" and Dever’s essay on "Preaching Like the Puritans."

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


A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, "This kid is not so bright. Watch while I prove it to you."

The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, "Which do you want, son?"

The boy takes the quarters and leaves the dollar.

"What did I tell you?" said the barber. "That kid never learns!"

Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store and says, "Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?"

The boy licked his cone and replied, "Because the day I take the dollar, the game’s over!"



"A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what’s left of your unit."
-Army’s magazine of preventive maintenance

"Aim toward the enemy."
-Instruction printed on U.S. rocket launcher

"When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend."
-U.S. Marine Corps

"Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed to always hit the ground."
-U.S.A.F. Ammo Troop

"If the enemy is in range, so are you."
Infantry Journal

"It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed."
-U.S. Air Force Manual

"Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."
-General MacArthur

"Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo."
Infantry Journal

"You, you, and you . . . panic. The rest of you, come with me."
-U.S. Marine Corp Gunnery Sergeant

"Tracers work both ways."
-U.S. Army Ordnance

"Five-second fuses only last three seconds."
Infantry Journal

"Don’t ever be the first, don’t ever be the last, and don’t ever volunteer to do anything."
-U.S. Navy swabbie

"Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid."
-David Hackworth

"If your attack is going too well, you’re walking into an ambush."
Infantry Journal

"No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection."
-Joe Gay

"Any ship can be a minesweeper … once."
–Unknown source

"Never tell the platoon sergeant you have nothing to do."
-Unknown marine recruit

"Don’t draw fire; it irritates the people around you."
-Your buddies

"If you see a bomb technician running, follow him."
-U.S.A.F. Ammo Troop 
(Pastor Tim’s CleanLaugh List)

As the cartoon character Pogo used to say, "We have met the enemy, and they is us."

That’s likely how an elderly German man felt after calling the police to report his annoying neighbors, who kept playing the same serenade over and over. The 82-year-old told officers he was sick of the music, which would come at irregular intervals and at all hours.

According to the May 12 AP story, upon further investigation, police found the tune was coming from a musical greeting card that was on his own windowsill. Occasional breezes opened the card just enough to play an irritating tune.

Police report that the man was pleased to learn his neighbors weren’t intentionally trying to annoy him.

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