From the Editor:

Thanking Our Pastors

How Do You ReceiveUnction?
Creativity in Music & Preaching

Commitment, Persistence
Why are you here?

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”
(Richard C. Cushing)

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    Vol. 8, No. 5 February 3 , 2009    
Michael Duduit

I’m thinking today about some preachers who have made an influence on my life through their gifts, commitment and friendship.

I’m thinking about Adrian Rogers, who was my childhood pastor for several years, and whose compelling and engaging preaching gave me a sense of the power of the proclamation of God’s Word.

I’m thinking about James Earl Massey, the gentle yet profound preacher who has been a part of the work of Preaching magazine almost since the beginning. His insightful preaching and his wonderful encouragement continue to make a difference in my life.

I’m thinking about preachers, such as Leslie Holmes and Robert Smith, who I first knew as writers and conference speakers, but during the years have become precious friends and gifts of God to my life.

I’m thinking of some innovative preachers, such as Rick Warren, Ed Young and Andy Stanley, who are reminding me the art and craft of preaching never stands still but is always seeking ways to engage and transform lives.

There are so many others who have influenced my life, and are still doing so. How about you? Who are the preachers who have impacted your life and ministry? Why not take a moment today to write and tell them?

Michael Duduit, Editor

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

This week’s Preaching Podcast: Listen to an interview with Louie Giglio, founder of the Passion conferences, as he discusses how to communicate biblical truth with students and young adults today.


In a recent article for the www.LeadershipJournal.net newsletter, Bryan Wilkerson writes: “While unction seems to defy analysis, we know it when we feel it. Certainly, God’s Word never fails to accomplish the purpose for which it was given, even when it is proclaimed without obvious evidence of divine power. But when a message or messenger is anointed by God’s Spirit, the fruit of that ministry of the Word is abundant, dramatic and lasting.

Unction is what Paul experienced in his ministry at Thessalonica. He writes, ‘Our gospel came to you not only with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction.’ Clearly, a force was at work that transcended anything he and his associates could have accomplished in their own strength.

“Having sought the Spirit’s anointing for 20 years, I’ve come to the conclusion unction is like romance: It can’t be forced, but it can be fanned into flame. A suitor cannot command a woman’s affection, but he can court her, creating opportunities for her to fall in love with him. Likewise, preachers cannot command unction, but they can cultivate a relationship with God that allows the Spirit to operate freely and fully in accordance with God’s will.”  (Click here to read the full article.)


In an essay in the new book Performance in Preaching (Baker), Clayton Schmit suggests similarities between musical performance and the preaching act. He observes: “There are traces of the very nature of creativity captured in a human way through the composition of music, and reflective of what is called for in the process of proclamation. Some things only exist when brought to life in the world of sound. Creation is one of them. Music and preaching are others.

“By noting these echoes of divine creativity in music, we are drawn to see more clearly some homiletical ideas. First, understanding the creative process in relation to music releases us from the false assumption that preaching, as a thing made for an aural world, can be made without adequate preparation. In music, bringing notes or words to life in a composition process calls for the composer first to see a text or idea worth setting, and then to select according to the ‘logical rightness and necessity of expression’ those aural symbols that adequately express the idea. Bringing them to life in rehearsal involves the performer(s) applying critical revisions (reworking of interpretation, phrasing, breathing, and so forth) that make for the most adequate performance of the piece. These preparatory activities of perception, selection, revision and rehearsal are not the musical event, or at least not the main event. Yet, they are critical to the successful performance of the piece.

“This is instructive for preachers and an especially good reminder for those whose habits become lax. Effective proclamation, as an outward, performative event, relies on preachers who prepare in appropriate ways for the preaching moment … Certainly God can make use of careless work and can turn inept attempts to good purpose. That is God’s prerogative. It is hard to conceive, however, that it is God’s desire to call preachers to the urgent task of proclamation, only to be satisfied with the work of those who shirk preparation and rely solely on the imagination in the preaching moment. God clearly intends to inspire the work preachers do in the study, as well as that which takes place in the pulpit.” (Click here to learn more about the book Performance in Preaching.)


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 1976 Oscar-winning movie Rocky is the story of a small-time boxer who trained long and hard for the opportunity to fight heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed. When he lost the first fight against Creed, he resolved to train harder and fight him again. He said all he wanted to do was “go the distance” with Creed. When he finally did go the distance, he was bloody, swollen, broken and completely exhausted. But he had finished the fight!

David Jeremiah says, “The original Rocky Balboa was Paul in the New Testament. He was beaten; stoned; shipwrecked; in perils of waters, robbers, his own countrymen, in the city, in the wilderness, and at sea (2 Cor. 11:22-31). Yet, his one desire was to go the distance for Christ, and he did. Paul was able to remain committed to Christ because he trusted Him with his future and his life.

“We should all strive for complete commitment in our walk with Christ; and when the going gets rough, let us not quickly forget our promise. Resolve to go the distance for the glory of God!” (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 1-28-09)


The church in the world is a lot like the story that E. Stanley Jones tells of the missionary in the jungle. He got lost with nothing around him but bush and a few cleared places. He finally found a small village and asked one of the natives if he could lead him out of the jungle. The native said he could. “All right,” the missionary said, “Show me the way.” They walked for hours through dense brush hacking their way through unmarked jungle. The missionary began to worry and said, “Are you quite sure this is the way? Where is the path?” The native said. “Bwana, in this place there is no path. I am the path.”

Our path out of the jungle of this world is God in Christ. We may have some Rabbis, Masters, Father’s, Teachers and Reverends; but we are all like the missionary. We rely not upon men but Christ, who is our path. (Brett Blair, www.eSermons.com newsletter)

From the March-April issue of Preaching …

In an interview with James Emery White, he talks about the relationship of preaching and culture: “I think it helps to define culture. The simplest definition I know of is, ‘Culture is the world into which you were born, and the world that was born in you.’ It is our matrix. It is the air we breathe. It is television, music, drama, what’s on AOL — everything that is swimming around us, and it is largely self-created. It is that which we have made.

“Now when you consider culture is essentially our context, then you realize preaching should always be addressing culture. So I don’t think it’s a unique sermon series. I don’t think there should ever be a talk — there can’t be a talk that’s effective — that’s going to ignore the context of the listener, the world of that listener. So, you can start isolating certain aspects of culture — a popular song, a book Oprah produces or highlights, a hot film, a Supreme Court, a newly elected candidate … You can talk about aspects and focus in on them, but in many ways that could force you to miss the larger currents that are present in the lives of the people you’re talking to, regardless of your topic.

“So, I think there are two dynamics here for a communicator. One, you need to be in tune with the large currents of our culture that are present in everybody’s life and thinking. There are certain things I know are present in the people to whom I talk. They don’t believe in truth. They’re pretty dubious about Scripture. Tolerance is the ultimate virtue. Science reigns supreme for factual truth; and everything I just said is true of Christians, too. This first set of things I have to be mindful of no matter what I’m talking about. It’s just our playing field.”

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 March-April issue of Preaching: Our annual survey of the year’s best books for preachers, plus an interview with James Emery White, articles on preaching in tough financial times and “Preaching in HD,” sermons by Stuart Briscoe, John Huffman, Mike Glenn and much more. Order your subscription today!

In a recent issue of Baptist Press, Ken Hemphill offers an excellent article about the principles of grace-empowered giving that would be a good resource for stewardship messages. You can find it here.

“If you have accompished all that you have planned for yourself, you have not planned enough.” (Edward Everett Hale)

The Good, The True, and the Beautiful (Chalice Press), edited by Harry Lee Poe and Rebecca Whitten Poe, is a marvelous collection of insightful meditations demonstrating that the hunger postmodernity feels can be satisfied only in Christ. The meditations originally were presented at the sixth triennial C.S. Lewis Summer Institute. Among the contributors are Rick Warren, Ben Patterson and Frederica Matthewes-Green. Preachers and teachers will find here great ideas to ponder and helpful resources to share.


Vision is one of the major concerns of pastors today. No wonder, then, that George Barna’s book The Power of Vision (Regal) continues to be updated and re-released. The third edition is now available, in which Barna explores what vision is and why it matters, how vision differs from mission, and how to discover God’s vision for your own ministry.


Are you frustrated with the realization that so many in your church never have grown in their faith? In Strategic Disciple Making (Baker), Aubrey Malphurs helps leaders understand how to make biblical discipleship a centerpiece of their church’s ministries.

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


The teacher noticed one of her students was struggling with her arithmetic assignment. Recognizing the girl was shy and probably wouldn’t ask for assistance, the teacher went to the child and asked if she could help.

After she had helped the student work through the problem, the girl thanked the teacher. The teacher replied, “That’s one of the reasons I am here.”

The girl thought about that for a moment and then asked, “What’s the other reason?”


~ you know the four seasons: winter, still winter, not winter and almost winter.

~ you design your Halloween costumes to fit over a snowsuit.

~ you have more miles on your snow blower than your car.

~ driving in winter is better, because all the potholes get filled with snow.

~ you feel warm and toasty at minus 26.

~ you find minus 40 a mite chilly.

~ the trunk of your car doubles as a deep freezer.

~ somewhere in the area is a piece of frozen metal with bits of your tongue stuck to it.

~ you thought Grumpy Old Men was a documentary.

~ your dog wears boots, too.

~ if you don’t go out for lunch you miss the sunrise and sunset.

~ there is a sign outside of McDonalds that says: “Park dog teams in back.”

~ if the school district had snow days, no one ever would have to go to school.

~ you live in a house that has no front steps, yet the door is one yard above the ground.

~ you think the start of deer hunting season is a national holiday.

(Mikey’s Funnies)

This hot dog vendor took things a little too literally.

A Moroccan merchant was jailed for six years after substituting dog meat for beef in the meals he served. He admitted to using a mix of dog meat and chemicals to conceal the different odor and color, according to a Jan. 30 report from AFP.

The vendor also was fined 10,000 dirhams ($1,185). Four accomplices also were jailed for helping with hunting and shooting the dogs.

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