Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix, Power in the Pulpit: How to Prepare and Deliver Expository Sermons (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999). Hardcover, 391 pages. ISBN 0-8024-7740-2. $29.99.
This book combines and expands two prior books on preaching by Jerry Vines, co-pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Those two smaller books have been merged, reorganized, and updated by Jim Shaddix, assistant professor of preaching at New Orleans Baptist Seminary. The result is a comprehensive treatment of expository preaching that will be of value to both the preacher-in-training as well as the experienced pastor.
Power in the Pulpit is rare among preaching texts in that nearly a third of the book is given to the development of the preacher — philosophically, intellectually, spiritually and physically. Another third is devoted to the actual delivery of the sermon, as compared to the development of the sermon which dominates most books on preaching. Indeed, some of the book’s most helpful insights will be found in this extended treatment of sermon delivery.
The book is well-written and reads quickly, thanks in part to a variety of interesting features contained within the chapters, such as “Introduction Ichabods” (such as “Do not intrdouce your message by telling the people how poorly you have prepared or how little you know about the subject.”) and “Application Attributes” (such as “Do not hesitate to exhort … Some of the best application you will ever do will be the times you earnestly plead with your people to believe something or to act in a certain way.”)
Both Vines and Shaddix are committed to the systematic exposition of scripture in the pulpit, and their outstanding volume will help preachers more effectively preach the Word. Bryan Chapell, The Wonder of it All (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1999). Paper, 300 pages. ISBN 1-58134-061-3.
Bryan Chapell is emerging as one of the finest preachers and teachers of preaching in the evangelical church today, and this latest volume offers a wonderful model of a thematic series of biblical sermons that will speak to the needs of people in this culture. (Don’t expect anything in the book to tell you these started out as sermons! Sermon books aren’t often published these days, but the Christian bestseller lists are filled with books by Swindoll, MacArthur, Lucado and others that were initially developed as sermon series and then “desermonized” into popular book form.)
Subtitled “Rediscovering the Treasures of Your Faith,” Chapell’s book helps readers gain a fresh understanding of the significance of many of the essential truths of the Christian faith. Like much of the best expository preaching today, the biblical text is dealt with in a way that emphasizes the application of the Word to our lives.
Chapell is president and professor of preaching at Covenant Theological Seminary n St. Louis, MO.
Charles R. Swindoll, Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1999). Hardcover, 376 pages, ISBN 0-8499-1385-3. $19.99.
Speaking of sermon series, here is the latest in a collection of books by Swindoll that were originally born as sermons on the lives of great figures of the Bible (such as David, Esther and Joseph). I remember as a teenager listening to the David series on the radio, and even borrowed a couple of outlines for some of my early homiletical efforts. (Sorry, Chuck!) Now these excellent biographical series are being collected in book form, and preachers will benefit from each.
There is great preaching material here. Beyond that, preachers will benefit from the personal insights concerning these great men and women of faith; our lives can be renewed as we share in their lives. And congratulations to Word: these are beautifully produced books. The cover art should be reproduced and made available for framing!
Swindoll, known to many through his daily radio program “Insight for Living,” is President of Dallas Theological Seminary, and recently became founding pastor of Stonebriar Community Church.
John Hendrix, Susan Meadors and David Miller, Celebrate Advent: Worship & Learning Resources (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 1999). Trade Paper, 148 pages. ISBN 1-57312-180-0.
As we approach the season of Advent, pastors and worship leaders will find a variety of helpful resources in this small volume. The materials in the book were first created for the congregation of Northside Baptist Church in Clinton, MS, where Hendrix is pastor, Meadors is associate pastor of youth and education, and Miller is liturgist as well as being associate professor of English at Mississippi College.
The book provides background on how the church was prepared for the series, then provides orders of worship for the four Sundays of Advent and for Christmas Eve. Sermons and children’s sermons are included, along with educational activities for various age groups. A church seeking to provide a more comprehensive approach to the Advent season can draw a variety of insights and ideas from this volume.

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