Beginning with this issue, Preaching will regularly include sermon ideas, outlines, illustrations and other helps related to the texts suggested in the Common Lectionary used by pastors in several denominations. Such material will not only be useful to the preacher who uses a lectionary as a guide, but to anyone looking for sermon resources.
The focus in this issue is on messages from Mark, which is the Gospel selection of the Common Lectionary during September and October. A series of messages from this important book will offer important insights and challenges to any congregation.
September 1
“Spiritual Substitutes”
(Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23)
These days we are bombarded with artificial merchandise — substitutes for the real thing. We watch our waistlines by avoiding sugar and substituting artificial sweeteners. We spend a fortune putting drapes over our windows, then spend more on artificial lighting. One popular soft drink was known as “the real thing,” but even that has undergone a change to a new formula.
That happens in our spiritual lives as well. We look for substitutes that will help us avoid the authentic demands of the Gospel.
I. Some Use Legalism As A Spiritual Substitute
The Pharisees had a passion for obedience to the Law. They took the great principles of the Old Testament law and created an elaborate set of rules and regulations on top of it — a “hedge about the law.” Rules were created to direct every aspect of life.
Have you ever watched a child who has been given instructions, but waits to find some way to get what he or she wants while still technically obeying the parents’ orders? Jesus pointed out that adherence to the letter of the law was not enough (v. 6b). External obedience is no substitute for a heart and life committed to God. We can attend church, contribute, live proper lives from an external viewpoint, and still be unclean.
II. Some Use Tradition As A Spiritual Substitute
Someone once wrote a book entitled: The Seven Last Words of the Church – We’ve Never Done It That Way Before. Tradition can be a positive force, preserving the wisdom of past generations, but it can also become a negative force and a source of pride.
The Pharisees were concerned that Jesus’ disciples were violating the tradition. Their concern was not with the spiritual welfare of these followers of Jesus; they were upset that their ceremonies were being ignored. Jesus counters them forcefully: human tradition is no substitute for the word and will of God (v. 8).
III. Only A Clean Heart Offers Spiritual Life
Jesus took the focus off of externals — like foods and ceremonies — and shifted it to the only true source of spiritual life: a heart cleansed by God’s Spirit. It is not what goes into persons that alienates them from God, but what comes out of them, because the latter reflects the true condition of their lives. The list of abuses (vv. 21-22) shows the inevitable fruit of a life apart from a right relationship with God.
There is no substitute for the reality of a life transformed by faith in Jesus Christ.
September 8
(Mark 7:31-37)
It would be hard to imagine the isolation experienced by a handicapped person in the first century. It is difficult enough in our day, but think about what it must have been like with so little understanding, no special training, no sign language or other aids, none of the technology that helps many handicapped persons in our day. What frustration and despair must have been felt by such persons!
So what an exciting drama to see Jesus restore a man to the fulness of life — just as He seeks to restore us to life’s abundance. Observe first:
I. The Trust Of His Friends (v. 32)
Here is a man who is blessed. Despite his handicaps of deafness and a speech impediment, he had friends who cared about him and led him to Jesus. Why? Because they trusted that Jesus could make a difference in his life.
All around us are people who also need to know Jesus. Do we trust Him enough to bring people to Him for healing of body and soul? Notice the second element in our drama of restoration:
II. The Touch Of His Saviour (vv. 33-35)
Two things stand out in the way Jesus deals with this man: first, He deals compassionately — taking him away from the crowds to avoid embarrasment, refusing to make a show of his healing; second, He deals individually — taking the time to show the man what was about to take place, communicating in signs which the man could understand.
One of the most inspiring plays written in recent years was “The Miracle Worker,” which tells the story of Anne Sullivan and her efforts to teach young Helen Keller. Helen had been born without sight, speech or hearing. It was a thrilling scene when awareness finally came to Helen as Anne Sullivan placed Helen’s hands against objects then signed words into Helen’s open palm. The miracle of touch brought the miracle of communication.
The touch of Jesus brings the miracle of healing to us, as it did to this man. The word of Jesus’ prayer was an Aramaic word Mark does not translate, but transliterates. Ephphatha is normally translated “be opened,” but one translator renders it “be unbarred.” There is real truth there, for the touch of Jesus takes away the bars — loosens the shackles — that bind us. There is a final element to the drama:
III. The Telling Of The Story (vv. 36-37)
Jesus instructed the man and his friends to keep quiet about the miracle they had just observed, but they would not be silenced. Instead, they spread the news far and wide. Mark even uses the root of kerygma to describe their announcement — they proclaimed good news about Jesus.
Alan Richardson once described the Gospel as “hot potato news.” When someone tosses you a hot potato, you don’t stand around discussing the merits of potatoes — you toss it on quickly. The Gospel is that kind of news — when Jesus Christ has touched your life, you have a desire to pass it along.
September 15
“Who Is This Jesus”
(Mark 8:27-35)
For many years Louis Cassells was religion editor for one of the major national wire services. Once a college student said to him, “I would like to believe the things Christians believe about Jesus, but I just find the story too incredible.” To that Cassells replied: “Tell me, which part of the biblical record of Jesus’ life do you find more improbable than the fact that you and I are talking about Him, debating who He was and what His life signified, 2,000 years after He was executed as a criminal in an obscure province of the Roman Empire?”
Amazing, isn’t it? A Jewish carpenter spent most of His life in a small village and barely reached the age of 33 before being executed, yet 20 centuries later we record our history by Him, we sing songs and write books about Him, and continue to be fascinated with His life. We face the same questions as the disciples: Who is this Jesus?
I. What Do Others Say? (vv. 27-28)
They answered Jesus’ question with a survey of popular opinion. The answers reflect two truths: 1. The people thought highly of Jesus, identifying Him with the great prophets/teachers; 2. He was not considered their Messiah or Lord.
Now as then, people think well of Jesus. A street-corner sampling of opinion would generate an overwhelmingly positive response to the question, “What do you think about Jesus?” But an evaluation of lives reveals that most do not recognize Him as Lord.
II. What Do You Say? (v. 29)
It is our personal response that is crucial. Who is Jesus for you? Peter’s response was radical, for he was identifying Jesus as the Messiah, the expected deliverer from God. Each of us faces the same question, and must answer individually.
Those who teach mathematics often must wait for their students to have a “eureka experience.” The word comes from the days of gold mining, when a prospector would discover those first bits of gold ore and shout, “Eureka! I’ve found it!” The eureka experience is that point at which the facts we have learned suddenly come together so that understanding breaks through.
Each of us must have a eureka experience with God, coming to the point in our own lives when we can say, “I’ve found Him. He’s mine!” It is not enough to know what others say about Jesus. You must discover Jesus for yourself.
III. What Does He Say? (vv. 30-35)
Jesus accepts Peter’s confession as true, but He goes beyond Peter’s statement to explain the kind of Messiah He is: not a conquering general as they expected, but a suffering servant. His dominion would not be established with a sword, but with a cross. And as with the Lord, so with His followers: the way of Jesus is a path of self-denial and service.
Like many in the German church chose to do, Dietrich Bonhoeffer could have remained silent in the face of Adolf Hitler’s growing power and evil activity. But because his faith allowed no such passivity, Bonhoeffer was arrested, placed in a concentration camp, and killed only days before the camp was liberated. In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer wrote as one who lived his words: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
The call of Christ to us is a call to recognize who He is and to lay our lives before Him in faith and obedience.
September 22
“The Paradox of Greatness”
(Mark 9:30-37)
If you were asked to name the ten greatest people in America, what names would end up on your list? Some would name a significant political leader. Maybe you would think of Lee Iacocca or some other corporate head. What about a famous person from movies or television or sports? Chances are our lists would include people who have achieved some place of fame or high position, even in the religious world. That’s because the world has taught us that greatness is the result of financial success or professional achievement or places of power.
How strange that Jesus seems to contradict all of those ideas in addressing the issue of greatness. What does He have to say about true greatness?
I. The One Who Will Be First Must Be Last
A book was published a few years ago with the intriguing title, Looking Out For #1. No wonder it sold — it struck a responsive chord. We are taught in many ways to look out for ourselves first; if we don’t, nobody will.
Yet Jesus said that to be first, we must be last. He even lived it out, claiming not a crown but a cross.
William Barclay tells the story of Paedaretos who lived in Sparta in ancient Greece. A group of 300 men were to be chosen to govern Sparta. Though Paedaretos was a candidate, his name was not on the final list. Some of his friends sought to console him, but he simply replied, “I am glad that in Sparta there are 300 men better than I am.” He became a legend because of his willingness to stand aside while others took the places of glory and honor.
Who in your church is quietly, faithfully doing the dirty work while others are in the limelight? Are we willing to seek God’s will, even if it means we might be out of the spotlight? Will we do those essential jobs for Christ even when no one is there to recognize us? He who is to be first must be last.
II. The One Who Will Be Great Must Serve
Another paradox: greatness in the Kingdom of God is not measured by having servants, but by being a servant. It is in serving others that we achieve greatness by God’s standards.
That isn’t really what we have in mind most of the time, though, is it? Service isn’t our style. Often we would echo the words of Wilbur Rees: “I would like to buy $3 worth of God please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ectasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.” (from When I Relax I Feel Guilty by Tim Hansel)
A commentator once observed that life is like tennis: the player who serves well seldom loses.
III. The One Who Will Be Mature Must Be As A Child
Jesus often taught through some action that became a striking symbol. This day, having just stressed the need to set aside ambition and substitute servanthood, Jesus calls to His side a child. A child represents what Jesus is trying to teach about the Christian life and greatness: 1. A child is willing to obey; 2. A child is willing to receive; 3. A child is willing to trust.
Leonard Griffith told about a village in India where a missionary was going to delay a boy’s baptism because of his age, but the villagers insisted that he be baptized — it turned out that he was their pastor. After attending a mission school in another village, the boy had shared his new faith and led many to Christ. In his humility and openness to God’s love, the boy illustrated the true greatness to which Christ calls us.
September 29
“Called To Care”
(Mark 9:38-48)
One Methodist campus minister told about a summer he spent working in the slums of Chicago while he attended college. That fall he returned to school and to the pastorate he held with a small congregation. During that first service he shared the pain he had felt at the deprivation and despair he found in the city. One church member, who had retired from a position as head of a major corporation, came to the young pastor after the service and said, “Don’t worry about it, son. You’ll get to the point that such things won’t bother you anymore.”
Such advice is just the opposite of the Gospel’s message. Jesus cared deeply about the needs of those around Him, and He calls us to care as well.
I. We Are Called To Care About Those Who Are Different (vv. 38-44)
John proudly announces to Jesus that he and others among the group had found a man exorcising demons in Christ’s name, and had forbidden him to continue because he was not one of their group.
Does that sound familiar? The spirit of intolerance is always with us, but Jesus would have no part of it. Because this person is using Jesus’ name, He is at least not hostile like the scribes, and may yet be drawn into a full relationship with God.
We must care about those who are different. Instead of building walls of separation, we can build bridges of communication and compassion. Unlike those who said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?,” let’s be open and loving toward those who are not like us.
II. We Are Called To Care About Those Who Are Weak (v. 42)
“Little ones” most likely refers to weak or immature Christians, as in Romans 14-15. This is not a reference to doing something which may be misunderstood and thus cause offense, but to clearly tempting someone to do something we know to be evil. It is a serious offense, as shown in the harsh punishment deserved.
What does this have to do with us? Does it touch us at the workplace, where we ask employees to cut corners or damage their integrity for the sake of a little extra profit? Does it touch us at home, where our children may learn to cheat on taxes, or abuse their spouse, or enjoy “roast preacher” for Sunday dinner.
If we care about those who are weak, we will seek to offer a model of a Christian lifestyle, and we will certainly avoid leading them into evil.
III. We Are Called To Care About Our Own Salvation (vv. 43-48)
Have you seen the television program, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?” We are given a peek at the luxurious lives of the wealthy — those who have “made it.” Or have they? The headlines remind us that riches do not guarantee joy, peace, satisfaction. That’s why Jesus asked what good it would do to have all the world’s possessions and lose one’s own soul.
The stress here is on the value of your relationship with Christ. Nothing should be allowed to disrupt that. You can live without anything except Christ, for apart from Him there is no real life.
George W. Truett spent 40 years as pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas. One Sunday after the service he went to an elderly man who was clearly upset. The man had only recently become a Christian, and Truett asked why he was concerned. He explained that Truett’s sermon had spoken to his life: “No man liveth to himself.”
“I came to know Christ at 68. As I came to church this morning, I stopped and tried to get my sons to come with me, but they all shrugged me off saying, ‘We’ll go to church when we get your age.’ Then I talked to my grandchildren, who are becoming adults themselves. They just laughed and said, ‘Guess we’ll start church when we get about 68 or 70.'”
The elderly man cried out, “I would have this arm cut from my shoulder if I could live my life over again. I would have this head cut from my body if only I could go back and teach my boys how a Christian father ought to live!”
There is still time for you to care, to give yourself to Christ and those who need you. Do you care? The call to care is a call to give ourselves to Him — in faith, in obedience, in service.
October 6
“Making The Most Of Marriage”
(Mark 10:2-16)
Marriage is an institution under attack. There is now nearly one divorce for every two marriages, and that figure is much higher in some areas. In one recent survey, 75 percent of those questioned considered their marriages unhappy.
A similar situation existed in the time of Christ. Divorce was commonplace; in fact, one of the major theological issues concerned how serious an offense a wife must commit before her husband could divorce her. (Notice that it only went one way — the wife had no rights at all in such questions.)
Jesus went beyond the letter of the law to focus on God’s purpose in marriage: to create a permanent and significant union between two people. To strengthen marriages in our day, we need to rediscover the foundational principles of Christ.
I. We Are Created For God, Not For Ourselves
Echoing the words of Genesis (v. 6), we are reminded that we were created for relationship with God. Marriage helps us become more fully human, thus strengthening our relationship with God. Marriage must be centered in Him.
Marriage is not the answer to all our problems, yet our culture often claims a mate can do for us what only God can do. You will never be able to use a spouse to fill the God-shaped void in your life. Only as we find ourselves in God’s love can we fully be transmitters of that love in the marriage relationship.
Harold Bryson reports that in Uganda there is one tribe that may soon cease to exist, according to some sociologists. The reason for their decline is an overwhelming selfishness that has come to shape the people’s lives. They have begun to live entirely for self. At the age of 3, children are put out of the home to struggle for their own survival. One anthropologist says that not a single person in the tribe can remember an act of kindness. As they have become consumed with concern for self, they have lost the capacity to love.
That is the message of the Scripture — only as we turn from self and find our meaning and purpose in relationship to God do we truly find life and become capable of full relationships with others.
II. Love Is Based In Will, Not In Feeling
Hollywood tells us that love is physical or emotional. Maybe that’s why marriages seem to be so troubled there: when feelings shift and things get tough, it’s easier to move on to the next marriage than to work on the first.
But as one contemporary Christian song says, “Love is not a feeling, it’s an act of the will.” Biblical love is commitment, not just emotion. Love is not lightheadedness and hearing bells and seeing fireworks. Love is choosing to give one’s life to another — to seek that person’s best, whatever my feelings at the moment.
That’s why love is not something you fall in and out of. It is choosing to unite with another in a lifetime bond. That kind of commitment comes out of a God-given love. So Christian marriage is truly a gift of God.
III. The Key To Christian Marriage is Oneness (vv. 7-8)
One young woman told her pastor: “I’m waiting to find a Christian husband, and then I’ll have a Christian marriage.” She is in for a painful disappointment if she thinks all that is required for a Christian marriage is for two Christians to get married. True Christian marriage is based on oneness in Christ. It’s new math: one plus one equals one.
As we accept God’s grace, we sense His forgiveness and acceptance. Since God accepts me, I can accept myself and my spouse. As Bill Gaither’s lyric says, “I am loved, I am loved, I can risk loving you.” When we realize God is for us, we can be for our mates, and give ourselves to them.
Oneness requires several things: 1. Honesty. 2. Vulnerability. 3. Expression of our needs. 4. Affirmation.
The miracle of Christian marriage occurs when two minds together seek the mind of Christ. No longer two, but one.
October 13
“What Lack I Yet?”
(Mark 10:17-30)
There are certain characters in literature — even the Bible — who become famous as objects of scorn or ridicule. The inkeeper of the nativity story is one such character. Preachers have raked that poor soul over the coals for centuries. Another such character is the rich young ruler of this story, who rejected Christ’s personal word to him.
Our assumption is that we’d have done things differently — but would we? He certainly had several things in his favor:
1. Boldness. He was a ruler, Luke tells us, perhaps even a member of the Sanhedrin. Not many of these folks would be seen with Jesus — even Nicodemus came by cover of night — but this man comes by the light of day. How many of us are so bold when given the chance to say a word for Jesus?
2. Enthusiasm. He came running. Dignity did not stand in his way.
3. Humility. There on the road he knelt before Jesus. He wasn’t afraid of what others might say, or that his prestige might drop. Pride was not an obstacle that kept him from Jesus.
4. Sincerity. He did not mouth pious platitudes or paint an elaborate pretense. He went right to the heart of the problem: How do I find life? He had the right question and he asked from a sincere heart. Many of us could do a lot worse! But all was not happy; notice first:
I. The Restlessness Of An Unfulfilled Life
There was a sense of imcompleteness to which many of us can relate: “I’ve got everything that’s supposed to make life happy. So why do I still feel something’s missing?”
Many people today travel the same road. It can easily lead to depression, despair, even suicide. Or it can lead, as it did here, to Jesus.
Observe that even an upright life did not bring satisfaction. He did sincerely try to keep the commandments. Jesus sensed his sincerity, or we can be sure He would have dealt with him as He did with the Pharisees. “Jesus looking upon him loved him.” Yet the young man was naive, for he had neglected the very first commandment. He learned that when faced with …
II. The Request Of A Loving Christ
Hearing this request, can we still feel so superior to this young man? The radical nature of Christ’s command challenges our own attitudes toward wealth and material possessions. If Jesus walked up the aisle in this church and made the same request of you and me, how would we respond?
There is something seductive about money. It can slowly wrap its tentacles about our lives and take control, if we let it. Eventually we can feel like John D. Rockefeller did, who, when asked how much money was enough, replied: “Just a little bit more.”
The true disciple can’t let anything have a higher priority than the Lordship of Christ — thus, the request Jesus made. What kind of request would Jesus make of you today: money, job, status, boat, club, vacation home, even family? What stands ahead of God in the priorities of your life? The rich young ruler discovered something did, thus we sadly witness …
III. The Refusal Of An Unwilling Disciple
The request was too great; the price too high. One thing stood between him and eternal life, and it turned out to be his real god.
Jesus watched sadly as he walked away, and that was that. We don’t like unhappy endings, but here it is. He left emptyhanded, just as people continue to do today, 2,000 years later — clinging to tin treasures while the riches of eternity are left behind.
You do have a choice. The request of a loving and living Christ continues to be extended to us today: to set aside the false priorities we’ve held and discover what it means to live in Him.
October 20
“The Danger of Ambition”
(Mark 10:35-45)
The business schools of most colleges are booming. The best-seller lists are filled with guides to gaining wealth and power. The heroes of this generation are Yuppies (young urban professionals), noted primarily for their conspicuous consumption. Ours is an era of ambition — everyone seeking more, bigger, better.
Of course, ambition is not limited to our time. Even among the small band of Jesus’ disciples, ambition reared its head. Despite the time they had spent with Jesus, despite the things they had learned, here were James and John ambitiously seeking an exalted position over their colleagues.
Though a modest amount of ambition can be a healthy thing, ambition allowed to run free can become a dangerous, driving force that consumes us. Notice what the text shows us about ambition.
I. Ambition Emphasizes Self
James and John were primarily concerned about their own status in the coming Kingdom. Jesus has just discussed His suffering and death, but their response is concern about their own position and power.
In a book of recent years, Christopher Lasch has described our society as a Culture of Narcissism. Self-love does seem the most common romance of our time. Yet ultimately it is an empty relationship. Ambition that drives one to concern only with self can sap life of its fulness as it presses on for that which seems bigger and better. Ambition brings no real satisfaction.
II. Ambition Produces Separation
How do the other disciples react to James and John? Are they concerned about their spiritual welfare? Just the opposite: they were angry that they might have been pre-empted. Ambition became contagious and threatened a split among the twelve.
All that Jesus had done to prepare these disciples was threatened to be torn apart because of ambition. He reminds them that the Gentiles used power to hold them in subservience. Here is a reference that would bring vivid memories to a Jew who had grown up under Roman oppression. Such “lording it over” others has no place in the Christian life.
III. Ambition Is Replaced By Servanthood
Jesus shifts the priority from personal power to selfless service. The follower of Jesus does not look for gain, but seeks to give. The standards by which the world judges success have been turned upside down in the Kingdom: the servant has the highest status in the eyes of God.
The ultimate example is Christ Himself, who did not seek power, position or comfort, but gave Himself for others.
In the days following the American Revolution, the young government was hard-pressed to meet its financial obligations, and Congress was under attack. Many in the army grew impatient, and some even favored setting up a monarchy with General Washington as king. Washington spoke to a group of soldiers to discourage such talk, but with little effect. Then he pulled from his pocket a letter from a congressman he thought might help. Pausing, he took up something few had seen him wear: a pair of glasses. He apologized, noting: “I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country.” Those listening were visibly moved. Though his arguments had not convinced them, this act of sacrifice made a profound impact.
Jesus became the servant of each of us, and He calls us to join Him in a life of servanthood.
October 27
“A Faith That Heals”
(Mark 10:46-52)
Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem for Passover, and as He passed through the crowded city of Jericho a blind beggar named Bartimaeus called out to get His attention. Most blind persons had probably heard of the wonderful works of Jesus by this time, but Bartimaeus had not only heard of Jesus but believed Him to be the expected Messiah, as seen in his declaration of Him to be the Son of David.
The faith of Bartimaeus culminated in a miracle of new sight. Our faith can also bring new sight to our lives.
I. The Response of Faith (vv. 47-50)
A. Faith is not ashamed.
There were those in the crowd who were concerned that an unsightly beggar would create a bad image for the town in the eyes of this popular young rabbi. They tried to quiet him, but Bartimaeus was not concerned about image — he wanted to talk to Jesus.
Do we ever let appearances overshadow our response of faith? Are we willing to reach out and follow Christ no matter what others might think or say?
B. Faith is persistent
Despite the efforts of others to quiet him, Bartimaeus called out again and again until Jesus responded to him.
Thomas Edison was one of the great inventors of all time, but he knew better than anyone that success is not always immediate. Once, while working on a new storage battery, he had carried out 10,000 experiments without apparent success. A friend tried to console Edison over his failure, but the great inventor replied: “I have not failed. I have already found 10,000 ways that won’t work!” Faith is like that; it hangs tough even when things seem at their darkest.
C. Faith acts immediately.
When Jesus called on Bartimaeus, he didn’t consider his options or hold a panel discussion; he responded right away. The Greek word translated “rose” in verse 50 literally indicates he “sprang to his feet.” Faith responds to the moment of opportunity.
II. The Reaction to Faith (vv. 51-52)
Jesus was eager to respond to the faith of this man. As a result of Bartimaeus’ faith, he experienced healing. He received physical healing with the restoration of his sight. He also experienced spiritual healing. The words “he made you whole/well” could also be translated “he has saved you.”
This can also happen in our lives. Faith in Christ can bring wholeness, completeness, salvation.
III. The Result of Faith (v. 52)
What did Bartimaeus do following his healing? Did he receive his sight, then go about his own business? No, he followed Jesus. The beggar became a disciple.
Have you ever watched a little boy walking behind his father, trying to step in the same places that his father’s feet have stepped? That’s also the result of faith: we will seek to walk in Jesus’ steps.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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