PreachingNOW Vol. 6, No. 40 November 19, 2007 From the Editor: Lincoln's Thanksgiving Articles: Pastor as Blogger A Thanksgiving Prayer Illustrations: Christ in Us CommunicationRepitition Children Link of the Week Preacher’s Bookshelf Humor And Finally... “I use not only my own brains but also all I can borrow.” (Woodrow Wilson) Sign up now for a 1-year subscription to Preaching Magazine. That’s 6 great issues for only $39.95-a savings of over 15% off the newsstand price! Subscribe Today Vol. 6, No. 40 November 13, 2007 Michael Duduit In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a presidential proclamation calling for a national day of thanksgiving. Here is the text of that proclamation: “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. “In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. “Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. “Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. “It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. “And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.” Michael Duduit, Editormichael@preaching.comwww.michaelduduit.com Plan to be part of the 2008 National Conference on Preaching in Washington, DC. To learn more visit www.preaching.com/ncp PASTOR AS BLOGGER Speaking at the recent GodBlogCon (a conference for Christians interested in the new media), Mark Roberts presented a message entitled “Taking Your Ministry to the New Media – The Pastor as Godblogger.” Mark presented 18 Theses, including these:~ Many pastors who are not bloggers today should become bloggers.~ Blogging can enrich a pastor’s ministry with the pastor’s own congregation, and this is sufficient reason for a pastor to blog.~ Blogging can expand a pastor’s ministry beyond the pastor’s own congregation, and this is a strong though not sufficient reason for a pastor to blog.~ Blogging can allow pastors to address topics that otherwise could not be addressed in the ordinary means of pastoral communication.~ Blogging can allow preaching to become more of a conversation and less of a one-way street.~ Blogging can provide an excellent means for pastors to enhance the daily devotional lives of their congregations.~ Blogging can help pastors get “out of the saltshaker and into the world.”~ Pastors should exercise caution in their blog topics, making sure their blogging is first and foremost edifying their congregations.~ Pastors should talk with their leadership board (elders, deacons, vestry, etc.) before beginning to blog (or ASAP).~ Pastors should communicate clearly with their congregation the purpose of their blog.~ Pastors (and all other Christian bloggers) should see their blog as God’s blog, and should see blogging as part of their calling and stewardship of gifts. (Click here to read the full posting at Roberts’ blog.) A THANKSGIVING PRAYER Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings each morning, thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf. Even though I keep my eyes tightly closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. There are many who are blind. Even though I huddle in my bed and put off the effort of rising, thank you, Lord that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden. Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned, and tempers are short, thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely. Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced, thank you, Lord for the food we have. There are many who have no job. Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for the gift of life. (Author unknown) ONE CONFERENCE LEFT FOR 2007 December 10 is the last one-day preaching conference we’ll be holding in 2007. It will be at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, CA, and the theme is “Growing a Biblical Sermon.” In addition to several theme sessions with Preaching magazine editor Michael Duduit, this event will feature two guest speakers and promises to be a wonderful and productive time together. To learn more or to register, call (toll free) 1-800-527-5226 or visit the website at https://www.preaching.com/events/day_events/11552559/ CHRIST IN US Major Ian Thomas, the British evangelist, speaks of the powerlessness of a glove. If your glove is lying on the table, you can command it to do things all day, and it's helpless to obey. It just lies there uselessly. But when you fill the glove with your hand, that glove can do anything you can do. It can grasp a hammer, steer a car, shake a hand, or hold a Bible. As David Jeremiah observes, “Christ doesn't want us to do something for Him; He wants to do something through us. To be effective in His service, we need to be filled with Him. The book of Acts repeatedly describes the early Christians as being filled with the Spirit. When the apostle Paul gave reports about his missionary activities, he always talked about what the Lord had done through Him. When we labor in our own strength, we're just jousting with windmills. When we're filled with the Holy Spirit, it's as though Christ himself were ministering through us--which He is. We are His gloves, and we must let His hands fill us every day.” (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 8-14-07) COMMUNICATION An advertising account rep in New York city performed an interesting experiment one time. He dressed in ragged clothes, put on sunglasses, carried a tin cup, and wore a sign around his neck that read, "Blind." He spent the entire day in Central Park and collected $44.10. The next day he did the same thing under identical circumstances, only this time the sign around his neck read, "IT’S SPRING, AND I AM BLIND." That day he collected $161.65! There’s a big difference between communication and effective communication. (Steve Shepherd, SermonCentral.com) From the November-December issue of Preaching . . . In the latest entry in his series on Trinitarian Preaching, Michael Quicke emphasizes that it is “vital that we Act as Trinitarians. Because most preachers and worship leaders have careers within organizations, preaching can sadly be downgraded into a mere job, dominated by deadlines and routine expectations. Sometimes preachers speak of “working up” next Sunday’s sermon, and worship leaders certainly know about “working up” next Sunday’s service content. So preaching is reduced to utilitarian ends – a weekly grind that is necessary in order to make the rest of the church’s program effective. I remember one preacher, on reaching retirement, rejoicing: “Oh, I’m so glad I don’t have the slog of preparing weekly sermons anymore.” Of course preaching is hard work. Gerard Sloyan wryly observes: “Preaching well is a great labor. That is the chief reason it does not happen very often. It requires too much of us.” Yet, without minimizing the element of slog, preachers who act as Trinitarians bring their hard work into a different dynamic. Rather than “working up” something entirely by their own strength, they dare to participate in God’s continuing power and purpose.”_______ 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 November-December issue of Preaching: Interviews with Eugene Peterson and Max Lucado, "Blue Man Preaching," "Preaching the Psalms as Stories," Part 3 of Michael Quicke's series on "Preaching and Trinitarian Worship" and much more.Order your subscriptiontoday! Although few major media outlets give it the attention it deserves (via full-time reporters dedicated to the subject), religion nevertheless seems to make its way into the news on a daily basis. Terry Mattingly and a team of excellent journalists provide a helpful resource to keep up with religion in the news through their website, which you can visit athttp://www.getreligion.org/ REPITITION Tommy had reached school age. His mother managed with a blast of propaganda to make him enthusiastic about the idea. She bought him lots of new clothes, told him of the new friends he'd meet and so on. Came the first day, he eagerly went off and came back home with a lot of glowing reports about school. Next morning when she woke him up, he asked "What for?" She told him it was time to get ready for school. "What? Again?" he asked. Those who study postmoderns recognize that they are, to a great extent, story-driven. That’s why the newly releasedThe God Conversation(InterVarsity Press) should be such a helpful resource to those of us who preach messages or regularly engage in conversations relating to apologetics. Edited by J.P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff, the book offers stories and illustrations that connect with current events (such as terrorism, school shootings, and so on) and provide tools to connect those stories to biblical truth. Such stories can open minds and hearts to receive the gospel in a new way. This will be a valuable tool for pastors and church leaders. One of the most important (and controversial) issues any church deals with is money. In Money Matters in Church(Baker Books), Aubrey Malphurs and Steve Stroope have provided a practical guidebook for church leaders in teaching about biblical principles of stewardship and in wisely managing funds within the local church setting, including budgets, financial integrity, funding facilities, banking, stay payrolls and much more. There is a major section dealing with issues surrounding conducting a capital campaign. This will be a valuable resource for any church leader. Christian Worship Worldwide(Eerdmans), edited by Charles E. Farhadian, offers a series of scholarly essays on worship in the context of global Christianity. As the critical mass of the Christian church moves increasingly to Asia, Africa and South America, this volume offers an interesting perspective on how worship and culture relate in various settings. (Click on the title to learn more or order from Amazon.com) CHILDREN A newspaper ran a contest asking kids for their profound thoughts (akin to the old “Deep Thoughts” segment on Saturday Night Live). Here are some submissions: “I believe you should live each day as if it is your last, which is why I don't have any clean laundry because, come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of their life?” (Age 15) ”Give me the strength to change the things I can, the grace to accept the things I cannot, and a great big bag of money.” (Age 13) “Democracy is a beautiful thing, except for that part about letting just any old yokel vote.” (Age 10) ”For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then the astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock. That's what happens to cheese when you leave it out.” (Age 6) ”As you make your way through this hectic world of ours, set aside a few minutes each day. At the end of the year, you'll have a couple of days saved up.” (Age 7) ”If we could just get everyone to close their eyes and visualize world peace for an hour, imagine how serene and quiet it would be until the looting started.” (Age 15)(From Docs Daily Chuckle) ____________________ THINGS TO DO WITH THANKSGIVING LEFTOVERS Seal them in concrete and call it a time capsule. Send it to the Smithsonian with instructions to open in 3004. Mix some Elmer's glue into the mashed potatoes and use as spackle. Fill potholes in bumpy roads. Stick broccoli and celery sticks in potting soil and display as rare and exotic bonsai. Whittle turkey ribs into reusable toothpicks. Refrigerate and save for when your least favorite relative comes for dinner a few months later. Use as practice ammunition for that all-important Christmas food fight at your brother's house. Freeze in little bags and save for Halloween next year. Hand them out as prizes for "least-tasteful costume" and "oldest trick or-treater." Glue olives, celery sticks, etc. to create clever and whimsical figurines. Sell at local craft fairs as Christmas presents. Put leftovers in boxes and wrap with festive holiday paper. Leave on the sidewalk for slow-witted, unsuspecting criminals. Place it in your garden plot to create a juicy compost for next year's vegetable crop. (From Sermon Fodder and Joke A Day Ministries. To subscribe drop a note to Sermon_Fodderfirstname.lastname@example.org) This must have been some big suitcase. According to a Nov. 8 Associated Press story, a man hiding in a suitcase and a driver were detained by Customs and Border Protection officers after a failed smuggling attempt. The discovery came during a stop at the Paso del Norte port of entry, and the large suitcase was in the back seat of a car. The driver was charged with alien smuggling, while the 26-year-old Mexican man in the suitcase was taken into custody on re-entry after deportation charges. Customs officials said the man in the bag is 5-foot-7, and weighs about 160 pounds. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.