Sermons from the Last 18 Months

acts-gnt-photo
Acts chapter one from the Greek NT

Preaching is a big part of what I do; of the titles that I go by as “pastor,” one of my favorites is “minister of the Word and Sacrament.” Minister means “servant.” I’m literally, by that title, a “servant of the Word.”

To prepare for this task, I generally I aim to spend between 12-20 hours per week in sermon preparation and study. Not all of that is in book work or writing. Some of it, and more besides, is spent in meditation, prayer, and personal reflection as I try to apply and feel the weight of the word I intend to preach to others in my own soul. The following two proverbs are helpful in this regard:

Physician, heal thyself.

and

Watch your life and doctrine closely for in so doing you’ll save both yourself and your hearers.

With this as background, I am posting below a ten-point review of what I’ve preached over the past eighteen months or so, and some explanation as to why I’ve chosen what I’ve chosen. Continue reading

Advertisements

Pastors Turning Tail

To turn tail describes behavior of a coward, someone who runs from danger. Mr. Crane described the dynamics of cowardice in The Red Badge of Courage. I read it in eighth grade and will never forget the experience.

In days where denominations and departments of state are turning tail and running from the clear teaching of Scripture, pressure will increase on pastors to do the same. If the world is a battlefield on which pastors are called to fight a spiritual war for the kingdom of God, the godly will stand fast; but false teachers (sometimes called “thieves”) turn tail from their commitments and exchange the truth for a lie, scratching the “itching ears” of those who by nature do not want to hear hard words of repentance.

But what about fleeing for one’s life? Escaping persecution is a different matter, isn’t it?  Continue reading

Pastoral Care: Calvin’s Geneva and Lessons for Today

The word “pastor” contrary to popular opinion does not mean “preacher,” but “shepherd.” That’s partly why renaissance artists use the phrase, “pastoral” to describe a grassy meadow in a valley on a warm summer afternoon. That’s where shepherds do their work.

This may help explain why so many “pastors” are confused about their job description: we call them one thing, but expect something else from them. In my own experience, everything from corporate savvy to public speaking skills make the list. Of course these things are not insignificant.

But it is also true that rarely do we find a church looking for a shepherd. Such a man is one who has a heart for the sheep of Christ’s pasture and who seeks to lead them, under the watchcare of the Chief Shepherd, and by His power and Spirit, to the waters of eternal life.

There was no such confusion in Calvin’s Geneva, however. Continue reading