Thursday, July 31, 2008

Doctrine That Dances

I cannot begin to fathom how many books I have in my Library that deal with preaching. About a year ago I set out on a journey to restrain from buying another book on preaching; and concentrate on retaining all of the information entailed in the materials I already have. Well, several weeks ago I was in a bookstore and was arrested by Robert Smith's Doctrine that Dances. I am just beginning this read; but it already proves to be an insightful and interesting read. Smith shows how to blend cogitation and celebration, mind AND heart. Smith footnotes that '....the preacher who handles the Word must first be touched by that same Word.' He also says and I quote, '...preaching that leaves the cognitive untouched produces hearers who may leave the sanctuary feeling better but without having been helped by the deep doctrinal truths of the Scriptures.'
Smith suggests that there must be a bridge between insight and excitement. That the message proclaimed should never be void of life, zenith, joy and serendipity. I totally agree! Furthermore, Smith states that preaching and teaching that evades head engagement will lead to blindness, and preaching that ignores heart engagement does so at the behest of boredom and dullness, that eventually 'prevents the result of an engaged hearing for a transformed life.'
I thank the Lord for using this read to challenge me in the arena(s) of the cognitive and the celebratve.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I am facing some major decisions at a major crossroad in my life and ministry. To top it off, I wrestle with impatience and I'm not the best waiter. In times like these - God shows Himself to be faithful, caring and a refuge. My blog friends, particularly the blogs of my new friend Pastor Lance Mann, have been a constant source of strength and has, in some sense, helped to relieve my nerves and anxieties. I would encourage all who read my blog to click on the blog links to the right of this page. They are powerful and inspiring.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Is there room for growth???

In following the 2008 presidential run, I have noticed something that has both disturbed me and has caused me some level of sadness. (for the lack of a better word) All bias and political preferences aside - let's take Obama. Now I am keenly aware that my preaching colleagues, both republican and democratic - frequent my blog. I also know that some of my parishioners, seminary friends (and even professors!!!) visit my blog along with some of my students. Therefore, I know I tread thin ice AND I do not seek here to validate or vilify any particular candidate. As far as I am concerned, according to 1st Peter 3, the candidate that the Lord wants to lead this country during this process in history - is the candidate that He sees fit to win that election.

So can I use Obama? He was criticized for the Jeremiah Wright controversy. In summary the argument suggested that Pastor Wright was and is anti-American and this is a reflection of Obama - otherwise, he wouldn't have sat under Wright's ministry for 20 plus years. However, Obama drew criticism from the SAME people when he finally denounced Wright several months ago. Their argument: It's too late!

As I write this blog, Obama-along with leaders from both Republican and Democratic sides-are touring Iraq, etc. There is criticism now regarding this trip and the critiquing of this exhibition. However, this comes from the SAME people who criticized him a year ago for not taking enough vested interest in Iraq to even visit there himself.

Lest I seem to be defending 'Barry', the same is done with McCain and others I am sure.

But here is my point. We don't seem to allow others room for growth. The fact is - there may have been some decisions we all have made in years prior that, today, do not reflect who we are. To be honest--there are some foolish decisions I made when I was 10 or 15 0r 20....that I would NEVER make today. Furthermore, I have met some people who have done things in their past that they would NEVER be seen doing today. Does that make them any less of a person? Could it be that they have grown?

I would encourage all--namely Christians--to allow fellow-Christians....our spouses, political candidates who are Christian, parents, children, pastors, christian leaders, deacons, ministers, etc. - ROOM for growth.

By the way--I am praying for our political candidates. We are seeing something in our Amercan History that is unprecedented on both sides of the ticket. Because I have grown, I am not only praying for these candidates, and the candidate of God's choice, but also our present administration during their last months in office. Our economy is not the greatest... But just think - God is still faithful.

Footnote: Anything that is not growing is probably dead. And anything dead should be buried OR resurrected.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday worship was great! In fact, the past several weeks in worship have been great. Unknowingly, I have begun a series of messages on the miracles recorded in the gospel of Mark. It has been quite refreshing. Yesterday I actually backed up to the 5th chapter of Mark (after spending several weeks in Mark chapter 6) and dealt with Jairus' seemingly 'urgent' need. OF course, most already know that Jairus asks the Lord to journey with him to his house to see his 12 year old daughter only to be interrupted by a 12 year old issue plagued an anonymous woman in a thronging crowd. My entire premise centered around our knowing the need to discern and gain valuable teaching points in our walking with Jesus Christ. We often miss valuable lessons because we fail to understand the value of 'in the meantime'.

How I thank God for this season of my life - where the Lord has taught me patience, the power of prayer, shaping of my character and a love for Him and His people. My prayer for all Christians, particularly ministers of the gospel - is that we will learn valuable lessons that God is trying to teach us - so that we can move to the next level of personal and spiritual growth, wisdom, and understanding. If we aren't learning the lessons; that will speak to why we keep repeating the course.