Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Preaching Notes Series

These are really interesting:

Mark Dever
Mike Bullmore
C.J. Mahaney
Ray Ortlund, Jr.
Tim Keller
Mark Driscoll

They are copies of the preaching notes from well known pastors. You have to look at Mark Driscoll's... He preached for an hour. Here were Joshua Harris' comments.


When I originally asked Mark to participate by sharing his preaching notes he declined. So I asked him again. He sent the following email explaining his initial reluctance as well as his unique approach to notes. Mark writes,

Josh, I have hesitated to send you my preaching notes because...they're usually aren't any. When I do a topical sermon there are some. But, when I'm working through a text of the Bible I pretty much scratch a few words on a sticky tab and maybe in pencil put a few words in the margin and get up and go for an hour-ish. Most of the jokes, cross references, illustrations etc. are made up on the spot while preaching. In that way I'm pretty Spirit lead. I study a ton going in to fill up, and then get up and preach it out. This is a copy of my Bible from my latest sermon on the first half of Jesus High Priestly Prayer in John 17. I used about half the stuff on the sticky notes and preached for about an hour. I would not commend anyone to preach this way as it's the pastoral equivalent to driving blindfolded—exciting but dangerous. So, for what it's worth here it is.

I agree with Mark's encouragement not to follow his example in this regard. And that's not because I don't believe in the leading of the Holy Spirit. But I think Mark is uniquely gifted and has an ability to absorb and recall great amounts of what he has studied. I for one, don't have this same ability. I say this only because I don't want any young preachers to get up to preach with two sticky notes either having not studied and prepared enough or, lacking Mark's ability to remember what they studied, to fall on their face and then blame the Holy Spirit. Repeat after me, "I am not Mark Driscoll."

Here's a PDF of two pages of Mark's Bible and the accompanying sticky notes. And here's the audio recording of the sermon he preached from them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Groothuis nails it

Blog, bog

Instant post,
Inane joust,
Insane pounce.

Nameless names
naming nothing as

Hit and run,
Post and hum.
Spam the crowd
Say it loud.

Blog, bog:
gather data;
data unlimited;
uncontrolled data.
Dada data.

Where art thou?
Ignorance hidden by
blogspot fig leaves.

Fiction, the diction
of data in motion
without potion or

Blog bog;
data smog.

Doug Groothuis

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Quotable Lewis

And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years. Almost our whole education has been directed to silencing this shy, persistent, inner voice; almost all our modern philosophies have been devised to convince us that the good of man is to be found on this earth.

C.S. Lewis, Weight of Glory, pg. 31

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Palin and Complementarianism

This is a good article and a valid question for complementarians.

In response to:
It is an uncomfortable fact that many of the theologically conservative Christians who have endorsed Palin’s nomination would not be willing to endorse her or any other woman for service as pastor of their church. Women cannot serve as pastors in groups such as the Churches of Christ, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian Church in America, most non-denominational Bible churches, and an influential advocacy group called the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).” - David Gushee

Link: Denny Burk

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

All My People, All the Time

Some great thoughts from the preface to Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, by Paul David Tripp.
What God has ordained for his church is both wonderful and sobering. It is wonderful because he is a jealous and determined God. His work in his people will not fail, but will continue until it is completed. It is sobering because this work follows an 'all my people, all of the time' model.

Many of us would be relieved if God had placed our sanctification in the hands of trained and paid professionals, but that simply is not the biblical model. God's plan is that through the faithful ministry of every part, the whole body will grow to full maturity in Christ. The leaders of his church have been gifted, positioned, and appointed to train and mobilize the people of God for this 'every person, everyday' ministry lifestyle.

The paradigm is simple: when God calls you to himself, he also calls you to be his servant, and instrument in his redeeming hands. All of his children are called into ministry, and each of them needs the daily intervention this ministry provides. If you followed the Lord for a thousand years, you would still need the ministry of the body of Christ as much as you did the day you first believed. This need will remain until our sanctification is complete in Glory.

That is what this book is about: how God uses people, who are themselves in need of change, as instruments of the same kind of change in others. This book's goal is not just that people's lives would be changed as they give help and receive it. The goal is to change the church's very culture.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hillbilly Worship Leader

A little back story on this one. We were eating dinner at Mark and Crystal Vance's house and my amazing wife made some fabulous scotcheroos. They were awesome but I had put them into the freezer for just about 30 minutes to cool them down so they were just a tad hard. When Mark bit into one the glue broke from his bridge on his front teeth so the teeth actually stayed in the scotheroo. That was funny enough, but then we got to talking about when he was going to get it fixed and if in the meantime while he was leading music for church it would fall out and he'd have to lead hillbilly style... hence what is below...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

You'd cry too if it happened to you

From Zach Dietrich

This is a great article Zach sent me:

We have so much more than mom and dad that we can’t help but feel defensive about feeling so bad, and paying off our charge cards so late, and being found in the den surfing from channel to channel at 3 a.m., staring back at Brian Lamb’s eyes.

And there’s this: We know that we suffer—and we get no credit for it! Sometimes we feel the bitterness of the generation that fought World War I, but we cannot write our memoirs and say “good-bye to all that,” cannot tell stories of how our boots rotted in the mud, cannot deflect the neighborhood praise and be modest as we lean against the bar. They don’t know we’re brave. They don’t know we fight in trenches too.

I find myself thinking of Auden’s words about the average man in 1939, as darkness gathered over Europe—the “sensual man-in-the-street,” barely aware of his emptiness, who promised that he will be “true to the wife,” that some day he will be happy and good.

Auden called his era the “age of anxiety.” I think what was at the heart of the dread in those days, just a few years into modern times, was that we could tell we were beginning to lose God—banishing him from the scene, from our consciousness, losing the assumption that he was part of the daily drama, or its maker. And it is a terrible thing when people lose God. Life is difficult and people are afraid, and to be without God is to lose man’s great source of consolation and coherence. There is a phrase I once heard or made up that I think of when I think about what people with deep faith must get from God: the love that assuages all.

I don’t think it is unconnected to the boomers’ predicament that as a country we were losing God just as they were being born.

At the same time, a huge revolution in human expectation was beginning to shape our lives, the salient feature of which is the expectation of happiness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Constantine About the Arian Heresy

This contention has not arisen respecting any important command of the law, nor has any new opinion been introduced with regard to the worship of God; but you both entertain the same sentiments, so that you may join in one communion. It is thought to be not only indecorous, but altogether unlawful, that so numerous a people of God should be governed and directed at your pleasure, while you are thus emulously contending with each other, and quarrelling about small and very trifling matters."

From a letter to Alexander and Arius, Eusebius, pg. 37, The Council of Nice

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Listen to Christ in Mark 7

Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash* their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash.* And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.*) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God)*— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”* And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?”* (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Mark 7:1-23 ESV

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"Free-Floating Morality"

In many cases I have put on my philosophy-professor hat in order to be a good pastor to people. A young couple once came to me for some spiritual direction. They 'didn't believe in much of anything' they said. How could they begin to figure out if there was even a God? I asked them to tell me about something they felt was really wrong. The woman immediately spoke out against practices that marginalized women. I said I agreed with her fully since I was a Christian who believed God made all human beings, but I was curious why she thought it was wrong. She responded, 'Women are human beings and human beings have rights. It is wrong to trample on someone's rights.' I asked her how she knew that.

Puzzled, she said, 'Everyone knows it is wrong to violate the rights of someone.' I said, 'Most people in the world don't 'know' that. They don't have a Western view of human rights. Imagine if someone said to you 'everyone knows that women are inferior.' You'd say, 'That's not an argument, it's just an assertion.' And you'd be right. So let's start again. If there is no God as you believe and everyone has just evolved from animals, why would it be wrong to trample on someone's rights?' Her husband responded: 'Yes, it is true that we are just bigger-brained animals, but I'd say animals have rights too. You shouldn't trample on their rights, either.' I asked whether he had held animals guilty for violating the rights of other animals if the stronger ones ate the weaker ones. 'No, I couldn't do that.' So he only held human beings guilty if they trampled on the weak? 'Yes.' Why this double standard, I asked. Why did the couple insist that human beings had to be different from animals, so that they were not allowed to act as was natural to the rest of the animal world. Why did the couple keep insisting that humans had this great, unique individual dignity and worth? Why did they believe in human rights? 'I don't know,' the woman said, 'I guess they are just there, that's all.'

The conversation was much more congenial than this very compressed account conveys. The young couple laughed at the weakness of some of their responses, which showed me that they were open to exploration and that encouraged me to be more pointed than I would ordinarily have been. However, this conversaiton reveals how our culture differs from all others that have gone before. People still have strong moral convictions, but unlike people in other times and places, they don't have any visible basis for why they find somethings to be evil and other things to be good. It's almost like their moral intuitions are free-floating in midair--far off the ground.

From A Reason for God, Tim Keller, pg. 144-45