Monthly Archives: June 2008

a preacher’s nightmare

I reckon there’s a common nightmare that preachers share. Its the one where you go to bed on Saturday night thinking everything’s ok, wake up and turn up to church on Sunday morning, only to find that you are rostered to preach that morning. And you’ve done nothing.

I went close to living out that nightmare yesterday. For varying reasons, I turned up for 8am church quite early. And I left my mobile at home.

So, at 7.45am, one of the Wardens of the church said, ‘Did you get the message from the Senior Minister?’

‘Um – what message?’

He showed me the message on his phone. The Senior was sick, and wasn’t coming. ‘Keith will look after the sermon.’

As it turns out, the Senior has messaged me early and told me to do my 5pm sermon from the previous week, but, having left early, and having left my phone at home, I hadn’t received that message!

Soooo – I preached the passage. 15 minutes notice. No notes. Romans 8:12-30.

It was terrifying, and exhilerating, all at the same time.

And, no stones were thrown at the end, so God was good.

I’m preaching there next Sunday. I am very tempted to do the same thing to the Senior, but he’s on hols, so I guess I’ll just prepare and preach…

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Rom 7 wordle

Having seen MJ’s wordle of his thesis on martyrdom, and read then JM’s theory that a sermon should perhaps have ‘Jesus’ as it’s biggest feature in a Wordle map, I thought I would give my last sermon, on Romans 7, a Wordle treatment. Here’s the results (clikc for a larger image):


But, I have 2 qualifications:

1. This was taken of my typed transcipt – there were additional hand scrawled notes on the manuscript I actually preached off! (and I’m sure some of those would have mentioned Jesus…)

2. I read lots of the text in my sermon, and, lets face it, out of 25 verses, ‘Jesus’ is only mentioned once. And law is mentioned, well, quite a bit!

At least ‘Christ’ is up there amongst the big boys!


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Luther on preaching

…I believe that it has now become clear that it is not enough or in any sense Christian to preach the works, life, and words of Christ as historical facts, as if the knowledge of these would suffice forthe conduct of life; yet this is the fashion among those who must today be regarded as our best preachers.

Far less is it sufficient or Christian to say nothing at all about Christ and to teach instead all the laws of men and the decrees of the fathers. Now there are not a few who preach Christ and read about him that they may move men’s affections to sympathy with Christ, to anger against the Jews, and such childish and effeminate nonsense.

Rather ought Christ to be preached to the end that faith in him may be established that he may not only be Christ, but be Christ for you and me, and that what is said of him and is denoted in his name may be effectual in us. Such faith is produced and preserved in us by preaching why Christ came, what he brought and bestowed, what benefit it is to us to accept him.

This is done when that Christian liberty which he bestows is rightly taught and we are told in what way we Christians are all kings and priests and therefore lords of all and may firmly believe that whatever we have done is pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God, as I have already said.

On Christian Liberty, Augsburg Fortress Press 2003, 31-2.

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couldn’t help posting this…

With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week.

Larry LaPrise, the man that wrote ‘The Hokie Pokey’ died peacefully at the age of 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin.

They put his left leg in.

And then the trouble started…

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the dreaded man-cold

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the power of God’s promises

A few weeks back, I went to visit a lady who was dying in hospital.

She was 96 years old. Her weak and frail body fought for every breath. She could barely see, she could barely hear, her chest rattled with the pneumonia that was about to kill her.

I read the bible (the end of Romans 8) and prayed with her. And then I asked her if she had anything she wanted to say to me

She leaned her head up off the pillow with some effort, and said, ‘I just hope that God can forgive me for any of the things I have done in my life.’

I said to her, ‘If your trust is in Jesus, then God has already forgiven you.’

She said, ‘I put my trust in Jesus, I put my trust in Jesus.’

And I said, ‘Well, rest – God has you in his hands, and he would never let a precious child of his go.’

And her head sunk back into the pillow. And a smile settled across her face.

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preaching link added

I’ve just added a link to the sermons page for All Souls, Langham Place.

It has an awesome library of sermons, searchable by text and speaker, to name a few.

It goes back many years, so you can find just about anyone in the who’s who of evangelical preachers from the last 20 years, including Stott, Carson, and even our own Chappo and Paul Barnett.

Highly recommended.

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Grace, Grace, Grace

Tonight we had bible study on Roman 3:21-26.

What an awesome passage that is. I will never tire of it. We just need to hear of grace over and over, for it is so foreign to us and the desires of our hearts.

Our discussion moved to living in the freedom from guilt that grace brings. Someone remarked that they were told in Sunday School about being in the Kingdom of God through grace, through trust in Jesus – but that they haven’t heard it that often since then.

Someone said that they left from church so often feeling bad, thinking after the sermon, ‘Gee, I’m a bad person.’ They didn’t then hear as often, ‘And you’re forgiven through Jesus’.

It reminded me of Keller’s comment I heard through the Gospel Coalition conference talks. He said that most people don’t preach the gospel, either from the Old Testment, or the New. That is, most people spend not enough time on the DO, and not nearly enough on the DONE.

Or, in Rom 3:21-26 terms, on the righteousness from God, providing justification freely through his grace, by faith.

Gotta have that grace, grace, grace.


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Luther on faith,worship, and the 1st Commandment

You see that the First Commandment, which says, “You shall worship one God,” is fulfilled by faith alone. Though you were nothing but good works from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head, you would still not be righteous or worship God or fulfill the First Commandment, since God cannot be worshipped unless you ascribe to him the glory of truthfulness and all goodness which is due him.
This cannot be done by works but only by the faith of the heart. Not by the doing of works but by believing do we glorify God and acknowledge that he is truthful.
Therefore faith alone is the righteousness of a Christian and the fulfilling of all the commandments, for he who fulfills the First Commandment has no difficulty in fulfilling all the rest.

Martin Luther, On Christian Liberty (Fortress Press, 2003), 22.

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cheeky! [cartoon]

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