The Challenge of Biblical illiteracy

I was at a conference recently where one of the topics was to do with preaching. The speaker (like me) believed in the importance of expository preaching.  He stated that one of the challenges today is that many people sitting in our churches do not know their Bibles. This means that we are often preaching to and doing bible studies with people who are “Biblically illiterate.” Continue reading

Preaching to the Affections means that we need to read our communities and our congregations (Preaching to the Affections part 2)

What he said was right. It was faithful to God’s Word, the exegesis was spot on, the doctrine sound a the application flowed neatly out of the text -and there was plenty of it. However, something wasn’t quite right.  There was something about the tone. It seemed to miss the mark.  Have you ever sat through a sermon like that? I’m sure most of us have. In fact, if we are honest, most of us who preach will also recognise that we have far too often been guilty of preaching a sermon like that.  Now sometimes it is just that we didn’t quite hit it, sometimes we are tired, sometimes our own circumstances mean that we are passionate about something that is true and right for us but not for the congregation. That’s why I find myself increasingly thinking about how I exegete or read the congregation and how I exegete my own heart as well as the Bible text. Continue reading

The Answer to Rage – Preaching to the Affections (1)

People are angry. There’s a sense of frustration, grievance and even fury in the air. As we saw in yesterday’s post there’s talk of a Day of Rage today. Continue reading

Urban Mobility

A speaker at our CPI Urban Midlands Hub recently touched on the challenged of mobility amongst urban communities. They commented that at one point they were part of a church where they said that every year they had to grow by 30% to stay the same size. In other words, they saw about 1/3 of the congregation move on every year. Continue reading

Exegeting my own heart

Preachers need to do three types of exegesis

1. We need to clearly understand the text

2. We need to know the congregation we are speaking to

3. We need to be aware of our own hearts.

 

The third one, exegeting myself, means being aware of where God is challenging us, this includes where he disagrees with and rebukes us but also where he encourages and comforts us. In other words, I pray “Lord speak to me that I may speak…”  It means being aware of where my biases, hobby horses, cultural assumptions etc are.

Here are some things that might help us to do this. Continue reading

Singing in the midst of suffering (2) How do I stop from seeking revenge?

So, Revelation 15-16 means I can sing now instead of seeking revenge. How do I do this?  Here are a few suggestions I hope you will find helpful. Continue reading

Singing in the midst of suffering – the reality for urban churches

On Sunday, we looked at Revelation 15-16 and we saw that God’s people are seen here singing, even though they have been suffering terrible persecution and living in a world under judgement. Our main application was that we could “sing even when suffering.”  By this we did not merely mean the ability to join in on a Sunday but singing as representing an expression of joy, trust and hope in the Lord throughout the work demonstrated by how we act and what we say, particularly about the gospel.

We noted two challenges to this:

1.       It may seem easier for those who have already come through the other side to “sing” than for those of us still in the midst of life’s troubles

2.       It is hard to have that sense of joy and hope when what we want to do is seek vengeance for what others have done.

Now, let’s be blunt, the second item is not trivial or light. I realise that when I preach a message of this kind there are people who will have experienced deep and painful suffering and abuse. A congregation may include: Continue reading