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If You Hate The New York Times And Hannity
I thought I was the only one! Rod Dreher highlights a thoughtful news website that is journalistic, rigorous, and accurate but is also asking questions that resonate with ordinary family life.

44 Photos of Loveable Huggable Babies
Who said Presbyterians are hard and unfeeling?

A Month From My Wedding Day
If your wedding fell through, would you blog about it? Lore Ferguson does just that in her usual transparent and moving style.

Saved From Hate
An interview with Mark Phelps, son of the late Fred Phelps Sr.

How Does a Church Minister to a Converted Sex Offender
Good to answer this before it happens. And may it often happen.

One-Legged Soccer Star Is Your Ultimate Inspiration


The Ten Pleasures

Dr. Mark Jones, author of The Most Imaginatively Titled and Attractively Designed Book of The Year, was lecturing at PRTS yesterday. He made the point that one of the disadvantages of reading the moral law every week in our churches, especially in its Exodus 20 form, is that we we end up viewing God’s law in a very negative and condemning way.

But, as Mark reminded us, each negative also implies a positive, and each prohibition of vice enjoins a pleasure in virtue.

So, here’s my attempt to re-frame the 10 commandments as 10 pleasures to pursue.

1. Enjoy the pleasure of knowing, worshipping and serving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

2. Enjoy the pleasure of worshipping God in ways that He approves, loves, rewards, and responds to.

3. Enjoy the pleasure of speaking and singing about God’s beautiful persons, names, attributes, and acts.

4. Enjoy the pleasure of six days working in God’s calling for you and then enjoy the freedom of one full day off work to worship God and rest.

5. Enjoy the pleasure of loving and following the leaders God has placed in your life for your temporal and eternal good.

6. Enjoy the pleasure of healthy attitudes and activities that will improve the quality and length of your life.

7. Enjoy every physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual pleasure with the wife/husband God has given you.

8. Enjoy the pleasure of growing wealth in order to provide for your family and to bless others with loving generosity.

9. Enjoy the pleasure of praising others and of promoting all that is true, beautiful, and good.

10. Enjoy the pleasure of being thankful and content with all that God has given you.

When understood in this way, Psalm 1 and others like it begin to make huge sense.

“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97).


Top 10 Books on Preaching

As I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I decided to put together an online list of my top ten books in various categories. Yesterday, I gave my Top 10 books on Christ in the Old Testament. Now here are my Top 10 books on preaching.

After my list you’ll find a poll where you can cast three votes for your favorite books and help others choose the best books on the subject. Click on “View Results” to see what books are most popular. You can also add any book not on the list by writing the title in “Other.”

1. Preaching and Preachers by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

What a difference it would make to the church if this book was modeled more widely. As the title suggest it is not just about sermons, but about those who preach them – the message and the man. This edition is interspersed with valuable commentary by contemporary preachers like Logon Duncan and Mark Dever.

2. Christ-centered Preaching by Bryan Chapell.

If I was just starting out in preaching, this would be my first purchase. It will anchor your sermons in the text and focus them on Christ. Key insight is the FCF (Fallen Condition Focus).

3. Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today by John Stott.

Good material on the theology of preaching, and good arguments to overcome objections to preaching. Especially good on identifying “The Dominant Thought” of the preaching passage. Also strong on application, but if I was looking for something on application alone, I would choose Truth Applied by Jay Adams.

4. How to Preach Biblically by John Macarthur and the Master’s Seminary Faculty.

As is common with multiple authorship, some chapters overlap and some are a little weak but this is the most comprehensive book on preaching on this list.

5. Feed my Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching by a constellation of outstanding preachers, edited by Don Kistler.

Not for the newbie but if you’ve been preaching for a few years this will take you to the next level.

6. The Preacher and Preaching by various preachers, edited by Sam Logan.

My favorites chapter are Exegesis by Sinclair Ferguson and Sermon Structure and Flow by Glen Knecht. Gwyn Walters’ chapter on The Body in the Pulpit is also fascinating.

7. So Pastor, What’s Your Point? by Dennis Prutow.

Really a complete homiletics course in one large but very practical volume.

8. On The Preparation and Delivery of Sermons by John Broadus.

A bit verbose, but a treasure trove of classic homiletic teaching. Some of it dated, but much-needed “old-fashioned” emphasis on the privilege and dignity of the office of preacher.

9. Lectures to My Students by C.H Spurgeon.

So full of plain common sense and lots of funny stories.

10. How Sermons Work by David Murray.

Hope you’ll forgive me for including this – in my defense, I put it in at #10! Probably the simplest and most practical of the bunch. A good starter or refresher.

Now you decide, what are your favorites? You can cast three votes and add a book if it’s not in the list.

Honorable mentions

If I’d had a Top Twenty the following books would also have been included.

The Imperative of Preaching by John Carrick. Explains the four “moods” of preaching : The indicative, the exclamative, the interrogative, and the imperative, with the emphasis of the book being on the imperative.

 The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper. More focused on the subject of preaching than the method. But if this book doesn’t put fire in your belly, nothing will.

The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges. Covers much more than preaching but still worth it for the preaching material alone.

Preach: Theology Meets Practice by Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert. 40 pages on the theology of preaching, 70 on the practice, and another 60 of sample sermons where the principle and the practice come together.

Dying to Preach: Embracing the Cross in the Pulpit by Steven W. Smith. His basic thesis is that the nature of our message should impact the way we present and communicate our message. Those who preach a crucified Christ should preach in a crucified style. And even though it is more about style than substance, the whole book is an argument for an absence of style, or, rather, a crucified style.

How To Preach Without Notes by Charles Koller. More specialized, but even if you don’t get to note-less, it will encourage less dependence on notes.

The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text by Sidney Greidanus. A bit more technical but also many practical helps to bridge the gap between the time and culture of when the Bible was written and our own day.

Why Johnny Can’t Preach by T. David Gordon. Fairly negative but needed.

Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine. This and the following book are the two best books on preaching that have been published in the last couple of years. Contemporary, challenging, and encouraging.

Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s Word and Keep People Awake by Gary Millar and Phil Campbell. A call for more imagination, creativity, and feeling in preaching. Given the aim (less sleepy hearers), I was surprised at the continued commitment to full manuscript in the pulpit.

How to Evaluate Sermons by Joel Beeke. Although this focuses on the aftermath of preaching, it’s also a great checklist before preaching.

Reader Suggestions

Sacred Rhetoric by R. L Dabney

Preaching: A Biblical Theology by Jason C. Meyer

Preaching with Purpose by Jay Adams

Preaching? Simply Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer

Biblical Preaching by Haddon Robinson

Spirit Empowered Preaching by Art Azurdia

The Cross and Christian Ministry by D. A. Carson

 


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The Porn-Free Family Plan
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Women First At The Tomb
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What 10 Books Did Your Teenagers Read As Part Of Their HomeSchool Education?
R. C. Sproul Jr. answers.

Are Christians In America Persecuted?
Kevin DeYoung: The short answer is “Yes, all the time.” The not as short answer is: “Yes, Christians in America are persecuted, but not as frequently, consistently, or with nearly the intensity that Christians are persecuted in many other parts of the world.”

Please Don’t Make My Funeral All About Me
Nancy Guthrie: “We were an hour and fifteen minutes in to today’s funeral before anyone read from the scriptures, and further in until there was a prayer. Resurrection wasn’t mentioned until the benediction.”

When Was The Last Time You Had Fun?
What a great question to ask.

World’s Toughest Job
So well done. Watch it! Mute one swear at 3.12. Mine is awesome too!


Christians Get Depressed Too: Sue’s Story

After ten years of suppressing grief and anger about the death of her mother, Sue suddenly fell into a deep depression. Hospitalized and mentally fragile, Sue began a long road to recovery. Her story shows the power of the Gospel and how God used this painful experience to deepen Sue’s spirituality and make her a brighter witness for Christ.

Study Guide Questions for Sue’s Story (Word/PDF)

For other films in the Christians Get Depressed Too series, click here.


Top 10 Books on Christ in the Old Testament

As I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I decided to put together an online list of my top ten books in various categories. To start with, here’s my top ten books on Christ in the Old Testament – the ones marked with an asterisk are more suitable for pastors and seminary students.

After my list you’ll find a poll where you can cast three votes for your favorite books and help others choose the best books on the subject. Click on “View Results” to see what books are most popular. You can also add any book not on the list by writing the title in “Other.”

1. Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament by Christopher Wright.

One of the most eye-opening and thought provoking books I’ve ever read. Guaranteed to make you love Jesus more.

2. Preaching Christ from the Old Testament by Sidney Greidanus.*

Classic seminary textbook. Historical survey of the subject followed by most helpful step-by-step guide to preaching Christ from Old Testament texts.

3. Beginning at Moses by Michael Barrett.

Shorter and more readable than Greidanus but covers a wider range of OT genres.

4. Preaching Christ in All of Scripture by Ed Clowney.

The first two chapters will transform the way you read and teach the Bible. Clowney sets forth the principles and practice of finding Christ in Scripture and then putting together a Christ-centered sermon. This is followed by a number of wonderful sermons that demonstrate the “how.”

5. The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses by Vern Poythress.*

Especially helpful on typology, not just laying the foundational principles but also explaining numerous examples. Also wonderful insights on the Christ-centered nature of Old Testament law.

6. The Christ of the Covenants by O P Robertson.*

It was the second or third time reading this book before the covenants all fell into place for me. Transformed the Bible and my ministry.

7. Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Graeme Goldsworthy.

First part provides the lenses with which to read the Old Testament, followed by many examples of how to preach Christian sermons from different genres of biblical literature. More thematic than exegetical.

8. The Unfolding Mystery by Ed Clowney.

More sample sermons demonstrating how #4 Preaching Christ in All of Scripture is put into practice.

9.  The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis by Nancy Guthrie.

Excellent Bible study series with a good mix of teaching, questions, and discussion starters. See also follow-up Bible studies on various other parts of the Old Testament. See also follow-up Bible studies on various other parts of the Old Testament: The Lamb of God, The Wisdom of God, The Son of David, and The Word of the Lord.

10. Jesus On Every Page by David Murray.

Couldn’t bring myself to make this # 1. I’ll let the voters decide.

Now you decide, what are your favorites? You can cast three votes and add a book if it’s not in the list.

Honorable mentions

If I’d had a Top Twenty the following books would also have been included.

Close Encounters with the Son of God by Jonathan Stephen. If this was still easily available it would have been near the top of the Top Ten List. It deals with the Old Testament Christophanies.

Christ in the Old Testament by Robert Gordon. Again, this four-volume set of sermons would have easily made the Top Ten if it was easier to get.

According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy. A simplified version of Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture.

Christ-centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon by Bryan Chappell. Not specifically about preaching Christ from the Old Testament but much of the material will help with that.

A History of the Work of Redemption by Jonathan Edwards. Covers more than the Old Testament but the Old Testament section, especially the early part, is pure gold.

The Ancient Love Song by Charles Drew. One of the most accessible and readable of books on Christ in the Old Testament.

Messiah in the Old Testament by Walter Kaiser.

Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures by Dennis E. Johnson.

Reader Suggestions

101 Portraits of Jesus on the Old Testament by Bob Beasley (HT: Shawn Anderson)

Look To The Rock by Alec Motyer (HT: Shawn Anderson)

The Messianic Hope by Michael Rydelnik (HT: Dan Phillips)

Messianic Revelation in the Old Testament by Gerard Van Gronigen (HT: Ray Fowler)

On The Trinity by Hilary of Poitiers.

Clavis Cantici by James Durham.

The Prophets Speak of Him by Anthony Salvaggio.

The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made by Mark Dever.