Should Preachers Show Their Work? Or, Should Our Preaching Train People to Read the Bible?

Should our attempts to preach the Bible train people to be better readers of the Bible? I think the answer to that question is obvious. It seems like a no-brainer to me that our attempts to preach the Bible should train those who hear us to be better readers of the Bible. This has implications …

B21 Panel on Preaching This Friday

Tony Merida is preaching at the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana’s Shepherds’ Conference this Friday and Saturday (October 21–22, 2011), and Friday night I’ll join Greg Gilbert, David Prince, and Merida for a Baptist 21 Panel on Preaching Christ from the Whole Bible. Would love to see you there. Details here and here.

Jeremiah 3:6–4:4, Repent and Be Restored

In 1988, Jimmy Swaggart was caught with a prostitute. He was famous. On television. Known worldwide as an evangelist and preacher. He was initially suspended for three months, then the Assemblies of God suspended him for two years. When he resumed preaching after three months, the Assemblies of God defrocked him. In 1991 he was …

Jeremiah 2:1–3:5, Will You Drink Sludge or Living Water?

Imagine a wedding, with the bride standing at the doors in the back about to enter the worship hall for the ceremony. She’s dressed in her gown, and her friend Jerry is standing by one of the doors, ready to fling it open when the moment comes. Just at that moment a well dressed older …

A Prophet Like Moses: Jeremiah 1

Derek Kidner could really write. Here are the opening paragraphs of his book on Jeremiah: “In the last decade of the longest, darkest reign in Judah’s history, two boys were born who were to be God’s gifts to a demoralized and damaged people. The reign was that of Manasseh, a half-century of deliberate reversion to …

Three Sermons on Biblical Theology: Story, Symbol, Church

Between Mark and Jeremiah, I felt led to preach three sermons on biblical theology at Kenwood. The goal was to have the Bible’s big story give us perspective for our plunge into Jeremiah’s jeremiads. I’ve noted the first two sermons, one on the Bible’s story, another on the use the biblical authors make of symbol, …

A Separate Peace and the Symbolism of the Bible

Did you read A Separate Peace by John Knowles? Two friends, Gene and Phineas (nicknamed Finny), in a tree. Gene shakes a branch, Finny falls, breaks his leg, and the halcyon innocence of the summer ends. Previously a great athlete, Finny will never play sports again. When he finally returns to school, the other students …

The Bible’s Sprawling, Ramshackle Narrative

Before we launch into Jeremiah, Lord willing, I’m doing three sermons on Biblical Theology at Kenwood. This past Sunday, August 21, 2011, it was my privilege to preach “A Story of Stories: The Bible’s Sprawling, Ramshackle Narrative.” The title of the sermon comes from a phrase used by David Steinmetz in an essay about the …

Sermons on Mark

There is no book like the Bible. There is no one like Jesus. It’s a mercy to have the Bible in English, a mercy to be drawn to Jesus, to worship him, to trust him, to follow him with brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. Since January we’ve been in the Gospel according …

The Manliest of the Theologies: Mark 15:1–39

I opened my sermon this past Sunday with this quote from Mike Wittmer’s book Christ Alone: Critiquing Rob Bell’s Love Wins, Mike Wittmer writes,  A real rescue beats an imaginary rescue every day of the week, because it involves actual risk. . . . It’s one thing to pretend that we’re drowning or being chased …

Accused, Blasphemed, Denied: Mark 14:53–72

If I said to you that God can relate to you when you feel abandoned, falsely accused, misunderstood, attacked, and denied, would you tell me that God is God and it is impossible for him to relate to these feelings precisely because he has all power, all knowledge, and all authority? Is there any way …

Can You Identify with Judas?

Have you ever betrayed a friend? Can you identify with the bargain that Judas made? Have you ever decided that something else was better than Jesus? I’m not referring to inadvertent mistakes but to moments when one knows what God requires, knows what God has commanded, and chooses something else instead. What is it in …

The Failure of the Disciples and the Brothers Karamazov

On the night in which he was betrayed, Judas sold Jesus for money. When they arrived to arrest Jesus, Peter tried to help in a way contrary to Jesus’ teaching (taking up the sword, when Jesus has been teaching he would go to Jerusalem to die). When he was arrested, all the disciples fled. These …

Revelation 19:1–10, The Harlot and the Bride

It was my privilege to preach about the downfall of the harlot Babylon and the readiness of the bride for which Christ died, the bride invited to the wedding feast like no other, on June 19, 2011 at Randolph Street Baptist Church in Charleston, WV: Revelation 19:1–10, The Harlot and the Bride This sermon has …

Justice and Mercy Planned by Jesus and the Count of Monte Cristo

In Alexandre Dumas’s novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmund Dantes is about to marry his beautiful beloved Mercedes. On the night before he is to be married, Dantes is falsely accused by one man who wants his woman, and another who wants his job. It so happens that the judge is implicated in the …

Be on Guard: The Point of Mark 13, with some thoughts on ‘this generation’

Mark 13 is not in the Bible to provoke debates about when all things will be consummated – what Jesus meant by “this generation.” Mark 13 is in the Bible to prepare disciples of Jesus against deception, fear, sleepy inattention, persecution, and uncertainty. In Mark 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem on a colt to cries of …

Tenants, Traps, Teaching, and the Meaning of Melville’s “Moby Dick”

In Herman Melville’s novel, Moby Dick, a massive white whale named Moby Dick has bitten off Captain Ahab’s leg. In response to this, Ahab commits himself to killing the whale Moby Dick. Captain Ahab bears the name of an idolatrous king of Israel. Captain Ahab refuses to accept what has been done to him by …

Shepherd the Flock of God: The Ordination of Ross Shannon

On Sunday, May 22, 2011, it was our pleasure and privilege to ordain Ross Shannon to gospel ministry. Ross has been serving as the Assistant Pastor for Discipleship and Evangelism at Kenwood, and he just graduated from SBTS and was called to serve at First Baptist Church, Lapeer, MI. I had the honor of preaching …