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- Unlocking the Scriptures by Hans Finzel—99¢
- God’s Design for Man and Woman by Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger—$2.99
- Saved Without A Doubt by John MacArthur—Free
If the Spirit does not come in power then not even the best of preacher is strong enough to wield the sword—we are but children playing with daddy’s weapons. But when God uses His Word through us—He can wield it and accomplish the purpose He has set for it.
When I was an intern preparing for ministry at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, I asked Dr. Paul Tripp, “If you could give any one piece of advice to young men preparing for ministry, what would it be?” Speaking from years of pastoral experience, Paul responded, “Don’t become the fourth person of the Trinity for people.” What he obviously meant was, “Don’t try to stand in the place of God and do what only God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can do in someone’s life.” You can’t effect the change that you labor so diligently to help bring about in the lives of those entrusted to your care–only the Lord can produce real and lasting change (1 Cor. 3:6-8). There are real dangers that pastors face when they function as if they are the fourth person in the Trinity.
At some point, we have all witnessed the devastation of an affair. On the one hand, it is shocking just how much can be destroyed by the act of one person sharing sexual intimacy with another. But on the other hand, it is not shocking at all when we consider how much meaning God has packed into marriage and into the sexual relationship within marriage.
I am all for innovation. But it should be used as means to better contextualize the gospel, not simply for its own sake. We need to evaluate where that line is, so that we do not cross it and lose the very reason God has placed us here.
Ditching the note-taking preaching ethos both elevates sermons and properly diminishes them. It treats a sermon as proclamation aided by the Spirit, which gives the sermon a supernatural weight. On the other hand, by treating all words in a sermon as expendable to memory, it puts the preacher’s words in the right place compared to the Scripture’s words. It diminishes the impact of a well-turned phrase and magnifies real revelation.