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  • TFRStaff 5:40 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , preaching,   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Proof-Texting) 



    When it is insisted that what both the world and the church need today is plain, simple Bible preaching”book, chapter, and verse” preaching, it is not infrequent that the charge of proof-texting is made. Understandably, when one holds to a religious doctrine or practice that is shown by any number of biblical texts to be false, it is to be expected that the person will cry “proof-texting.” What else would one expect when a Bible verse is cited that knocks in the head a cherished yet palpably false doctrine or practice?

    It is true that a biblical text can be misused and abused. There is an old hermeneutical adage that says, “A text taken out of context is a pretext.” By this it is meant that if a person has a theory, hobby, doctrine, or axe to grind (an agenda that he wants to promote) and lines up texts that he thinks support his view, but the texts when examined in their context lend no support to what the person is teaching, then he has no proof-text at all. He has a mere pretext!

    On the other hand, for a preacher who has been diligent in his study of the text in its context to cite a single verse (or even part of a verse) in proof of what the Bible teaches on a particular subject is not to be guilty of proof-texting. Jesus frequently used a single verse of Old Testament scripture to drive home a point. (See Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; 11:10; Mark 7:6-7; Luke 13:35; John 10:34; etc.) May a faithful preacher of the gospel today use the New Testament the way Jesus used the Old Testament? May a preacher today cite a single verse of scripture to drive home a point of biblical teaching? (More …)

    • John T. Polk II 7:40 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      In your erudite but scholarly manner, you have drawn the line between truth and error. Truth is substantiated by constant, consistent, coherent quotations from the Word of God, and error is free to roam through a 40-acre field because it is not held to the exact wording of the Word of God. False teachers don’t seem to want to quote “book-chapter-and verse” for their error, and for very good reason!
      Thank you for remaining faithful to the “core values” of sound Gospel Preaching for over the 50 years I have known you. Lead on, Brother.
      John T. Polk II

  • TFRStaff 3:59 am on February 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , preaching, sectarian language,   

    Hugh’s News & Views (This And That) 



    From time to time, I have a potpourri of things about which to write. I save them for a “catch up” column of loosely collected items, as is the case today.

    Three weeks ago I wrote a column on “Preaching” about which I received a ton of positive responses, along with a couple of negative ones. I am happy to say that we have a whole host of able, committed, faithful, “book, chapter, and verse” preachers, both old and young. But sometimes in moments of reflection on the future of the church, I think about such notable preachers/evangelists as V. P. Black, W. A. Bradfield, George Bailey, Charles Coil, Willard Collins, C. E. McGaughey, Tom Holland, Alan Highers (the latter two are still on the firing line), as well as a host of others. In the words of the late George Jones’ country classic, I sometimes ask, “Who’s gonna fill their shoes?” (More …)

  • TFRStaff 5:20 am on January 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Hugh’s News & Views (Preaching) 



    Do our young preachers ever preach on such themes as the authority in religion, the inspiration of the Scriptures, the two covenants, the establishment of the church, the identity of the church, the scheme of redemption, repentance, baptism, worship, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, why we do not use instrumental music in worship, God’s standard of morality, or other fundamental themes? Do they ever simply take a biblical text and explicate it and make application of it? (Please see note at the end.)

    From time to time, I hear able young preachers, as well as talented young men who are preparing themselves to become gospel preachers. They tell a lot of human interest stories and give an “inspiring” speech such as I might also hear at a Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, or Rotary luncheon meeting.

    I do not mean to be critical of these dedicated young men, but it would do the heart of this old preacher good if at least every once in a while I would hear one of them preach on one of the fundamental themes mentioned above and include more than just one or two scriptures in their sermon. I know what the Bible teaches about every one of those subjects, but I sometimes wonder if the young preachers do! They seem to never preach on them. And I know for a fact that there are people in their audiences who do NOT know what the Bible teaches about those subjects. (More …)

    • Gene 5:52 am on January 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      We are out there, Hugh :) I’m 31 and have been preaching for 5 or 6 years at Gadsden, Indiana. We have a good group of elders and if I went too many sermons of using only 2/3 scripture then I’d get a talkin’ to :) I’ve noticed a trend of many of the issues you listed above (instrumental music, authority of scripture) are being discussed in Bible studies/classes moreso than in sermons.

    • asparkoftruth 5:03 pm on January 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Yes I am 24 years old and graduated school July 2012 and have been preaching ever since. I have preached on all this subjects more than once the little over year and a half I have been preaching but unfortunately, not all preachers my age have. I think this article is timely but may single out all the “young” preachers when I think many “older” have gone that way as well. Thank for the encouragement to continue to preach the whole counsel of God.

  • TFRStaff 11:48 am on January 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , preaching   

    Where would you go? 

    pacific-northwestby Bob and Jan Towell

    The meaning of “disciple” is not just “follower” or “learner”; it also means someone who wants to be like the teacher.

    Where would you go to call disciples? Would you go to the centers of learning and culture? Would you go to places with the largest population?

    Five of the twelve Jesus chose were from Bethsaida, which means “fishing village.” It was not a city of arenas, theaters, and gymnasia, but Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Phillip grew up there and that is where they were when Jesus called them to “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (More …)

  • Ron Thomas 10:00 am on January 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: preaching, preaching books   


    When Phil Sanders was here in Sullivan IL there were many opportunities for us to have both small talk and discussions of substance. How valuable I thought those were! One of those points of discussion was on preaching; I can’t remember what prompted it, but what he said stayed with me, so now I am engaged in doing so.

    As a preacher for a number of years I have grown in the “craft” of preaching. That does not, necessarily, translate into me being a good preacher, but there is education taking place in my mind with regard to preaching. I have always regarded myself as but an average preacher, and I have refused to think of myself as anything more.

    To be an average preacher is not a commendable trait; with many years of experience one can (and should) learn to be better than merely average. How others see the preacher is another matter, but one should always look to improve from one level to another above. Moreover, no matter the years of experience, one can learn much from others (regardless of age) and from reading books on preaching. This was the “talking points” between Phil and me. I have been fortunate to attend CBI (a preacher’s retreat in Columbia TN) for the last number of years. Two men who were continually before us was Tom Holland and William Woodson (deceased); as I looked upon the accumulated years of experience of the two men, took knowledge of their different styles of teaching (preaching), I grew to really like brother Woodson’s approach.

    Though I liked the style and substance of brother Woodson’s, it was brother Holland’s books I purchased. One such book is called “The Work of The Preacher Is Working.” I am currently reading this book, and I am better for it. Phil was sharing with me a challenge and exhortation he received a number of years ago from (I believe) Raymond Kelcy. Raymond told Phil to make it a habit to read a book on preaching continually. I have heard such advice before, but it was when Phil mentioned to me that it took hold. I think I should. RT

  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on October 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , fair, , , , , , , preaching, , , , terror, ,   

    (#89) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:34-God’s Burden Against America 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.”

    “Righteousness” is the state or condition of being “right,” as defined by God: “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7); by His commandments: “My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172); by His example: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

    Governments exist to protect the “righteous” within their citizenry: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake” (Romans 13:3-5). Every law; court-ruling; verbally-abusive, bullying, headlined propaganda piece; Harlotwood perversely slanted movie or TV program will be considered in God’s Judgment of this, or any other, nation! Speaking to Christians about the Jewish persecution of them, Paul wrote: “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

    God would not destroy the homosexually-corrupted cities of Sodom & Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20; 19:1-11) if there were as few as 10 righteous among them (Genesis 18:23-33), but there weren’t. God had a “burden” of judgment against nations, countries, and cities where sin had prevailed: Babylon (Isaiah 13:1) and Nineveh (Nahum 1:1); Moab (Isaiah 15:1); Damascus in Syria (Isaiah 17:1); Egypt (Isaiah 19:1); and Arabia (Isaiah 21:13). Assyria (not covenant-keepers of Moses’ Law!) was told by the prophet: “The LORD has given a command concerning you: ‘Your name shall be perpetuated no longer. Out of the house of your gods I will cut off the carved image and the molded image. I will dig your grave, For you are vile’” (Nahum 1:14). Since then, none of these have ever arisen again to their former prominence and power! Since Jesus Christ, no country is God’s chosen People except the spiritual kingdom known as the churches of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 16:16).

    All God requires of every nation is to uphold and encourage right-thinking and right-doing: “Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ says the Lord GOD. ‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin’” (Ezekiel 18:29-30). God is “fair,” for He accepts anyone who obeys Him: “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him’” (Acts 10:34-35).

    Jesus Christ pronounced the principle that saves: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned’” (Mark 16:15-16). This Gospel obeyed, exalts any nation.

    “The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.’” — George Orwell

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version,unless otherwise noted.

    • James Randal 4:27 am on October 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      John, if only people understand that first sentence, how different they would conduct themselves! Instead of running to human explanations of mankind, they would scour and comb Scripture for God’s revelation of who we are and what we were destined for.

    • Eugene Adkins 6:25 am on October 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Here’s some more scripture where the principle may apply to The Land of Liberty one day when it comes to righteousness, or the lack-thereof, and judgment:

      “13 “Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. 14 Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God.

      15 “If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they empty it, and make it so desolate that no man may pass through because of the beasts, 16 even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters; only they would be delivered, and the land would be desolate.

      17 “Or if I bring a sword on that land, and say, ‘Sword, go through the land,’ and I cut off man and beast from it, 18 even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but only they themselves would be delivered.

      19 “Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out My fury on it in blood, and cut off from it man and beast, 20 even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.” (Ezekiel 14:13-20 – NKJV)

  • TFRStaff 4:57 am on September 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Hugh’s News & Views (It’s For You) 



    All people need a time and a place to think. One such place for me is on my lawnmower cutting the grass and while doing other yard projects on God’s and my little acre.

    Actually, it is His acre; He has just allowed me to be the steward (caretaker) of it for a little while. It has been here ever since the third day of Genesis 1. Through the ages its topography has undergone various changes and it has passed through innumerable hands and been occupied by many different people, including North American Indians and a host of others. In fairly recent times (compared to its overall age) it has been carved out of a large piece of farmland and sold off in smaller chunks for people to buy and build houses on, to plant grass and shrubs and flowers on, to live on, to raise their families on, and to take care of. It has been the site of Jan’s and my retirement home for a little over thirteen years now. We love this little plot of ground that we call ours, but we know that one day we will leave it, it will pass into the hands of others, and continue its inexorable march down the corridors of time until the final conflagration of this earth and all things therein (II Peter 3:10-13).

    Now to the point of this essay.

    A few weeks ago while mowing my grass I was reviewing in my mind my upcoming sermon for the following Sunday. I try to decide early in the week what I am going to preach the following Lord’s Day, then begin getting the scripture text(s) and the points I am going to make in my mind.

    This particular sermon dealt with “Spiritual Survival Skills,” something we all need to develop and use. As I went over the sermon in my mind—Pow! All of a sudden it hit me! I needed that particular point myself! The thought came to me, “It’s for you too, Hugh. You need to apply that point to your own life.” Indeed, I did!

    The fact is that everything I preach to others I need to preach to myself! All preachers, if they preach the truth of God’s word, need to practice what they preach. Paul the apostle wrote,

    “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say a man should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through the breaking of the law?” (Romans 2:21-23).

    To Timothy, a young minister of the gospel, Paul said, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (I Timothy 4:16). (More …)

  • Eugene Adkins 6:08 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Personal Insights from the Preacher 

    Here’s my article from yesterday’s bulletin. I thought some of you preachers might appreciate it:

    Personal Insights from the Preacher

    One of the hardest things about the preacher’s “job” is the personal side of it. It’s a job where we have to personally get personal without getting personal. We are expected to meet the expectations that say we are to get personally involved in the lives of people while still meeting the expectations of avoiding the personal areas where we’re not wanted. We are expected to preach sermons that have practical and personal applications yet we are expected to not personally step on any toes. On top of those personal problems, we have our own personal problems to deal with…and you’d know that if you personally knew any preachers! It’s not my job to know the details about your life, but your life is in the details of my job. And I do my best to avoiding preaching about certain topics when I know that a person knows that I know about them personally, but everyone else doesn’t personally know this. My point in saying all of this is not to rant; not even close! My point is to remind you that sermons that sound personal are not always personally directed toward you. So I’d love to get to know you personally, but remember that means I’ll have to get personal if I do.

    P.S. This isn’t personally directed at anyone :)

    Sound like a personal sentiment to anyone else?


  • Eugene Adkins 6:33 am on August 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , James Watkins, , preaching, , , , ,   

    James Watkins on the “The Foolishness of God vs. Man’s Wisdom” 

    So many people often reject the truth of the gospel because it doesn’t “make sense” to them. In this video from “Preaching the Gospel” brother Watkins addresses the difference between trusting God by faith and trusting God because of our logic. It’s a great basic lesson that can address so many spiritual issues that our divided religious world is facing today.


  • Michael Summers 9:35 pm on August 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , preaching,   

    Learning to Pray and to Trust from Jeremiah 

    Jeremiah struggled to reconcile widespread hypocrisy in a supposedly believing culture with the justice of God. He witnessed damage caused by unthinking rebels against God. The more he proclaimed God’s will, the more pain he experienced. At the beginning of Jeremiah’s ministry, God had promised that he would be with him. In his prayers recorded in Jeremiah 11 and 12, Jeremiah voices how hard it can be to trust God’s promises. He wrestled with his doubts; he pleaded for God to vindicate him. Other prayers of Jeremiah reveal his love for his people. His prayers in chapters 11 and 12 unveil his fear and doubt, but also his confidence that in the end, God will be faithful to his values. Today you and I may feel compelled to pray Jeremiah’s prayers. We too want God to defend His values. God promises that He will remain faithful. He pleads for us to do the same. We plead for God to defend his values. We cry , ‘Where are you, God? ‘Let’s remember that he may be asking us, ‘Where are you?’

    • Pieter reneg8or@live.com 4:15 am on August 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      He walked around as the naked prophet and he was put into a well. Persecuted by the church of the day.

      Thousands of years later, the same happened to me and they tried to silence me, even kidnapped my wife and I. We had endured much, not behind the iron curtain, nor was it behind the bamboo curtain and, no, it wasn’t in a closed country in the 10/40 window, but in Cape Town, South Africa, by evangelical Christians!

      You are revisiting Jeremiah, someone I had met thousands of times when the Lord took me through those pages to explain to me what was happening to me and what my duty was. Jeremia 6:27 explains best what my purpose was in those terrible years.


      Pieter http://blessedbeyondrecognition.wordpress.com/

  • Eugene Adkins 6:34 am on July 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Guest Article: An Astonishing Sermon by Dan Gulley 

    Here’s a great article by a loved brother in Christ that sums up the Sermon on the Mount in a strong way:

    George F. Burns verbalized what many people think about sermons. He said, “The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, and to have the two as close together as possible.” That reminds me of the young preacher who moved to his first located work. In a planning session, the beginner asked the elders what they suggested he preach about. One of them spoke up and said, “About Heaven, and fifteen minutes.” In this electronic age of thirty-second attention spans one of the greatest sins a preacher can commit is to preach “too long.” And no doubt some preachers (yours truly included!) occasionally continue to pump after the well is dry! However preachers or people in the pews feel about sermons, Jesus Christ proved two thousand years ago sermons need not be overly-long to be effective. Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7 contain what the world has long known as the “Sermon on the Mount,” a title taken, no doubt, from the fact that Jesus “went up on a mountain” near Capernaum in Galilee and preached it (5:1-3). The three chapters are divided into 111 verses (New King James Version) and the entire sermon can be read in less than fifteen minutes. The subjects addressed in it include some of the Lord’s most familiar teachings:

    • the “beatitudes” (5:3-12)
    • a terse and sobering statement about divorce and remarriage (5:31-32)
    • salt and light of the world metaphors (5:14-16)
    • show-time religion (6:lff)
    • the “Lord’s prayer” (6:9-13)
    • laying up treasure in heaven and not on earth (6:19-21)
    • make God your master and not mammon or money (6:24)
    • do not worry about food and drink and clothing to the point those and other physical things become the consuming priority in life, but “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and trust God to give us the things we need (6:25-33)
    • the speck and plank in the eye illustration about hypercritical judging (7:1-5)
    • the few who enter the narrow gate and difficult way that leads to life versus the many who travel by the wide gate and broad way that leads to destruction (7:13-14)
    • warning about false prophets in sheep’s clothing (7:15)
    • and ending up with the warning that calling Jesus “Lord, Lord” won’t gain God’s approval unless there is a corresponding obedience to the will of the Father in heaven (7:21-23)
    • and, of course, the famous illustration of the “wise man who built his house on the rock” by hearing and doing the teachings of Jesus versus the foolish man who “built his house on the sand” because, although he heard Jesus’ teaching, did not do them (7:24-28).

    Sermons are sometimes met with a yawn in our secular, digital, over-stimulated age. But Matthew tells us, “when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished (amazed, mystified) at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (7:28-29). Sermons rarely “astonish” and amaze people these days. Do sermons ever ‘astonish” you — not because of the power and personality of the preacher, but because the soul-searching and conscience capturing words and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ get inside your heart and mind and cause a stir? When Jesus and His apostles preached, the sermon always left people mad, sad, or glad — but it never left them the same. The most astonishing thing about Jesus’ sayings these days is how rarely they astonish those who hear them. – Dan Gulley

    Dan Gulley serves as an elder and preacher for the Smithville Church of Christ

  • Michael Summers 11:18 pm on June 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , preaching   

    How Well Do We Listen (Especially When We Are Paid Talkers)? 

    Decades ago (never mind how many), I took a vacation from the congregation where I preached to visit relatives in the Midwest. On Sunday morning, as is my custom, I worshiped with the saints, assembling with the congregation where my father’s sister went. After the service, my aunt paid me a most unexpected, and at the time confusing, compliment. This daughter of an elder and sister of a preacher observed, “You listen to other preachers’ sermons better than any preacher I ever saw.” As I said, this confused me, for I knew my weaknesses as a listener well. Yet it also troubled me and provoked the question with which I entitled this entry. How well do we listen when we hear others preach, when we read blogs, when we sit as students in Bible classes that we might teach better (emphasis on might)? It is difficult to hear when one is accustomed to being the authority. David experienced this phenomenon when the prophet Nathan confronted him with the implications of his adultery and murder.(2 Samuel 12:1-14). Peter the Rock must have struggled within when Paul the former persecutor challenged his unethical behavior in Antioch (Galatians 2:11-14). Why do we find it hard to listen? Perhaps after-service plans or on-going problems distract us. We may have preconceived notions about the speaker and assume (because he has too little education or too much, because he stutters, because he uses a different Bible translation or writes for the wrong magazine) that he has nothing to say to me. We may assume that our role is to judge the competence and soundness of the speaker, not to learn from the message. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminded his readers that God’s word cuts to the heart. When Christ stood at the door and knocked (Revelation 3:19,20), he asked for Christians to respond. When I manage to overcome competition for my attention and listen to preaching half as well as my aunt thought I did, I do so because I realize that I too need the nourishment of the Word. When a speaker’s words offend me or I question his interpretation, I pause to consider whether it is his error or my sin that causes my negative reaction. I try, no matter how much experience or education I have attained, to remain a student of God’s word. I try to hear God’s Word when it is proclaimed, for I need it. How well do we listen? May we learn to listen better so that we may learn to teach better.

  • Ron Thomas 7:00 am on May 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , preaching,   

    A Demand That Was Too Much 

    As I was studying Luke 3 this week I reflected on the what the Scripture said with regard to what John preached. John the Baptist was a preacher who garnered the attention of the people as he preached in the wilderness (Luke 3:3; Matthew 3:5). John would not be “employed” by most churches today because the message he preached, while intriguing, was one that demanded too much.

    His message was three-fold. First, he was preparing the way for the coming Messiah. John’s preparation was accomplished in the preaching. The imagery of Luke 3:4-6 would not have been lost on the people, especially as he illustrated this in his exhortations to the people when they inquired (Luke 3:7-14). Second, he preached and demanded those who came to him reflect a life of repentance; this, however, was much easier said than accomplished. The word “repentance” means “a change of mind” with regard to the sinful way one lives life, and this change being reflected in a godly life lived. Third, he baptized (immersed) those who came to him “for [with a view to] the forgiveness of sins.”

    Baptism is not for infants and children who do not understand the difference between sins and righteousness. Baptism is for those who do understand; it is interesting to note that those baptized in the book of Acts are all identified as “men and women” (people who understand). More than the candidate for baptism is important here, however, it is the idea of repentance. Those who come to God need to change the way they live life if they would see Him who is Lord over all (cf. Luke 13:3-5). It is serious! RT

  • TFRStaff 5:30 am on May 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , preaching   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Good Minister) 

    Hugh’s news & Views


    People have all sorts of notions as to what constitutes a good preacher/minister. Some want him to be a good speaker who delivers rich, in-depth sermons, and takes no more than fifteen minutes to do so. Others want someone who can attract and hold the attention of young people (especially the 18-30 crowd). Some want a minister who is trained in and skilled at counseling. Others look for a good administrator and manager. Most church members would like a minister who is good at hospital and nursing home visitation. Still others want a preacher who excels at one-on-one evangelism. Many church members think the preacher ought to be a good “mixer” (warm, friendly, outgoing, never meets a stranger, turns up for every event the church has). Some want the preacher to be a cheerleader and a PR man for the congregation.

    A few years ago someone facetiously wrote that after decades of searching the perfect preacher had been found. He is just exactly what every congregation wants. Here is the fascinating description of him.

    He preaches exactly 20 minutes and then sits down. He condemns sin, but never hurts anyone’s feelings. He works from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in every type of work from preaching to custodial service. He makes $400 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books regularly, has a nice family, drives a good car, and gives $60 a week to the church. He also stands ready to contribute to every good cause that comes along.

    He is 26 years old and has been preaching for 30 years. He is short and tall, slender and heavy set, handsome, but not overly so. He has one brown eye and one blue eye; his hair is parted down the middle, left side dark and straight, right side brown and wavy.

    He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all his time with the older folks.

    He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work.

    He makes 15 calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing the unchurched, and is never out of his office.

    Now, shall we get real about what makes a good minister? The apostle Paul wrote to the young preacher Timothy: “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (I Timothy 4:6). Did we hear what Paul said? “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ…” What were the things in which Timothy needed to instruct the brethren? Look at the preceding five verses (I Timothy 4:1-5). Among other things, a good preacher warns his hearers about spiritual dangers, about the fact that “some will depart from the faith” and fall prey to “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” How important is this with reference to your expectations of a preacher? (More …)

  • Richard Mansel 7:33 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , preaching   

    Six Things Young Preachers Need to Know 


    When young men go into the ministry, they are ambitious and hopeful. They dream of saving countless souls and inspiring brethren immediately to become passionate and obedient.

    However, reality soon sets in, and they learn that working with humans is more complicated than they realized. These aspiring preachers learn some harsh lessons in the meantime and struggle until they gain some experience.

    When we embark into a new career, we need copious amounts of guidance, patience and grace until we know what we are doing. With that in mind, here are six lessons that young preachers may not be told in school or when they are in training.

    (More …)

    • Ron Thomas 7:49 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I am assuming, Richard, you have in mind “lessons learned and that should be known as a form of guidance” during hard times, and not really anything else concerning the work?

    • Ron Thomas 7:56 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      With that in mind, I will offer a couple of thoughts. First, don’t contribute to the solution unless invited. Second, you don’t always know what needs to be done. When that is understood, then one is able to move slower and easier. These are two things I have learned through the years – among others.

    • Rick 8:01 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great, practical article. I heard, just last week, one brother discouraging his son from attending a brotherhood “preaching school.” Said that the brethren from years gone by didn’t need it, and they don’t need it now (I did kindly point out the untruthfulness of that argument, btw). As a graduate of one of them, If preaching schools were good for only one thing (and they ubiquitously have positives and negatives), the experience and influence of seasoned preachers would be it. Congregations and preachers (especially young ones) have expectations, and it takes a while to figure out what those are, and if each party will be willing and/or able to meet them. It takes a tremendous amount of patience, forgiveness and humility to endure the relationship, which I view to be as near to marriage as any other relationship. Again, good thoughts, Richard; and Ron Thomas, nice meeting you a week ago :)

  • John T. Polk II 4:09 am on May 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , judgment in writing, , , , preaching,   

    Psalm 149 The God Who Will Not Be Conquered 

    These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

    Verses 1-5 call for God’s People to praise Him for victory;

    Verses 6-9 call for praise and defeat of their enemies.

    Verses 1-5: (Verse 1) “A new song” indicates a “new heart,” celebrating a “new victory,” and a “new life.” “The assembly of the saints” is a worship service, where “God is greatly to be feared” (Psalm 89:7). In America, every time there is disaster, trouble, destruction, criminal death, or missing person, there is some candlelight “coming together.” When Peter was kept in prison with the intent of killing him, the church of Christ gathered for prayer (Acts 12:12), not candles! (Verse 2) The people, Israel, especially their religious center, Zion, should rejoice with (verse 3) “dance” and “timbrel and harp,” just as their forefathers had done when God parted the Red Sea for them to escape Egypt and be their own Nation (Exodus 14:21-15:21). (Verse 4) God’s “pleasure” is in His People, who develop beautiful, spiritual character. (Verse 5) “Saints” should be joyful, even on “their beds,” formerly places of sorrow.

    Verses 6-9: (Verse 6) While praising God with their “mouth,” “And a two-edged sword in their hand.” This sounds like the Israelites re-building the wall of Jerusalem when they were returned to their Promised Land (Nehemiah 4:17). Apparently, there was no “gun control” then! A dis-armed people can do nothing against the enemies of God! (Verse 7) “Bearing the sword” in “vain” (meaninglessly), or using the power of the sword against “good works,” violates God’s intended purpose for “governing authorities” (Romans 13:1-5). Today, Christians are to praise God while Government uses the sword to be “God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4).

    (Verse 8) God’s government, acting as His minister, defeats evil. (Verse 9) God’s “judgment” in writing was: “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2). Today, the “sword of the Spirit” in a Christian hand, “is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), and the “nations,” “peoples,” “kings,” and “nobles” must be conquered by teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). Since Jesus Christ established His spiritual kingdom on Earth in the 1st Century, there has been NO “Christian carnal war” waged against Muslims, Jews, or anyone else, for that matter, and therefore NO justification for persecuting the churches of Christ! All of those who persecute Christians, even to death, are persecuting Jesus (Acts 9:1-5), and, unless they repent, He will damn them forever (2 Thessalonians 1:3-10)!

    “Praise the LORD!”

     All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

  • Ron Thomas 7:00 am on April 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mission of church, , preaching   

    The Poor Always 

    It has been said time and again that the mission of the church is three-fold: the proclamation of the gospel (Luke 19:10), the edification of the saints (2 Timothy 2:2), and benevolence (Galatians 6:10). I would like to develop in brief these three points.

    The church consists of only those who are saved by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28); there are no unsaved people in the Lord’s church (2 Timothy 2:19). When one embraces salvation there is a change in life that is really remarkable. The saved one wants to assist in the Lord’s cause in any way that there is opportunity, and one of the best ways is in living and sharing the gospel of Christ. If all Christians did as much, the first mission statement of the church would continue to be fulfilled with each generation.

    Second, as one lives the life of Christ there will always be opportunities to share the gospel of Christ with the unsaved. Some of those who are not saved are attending the Bible classes. Our Bible classes are an important work of the church. In the Bible class the prepared teacher has taken time to not only learn from the Lord, but also desires to teach those present the same things the teacher has learned. It is a disservice to the Lord, to the teacher, to the parent, and to the child (children) when there is little interest or support for the work.

    Third, James said that pure and undefiled religions is to assist those who are in need (James 1:27). There will always be people who are poor in our community. Those who are in the Lord’s church have a special obligation to render assistance to Christians in need (not want). When the elders fail to take an active role in that they not only fail the one (or ones) in need, but the Lord also!

    The Lord’s church has an obligation in the community in which it resides and to the saints. Let us do what we can to promote the Lord’s way in this regard. RT

    • John Henson 10:47 am on April 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      You are so right, brother. It is interesting the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah have statements from God accusing Judah of forgetting the widow, the orphan and the poor while they built and enjoyed their wealth. It makes sense that God remains concerned and we should, too. Thanks for the lesson.

  • TFRStaff 6:10 am on April 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: basic Bible texts, , preaching   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Anchor Texts) 

    hugh’s news & Views


    This year marks the 60th year in which I have endeavored to preach the gospel of Christ. I made my first feeble, fumbling efforts as a fifteen year old, speaking on a fill-in basis in small rural churches in northwest Florida and later in northwest Alabama.

    By the time I was a senior in high school I was preaching every Sunday for a rural congregation near Florence, Alabama. In those early days, by the very nature of the case, I was concerned with setting forth only the most elementary truths of God’s word. I had no learning or ability to do otherwise.

    But as I grew and matured in the faith and in my knowledge of the Scriptures, I began to realize that there were certain “anchor texts” that stood behind, informed, gave meaning to, and stabilized everything I endeavored (both then and now) to preach texts that I strove (either consciously or subconsciously) to keep in mind as I presented the word of God.

    Through the years I have become even more aware of the importance of these “anchor texts.” As a sequel to last week’s essay on “What I Love About Preaching” I would like to set forth some of these anchor texts. I shall do so with a minimum of comment about any of them since their significance should be evident to all.

    “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:1-2).

    “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas (Simon Peter, hf), then by the twelve” (I Corinthians 15:3-5). [Note: Preachers should not stop with verse 4, but also emphasize verse 5 (as well as the succeeding verses) and the fact that there were credible witnesses to the resurrection of Christ.]

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

    “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17). [Note: The faithful
    preacher of Christ recognizes the divine inspiration, authority, and all-sufficiency of the Scriptures. He has no need for the catechisms, creed books, and church manuals of
    men, or for the speculative theories and opinions of men; neither do his hearers. Stay with and preach the all-sufficient Book of God!] (More …)

  • TFRStaff 7:26 am on April 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , preaching,   

    Woe Is Me 

    The title refers to a phrase not heard much in these modern days. It means “grievous distress, affliction, or trouble”. It can also be used as “an affliction” or as “an exclamation of grief, distress, or lamentation”. People would say “woe is me” when they were in the midst of trouble and despair.

    In the Bible woe is used most often of a pronouncement of grievous distress, affliction, or trouble: “Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him” (Isaiah 3:11).

    Woe is generally used by a person to exclaim their distress or trouble because of something bad that has happened. However the apostle Paul used it as a pronouncement of trouble if he did not do something. “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)

    Many a bad thing had happened to Paul (2 Cor. 11:23-27) yet woe was declared upon himself if he failed to preach to gospel of Christ. Would it be any different for us?

    In Christ, Steve Preston

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  • TFRStaff 5:14 am on April 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , preaching   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Preaching) 

    hugh’s news & Views


    Recently, I was asked by a younger preacher who was doing a survey among preachers of all ages what I love about preaching. Here is the response I made to him.

    1. Seeing a soul respond to the message of the cross to obey the gospel and become a child of God.

    2. Seeing a soul respond to the word of God to acknowledge that he/she has been away from the Lord and wants to repent and come home.

    3. Reading, studying, and preparing sermons/lessons that hopefully will inform, inspire, and encourage the hearers.

    4. Having someone say to me, “I never had thought of that,” or, “I’ve read that passage many times and never noticed that.” (Not long ago a long-time member of the church and excellent song leader told me following my lesson during the Bible school hour that he had never noticed that the word in Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV) is “strait,” not “straight.” I had pointed that out during the course of the lesson.)

    5. The joy of seeing the “light come on”that “aha” momentwhen a person finally sees the reality and beauty of undenominational Christianity; when one sees that the Lord’s church is not a denomination originating with men and that one can be a member of it today; when one sees that it is possible to be just a Christian without being a member of any denomination; when one sees that baptism is not a work of human merit but an integral part of saving faith and a prerequisite to receiving the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

    6. Being able to bring God’s peace and comfort to souls who are hurting because of sickness and death, heartaches and disappointments, family problems, etc.

    7. Seeing a young man, or even an older man, grow and develop spiritually and telling me, “I want to be a preacher of the gospel.”

    8. Returning to places where I have formerly lived and seeing the congregation thriving spiritually, at peace, and those who were young when I lived there now serving as elders, deacons, teachers, etc.

    9. Enjoying the friendship and fellowship of the “preacherhood”having the confidence of my brethren and my long-time preacher friends, and rejoicing in their accomplishments.

    10. Knowing that when I preach God’s word faithfully, in love, yet with conviction, it will not return void but will accomplish its purpose.

    The above things are on my list of what I love about preaching because I want to save both myself and those who hear me. (I Timothy 4:16).

    The late Paul Rogers who preached for the Lord’s church in Centerville, Tennessee for almost 50 years was fond of saying, “God only had one Son, and He was a preacher!” And so He was! And so am I!

    Speaking Schedule:

    April 4: MemphisSchool of Preaching Lectures, Memphis, TN

    April 14-18: LibertyChurch of Christ, DeFuniak Springs, FL

    Hugh Fulford

    April 2, 2013

  • Chad Dollahite 2:22 pm on February 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , preaching,   

    Yesterday’s Sermons 

    marriagePer Randall’s request, here is my cartoon…can you guess what yesterday’s sermons were about?  It was all actually one sermon that was a bit long, so I started it Sunday morning and finished it in the evening.




    The “so what” of the sermon was that marriage need not be “okay” or “tolerable,” but marriage can be a little taste of heaven here on earth.  And, since the church is the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:21-32), there’s an application there for all, whether married or single.

  • James Randal 6:11 am on February 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , preaching,   

    Preachers, teachers: Post your sermons, lessons (and a cartoon) 

    We invite preachers (and Bible school teachers too, why not?) to post a synopsis of your lessons today. Please share the main idea, the “so what?” of your lesson(s) especially. You can do this in the comments, or email us and we’ll give the lesson its own post.

    TFR Fellows, of course, are expected to make their own posts.

    To encourage you, this little cartoon:


    Some encouragement, right?!

    • mtmcvb 6:26 am on February 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Lord’s Supper lesson will focus on 1 Cor. 11:24,25 and the word remembrance. A seldom used word in the greek testament. Also used in Hebrews 10:3. Under the OT remembrance was primarily of guilt and sin. Under the NT remembrance is primarily of Christ and his sacrifice to take away our guilt and sins. Some commentators say that while the greek word may be used as a synonym for other words translated remember, this one has an inference that the remembrance comes from within the individual rather than being instigated from without. This seems to go along with 1 Cor. 11:26 — we proclaim his death with our participation of his memorial. We actively proclaim our joy and thanksgiving.

  • John T. Polk II 10:38 am on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , dogma, epistle, , preaching, , , Vatican,   

    Where Was “Vatican Smoke” In The New Testament Church?. 

    Please read Acts 15:1-31, then read the following:

    1. There was NO appeal to Peter, but to “apostles, elders” and the “whole church” gathered to hear Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 12 (“all the multitude”), 22

    2. EVERY speaker proclaimed only the Word of God (Oral & Written):

        (1) Acts 15:2-4:  Paul and Barnabas proclaimed what God had been doing among Gentiles (before Acts 13-14 had been written);

        (2) Acts 15:5-11: Peter reminded them of the events of Acts 10-11 in selecting Gentiles to be saved (before it had been written down);

        (3) Acts 15:12-21: James preached God’s Prophecy about the goal of bringing in Gentiles, quoting Amos 9:11-12, THEN gave HIS “judgment”;


    3. The letter sent to the Gentiles with this Apostolic preaching (Acts 15:23-31) was an Apostolic “letter” (Greek: epistole). When copies are actually distributed to the Christians of a Gentile background (Acts 16:4), they are termed “decrees” (Greek: dogmata): The “DOGMA” was necessary and delivered immediately to the Gentiles!!!!  Refer to Acts 15:1-16:5 and notice that:

    (1) The church didn’t wait hundreds of years to know “dogma.”

    (2) This was an epistle of Scripture from the Apostles, and NOT from a Roman Catholic Church “Magisterium,” or “Vatican Council,” or “College of the Cardinals,” or announced by “smoke!” When Peter and the REAL Apostles of Jesus Christ taught and wrote Scripture, it was in writing that WAS “Scripture,” based upon Scripture, NOT the result of political “in-fighting” and out-maneuvering ,as is continually practiced by the Roman Catholic Church. People who “blow smoke” are NOT Apostles of Jesus Christ!

    (3) “So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily” Acts 16:5. The churches of Christ are always strengthened by Scripture and always apostatize when following human commandments (1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Timothy 4:1-5). Wrong attitudes always produce and defend wrong doctrines(1 Timothy 6:3-5)!


    5. There was NO: supremacy of Peter, voting on doctrine; waiting hundreds of years to deal with controversy; multiple sessions to arrive at a conclusion; opposition to the views expressed; PRESENTATION OF ANY OUTSIDE “TRADITION;” “COMMENTARIES;” OR PREVIOUS “COUNCIL” CONCLUSIONS; BUT ONLY SCRIPTURE (BOTH WRITTEN & UNWRITTEN)!

    6. This was the ONLY council gathering like it in Scripture.

        (1) The gathering to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:13-26) did nothing to replace James the brother of John
    when Herod killed him (Acts 12:1-2);

        (2) The gathering to disprove Jewish heretics sent Gentiles their “dogma” (Acts 15:1-31) and never met again!

    —–John T. Polk II

  • James Randal 9:59 am on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: preaching, pulpit   

    Facing the congregation 


  • Glenda Williams 10:43 pm on January 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: preaching,   

    I guess I come from the old school, but age and experience has given me the motivation to share my concern about the way many present day preachers are dressing in the pulpit.

    From time to time, and more often than I like to admit, I see preachers in front of a beautiful background, or in a lovely church building, dressed in a polo shirt, or with an open necked shirt with no tie, or coat, and I can’t help it, I don’t like it. They stand with Bible in hand preaching the word of God. Just recently I saw this handsome young man preaching in a short-sleeved, faded, red striped, polo shirt in front of a beautiful background, and somehow it just didn’t look like it fit to me. I couldn’t hear what he was saying because I was too shocked at what he was wearing. “Oh,” you say, “That might have been all he had to wear.” Not so! I have seen him on other occasions and even called an elder of a nearby church and recommended him as a possible located preacher for them.

    Is there something wrong with me? I might have thought so, but then I thought about such TV personalities as David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jimmie Fallon and some of the others (who I don’t watch, by the way, but only see in passing). Why do you suppose they wear suits and ties to do their monologues? Haven’t they discovered, as we in the church seem to feel we have, that they have to dress down so that others would feel more comfortable watching their program and listening to what they have to say? Do I think for a minute they would come out to do their monologue in front of millions of people on television, and those in their studio audience, dressed like some of our preachers today? No, I don’t think they would, and I think if they did their ratings would go down tremendously.

    Now granted, God isn’t looking on the dress as much as the heart of a person. I get that. But doesn’t God deserve the best we have to give, the best we have to wear? I think this relaxed dress is not fitting attire in the pulpits of our Lord in the richest country on earth. I think when preachers become so lackadaisical in their dress, they may lose the respect of those listening to what they are saying. Also, I dare say any preacher would attend a funeral wearing every day clothing.

    Could it be that this is another example of the church conforming to the world’s standards and not desiring to give our best in every area of our lives to God?

    “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).

  • John T. Polk II 4:12 am on December 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , preaching, , troubled faith, wicked prosperity   

    Psalm 73 

    Vs. 1 states the conviction of believers that blessings have come from God;

    Vs. 2-14 state the difficulty for the believer when the wicked are blessed;

    Vs. 15-22 resolve the troubling conflict in faith;

    Vs. 23-28 show renewed confidence in the Lord God.

    Asaph was “the seer” (prophet), and with David’s words (2 Chronicles 29:30), wrote 12 Psalms (50, 73-83). When Israel was restored to their land, they were reminded of these Psalms (Nehemiah 12:46). A major stumbling-block for believers is: “Why to the wicked prosper?” This Psalm answers that question. Please re-read my study of Psalm 37.

    Verse 1: The only other time this expression (“pure in heart”) is used is by Jesus (Matthew 5:8), and to “see God” (Hebrews 12:14) is to be aware of His “good” that He does (Ephesians 1:17-18).

    Verses 2-14: It is a slippery slope for a believer to “envy” the “prosperity of the wicked (verses 2-3). David covered this subject (Psalm 37:1-6), Solomon echoed it (Proverbs 23:17), and Paul damned it (Galatians 5:19-21). But it appears the wicked have it easy, even in death (verse 4; Job 21:7, 13). Obviously the believer is incorrect at overlooking all the wicked who die horrible deaths (Jezebel, King Saul, Absalom, Ahithophel, Hitler, Mussolini, ad nauseum). The worldly-minded are always looking out for themselves (verse 5; Luke 16:8), while the righteous are trying to love God and man (Mark 12:29-31). Believers must take a look at the dark side of the wicked’s life: “pride” and “violence” (verse 6); covetousness (verse 7); their perverse language (verses 8-9) cannot be trusted. In the words of Edward Parry: “Their tongue walketh through the earth, and leaves nothing unspoken of.  If men be poor, they talk of oppressing and mastering of them; if they oppose, they discourse of violence and suppressing… If in this perambulation they meet with truth, they darken it with lies and home made inventions; if with innocence, they brand it with false accusations and bitter aspersions; if with a strict government and good laws, then they cry, ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us;’ if with religion, they term it heresy, or superstition; if with patience, they term it obstinacy and perverseness; if with the church, they think of nothing less than devouring it, and cry, ‘Let us take the houses of God in possession;’ if with the thoughts of a resurrection, and of future hopes, ‘Let us eat and drink,’ cry they, ‘for tomorrow we shall die.’  Thus no corner is left unsearched by their abusive tongue, which walks through the earth.” Even the ungodly are emboldened by this one-sided thinking, for they: drink his cup of sins (verse 10); falsely assume that God doesn’t know of their sins (verse 11); seem to have it easy and are rich (verse 12). Meanwhile, the righteous begin thinking, “Why am I knocking myself out to be right?” (verse 13), and “Why do I question the right-ness of everything I do?” (verse 14).

    Verses 15-22: If the believer voiced these doubts, it could undermine the faith of others (verse 15), because just the thought of it is “too painful” for one (verse 16). The answer is found by going to church (verse 17)! When Moses built the tabernacle, God said, “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). That “sanctuary” then was the gathering place for God’s People to worship God. Today, the temple of God is the church of Christ (2 Corinthians 1:1; 6:16), which no church building actually is (Hebrews 8:2)! Since “church” means “assembly,” THEN CHRISTIANS WHO ASSEMBLE TO HEAR BIBLE PREACHING WILL BE TAUGHT THE ANSWER TO THIS MOST TROUBLING QUESTION! Bible lessons include the destruction of the wicked (verses 18-20), and the foolishness and ignorance of believers who forget these lessons (verses 21-22)!

    Verses 23-28: The believer must resolve to be led by faith (verse 23) and saved by God (verse 24). Faith revolves around these truths: (1) God is faithful in Heaven (verse 25; 2 Corinthians 1:18); (2) we must be faithful on earth (verse 26; 2 Timothy 2:11-13);  (3) God destroys those who “desert” Him (verse 27; Proverbs 13:9; Matthew 7:21-23); (4) our lives are best when we “draw near to God” (verse 28; James 4:7-8).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

  • John T. Polk II 1:10 am on December 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , massacre, preaching, ,   

    Why Sandy Hook? 

    On Friday, December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, a 20-year-old gunman massacred 20 Sandy Hook Elementary Students, 5 Faculty members, his mother, and then himself. Too late, he took himself out of our misery. The inevitable question is: WHY?

    (1) Former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, the next day on Fox TV News noted the answer is “complex,” involving medical, psychological, mental, sociological factors, and anyone who had a simple answer could not be right. (2) Politicians and their Propaganda Press, began their tyrannical mantra of, “all guns must be outlawed.” (3) Even before the precious bodies began to be buried, President Obama did not let this crisis go to waste, and on Sunday opened his address to that stunned community gathering with a Scripture quotation:

     A) “Thank you. Thank you, governor. To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests: Scripture tells us: “…do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away…inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

    He also used the occasion to advance his political agenda:

    B) “In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this,” Obama said. “Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard?”

     A response to their remarks follows.

    (1) Mayor Giuliani’s comment shows abysmal ignorance of the Word of God. God created humans and knows everything about us; the Bible is the gradual unfolding of the revelation of God and what He provides in our best interest; Jesus Christ is the only personification of perfection in a human being. God condemned the first murderer, Cain, who killed his brother Abel. “Why?” is answered in 1 John 3:11-12: “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.” In the entire history of mankind, those who choose to do evil obey the Devil, of whom Jesus Christ said, “”Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:43-44). The simple solution to all evil is that, for whatever reasons, evil is chosen and the Devil obeyed. Jesus Christ is available for everyone who repents and is baptized in His name for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

    (2) The Propaganda Press drive a political agenda by reciting its current mantra, without investigating and reporting only the facts. Any horrific crime where a gun is used, “the gun must be outlawed.” Almost every school shooter has been a boy from a broken home. God planned that every child born should have two parents: a male and a female (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Colossians 3:18-21). A Government which sanctions divorce for every cause, “legalizes” homosexual “marriages,” and provides welfare for single parents has virtually destroyed the will and need for the home as God would have it. For every “single mother” there is a delinquent dad. But the Propaganda Press completely ignores this fact because they headline their “party line.”

     (3) A) The Scripture the President quoted is 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1, and it comforts in that it emphasizes that the stresses and pains we encounter in this life should not keep us from achieving the greater goal of “an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

    However the President of the United States of America, standing before the American Flag and behind the Presidential Seal, in a public school facility, and in his official capacity representing the Executive Branch of the Government, quoted Scripture??? What happened to the “separation of church and state” arguments? The President proved by his quotation that there is NO “Law of the Land” that separates “church and state,” therefore THERE IS NO LEGAL PROHIBITION FOR PREACHING SCRIPTURE, PRAYING, OR OTHER RELIGIOUS PRACTICES IN PUBLIC ASSEMBLIES!!! Since he disregarded all supposed claims that separate church from state, WHY CAN’T ALL CHRISTIANS DO THE SAME?

    The President’s quotation was written by an “Apostle of Jesus Christ” and to those whose “sufferings” and “consolation” are connected with Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:1, 5). Was the President being insensitive to other religious groups? Were there no Jews, Muslims, or Atheists present to object to Christian Scripture, or the concepts of “inner man,” or “eternal?” One parent’s objection has been all it has taken to stop such references throughout the rest of the country. Since the President of the United States of America can preach from Scripture written in the name of Jesus Christ in complete disregard for minority objections, THEN WHY CAN’T ALL CHRISTIANS? Those who do not accept the beliefs of the group should simply absent themselves from that group assembly.

    That the President would quote Scripture to show concern for these dead children makes one wonder why he doesn’t quote other Scriptures for the living children?

    -Has he not read about the Egyptian king who “dealt treacherously” by having babies killed as they were born (Acts 7:17-19)?

    -Has he not read how God described how His sparing Jerusalem was like saving a newborn baby that had been “loathed on the day” it was born and thrown to the ground that it might die (Ezekiel 16:1-6)?

    -Has he not read that God’s Prophet, Elisha, wept foreseeing a king’s “evil” who “will dash their children, and rip open their women with child” (2 Kings 8:12)?

    -When abortion murders millions of babies who, though conceived, were “not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil” (Romans 9:10-11), what is the President doing to prevent “more tragedies like this?”

    If the President only quoted Scripture for a political photo-op, then, we must conclude he uses God’s Word to cover selfish ambition, and is “handling the word of God deceitfully” (2 Corinthians 4:2). If, however, he believes in God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ, then we must conclude that he’ll “use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this” by Executive Order, thus remove all laws and rulings that presently “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).

    (3) B) The President said, “We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard?”

    -Then how can he accept “as routine” abortion clinics, Planned Parenthood, or The Supreme Court’s ruling that approve the genocide of abortion?

    -Then how can he accept “as routine” thousands of American military service personnel who continually die in foreign countries?

    -Then how can he accept “as routine” Federal policies that hamper public education (and protection!) of our precious children, that take it out of local, loving hands?

    There is no answer or preventative to be found in the institutions of men who “only fix our eyes on what is seen,” and refuse to see the solution offered by the God who cannot be seen about that which we cannot see. Only God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ can prevent more sin.

              —–John T. Polk II

  • Richard Mansel 6:11 pm on December 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , preaching,   

    What is Prayer? 


    In 2013, my preaching emphasis will be on helping the congregation grow in prayer. My prayer is that this will promote spiritual and numerical growth. I plan to preach two sermons a month and try to keep the necessity of prayer before the congregation by emphasizing it in the bulletin.

    I will be deciding over the next few weeks which sermons to preach but I wanted to get your feedback.

    • How do you define prayer?
    • What does prayer mean to you in a personal way?
    • How would a greater emphasis on prayer change you spiritually?

    I look forward to your answers!


    • preachercarter 2:04 pm on December 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Prayer is nothing more than communication with God. it is often intimate yet always requires utmost respect of His Majesty. With this we learn more of Him and grow all the more.


    • Eugene Adkins 5:43 pm on December 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Definition: A plea/request spoken with words of hope (and desire) of being heard and answered. Also an expression from the heart based upon gratitude, honor, sadness, joy etc. that seeks to be closer to God.

      Personal meaning: A measure of awareness of God working in and with my life, and an expressed measure of dependance upon God’s will for my life.

      Change: More self-awareness (forgiving others when asking for forgiveness, how my life aligns with God’s will – 1 John 5:13-15) and and awareness of the needs of others, etc.. A better acknowledgment of blessings both “great” and “small.”

  • Ron Thomas 8:00 am on November 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: preaching   

    The Work and Craft of Preaching 


    The preacher in society is looked upon in a particular way, but no matter how he is looked at, he is God’s servant, and it is to the Lord that he must seek approval. It is a tall task, but one well worth the time and labor to engage in. if one loses sight of what is important, then preaching will be seen and experienced much differently than that which God has laid out. There is nothing easy about being a preacher, but the hard task of preaching and being a preacher is made easier when the focus is properly placed. Those who think the preacher does not work but three-four hours a week are the same people who would fail miserably as being a preacher. A large percentage of the people with which I have contact try to understand the work and load that is carried by a preacher, but unless you are one, there is no real understanding that a non-preacher can have. Nevertheless, those who do try to understand, they are greatly appreciated.

    Preaching, to me, is not work, it is my life. I don’t look upon “going to the office” in any negative way. In fact, I enjoy it immensely. My office is my “sanctuary”; it is a place where I am with God, listening to God, talking with God. It is a place where I am challenged, where I can reflect – and write essays!


  • Ron Thomas 8:00 am on November 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: preaching   

    The Work and Craft of Preaching 

    Essay 6

    In the introduction to this series of essays I mention the books by Tom Holland (TH); I have come to think that any man who would like to be a preacher should get any and all books by Tom on the subject. Tom Holland, to my way of thinking, is a master preacher. He preaching is exceptional, but it is the compliment of his life in personal interaction with someone like me (a peon, I consider myself) that makes him as a man and his preaching all the better. Of course, in saying this, one ought not to think that Tom does not have his own baggage problems. If you have yours, then you can surely understand that he has his. Having listened to TH at CBI for the last number of years I have come to see TH much differently than simply reading his books.

    TH is not the only man to have influenced me with regard to the craft of preaching; the other is David Pharr. David’s outlines were in brief and had a different layout than Tom’s, but just as substantive. David was a teacher of mine at ETSOP; I had him for a number of classes, one being Homiletics II. He was tough, but his toughness helped me a good deal – though I surely did not think so at the time. Because of these two men and because of what I do I have taken more of an interest in the craft of preaching. What is the craft of preaching? I simply mean the art (or work) of putting together an outline in order to communicate it to the congregation.

    Because I read the Bible as I do I have been fortunate to have much to draw from in my memory. Not only a passage will come to mind, but the context of that passage also. This has cut down on the amount of time I have had to use in research; I am generally able to go right to it and look over the context and have it come quickly to mind.

    When I break down a passage, I focus on what is being said and the points that buttress what is said. From there I bring in complimentary passages and thoughts that are generated from the various passages. It is crucial to keep all passages in their proper context; if one extrapolates a thought from a passage, let that be known. Preaching audibly is one-sided; thus, I break down a passage to such a degree that the one who hears can understand. However, no matter how hard I try, it is always the case that in some regard I have failed. Perhaps I failed because I did not do as well as I thought I did; perhaps I failed because I chose poor words with which to communicate; perhaps failing was on the part of the hearer. No matter, when I learn there was a failure I seek to try to alleviate the misunderstanding. Some don’t give me the opportunity; they just walk out pouting!


  • Ron Thomas 8:00 am on November 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: preaching   

    The Work and Craft of Preaching 

    Essay 5

    What should a preacher do? In brief, here are some of my ideas about the work of a preacher. To begin, he must do as the Lord explicitly said in His holy word. Thus, he must be a man of the Book. In my view, God’s preacher needs to read incessantly God’s holy book. For me, I spend three to four hours a day reading God’s book and taking notes. Some years ago I heard Robert Taylor mention that he reads the New Testament once every month; that is nine chapters a day. Since that time I have made it mine habit also. There are many days where I will get as many as twenty chapters per day read, others days I am fortunate to get five. I also want to read the Old Testament each day; thus, I made myself a schedule of eight chapters a day. This takes time – at least for me. Unfortunately, I have not met that schedule’s demand of the Old Testament of late. I am fortunate to get three. Strangely enough, I feels as if I am dirty when then occurs; I hate it! All of this buttresses the idea of the preacher being a man of the book.

    A second thing under the umbrella of a preacher’s work is sermon preparation. How much time do you think a preacher ought to take to prepare sermons? Do you think it should be one hour for each minute in the pulpit? If a preacher takes thirty minutes to preach one sermon and he preaches two on Sunday – that is sixty hours! Perhaps you think he needs no particular preparation because God’s Spirit will move him to preach. Those who have come to accept this notion of preparation are confused in other areas of biblical understanding as well! The time it takes for a preacher to prepare sermons is strictly a matter of judgment. Whatever time it takes, he must prepare his sermons for the benefit of the congregation where he is preaching. His sermons must be heavy on Bible expositions and application in order to help the saints understand and live life better in God’s direction today than one did yesterday.

    A third work of the preacher, in my view, is that he must be a Barnabas. People need encouragement, and a preacher is in good position to be an encourager. Admittedly, there are some brethren that preachers would just as soon not have to interact with even on the level of eye contact. That’s not a possibility, however. Each person addresses life differently. For some, life’s pressures are converging and the pressure can be almost too much to bear. Encouragement for anyone can be helpful, but it may be especially helpful from the preacher. For some, life’s pressures are not all that oppressive, but even these people can use encouragement from time to time. When Jesus said to His apostles that He is the way, the truth, and the life, do you think those were encouraging words? I do.

    A fourth work of a preacher is as a counselor. Counseling is like walking on ice; it is an area that is treacherous even at its thickest point. Treacherous though it may be, it is inevitable that the preacher will be approached for some guidance. When I am approached I will always say at some point in the visit that I can help them understand what the Bible says. I am not a trained counselor, and I am not particularly interested in becoming one more than the Lord has already given in His word and trained me (2 Peter 1:3). A preacher, though, can be of great use when one comes to him for guidance. He has opportunity to help them understand the Lord’s will, or to make better application of the Lord’s word that they already understand. The point for the preacher is to direct those in need of help to the Lord.


  • Ron Thomas 8:00 am on November 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: preaching   

    The Work and Craft of Preaching 

    Essay 4

    The work of a preacher is much clearer, it appears, in the mind of society than it is in the minds of those who are actually doing the preaching. Many preachers, unfortunately, have adopted society’s standard for the preacher, and what the Lord said will be worked in when one can! In the community there is an expectation of the preacher that is both reasonable and unreasonable. That which is reasonable would be that which pertains to any and all Christians. The preacher is loving, compassionate, knowledgeable, giving, firm, and godly.

    Unreasonable expectations are along the line of blessing babies, blessing houses that are soon to be occupied, and some other things of this sort. There are also some unreasonable expectations associated with the fact the preacher is a man full of weaknesses, perhaps even more so than those who are in judgment of him. He is a man with his own baggage; he is trying to deal with his baggage like others are trying to deal with theirs. It may be reasonable to think the preacher dealing with his baggage is further along than the rest, but this is not always the case (though it should be). Each person deals with his baggage differently (cf. 1 Kings 8:38). Some baggage departments are larger than others.

    Who should preach, then?

    • A man should not be a preacher unless he has sanctified the Lord God in his heart and is prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in him – at the very least this should be the case (1 Peter 3:15).
    • A man should not be a preacher if he has not taken time to know the Lord intimately in prayer and in learning His sacred word. If he knows not the latter, what does he have to say?
    • A man should not be a preacher if he knows his weakness will bring discredit upon the Lord’s name. Right or wrong, the preacher is the face of the Lord to the community. What did Paul tell Titus the Christians were to do in Crete, but adorn the doctrine of God (2:10).

    Perhaps there are many other reasons why a man should not preach, but these are just to identify a few reasons as to why a man should not be a preacher.

    On the other hand, why should a man preach?

    • A man should be a preacher because in his heart is a burning desire to share the Lord’s way with all who will listen to him.
    • A man should be a preacher because he understands 2 Corinthians 5:11
    • A man should be a preacher because he wants to serve God and help those who walk in this life as sheep without a shepherd.
    • A man should be a preacher the hope of this world is not the hope of God. The vast majority of people are confused about life, and what is important in life.
    • A man who proclaims God’s way can help (Acts 17:16-31).


  • Ron Thomas 8:00 am on November 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: preaching   

    The Work and Craft of Preaching 

    Essay 3

    In Paul’s second letter to Timothy he exhorted him to hold fast to the Lord’s pattern, a pattern of sound words. The word of God is our healthy medicine against spiritual sickness and spiritual death. Paul said to “hold fast” to that word; clearly, the idea is to anchor’s one soul or attach one’s soul to that which God spoke (cf. Hebrews 2:1-3). Paul also told Timothy to be strong in the Lord Jesus’ grace (2:1); an interesting concept to be sure. Perhaps it is associated with Titus 2:11-14. A.T. Robertson said it plainly that God’s grace is “where the power is located.” If the power is located in God’s grace, and the power of God is in the gospel (Romans 1:16), then it is easy to understand the importance of holding fast to the Lord’s pattern of sound words, isn’t it?

    In order to hold fast to the Lord’s word, the preacher, in this case Timothy, had to be sure he presented himself to the Lord for approval; presenting himself to man for approval was not what he was to do (cf. Galatians 1:10). He presented himself to the Lord favorably by handling the word of God correctly, accurately. This takes effort and time on the part of the preacher to do such things. He did this, however, not only for himself, but for the benefit of others (2:2). If a preacher loses sight of what is important (Galatians 6:14; 2 Timothy 2:20-26) his effectiveness in the Lord’s cause is minimized, if beneficial at all.

    A time is coming, Paul told Timothy, when men will not be interested in anything of the Lord, but will have a greater interest in themselves. Hasn’t this been the template of man since the days of Noah (Genesis 6:5)? Surely it has; does Paul have in view, then, some members of the church (cf. Acts 20:28-30)? Whether he does or not the point will be the same: be on guard. Though Timothy is to be on guard, the protective wall about him is not physical, but spiritual. Consequently, it may be the case that he will need to suffer physical persecution for his preaching. In fact, Paul said he and all others would (3:12).

    Timothy was to proclaim God’s news of the coming judgment and His good news of Jesus overcoming Satan’s hold on man (1:10). Paul told Timothy, in his first letter, that he must fight to good fight of faith. In this second letter, Paul was able to say that he did fight the good fight of faith (6:7); he was prepared now to meet his Lord. What a joyous occasion that must have been.


  • Ron Thomas 7:00 am on November 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: preaching   

    The Work and Craft of Preaching 

    Essay 2

    This is not an essay, I suppose. For sequential purposes, however, I will keep it as one though.

    Paul’s letter to Titus is short, but equally as instructive as his first letter to Timothy. To begin, God used preaching to get His word out to the community of man (1:3). Titus was a preacher that Paul, presumably, taught and trained; he was left on Crete in order “set things in order that are lacking.” This consisted of getting men in place to serve as elders. As a preacher Paul tasked Titus with the charge of rebuking talk and ideas that were contrary to godliness. It would be interesting if Paul had Titus do this with those not in the church, but this does not appear to be the case (1:10-16). Are not elders to do this? I think so, but until they are in place, the elders as a group can’t. Titus needed to do so. Paul gave Titus instructions concerning how to approach people, and what he as a preacher was to teach them to embrace. With regard to those desiring to walk faithfully before the Lord, Titus was to teach godliness and behavioral modification (2:1-10). In fact, as one adorned God’s doctrine (living godly), those same ones were looking for the Lord’s return.

    This is an important point to not overlook. We should be looking for the Lord’s return; this world is not our home, and to live as if we serve the “god of this world” is to bring disaster on ourselves.

  • Ron Thomas 7:00 am on November 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: preaching   

    The Work and Craft of Preaching 

    Essay 1

    The work of the preacher – some sundry thoughts

    The work of a preacher is developed by Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus. Brief reflection on those words will be useful – and is very much necessary if one is to include the Lord’s standard to one’s personal teaching and preaching.

    It is interesting to me that in the early part of Paul’s letter to Timothy he gives a charge to Timothy to stand against error. Paul tasked Timothy to stay in Ephesus for the purpose of grounding the local church in the truth of God, opposing error as needed. Paul was fully aware of God’s mercy having been shown to him; because of God’s mercy he was motivated to proclaim the same mercy to others. In so doing, it was necessary to oppose error in what we commonly call doctrinal areas and oppose error in one’s behavior. Some failed to do this and because they did they wrecked their ship on the rocks they never saw.

    Paul did not leave Timothy in Ephesus just to combat error, however. Though opposing error is a necessary component of preaching the gospel, there is also edification and education that is to occur. Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to ground the church in the ways of God (1 Timothy 3:14-15). This consisted of having holy men lead in prayer, teaching godly women the propriety of modest behavior and apparel, and setting leadership and servants in place for the benefit of the saints and to the glory of God. The preacher is to be “nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:6, NKJV) and, of course, he is to teach the brethren the same things. As Paul brings his first letter to Timothy to a close he speaks not only with regard to warnings, godly behavior for the preacher and non-preacher alike, but he says to Timothy that he is to “fight the good fight of faith” (6:12). Reading Paul’s letter to Timothy we learn of what this consists.


  • Ron Thomas 7:00 am on November 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: preaching   

    The Work and Craft of Preaching 



    I have been preaching for a while. My first sermon was when my family lived on Guam. I filled in on Sunday morning for the preacher; if I recall correctly, his wife was in the hospital. When we moved to Mountain Home, Idaho there were many occasions for me to preach; in effect, when our local preacher moved south I became the preacher. This lasted until one of the brothers picked up the mantle and did most of it from that particular point. Having returned from Saudi Arabia, I was discharged from the United States Air Force (honorably) and enrolled in the East Tennessee School of Preaching (Knoxville). Each weekend, while a student, I was preaching at one of the smaller congregations in the area (or region of NC, TN, KY, AL) that were in need of a preacher; some of the congregations in these areas just wanted to support the school’s effort by encouraging the preacher-students. After graduating from ETSOP my family moved to Jerome, Idaho, and lived there for just under three years. From there we moved to Sullivan, IL. We have lived here since June 1998.

    In brief, that is my background to the experience and length of time I have been preaching. I have been a student of God’s Word, however, since I was converted to Christ (1983); but it has been since 1993 that I have been a full-time student of the Lord’s Word serving as a preacher; I do not anticipate this changing until I take my last breath.

    Recently, I have had reason to reflect upon my preaching, the work of a preacher and the craft of preaching. I have a number of books in my library, but of late, I have been reading Tom Holland’s (TH) books on the topic. To me, TH is an exceptional preacher; one whose standard I have placed so high that at my best I will not meet his level. Since about 2003 or 2004 I have been going to Columbia TN for a preacher’s retreat; this retreat is now identified as the Columbia Bible Institute (CBI). It is the work of the Graymere church of Christ. The initial directors of the retreat/seminar were Tom Holland and William Woodson. With the passing of brother Woodson, the mantle fell on John Vaughan. CBI is focused on giving preachers encouragement in their work; it is a series of presentations by men who have preached for a length of time that are expository of biblical text, explications of biblical topics, and even some that are technical in nature; the all-around thrust is encouragement, however. It is a time for the men to gather together and share ideas, war-stories, laments, and even scouting.

    For the next six essays I would like to share some of my thoughts relative to the work of a preaching and preaching.

  • TFRStaff 7:17 pm on October 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , preaching   

    Did our gospel meeting do any good? (Charles Box) 

    By Charles Box— Our meeting with Eric Lyons has now come and gone. Attendance was good and we again commend all of you who faithfully attended the meeting. Eric did his part. He did what Paul encouraged Timothy to do. He preached the word of God faithfully. Paul charged Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

    Any time God’s word is preached good is done. “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watered the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

    The good that was done in this meeting will continue into eternity. Gospel meetings remind us of the great opportunities that surround us daily. Paul said, “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Corinthians 16:9) Great doors are open for the Walnut Street Church of Christ. It is our responsibility to use these opportunities for God’s glory.

    The meeting did eternal good because we were involved in the meeting and now we should continue to be involved in the work of Christ.

    Think of the good that could be done if we would all be active in the work of the church and participate in the work that is to be done. I need to make every possible effort to attend every assembly of the church. I need to make the work of this church “My” work. I need to be faithful to participate in the worship of the church and active to involve myself in the work of the church. Let us be active for Christ now. Our time is limited to work in the kingdom. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4) We were challenged in the meeting to give God proper place in our life. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) Did the gospel meeting do any good? Yes, the meeting did eternal good because we were encouraged to be active participants in the work of our Lord’s one true church. “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21) (More …)

  • Ron Thomas 4:43 am on October 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , preaching   

    When Phil Sanders was here in Sullivan IL, there were many opportunities for us to have both small talk and discussions of substance. How valuable I thought those were! One of those points of discussion was on preaching; I can’t remember what prompted it, but what he said stayed with me, so now I am engaged in doing so.

    As a preacher for a number of years I have grown in the “craft” of preaching. That does not, necessarily, translate into me being a good preacher, but there is education taking place in my mind with regard to preaching. I have always regarded myself as but an average preacher, and I refuse to think of myself as anything more.

    Average preachers, no matter the years of experience, can learn much from others (regardless of age) and from reading books on preaching. These were the “talking points” between Phil and me. I have been fortunate to attend CBI (a preacher’s retreat in Columbia TN) for the last number of years. Two men who were continually before us were Tom Holland and William Woodson (brother Woodson recently passed away); as I looked upon the accumulated years of experience of the two men, took knowledge of their different styles of teaching (preaching), I grew to really like brother Woodson’s approach. Though I liked the style and substance of brother Woodson’s, it was brother Holland’s books I purchased. One such book is called “The Work of The Preacher Is Working.” I am currently reading this book, and I am better for it.

    Phil was sharing with me a challenge and exhortation he received a number of years ago from (I believe) Raymond Kelcy. Raymond told Phil to make it a habit to read a book on preaching continually. I have heard such advice before, but it was when Phil mentioned to me that it took hold.

    I think I will.

    • J. Randal Matheny 4:22 am on October 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Ah, so you were chatting with Phil instead of posting to TFR, eh? I’m glad you had that good opportunity to visit together. I pray much good was done in the gospel meeting. I used to read a good deal on missions and evangelism, but in recent years not so much. Your post reminded me it is important to keep one’s task fresh in mind and grow in service.

      • Ron Thomas 5:00 am on October 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I agree, Randal. I know I have not posted much, but hope to alter that a bit in the coming days.

        • J. Randal Matheny 6:33 am on October 7, 2012 Permalink

          I’ve missed your posts! Will be glad to see you contributing again. I know there are times when we need to take time away. I do myself, usually from the pressure of other tasks. Blessings today!

  • Richard Mansel 6:48 am on September 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , preaching   

    Great Quote on Prayer and Preaching 

    “Praying keeps my focus on God’s approval rather than the applause of people.”

    • Charles Swindoll, “Saying it Well” page 151.
  • James Randal 7:53 am on August 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Portuguese language, preaching, , Zucchini   

    Thursday Thor 

    Soul bread

    A generic picture of bread like that The Missus makes

    Is it because Thursdays have been a day off of sorts that the mind today doesn’t want to get into gear for writing? After several attempts, I turned to other concerns, like eating some zucchini-nut bread and drinking some hot tea. No special concentration needed for those.

    • Our home Bible reading group was not large last night, but Titus 3 seemed to have good effect on us all. We five adults, three of whom are disciples, were impressed by the call to live, not as pagans, but as the people of God, thanks to his mercy. Amazing little letter, Titus.

    • Some Christian friends are coming either tomorrow or Saturday to spend a few days with us. This out-of-state couple are recent empty-nesters, like ourselves, and long-time friends. After so many years, it’s an easy friendship, no special effort needed to keep up conversation or to entertain. (I’ll not be online as much during their stay.)

    • For my birthday last week, a friend gave me a book on writing style in the Portuguese language. He knows how much I write, and how much I like writing. He made a big disclaimer that he was giving me the book, not because he thought I wrote badly, but because he knew I always wanted to improve and grow in the craft. But I confess that I picked up the Brad Thor thriller that his wife gave me before the writing book.

    • Speaking of writing, in an undiscovered corner of the Internet, I posted day before yesterday what I thought was one of my best pieces of poetry. Like sermons and Bible classes, it’s often the case that what the writer or speaker considers the best is not always the readers’ or listeners’ favorite. And, vice versa, the items one might wish to fall away into history forgotten can become among the most admired or preferred. Who’s to judge who’s right?

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