Teaching Proverbs

It’s probably a book of the Bible rarely preached on as a sequential expository series. People tend to focus on individual proverbs in isolation. However, when I spent time with a local church working through Proverbs as a teaching series, we found it deeply helpful and encouraging. So, if you are looking for a futureContinue reading “Teaching Proverbs”

“Do you want to be clean?” Preaching to the affections from the Old Testament

I mentioned the other day the conversation I had with Dan James about Haggai 2.  One of the things I’ve been challenged about increasingly is the importance of preaching to the affections.  This is an old puritan phrase meaning that our preaching should speak to the whole person not just to the intellect. We don’tContinue reading ““Do you want to be clean?” Preaching to the affections from the Old Testament”

How much application?

We are usually told that we need “more application” and that our sermons shouldn’t become boring technical lectures, so this article from Chris Thomas may prove a surprising read to many. For balance, you may want to read this from Steve Kneale showing that there are still people arguing for more application. I also wantContinue reading “How much application?”

Going with the grain of how Scripture talks about God

I want to say a little bit more about the recent controversy concerning Gently and Lowly.  If we have discomfort about the language in the book, then it seems to be because we struggle with the language we find in Scripture. Let me pick up on one example. In Hosea 11:8-9 God says to Israel:Continue reading “Going with the grain of how Scripture talks about God”

How to listen to sermons together

Sermons are not meant to be listened to on your own.  The very nature of preaching is that it is a corporate exercise, something that the whole church family shares in together.  So how do we stop our response from being individualistic? Pray together before listening What about getting together with a few people beforeContinue reading “How to listen to sermons together”

How to listen to sermons when it’s the last thing you feel like doing

Sometimes the last thing you want to be doing is listening to a sermon.  It might simply be that you are exhausted and too tired to take in what is being said, sometimes it’s because what is being said is too painful, too close to the bone, sometimes it’s the other extreme, what is beingContinue reading “How to listen to sermons when it’s the last thing you feel like doing”

How to listen to character study sermons

Years ago my dad did a series of Bible studies which he called “An A-Z of Old Testament Characters.” I’m not sure if he managed to find someone for every letter, but there was certainly enough mileage to keep the series going for a good while.  It’s no surprise that character studies have proved popular.Continue reading “How to listen to character study sermons”

How to listen to evangelistic sermons (when you already are a Christian)

At any one time in a gathering there will be Christians and non-Christians present. This presents the preacher with a challenge.  Does he primarily focus on preaching to the Christians to edify and build them up or does he focus on evangelising the enquirers. Either way, he risks leaving part of the audience behind. OrContinue reading “How to listen to evangelistic sermons (when you already are a Christian)”

How to listen to topical sermons

Instead of focusing on a specific Bible passage and drawing out the things it has to say, a topical sermon starts with an issue and tries to find out what the Bible says about it. For example, the sermon might deal with an issue in church life such as prayer, giving, worship or evangelism. AContinue reading “How to listen to topical sermons”