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A Preaching Audit Of The Presbyterian Church Of Victoria by David Cook

This is a fascinating exercise.
David Cook – preacher and teacher of preachers with decades of experience audits the preaching of the denomination whose preaching conference he’s hosting.
From Cook:

In conducting the audit I listened online to 40 preachers, with at least one from each of the 13 Presbyteries in the state. The preachers included students for the ministry, ministers and lecturers. Age-wise, about one-third were in their 20’s and 30’s; another one-third in their 40’s and 50’s and the final one-third over 60. I tried to listen to the sermons as close to the first Sunday in November as I could.

Read his observations and conclusions at AP Online.


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Remembrancing Through Words – The Work Of Preaching (via Jeffrey Arthurs)

The use of language in preaching does more than convey information, it helps bring to heard and mind the emotions that the information should evoke.
The words, images, and stories used should help disciples of Jesus resonate with their memories of past experiences of God’s grace in their lives.

Remembrancers stir the affections not with actual objects such as oxen and sheep, but with words. We mobilize language and send it into battle against the devil who schemes to make Christians drift from the faith. Vivid language rouses slumbering knowledge, values, and feelings, so that people are re-membered to the great truths of the faith. A bland recitation of truth will be met with a shrug and a yawn, so the old, old story must become “present” once again.

Jeffrey D Arthurs, Preaching As Reminding, IVP, 2017, pg 66.


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The Common Problem Of The Children Of Both Covenants (via Jeffrey Arthurs)

A helpful observation that provides and insight when approaching Old Testament texts in order to teach them to disciples of Jesus.

The children of the covenants, both old and new, tend to forget.

Jeffrey D Arthurs, Preaching As Reminding, IVP, 2017, pg 30.

They’re good questions to ask of the text: “What were the people forgetting about God and his covenant love”” or “What were the people remembering about God and his covenant love?” which leads us to ask “What does the text remind us about God and his covenant love that we forget?” and “What does this text want us to remember about God and his covenant love?”
The same questions can particularly be asked of the didactic texts of the New Testament, though it is helpful in all situations.


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The Believer’s Hope Rests In The Saviour’s Memory (via Jeffrey Arthurs)

Jeffrey Arthur grounds preaching as proclamation about the memory of the God who remembers his people and forgets their sins, because those people are inclined to forget about the grace of God and focus on their sin.

As practical theology, preaching as reminding is built on theology proper — the character and actions of God. Because he remembers his covenant and forgets the sins of his children, promising never to leave or forsake them, ministers take their stance as the Lord’s remembrancers, reminding the baptized that nothing shall separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus. But preaching as reminding is built on a second foundation also, one related to human nature: we are prone to forget.

Jeffrey D Arthurs, Preaching As Reminding, IVP, 2017, pg 25.


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God Must Make A Way (via Bryan Chapell)

This is part of a podcast featuring Bryan Chapell, preacher and teacher of preachers.
In this question he’s asked about Jesus and preaching from Old Testament texts.
His answer, of course, is applicable to the whole Bible, and how preachers apply the texts from which they’re preaching.

Question:
And you have decades of experience preaching, and teaching others how to preach, so as you look at conservative evangelicalism — our neck of the woods — what would you say is the greater danger: is it that we would fall too far on the side of seeing Christ under every rock, so to speak; or is it that we don’t make the connection to Christ sufficiently when we preach the Old Testament?

Bryan Chapell
Honestly, I think the greater danger is the latter one. Often I hear people teaching others to just be a better person, improve their performance, improve their competence, know more, or do better. And the problem with that is it actually just serves the human instinct. People think that they are the answer to their problem with God. If all I am regularly doing is teaching people to improve their competence or improve their performance, then they will inevitably perceive themselves as their own redeemer. And that becomes the problem. People will do better so the ogre in the sky will be nice to them, or do better so that they can compare to other people—either in doctrine or in performance—and that will make them acceptable to God.
Now, nobody would answer it that way in the exam. But when we are constantly communicating that they should do better or know more, people will believe that what makes them acceptable to God this week is that they’ve done better or they know more than the people down the street. The gospel message, which is unfolding through all the Scriptures, is that God must make a way. You do not make your own way, God must make a way. And being true to the Scriptures is asking, If you do not make your own way out of your human predicament, if God has to make the way out, how does he ultimately do that?
I think grace is on display virtually everywhere. If God is giving food to hungry people, if God is giving rest to weary people, if he gives victory to a few people; what is God showing us about himself? He’s the rescuer.

source


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Sometimes You Can Get The Necessary Information, But Lack Essential Context

Sometimes sermons can be all push and no pull.
The facts are communicated as information – perhaps all imperatives, but preaching illustrates and seeks to draw – something of a winsome invitation.
Bible preaching does both: instructs and invites.
This is when news becomes good news.
Saw this précis of movie that reminded me of the principle.
It tells you what the movie is about, but doesn’t really tell you what the movie is like.


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The Need For Repitition (via Stephen Kneale)

There is a need for some types of repitition in preaching.
Just because you’ve said it once doesn’t mean everyone’s heard and understood.
But this doesn’t mean you simply arrive at the same point mechanically in the sermon every week.
It’s also why meeting together during the week and talking about the sermon can help people understand and apply the teaching of the text more clearly.
Stephen Kneale

… we can assume that our preaching has achieved far more than it has. It’s not at all uncommon for preachers to finish a series in whatever book they’ve been in and assume, because they’ve stood up and spoken about it systematically each week, their members now have Numbers or Acts or whatever locked down. No need to ever mention those things again because our people now ‘know them.’ At the risk of stating the obvious, it just ain’t so.
I suspect the tendency comes from a few places. For one, the guy preaching has spent so much longer in each passage than anybody else. He probably does know the book reasonably well by the end of the series. But we quickly forget that the 15-hours or so spent on each sermon makes the 30-40 minutes of those listening to it seem paltry by comparison. In a reasonably short series of 6 sermons, your people will have listened to c. 3-hours of preaching whilst, at 15-hours per sermon, the preacher has spent 90-hours in the book. We quickly forget our people haven’t spent the same time reading, contemplating and exegeting the passage as the preacher.

Read the rest at Building Jerusalem.