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Killing The Many Sins Of Ministry (via Peter Adam)

Peter Adam points out that being in pastoral ministry is not being in an environment that automatically promotes growth in Godliness and firewalls the pastor from sin.
The opposite is true.
Pastoral ministry provides a rich environment of stumbling blocks through which temptation yield the fruit of besetting sin.
Pastors can learn and those who pray for pastors can be informed of the spiritual warfare your prayers sustain your pastor through:
From Adam’s article:

People sometimes say to me, ‘it must be wonderful to do Christian ministry as your job, because it must keep you free of sin.’
I reply, ‘actually, it increases temptation and opportunity for sin, and opens up many more possible sins to commit. It also increases responsibility not to sin, because we who teach will be judged with greater strictness’ (James 3:1)!
If you found that unconvincing, you might like to think on the fact that many of our strengths and gifts carry with them potential sins.

Read the whole post at Gospel Coalition Australia.

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Cynicism: The Worst Response To High Standards (via Peter Adam)

Peter Adam on the worst way of wanting the best.
Falling prey to cynicism is an ongoing struggle, one that destroys the capacity for empathy, a necessary element to constructive change and growth.
The article has some lists that help to diagnose and treat the tendency to cynicism.
From the article:

Those of us engaged in Christian ministry are especially prone to cynicism or despair: we have such high expectations—and such wonderful goals because of God’s gospel promises. Sometimes, too, we have delusions about our own gifts and abilities! But ministry is hard work, and we often do not see the results we expect.
The anger that results in cynicism usually come from discouragement and disillusionment. As this anger spreads from the original cause it becomes universal: we may have become disillusioned in a particular situation but soon find that disillusionment elsewhere as well, because we experience what we expect.

Read the whole article at Gospel Coalition Australia.

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Advice To Preachers (via Peter Adam)

Peter Adam provides what is titled Advice To A Young Preacher, but his points are worth revisiting at any age or stage in preaching experience.

This one is challenging when producing sermons in a most individualistic age and culture:

Recognize that most of the Bible is actually addressed to God’s people, not to individuals. Even books such as Luke–Acts, Timothy, and Titus have wider audiences in mind. The gospel is not just God’s plan for an individual Christian’s life; it is God’s plan to create His own people for His glory. The Bible is addressed to God’s people, and we should use it for the same purpose. If you want to know how to preach that way, read Deuteronomy, 1 Corinthians, Hebrews, 1 John, or Revelation 2–3.

Read the rest here.

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Fourteen Questions To Ask Before A Sermon Is Preached (via Peter Adam)

Peter Adam provides a succinct list of fourteen questions that need to be addressed by preachers before they deliver their sermon.
Here are numbers 6 to 11:

6. Have I reflected on and applied the passage and the sermon to myself, and responded with repentance, faith, and obedience?
7. Have I prayed for the people who will hear the sermon, for their understanding, response of faith and obedience, their transformation, and their ability and intention to teach and exhort others with what they have learnt?
8. Have I found what God wants to say through this passage to the people to whom I will preach, and how he wants to transform them?
9. Have I worked through the congregation’s response to this passage: what information they need, what they will find difficult, what they will misunderstand, what they will enjoy, what they need to learn, how they should be transformed?
10. Have I found what God wants to say to the whole congregation as a body?
11. Have I taken into account what different groups in the congregation will need: unbelievers, inquirers, new Christians, lapsed Christians, mature Christians?

Read the whole post here.

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How Is God Currently Changing Me To Make Me Into A Preacher? (via Peter Adam)

Peter Adam writes about the ongoing process of growth that being a preacher requires:

Being a preacher requires ever-increasing Biblical intelligence, emotional intelligence, theological intelligence, and pastoral intelligence. Of course, by intelligence i mean alert and perceptive wisdom. I don’t mean cleverness but depth of understanding and wisdom.
We need to be Biblically, emotionally, theologically, and pastorally wise to understand the Bible, to understand people, and to serve people in our sermons.
Unashamed Workmen, Chapter 1 – What Is God’s Word For These People, pp.18-19, Mentor, 2014.

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Preaching As Corporate Pastoral Care (via Peter Adam)

Peter Adam continues a series of articles, this time identifying preaching as being the natural place where the Bible is corporately opened and applied to God’s people.
If God speaks to his people as a group, why attempt to individualise the focus of applications?
It’s not so much that there’s something in the text for me, as there’s something in the text for us.

It is also significant that Malachi, like most books in the Bible, was addressed to the people of God, the church of that day, and not to individuals. This means that if we read or preach Malachi and apply it to us as individuals only, we will miss an important element of the message.
“Scripture is God preaching”, and part of this sermon is the book Malachi. So we should follow what God has done, and address this book to the church of our day. Our first question should be, “What is God saying to us?” Not, “What is God saying to me?” or “What is God saying to individuals in the congregation?”
So rather than looking for individual application, we should work for corporate application. “Corporate” here does not mean big business, it means “body”, as in “the body of Christ.” We should train ourselves to look for the shared values of our churches, our shared godliness, our shared sins, our shared blind spots, our shared weaknesses, our shared strengths.
Let’s take as examples two issues from Malachi: robbing God, and speaking harsh words against God [3:6–15]. The issue is more than, “How do we as individuals rob God?” The issues are, “How are we as a church robbing God?” and, “How is our church letting individuals rob God and not challenging them?” and, “How is my robbing God setting a bad example to others in the church?”, and, “What am I doing to challenge the church as a whole to stop robbing God?”, and, “What are our church leaders doing to stop individuals and the church as a whole robbing God?”

Read the whole post at Gospel Coalition Australia.

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The Church Is Important Because The Fruit Of The Gospel Is Not Just The Conversion Of Individuals But The Creation Of The Church (via Peter Adam)

Being a Christian is a corporate experience with individual implications, not an individual experience with corporate implications.
Peter Adam is writing a brief series about preaching. Here he addresses what it means to understand the Bible (and preaching) is “mainly addressed to God’s people, not to individuals.”

Individualism in preaching [that is, merely addressing individuals] misses the main purpose and aim of the Bible, and so mistreats it. Even in individual Bible reading, we should be thinking of how this message impacts our church. We need to realise how frequently “you” in the Bible is “you” [plural], rather than “you” [singular]. It would help if we popularised the word “youse”, as we could then use it in our translations of the Bible! We should use the Bible for the main purpose for which God wrote it, to create, mature, train, correct, transform, equip, and perfect his church.

Read the whole post here.