Is the Author of Hebrews Anti-Old Testament?

Moses holding up his arms during the Battle of Rephidim
assisted by Hur (left) and Aaron by John Everett Millais’ (1871)

By Adrio König, adapted from Christ Above All: The Book of Hebrews 

The basic message of Hebrews is that Christ is incomparably greater than anyone and anything in the Old Testament and that the Jewish or gentile believers should not even think of returning to Old Testament religion. [Read more…]

3 Prayers for Independence Day

Taken from the Book of Common Prayer.

Independence Day (July 4)

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [Read more…]

What Children Get Right That Adults Get Wrong

By G. K. Chesterton, adapted from Heretics and Orthodoxy

All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately upon one assumption; a false assumption. It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork.  [Read more…]

One of the Greatest Apologists of Our Time, Norman Geisler, Dead at 86

This morning the great apologist Norman Geisler passed away. It was announced on his ministry page, but I saw the news from my colleague Scott Lindsey, who knew Dr. Geisler personally.

Scott has permitted me to share his reflection here, which reveals a side of Dr. Geisler many weren’t privileged to see. [Read more…]

Free Book: Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ

It’s free book time again!

July’s free book is Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ by Thomas R. Schreiner.  [Read more…]

Learning Logos: Share Documents with Faithlife Groups

One of the most helpful tweaks in the recently released Logos 8.5 update is the ability to both share and download documents within Faithlife Groups. This blog focuses on sharing, and next week we’ll focus on downloading.

So let’s say you’re a member of a Faithlife Group and you want to share a Passage List with the members. You can now do that right from the Docs menu:

[Read more…]

Sermon Preparation Is Twenty Hours of Prayer

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

By Matthew Kim, adapted from Preaching Points: 55 Tips for Improving Your Pulpit Ministry.

It’s something that we all know in our minds. We’ve considered it. But it’s often difficult to put into practice. What am I talking about? 

Pastor R. Kent Hughes, who pastored College Church in Wheaton, IL, for some twenty-seven years, once had this to say about preaching: “Sermon preparation is twenty hours of prayer.” 

Twenty hours? What does he mean? How can we pray for twenty hours when we have so many things to do in ministry?

What Hughes means is that prayer is extremely valuable in sermon preparation. Prayer is indispensable. We need to pray, because we’re engaged in a spiritual battle. The moment we walk up into the pulpit we recognize that what we are doing is not something that just any communicator does. We’re preaching God’s Word. And the enemy doesn’t want us to. The enemy doesn’t want us to have power. He doesn’t want us to display God’s power through our sermon.

What we’re doing is bathing our sermon in prayer. How do we do that?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Logos-FBOTM-June19_FLAN-2_640x186-1-620x180.png

It begins when we select a text. I know that there are moments in pastoral ministry where I just thought, What does the church need to hear? And so I would just simply go to a text or look for a text. But to have this attitude of sermon preparation being twenty hours of prayer means that from the moment I think about a given sermon, I’m given to prayer. I’m seeking God’s guidance. I ask, “God, what do you want me to learn from this particular passage? Which passage should I preach on?” 

As we’re going through the rigors of exegesis and determining what the author is talking about, I’m constantly prayerful. What does it mean to pray in such a way that we’re asking the Holy Spirit to guide us to understand the authorial intent of the passage? What does this mean for the people back in Bible times, and what does it mean for us today? Even in outlining or writing our manuscript, we’re constantly soaking our sermon in prayer. We’re praying through what it means to speak to people in such a way that God’s Word comes alive in their midst.

One of the ways we can do this practically speaking is praying through the church directory. Pray about your congregation’s needs and struggles. What is that family going through at this moment? What does it look like for this person who has lost her job to understand this particular passage? And as we do so, we slow down our preparation. We don’t just rush through it to get the sermon finished. We don’t just go through the exercise of exegesis. But we are prayerful about each moment of the sermon preparation process.

A few years ago I was standing on the curb. I remember it vividly. I was a candidate for a pastoral position at a church. One of the pastors on the church staff looked at me. But he didn’t just look at me. He gave me one of those up-and-down glances which made me feel uncomfortable. He inquired, “Matt, so how many hours do you pray each day?” I thought to myself, Hours? I think in minutes. But what he was really getting at is, “Do you have a deep and profound relationship with the Lord?” D. L. Moody was known to say, “He who kneels the most, stands the best.” That’s what R. Kent Hughes may have in view when he wisely encourages: Sermon preparation is twenty hours of prayer.

This post is adapted from “Sermon preparation is twenty hours of prayer,” by Matthew Kim in Preaching Points: 55 Tips for Improving Your Pulpit Ministry, edited by Scott M. Gibson (Lexham Press, 2016).

Announcing a New Website—and 30% off Your First Order

For a limited time, take 30% off your first order when you visit our new site.

That’s not one product, that’s one order, so fill up your cart to maximize your savings. [Read more…]

84 Libraries on Sale—Here’s How to Choose the Right One(s)

Your perfect library is in there. Here’s how to find it. [Read more…]

Was $400, Now $100: Flash Sale on Boice Commentary Set

“Of all that I’ve seen, this commentary probably provides the best direct help for preaching on the Psalms. Boice has written a well-crafted, easily understood commentary that provides good historical background and thoughtful suggestions for illustration.”

— Minister’s Packet (April/May 1999), on the Psalms volume [Read more…]