Saturday, June 30, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
No, this is not a book about saying you’re sorry as you preach. Instead, this is a book about preaching in a postmodern culture. Craig Loscalzo challenges preachers to fulfill their call to preach mystery in an age of information, to preach hope in an era of skepticism, to preach confidence in a time of doubt and to preach truth in a climate of relativism. In late summer of 2002, I was able to visit
What are some of the characteristics of this postmodern-ism? First, “The postmodern world appears less likely to be seduced by technology’s promises…Technology has not rid the world of evil that breeds in the depths of human hearts.”  In
“Postmodernism also applauds the end of modernism’s love affair with objectivity and reason as the sole arbiters of truth.”  Personal experience and personal perspective have become paramount in the average person’s understanding of reality. Particularly in matters of religion and politics, what matters most is individual interpretation.
Loscalzo outlines a number of other changes as well. The proliferation of choices in the marketplace contributes to an environment of choice in all metaphysical matters. Modern autonomous individualism is giving way to a postmodern resurgence of communities, each with its own language and sources of meaning. A pervasive attitude of suspicion affects all relationships, especially those where one person is seeking to persuade another of the truthfulness of a particular position. Not all of these changes are bad, teaches Loscalzo, and preachers do better when they take these views seriously and address them “from a collaborative rather than adversarial stance.”  The most important value that preachers must adopt to communicate effectively with postmodernists is authenticity. Furthermore, “apologetic preaching requires ministers to reclaim the mantle of theologian for the church.”  Loscalzo advocates a variety of styles of preaching, emphasizing the use of stories for illustrations, narrative preaching and non-linear inductive methods of reasoning.
Some preachers may find the chapter-closing example sermons to be most helpful as they work to communicate well with postmodern listeners. While example sermons might fit an evangelistic preaching opportunity outside of a Sunday church service, I would not recommend them as good examples for preaching to an established congregation on the Lord’s Day. Expositional preaching ought to be the main diet of the gathered community of believers and the postmodern tendencies of our hearers in church can be respected and corrected as needed with expositional sermons. I found the following sentence most helpful: “By intentionally looking for places of connection between the gospel and the postmodern world – being careful not to demonize postmodernism – we will move our listeners by identifying with their life experiences.”  Loscalzo particularly emphasizes using his methods of apologetic preaching during Christmas and Easter services, since many attend church only on those occasions.
While containing a helpful overview of the issues that preachers face today, I do not recommend this book. If you want to learn how to more effectively preach to people with postmodern sensibilities, read a book like Postmodern Times by Gene Edward Veith to get a sense of the cultural implications of this movement, then read sermons by authentically Spirit-empowered preachers from the pre-modern and modern eras such as John Crysostom, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, then read books like Between Two Worlds by John Stott, then study your Bible and preach the Word.
Apologetic Preaching, Craig A. Loscalzo, IVP, 2000
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
First stop: The Oregon Trail Ruts outside Guernsey, Wyoming
Then, Fort Laramie National Historic Site, where thankfully the root beer bar was open!
And earlier today, a tour of Wind Cave National Park. Can you believe that little hole goes on for over 120 miles underground?
If you were to write a book on Christian apologetics, what title would you choose? Peter C. Moore would have chosen Out of the Iron Furnace: Exit Routes from Today’s Secular Faiths. I’m not sure which I like better, that title or the one actually given the book by its publisher. But I am sure that I like
Here is perhaps the most helpful line I learned from
In his chapter on the “New Age” movement,
Do you know anyone who self-identifies as a hedonist, or a narcissist, or a relativist, or a pragmatist? I don’t either. But
Disarming the Secular Gods, Peter C. Moore, IVP, 1989
Thursday, June 7, 2007
- Wyoming and South Dakota for a one-week camping trip
- Back to our home in Superior to regroup and repack for a few days
- Out west to Utah's National Parks
- On to Las Vegas, where we will catch a cheap flight to Hawaii
- With a quick stop on Oahu and then 8 days on Maui
- Back to Vegas late one night and then on to Hoover Dam the next day
- Across Northern Arizona to drop in on the Smiley Family and visit the Grand Canyon
- On to Northern New Mexico where we will join Megan's family for 4th of July week
- Back East to Branson, Missouri and Table Rock Lake where we will join Scott's family for another week
- And finally back across Kansas just in time for Bryan & Stephanie's wedding in Boulder on July 15th.
Friday, June 1, 2007
These questions have been on my mind because they are the questions that Jim Shaddix poses to preachers and congregations in The Passion-Driven Sermon. Dr. Shaddix, former professor of preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, is now the preaching pastor at Riverside Baptist Church in Denver. He was also kind enough to take me out to lunch a few weeks ago and help me with some problems I'm facing as a pastor and a preacher. This book outlines a practical theology of pastoral preaching that is driven by a passion for the glory of God - a passion to be jointly possessed by the pastor and the people.
Shaddix' practical theology of preaching is firmly committed to the expositional preaching of the Bible. He warns the church against the dangers of pragmatism and the temptation for pastors to neglect their ministry as shepherds who lead and feed God's people with His Word. Regarding seeker-oriented messages he asks the obvious question: Where will the most number of lost people always be, inside or outside the church? The obvious answer is outside, and therefore he exhorts pastors to preach in a way that is primarily directed at shaping the people of God into the image of Christ through the explanation and application of God's Word in the power of the Spirit. The connection of the power of the Spirit and the authority of the Bible is found often throughout the book as Shaddix makes his Biblical, philosophical and practical points about preaching.
Here are a few quotes that I especially appreciated:
"There is a hidden cry in every human soul to know the glory of God!" 
"The effectiveness of pastoral preaching cannot and should not be gauged by what happens at the altar on Sunday morning or by what parishioners say as they shake the minister's hand at the back of the church after the service. The effectiveness of pastoral preaching must be guaged by whether or not we who listen to preaching look more like Jesus this year than we did this time last year." 
"It is far more important for the shepherd to teach people to think Christianly than to act rightly." 
"Pastoral preaching somehow has to move beyond individual instruction and announce ethical mandates that describe morality in communal terms." 
"As the pastor grows confident in the supernatural power of God's Word, however, and adds to his confidence strong convictions about the practice of biblical exposition, he can be certain that the potent power of God will always be in his preaching. Why? The power of God does not rest pragmatically in the preacher but intrinsically in the truth of God's Word." 
This morning I will be finishing a sermon from Psalm 66 that I am scheduled to preach on Sunday. I am seeking to apply what I've learned in this book as prepare for this sermon. But more than anything, I'm looking forward to spending most of my day with God today, meeting with Him in His Word, allowing Him to work in my mind and heart, becoming saturated with the truth of Psalm 66, so that I might proclaim it with a real passion for God's glory.