Great Preaching Has Little to do with the Size of Our Talent

July 5, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Here are some encouraging words I read today.  I must trust God and not self or gifts or talents.

The centerpiece of pastoring is typically identified with preaching.  It’s the church activity that garners the largest audience, evokes the highest praise, and fuels the hottest critiques.

Preaching God’s word has always been important to the Father — He called us to it, provided the material for it, empowers us in it, and holds us accountable with it.  Maybe that’s why the word preacher, and other forms of the word, appear 150 times in scripture.  That’s even more than church and hell combined.

To the average congregant, the standard yardstick for measuring good preaching is whether or not it comes with flair or charisma — can the preacher keep a crowd interested, or awake, or entertained?  Another benchmark is response — when fishing for men, can the preacher fill up the net?

But those can’t be true measurements of success  .  .  .  Great preaching, it would appear, has little to do with the size of our talent and everything to do with the size of our God.  Proclaiming His word is not a show and tell for a man or his gift.  True preaching is simply the spoken word opening the written word to proclaim the Incarnate Word.

— from Ron Walters, Senior Vice President Ministry Relations, Salem Media Group, July 2017 Pastor’s Letter.

The entire article can be found here


Great Biographies

June 5, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Books and Movies, Grace and Faith, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Sunday I encouraged our congregation to increase their faith by reading biographies of men and women God has used in mighty ways, and then I mentioned a few that have had an impact on me.  I was asked to repeat that list.  So here are the ones I mentioned Sunday.

You can read my post from a few years ago called “Ten Influential Books” here.  It lists most of these with a few comments about them.

Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot is the story of Jim Elliot and four other men who were martyred taking the gospel to a tribe in South America.  George Muller, Man of Faith and Miracles by Basil Miller is the story of a man who built a huge orphanage on nothing but trust in God.  I’ve read three biographies of William Tyndale, who is my hero in Church history.  The best was the longest one by David Daniell.  Finally, I have recently read Saving My Assassin by Virginia Prodan, a powerful story of one woman’s life in communist Romania.

Happy reading.

New Way to Read Ancient Scrolls

September 22, 2016 at 11:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Here is a fascinating piece of news that may not make the mainstream media.  Scientists have found a way to read ancient scrolls that are too fragile to unroll and read.  The first successful attempt was with a 4th Century BC scroll of Leviticus.   Here is a news article containing a video explaining the process.

It should come as no surprise to biblical conservatives, that the reading of this scroll, the most ancient of the Pentateuch now available, is identical to the text we use today.

“The text is ‘100 percent identical’ to the version of the Book of Leviticus that has been in use for centuries, said Dead Sea Scroll scholar Emmanuel Tov from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who participated in the study.”   The quote comes from this BBC article about the new technology.

The grass withers, the flowers fall, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.

ESV Changes in 2016

September 21, 2016 at 11:25 am | Posted in English Bible Translations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I thought some readers might like to know this.  I’ve been asked before if the ESV had made changes from the originally released Bible.  I commented on that here.  Those were earlier changes made sometime soon after 2001.  Now, once again, they have made a small number of changes.  Here is a website that lists all the changes that were made in 2016.  The translators claim this is the final text of the ESV.

I don’t know the reasoning behind most of these changes, some could be significant, like Genesis 3:16 and 4:7.  Some others are corrections that apparently were not caught the first time changes were made; an example is Numbers 14:42 where the new text changes “Lord” to “LORD.”  A quick glance at any modern translation will tell you this was a mistake in the earlier ESV editions.

The translators say that the 2016 changes are “limited to 52 words (out of more than 775,000 total words in ESV Bible) found in 29 verses (out of more than 31,000 verses in the ESV).  All that is really rather minor.

Keep reading the Word.

Narnia and the Election

February 27, 2016 at 10:13 am | Posted in Books and Movies, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Very rarely do I comment on politics in this blog.  The subtitle is “A Teaching Pastor’s Devotional and Theological Thoughts,” and I try to keep it to that.  However, occasionally the two areas overlap, and occasionally I can’t refrain.  As a big fan of The Chronicles of Narnia, this article caught my attention.  I find I totally agree with the author.  Its called Nikabrik’s Candidate.  If you’ve read or seen Prince Caspian, then you will know the story behind the article.


An added note from this morning’s prayer time.  It’s a prayer for many candidates on both sides of the aisle.

There they are, bellowing with their mouths with swords in their lips —
for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?”
But you, O LORD, laugh at them; you hold all the nations in derision.
O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress.
My God in his steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.
For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride.
For the cursing and lies that they utter, consume them in wrath;
consume them till they are no more,
that they may know that God rules over Jacob to the ends of the earth.
Selected verses from Psalm 59 (ESV)

Is Divorce Allowed?

February 3, 2016 at 10:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sunday I spoke on Mark 10:1-12, and the response of the congregation was amazing.  My views on this passage have changed over the years.  As I came to understand the background of those who asked Jesus the question about divorce, I understood that some of what I’d been told was not true.  Though I believe divorce is too easy in our society, very rarely the best path, and always as a result of sin, it is still allowed by God.  Too often divorced people are treated as second-class citizens in the church.  That is inconsistent with God’s grace and our responsibility to extend God’s grace and love to others.

Here’s a link if you are interested in listening.  Go down the list to the title “Is Divorce Lawful?”

Timeline of Jewish Exile to Babylon, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther

August 5, 2015 at 10:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some of my most popular posts have been the simple graphics I’ve made, like Herod’s Family Tree.  Since I am preaching on Ezra this week, I thought of another I’d made a few years ago.  Here is a timeline of biblical events from 640BC until 423BC, which covers the Babylonian exile, and the periods of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.  The gray print shows those who ruled over Palestine, whether Jewish, Babylonian or Persian; the orange print shows the biblical events; and the green shows the ministry of the biblical prophets.  The “H & Z” in green represents Haggai and Zechariah.  Hope this helps put things in perspective.  It doesn’t seem to be showing up very big, so click on it to see the full-size version.

Timeline of Ezra Nehemiah


June 18, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Here’s a fun little poem I came up with a few years ago when my nephews and nieces were learning the Greek alphabet and pronouncing one of the letters differently than I learned it. It is very common. I guess as a math major in college and a theology major in seminary, I’ve been well ingrained with both. I’ve never bothered to write it down until now.

In math I learned, “It’s a number called ‘pie’.”
But in Bible they said, “It’s a letter called ‘pea’.”
I was so confused; but now I know why:
Those funny symbols are all Greek to me.

I hope somebody gets a laugh out of it.

My Sermons Are Back On Line

February 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

After being down for many months, my sermons are beginning to get posted on line again.  You can check the link in the right hand column under blogroll or go here to listen.  We’ve started with a few sermons from recent months, but should soon have the current message up each week.  Thanks for all of you who asked if we could get them back on line.  I appreciate the encouragement.

Blessings, Pastor Glenn

Micaiah Revisited

August 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I was privileged to spend two days last week at the 6:4 Fellowship National Conference here in the Denver area.  It was a blessing.  The 6:4 Fellowship is a group of pastors committed to something I can strongly support, the priorities of Acts 6:4, prayer and the ministry of the word.  One of the plenary speakers was Mike Romberger, Senior Pastor of Mission Hills Church.  His talk was “Mr 401,” a reference to Micaiah, a prophet called by kings Ahab and Jehoshaphat to speak after 400 false prophets had given the same report.  Pastor Mike encouraged us pastors, like Micaiah, willingly to face opposition and speak the truth, willingly to be a minority voice, and willingly to stick to God’s script.  It was a great message.  It reminded me of a post I made, over six years ago now, called “Micaiah and Today’s False Prophets.”  For a while it stood as the most popular post I’d written, but in recent years has been mostly lost.  Pastor Mike’s reminder made me think this was a good time to repost that article:

Those who are false prophets will say whatever is to their advantage, regardless of the truth, and they disguise their rhetoric in the words of people who believe the truth.  This is illustrated in the story of Micaiah, who prophesied against King Ahab.  His story is in 1 Kings 22 (and also 2 Chronicles 18 — I read the First Kings account this morning).  King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah joined forces to fight against the king of Aram.  At King Jehoshaphat’s request for a prophet, Ahab consulted his false prophets – about 400 of them – who all gave the same report, “Go to war, for the Lord will give victory.” (v6) Jehoshaphat was not persuaded, asking, “Is there no prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?” (v7)

The upper and lower case letters are critical to a correct understanding of this story. When the prophets spoke of “the Lord” (with lower case letters), they were using a generic term that could refer to any authority, false god or idol.  But when Jehoshaphat spoke of “the LORD” (upper case letters in most modern English translations), he was specifying what God he wanted to hear from; he wanted a word from Yahweh, the God who created the universe. In other words, he was saying “these guys are false prophets, and I want to hear from a true prophet of God.”

At this point two things happened.  First, Ahab sent for a prophet of the LORD named Micaiah, of whom Ahab was not fond, for Micaiah never said what Ahab wanted to hear.  And second, while they were waiting for him to arrive, the false prophets changed their tune.  They had been prophesying “the words of the Lord,” but after Jehoshaphat’s inquiry, they started saying, “This is what the LORD says.” (vv 11-12)  The only thing they kept consistent was the promise of victory.

Just like Ahab’s prophets said what Ahab wanted to hear and changed the wording so Jehoshaphat would also be pleased, so today’s false teachers promise what their audience wants to hear, using the words popular with Bible believers.  Unfortunately, again just like Ahab’s prophets, they change the meaning of those words to fit their agenda.

Be cautious!  Some of today’s popular teachers use good words but change their meaning.  They say what people want to hear.  They don’t talk about sin, which is so prominent in the Bible and without which there can be no good news.  Instead, they teach prosperity according to the world’s standards – exactly what most people like to hear.  Paul warned us that people would “gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”  Let’s be like Jehoshaphat, listening to the truth, even when a part of that truth is not what our human ears are fond of hearing.  Then we can hear and experience the real good news!  The real good news is not news of temporal prosperity; it’s news of eternal prosperity.

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