Today's Word for Pastors...
Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
Today's Preaching Insight...
What Preaching Alone Can Do
In a recent article for www.PreachingToday.com, Craig Brian Larson talks about some things that biblical preaching can do that "individual Bible reading, memorization and meditation does not:
Good preaching rescues us from our self-deceptions and blind spots, for left to ourselves we tend to ignore the very things in God's Word that we most need to see. Preaching is done in community, covering texts and topics outside of our control.
Preaching brings us before God's Word in the special presence of the Holy Spirit, who indwells the gathered church.
Good preaching challenges us to do things we otherwise would not and gives us the will to do them. God has put within human nature a remarkable power to spur others to take action.
Good preaching brings us into the place of corporate obedience rather than merely individual obedience. This is a uniquely corporate discipline the church does together as a community, building up individuals and the community at the same time. We are not just an individual follower of Christ; we are members of His church and are called to obey the call of God together with others hearing the same Word.
Good preaching contributes to spiritual humility by disciplining us to sit under the teaching, correction and exhortation of another human. Relying on ourselves alone for food from the Word can lead to a spirit of arrogance and spiritual independence.
Good preaching gives a place for a spiritually qualified person to protect believers from dangerous error. The apostles repeatedly warned that untrained and unstable Christians -- as well as mature believers -- are frequently led astray by false doctrines. Christians are sheep; false teachers are wolves; preachers are guardian shepherds. A preacher is a person called and gifted by God with spiritual authority for the care of souls in the context of God's church." (Click here to read the full article.)
Here are a few suggestions for special gifts:
• a firm handshake to a shaky soul,
• a kind word to a lonely person,
• a warm smile to the disheartened,
• a sincere concern for someone troubled,
a feeling of compassion for the neglected,
• a comforting thought for the bereaved,
• a respect for the dignity of others,
• a defense of the rights of individuals,
• a word of witness to help a seeking soul,
• a Merry Christmas to all.
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