Today's Word for Pastors...

When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear.
Luke 1:41-42

Today's Preaching Insight...

The Sermon as Worship

In the book Preaching and Professing (Eerdmans), Baylor literature professor Ralph Wood writes: "The sermon is the center of most Protestant worship, our veritable sacrament, because there we encounter Christ himself in the heard Word. The Swiss Calvinists of the sixteenth century went so far as to declare (in the Second Helvitic Confession of 1566) that 'the preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God.' Thus the gospel is not only something to be preached, the gospel is preaching itself.

"This is a radical claim, but I think it is exactly Paul's point. Fides ex auditu. 'Faith cometh by hearing,' we remember from the King James translation, 'and hearing by the Word of God.' ...

"Christian worship that is centered on the proclamation of the gospel is not the safest but the most perilous activity of the week. The worship hour is the hour of great risk. Something splendid occurs when we come to hear the Word proclaimed, or else something terrible. When the Word is not preached, everything else fails; indeed, an awful sacrilege has occurred. Nothing can salvage a service that is void of true proclamation. Someone has described hell as a perpetual church service minus the presence of God. I would add that hell is an interminable sermon without the proclamation of the gospel." (Click here to learn more about the book Preaching and Professing.)

Today's Extra...

Preparation

In his blog, Mike Glenn shares the following: "You don't have to talk to me very long to understand I am an avid fan of college football. Most of the teams have reported back to begin practice, and we are days away from the first games! I can't wait! But as intense as every Saturday promises to be, do you realize that most of the games are being won and lost right now -- before they are even played? Who shows up in shape? Who was watching extra film? Who is most focused and determined in practice right now? People who study successful men and women always point out how intentional they are with their time and work. Every action today is done with tomorrow's contest in mind -- a contest they will be most prepared to win.

"I remind you all of the time that we have to 'get ready' because there will come a time when we will have to 'be ready.' The contest will begin, and the time for preparation will be over. We will win or lose by how prepared we are for the moment. We will face temptation. We know that moment is coming. What are you doing right now to get ready to resist that temptation? We know someone will ask you about your relationship with Jesus. What are you doing to get ready for that moment? Just as football games are won in practice, spiritual victories are won and lost in our preparation. The moment is coming…and what we are doing right now will determine how well we do." (Click here to visit Mike's blog.)

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