Today's Word for Pastors...
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Today's Preaching Insight...
Preaching the Beatitudes
David Buttrick is author of Speaking Jesus: Homiletic Theology and the Sermon on the Mount (Westminster John Knox). He notes:
"We must be careful: The Beatitudes are not law and not moral instruction. They are neither didactic teachings nor rulebook rules. Preachers can urge congregations to be forgiving or to work as peacemakers, but look out, for there are complicating factors. First, we must not forget that human sinfulness runs deep. Not only is there a strange reluctance in each of us to choose God's will over our own dreams and desires, but when we are ‘packaged,' that is, put together in social groups - corporations, nations, clubs, clans, even churches - we are doubly dangerous. To tell congregations to go out and make peace everywhere is unhelpful moralizing unless you spell out how difficult it will be to ignore prejudices, political alliances, social pressures, patriotisms and the like, all of which are formed by sin. In view of sin, the Beatitudes rely on God's own innovative grace."
Grace, Divine Protection
In his book The Red Sea Rules, pastor Rob Morgan writes, "Several years ago, I was walking down a sidewalk in East Nashville, making a pastoral visit. Suddenly I saw a German shepherd flying across a lawn, barking, snarling, teeth bared, mouth frothing. I was so startled that as it lunged at me, I screamed and jumped backward. But between me and my would-be attacker, there was a chain-link fence. The dog struck the fence full force. My heart was racing, but I was utterly safe because of the protective fence.
"Satan can growl and bark, lunge and threaten. But when we're enclosed by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, he can do us no real or lasting harm."
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