Today's Word for Pastors...
"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire…"
Today's Preaching Insight...
In his book 360 Degree Preaching (Baker), Michael Quicke offers helpful insights for preachers who want to do more than tread water in the pulpit. Early in the book, he evaluates the challenging context in which much preaching takes place, and then takes to task those who have turned the preaching event into a lost opportunity.
"In too many places, preaching has been reduced to an anemic, religious non-event. Faint is its power to proclaim an alternative reality, the kingdom of God, and faded is its conviction about transforming communities. Gone are its prophetic voice and mission thrust. Missing is its gloriously subversive way of challenging the status quo to create communities of light and service. Preaching has become a shadow of its richly diverse New Testament forbears. Often it merely peddles texts and stories to affirm or, even worse, amuse a cautious remnant. . . .
"Does anyone care about this decline apart from self-interested preachers? When was the last time a non-preacher wrote a book pleading for biblical preaching? Rather than slide into depression, preachers need to confront criticisms and negative factors, assess their validity, and respond honestly."
US Senator Jim Talent says he prayed to trust Jesus as his Savior in response to an invitation he heard on the radio. The Missouri Republican gave his Christian testimony at a National Day of Prayer event this month on Capitol Hill. Talent said he was not raised in any faith, but began reading the Bible in college. After a couple of years, he said, he knew "a lot about God." But Talent said he did not "know God" until he was driving one day in 1984 and heard evangelist Luis Palau on a Focus on the Family broadcast. Talent said he pulled over, prayed the sinner's prayer with Palau, and -- in his words -- "passed over from death to life."
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