Thursday, March 5, 2009

Did Jesus Preach Sermons?

It's been quite some time since my last post, but I'm so boiling hot at the moment that I have to write this post while my thoughts are fresh.

I'm sitting in a class called "Proclaiming the Bible." Dr. Phelps is asking the question, "Why preach?" That is an excellent question that most Christians already agree upon. There is great necessity in preaching. I not concerned about the validity of preaching, but I am extremely concerned about our obsession with sermonizing. In other words, "Why preach sermons?" So I figured the best way to begin is to ask, "Did Jesus preach sermons?"

Hear me out, but I believe Jesus never concentrated on sermonizing, but on proclaiming the Word of God, since He embodies the word of God. A series of questions...

Did Jesus preach?...yes!
Did Peter, Paul, and the rest even preach?...yes!
Did Jesus preach sermons?...
Did Peter, Paul, and the rest preach sermons?...

(I have no problem being persuaded otherwise, but here's what I think about the modern idea of sermons)

Men like Peter, Paul, etc., did not preach sermons; they preached the word of God.

Sermons, as we know them today, focus entirely on method. (Sometimes I think this class should be called "Proclaiming the Sermon" instead of "Proclaiming the Bible.")

A Sermon focuses nearly every time on METHOD
in other words...sermon=method.

On Tuesday, Dr. Kelley (president of NOBTS), spoke about the diminishing status of the SBC. He said, "Method is not the crucial issue" (as to why the SBC is dying).

The same can and should be said of the dying role of preaching. Sermons (or sermonizing) teach us to focus on the method.
in other words...sermons elevate method over message!!!

But Message always overrides Method!

MESSAGE (Word of God)
METHOD (Sermon)

We've been commanded to preach God's Word, not Sermons!!

Sermonizing is squeezing the Holy Spirit out of the preaching of God's Word!

I know many will disagree with this, but that's the way i currently see it.

Two Studd quotes to close this out...

"How little chance the Holy Ghost has nowadays. The churches and missionary societies have so bound him in red tape that they practically ask Him to sit in a corner while they do the work themselves."

"Don't go into the study to prepare a sermon -- that's nonsense. Go into your study to God and get so fiery that your tongue is like a burning coal and you have got to speak."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

i love me some studd...

"Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle."

I'm been wondering lately, "Where's my trumpet?" Perhaps it's in my closet...maybe it's lost...or maybe I'm just a sissy. God help me, for I love playing your tunes and fear I have lost the desire to do so.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

a quote on Saint Boniface (from his biographer Willibald)

"But because a mind consecrated to God is not lifted up by the favor of men or sustained by praise, he began, with great care and solicitude, to hasten more intently to other things, and to shun the society of his relatives and connections, AND TO DESIRE FOREIGN PLACES MORE THAN THOSE OF THE LANDS OF HIS PATERNAL INHERITANCE."

~I suppose many of us find ourselves being alienated to that which is homely and familiar on the mere basis of hastening after other things...Godly things.

Monday, October 20, 2008

can't get away from this quote about early Christian life...

"Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country nor language nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity, but inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities and following customs of the natives in respect of clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly paradoxical manner of life. They dwell in fatherlands of their own country, but only as aliens. As citizens they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland and every fatherland a foreign land. They marry as do all; they beget children, but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

HIMnI article

Someone recently asked me to write about HIMnI in New Orleans. Here is the link for the article. Or click here, as in here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dr. King's thoughts on the Vietnam War

In light of a class I'm currently taking (Intro to Christian Ethics), and in light of some discussion during class, and in light of the recent war taking place in Iraq, I came across a message by Dr. King called "Beyond Vietnam." I've posted some of the speech and I'll give the link to the entire message.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964. And I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for 'the brotherhood of man.' This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know the good news was meant for all men, for communist and capitalist, for the children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

Finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

Beyond Vietnam full speech

Monday, May 12, 2008

an ideal weekend of ministry...

For some strange reason, although much was previously scheduled, a wonderful weekend of ministry fell into my lap, and I am forever blessed by it.

Let's begin on Friday.

Friday Morning.
I met with 5 of my friends in the French Quarter for Bible Study. I've known most of these guys for quite some time, but I recently become better friends with them through our church's Wednesday night Bible Study. These men, David, Deangelo, Richard, Daniel, and Bill, wanted more. They craved more of the Word, and all they cared about was the Bible. So we decided to meet up every Friday morning for a huge breakfast and for a great time of Bible Study. I love this so much. I typically go buy the food with Bill or Deangelo, Daniel and David set up the table, Deangelo and I start making the breakfast. Well actually, Deangelo is our cook since all I do is put biscuits in the oven and scramble the eggs.
We eat, and I mean we really eat. Tons of scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits, juice, milk, sometimes chocolate milk, coffee...good times.
After breakfast, we move into the next room and spend some time in prayer before diving into 1 Peter. During our first meeting, we spent nearly an hour examining the first two verses. And none of us got bored. These guys, with the exception of one, all live on the streets, so its amazing to realize we don't have to rush our time in the Word. Reminds me of my time in Malaysia.

Friday, Late Morning and Early Afternoon.

My brother was moving into Uptown, so I decided to help by taking care of his two nephews, Cash and Aylor. We went to one playground, then went to McDonalds, then went to another playground, and finally went for some ice cream. It was soo hot! And I was soo exhausted. Oddly enough, the toughest thing about this part of the day was not chasing them around the playground, but putting them in their car seats! That's exhausting.

Friday Late Afternoon and Early Evening.

HIMnI Volunteer Cookout. HIMnI is our monthly worship gathering in Nola. We decided to grill some hamburgers and sausages in appreciation for all our volunteers. Nathan Cline, who is the man, prepared all the food for us. We grubbed on some good food as we played some bocci ball, volleyball, and hung around and talked with one another. I was loving life because it was a great time to chill, relax, and enjoy one another's company without feeling like we had to do something or be somewhere. Peace be still if you catch my drift. [God help us in this regard]

Friday Late Evening.
The cookout was awesome, but we only had half the people show up. Nathan had actually prepared food for 50, which meant we had tons of food left over. All of us were thinking about throwing the food away, when we decided to take it down to Tent City and feed as many people as possible. For those of you who don't know, Tent City is near the French Quarter, in downtown New Orleans, underneath Interstate 10, otherwise known as the Claiborne Bridge, where tons of homeless people live in tents. Originally we were planning to bring the food to Jackson square, since I know the majority of the homeless in that area. But as we drove by tent city, even amongst a great fear of being mauled and mugged, we pulled over on the side of the road and began to hand out food. Parker, Matt, Tiffany, Stephanie, Casey, CC, and myself unloaded chips, hamburgers made to order with all the "fixins", sausage, baked beans, cookies, and soft drinks until we ran out. I think we ran out of food in 30 minutes, and we were completely amazed that there were still so many who didn't get food. I tried to visit Jonathan and Erica, a couple who live in that area that attend our church, but they weren't around. But I did get to meet Jason. I brought him some cookies and some doritos. I hope I'll get to visit him soon.

Friday Late Late Evening.
While the rest of the crew stayed up to watch a movie, I was exhausted and went to sleep. I did, however, join the rest of the crew for some ice cream. Yes ice cream again. King Cake ice cream and Moo Tracks ice cream. (not Moose Tracks, but still very good).

Saturday Morning through Early Afternoon.
I slept in until 11, then got some things done like get measured for a tux for my friends wedding.

Saturday Early Evening.
Stephen and Priscilla, two people from our church, were getting married. It was awesome because their invitations were in french since Priscilla is from France and Stephen is from some French speaking country in Africa. The wedding was beautiful, located in City Park. I went with Trish and Martha Ann, and both of them got angry with me for not going to the reception. Pastor Greg's wife and son were also there. I think this was amazing since I got to meet others like Michele and Mosanda, other unique people who live in this unique and amazing city.

Saturday Late Evening.
After Trish and Martha Ann took me back to my apartment, I met up with Parker for some dinner. We went to VooDoo Barbeque on St. Charles. We had a great time sitting at the bar, chowing down, and talking about "girls and things we like" (that's for Lee if he reads this). Afterwards we came back to my apartment, unaware of what to do next. I talked with my beautiful on the phone for a while, Abby for anyone who may be wondering, while Parker did the same thing with his beautiful who happens to live in Richmond. After that, Parker and I spent about an hour talking about various things, and it was great just to have a substantial conversation that wasn't rushed and full of meaning.

Sunday Morning.
I traveled an hour and a half to preach for FBC Whitecastle, in Louisiana. This is the same church that my dad pastored while he and my mom lived in New Orleans. There must have been about 40 people present for the Mother's Day service. I preached my heart out, and I felt very encouraged and challenged by the gentle eyes that were before me.

Sunday Lunch.
After the service, Fry and Lois Hymel took me to the Nottoway Plantation for lunch. They weren't actually taking me, I just got to participate in a special Mother's Day lunch since I just so happened to preach this Sunday. The food was great, and I really enjoyed catching up with Jim and Sugar, talking with Jim about various places to eat as well as "girls and things we like." The service was extremely slow, but that didn't matter since I didn't have that rushed feeling that I always have. Fry and Lois, they are wonderful people. Whenever I see them, they always subconsciously remind me about the importance of faithfulness. (I have that tattooed on my chest in case you didn't know, which is why I really like being reminded of this.)

Sunday Early Afternoon.
I slept, or at least I tried to. Once I got back to my apartment, I sat down to watch some NBA playoffs and napped for about 30 minutes until I got really excited about playing some basketball. And even though I was more tired than ever, I decided to go play some pick up games on Napoleon and Magazine. Initially I tried the courts near the Fairgrounds, but noone was there. I played four games, and I won all four of them. I only share this because I really earned some respect out there that day. The other guys playing really began to converse with me, and I realized yesterday for the first time that they really did treat me like a regular, not like some stranger who shows up to play basketball every once in a while. These guys really started opening up to me, and I really hope God will provide me the courage to proclaim the good news very soon.

Sunday Evening until Midnight.
Met up with my friend, Ricky, who invited me to a very special ministry. My first invite came on Valentine's Day, but for some reason I didn't go then. And in all truth, I didn't want to go last night. I was completely exhausted and I didn't think I had any left in the tank. This ministry is unique because they minister to Strippers at the Strip Clubs on Bourbon. I'm no stranger to Bourbon Street, since I'm there nearly every week, but I never go near to the strip clubs which I guess makes me a stranger to this type of ministry. When I got to the Dream Center on St. Charles, 10 women were organizing some flowers, mostly roses, and some chocolate for the women on Bourbon. After this, our team, 14 in all, gathered together for prayer and for worship. It was an amazing time as I did my best to get out of the way, and to let the Lord prepare the way. After about an hour of this, we left for Bourbon and spent the next hour or so handing out roses to the women and chocolate to the bouncers. We didn't evangelize much, but we sure did witness to the goodness that is Jesus. And just in case you're wondering, the men did not go into the clubs. We would wait for our women as they went in and out of every strip club on bourbon. As for me, I had three great conversations worth mentioning. First, I talked with a lady who was selling roses on the street. She was extremely angry with us for handing out roses for free. I stayed and talked with her for about 5 minutes, and she told me Jesus was definitely fake because God is ignorant to evil and is a jerk for letting bad things happen like permitting George Bush to be president. But trust me when I say this, and I'm not permitted to tell you what happened, but she left with a favorable impression of the gospel and I'm firmly convinced that she has declared Jesus to be her Lord and her God. !!!! Second, I talked with a guy named Shawn who lives on the Westbank. We were comparing tattoos and I told him that the only tattoos worth getting are the ones which remind you of the marks Jesus put on his body. He had "God" and "Son" put on his forearms. I then started talking trash about how there are no good basketball players on the Westbank, and its a waist of time for me to come all the way over there to play a bunch of scrubs. He said, "Are you serious??" Which led me to getting his cell number. Shawn is gonna find four guys, and I'm gonna find four, and we're gonna play a friendly game of bball. Both of us were very excited, and I pray God will receive great glory from this. Last, I talked with a guy carrying a huge "X" on Bourbon St. His hair and beard were also neon pink. I asked him about it, and he said it was the St. Andrew's cross. I asked him why he was carrying it, and he showed me a whip. He said they use it in strip clubs to tie up girls and whip them, for any guys (or girls) who enjoyed this fetish. I told him, "now that's a dumb reason for carrying a cross on Bourbon." He laughed, I told him I carry a different kind of cross, the only one worth carrying, and then told him to be safe. This little shin dig of ministry ended around midnight, and I finally went to bed after some late night Wendy's. By the way, the drive thru lady, her name is Karen, just like my mom, but she had to work all day during Mother's Day. She didn't have such a good Mother's Day, so I really hope that I can pray she'll have better days.

I share all this to say...I'm exhausted, yet liberated. I ran out of time, yet every single second was well-spent. And I'm so glad Jesus is my sweet Savior and Lord. He permits me to enjoy His activities He has planned for me long in advance, and I pray He will fill my weekends with more of His activities, not mine. Jesus, please continue to order my steps and to plan my days.