Tag Archives: preaching

Concluding Thoughts on Malachi

Yesterday, I ended my preaching series on Malachi. Pastor Matt preached one of the sermons, of which I am grateful.  This is the second time I have preached through Malachi; the first being back in 2011 at a church I pastored then.  I must admit, this time it was much more difficult to preach through this book.  There are many reasons why this would be so, but I want to mention three main reasons:

  1. I have a different preaching style now than I had then.  In 2011, my preaching style42505271_1962338703860138_385242529043316736_n was very factual, but not practical.  Today, I think my preaching is much more applicable, while remaining factual.  At least I hope it is. To preach through Malachi, which is very much a “prophetic” book set in the 5th century B. C. (indictments and condemnations of post-exilic Jews), and to apply that to modern lives was quite the challenge.
  2. I have grown as a pastor. I do not say that in any braggadocio way, but simply as a matter of what the Holy Spirit has done in my soul. I have sought to love and care about the people I pastor in the past, but often it was in a buddy-buddy, friendship way.  That isn’t to say that friendships within the church are wrong or bad for pastors, Norris it to say that I do not have friendships within the church, but rather to say that shepherding a people is different than befriending a people.  Shepherding a flock through such a book as Malachi has been heart-wrenching to the soul knowing that much of what is preached may not be liked, may not be appreciated, may not be welcomed, but absolutely is necessary for the good of the people.
  3. I preached through it at a faster rate. I don’t recall how many weeks I spent in 2011 going through this book, but this time, we only spent 6 weeks in Malachi.  There was a lot to cover and not much time to do so.  I probably wearied many a person with my near hour-long sermons, and for that I apologize. I would venture to say that Malachi would probably be an 8 or 9 week series.  As someone said once, the mind can absorb only as much as the seat can endure. I was well aware of how long my sermons were going to be before ever stepping into the pulpit (in fact, I told Pastor Matt just before service one day that the sermon would be about 5 minutes shorter than the previous week. After looking at the video length it was just over 5 minutes shorter). Every Sunday I stepped into the pulpit fully aware that service would go late, and no matter what people say, they eventually get tired of services ending later than expected.

That being said, preaching through Malachi developed some doctrines for me, personally. That means that I cannot be wishy-washy on certain subjects and toss it up to the fact that I hadn’t had time to study this or that.  It strengthened my convictions on other doctrines as well.  I hope and pray that I was faithful to the text, and I hope and pray that God’s name was magnified.  “For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts,” (Malachi 1:11, ESV).

You’re Gonna Wanna Read This! 5/23/18 (Open Letter Edition)

I’m generally not a fan of open letters.  If someone has something to say, just say it to the person you really want to say it to, and leave the rest of us out of it.  However, I happened across an open letter than caught my interest and I read it.  As I was scrolling through the many blogs I’m subscribed to, I found another one that “spoke to me.”  I read it too.  That put me on a mission.  Here you go: Open Letters worthy of your read (or at least, my read).

Lewis Allen offers an open letter to preachers. He makes a great point (not just for pastors/preachers, but for the church as a whole).  Definitely worth the 3 minutes it takes to read.

An Open Letter to the Preacher Writing a Sermon

I am a man who has very few deep friendships. In fact, I have one person that I consider a very close friend.  When I came across this, I found that Drew Hunter gave some pretty good advice about cultivating deeper friendships.  It is worth the time to read, even if you’re not a man and even if you’re fine without the deep friendships.

An Open Letter to the Man Struggling to Form Deep Friendships

Who isn’t frustrated with their sanctification?  That’s like saying, who thinks they should pray more?  Everyone.  David Powlison writes an open letter to those who are frustrated by their sanctification.  I wasn’t sure where he was going with this at first, but he concluded it beautifully.

An Open Letter to Those Frustrated by Their Progress in Sanctification

It is no secret that Depression has been ignored far too long in the Christian community.  Often it is blamed on sin issues, and that is sometimes the issue, but there are definitely other issues as well.  When the Fall occurred, everything fell: both body and soul.  That means that just as the body can become worn or weary, so can the mind.  Shonna Murray wrote an open letter to those suffering with depression in which she gives some good advice.  She is writing as one who has suffered with it herself.

An Open Letter to Those Suffering from Depression

David Powlison also wrote an open letter to the suffering Christian.  It is short, but full of truth.

An Open Letter to the Suffering Christian