Psalms and Hymns: Preach the Psalm Headings

The psalm is a hymn that is sung to an instrument, either a lyre or a psaltery. According to the spiritual or analogical sense, the poem is a contemplation of truth that happens not only in the mind but also in the music as with measured harmony. The psalm denotes actions that are done according to right reason; so as one sings he follows the way of an effective life; he sings who follows a life of contemplation.[1]

Didymus the Blind (ca. 313–398 AD) was an Alexandrian exegete whom Jerome admired. Origen influenced Didymus in his exegesis and theology.… Continue reading

Ministry in a Nutshell

PlantingPlanting and waiting.  That, I am learning, is the essence of biblical ministry.  It is perhaps the most important lesson I have been learning over the last few years, at least as it concerns my life as a pastor.

Of all the things that I long to see happen in, around, and as a result of my ministry, I have no power whatsoever to make happen.  I cannot save a single soul.  I cannot make a single Christian more like Christ.  I cannot cause a single saint to endure to the end of his life in faithfulness to Christ.

Beyond these things, I cannot heal a single marriage. … Continue reading

An Updated Christmas Shopping List: Commentaries, Theologies, Reference, Oh My!

Last year I posted here some recommendations for commentaries and other book sets people might want to buy for that pastor or seminary student in their life. It was in no particular order and it wasn’t exhaustive.

Two things happened again this year: people started sending me notes asking about this or that book as a gift and I also received my shipment of books from the Evangelical Publishing Association. I’m a judge in the Bible and Reference section for their annual Gold Medallion Awards (and I have been for about 15 years). Questions and these new additions to commentary series stimulated me to create some additions to last years sampling.… Continue reading

That Forgotten Concept in Preaching: The Paragraph

I recall some time ago listening to a conversation between two great preachers, Haddon Robinson and Warren Wiersbe (when Robinson was president of Denver Seminary he had a very helpful audio series on preaching). They were both funny, provocative, and pointed in their discussion of preaching, particularly “expository preaching.” These are two men who have studied and taught about preaching as much as anyone in the last 50 years.

In the discussion Robinson was criticizing the atomistic tendencies in preaching; that is preachers who seemingly dedicate a whole sermon expositing a colon. Wiersbe quickly adding, “or after his operation, a semi-colon.” The point was humorous and well made.… Continue reading

What I Learned from Vin Scully

Last Sunday Vin Scully called his final game for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He called play-by-play for the Dodgers, starting in Brooklyn in 1950 and ending, perhaps appropriately, calling the game against the Dodgers greatest rival, transferred from the borough of Queens to San Francisco, the Giants.vinscully

The Dodgers were sill in Brooklyn when I was born, so I don’t remember listening to Vin until the early 1960’s, there are pictures of me attending Dodger games at the LA Memorial Coliseum, where the team played for four years while Dodger Stadium was being built.

Growing up, I learned several things from Vin Scully.… Continue reading