Reprise: Implications or Applications?: Preaching Biblical Narratives

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Some preachers produce abundant applications (or, implications?) for their congregations from biblical narratives, whether they are Old Testament historical narratives like Judges 4 or New Testament Gospel narratives like Mark 3. Other preachers insist they should offer only theological and practical implications. Still others refuse to recognize any implications or applications from Scripture narratives. They declare, “Biblical narrative is only descriptive, not prescriptive.” Which practice is best? Which practice is legitimate and in keeping with sound biblical interpretation?

New Testament Teaching

No matter what the topic, one should always begin with the Scriptures themselves. What does the Word of God teach?… Continue reading

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The Day of Death and the Day of Birth

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Just before I left for a trip, I did a memorial service (see my last post). I had a few hours on a international flight to reflect on the delicate balance between celebrating and mourning at a memorial service. Here are a few thoughts. 

I like doing funerals. I know that’s a strange opener, but let me explain a little. Funerals provide a unique opportunity. Some Sunday mornings at our church, it’s a feat to get everyone quiet and focused to start the service. I’ve never experienced this at a funeral. When the family comes in and the minister stands behind the pulpit, typically all you can hear are a few sniffles as everyone solemnly directs their attention towards the front. … Continue reading

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We Are The Corinthians

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View of St Matthew’s Church in Bath through the Early Morning Haze

If you have been around church circles for any amount of time you have probably heard it said that the Corinthian church had so many profound sin issues because it was rooted in a city that that had a centuries long tradition of debauchery, immorality and the vilest kinds of sin.  You may have even heard it said that to coronthianize meant to engage in sexual depravity. The logic is that because the church at Corinth was made up of converts who were steeped in that entrenched culture of debauchery prior to conversion, the church at Corinth was unique in its propensity to sin and tolerate sin.… Continue reading

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Reflections from the Cheap Seats on High-Profile Christian Ministry

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Hello, my name is Zach, and I am a nobody.  I am a pastor of a church of about 150 people.  I have not written any books.  I don’t have a podcast.  You won’t hear me on the radio.  I don’t preach at conferences.  I am quite certain that if you are reading this blog and 1) are not a member of my family, 2) a member of my church, 3) a personal friend, nor 4) one of the other writers of this blog – you do not know me from Adam.  A high-profile pastor or ministry leader, I am not.  I observe the happenings of high-profile Christians and Christian ministries from afar; from the “cheap seats,” as they say.  And in recent days, there has been quite the abundance of noteworthy happenings to observe, many of them rather troubling, at least from where I’m sitting. 

I have no desire to dive into any of the particular happenings I’m referring to.  You likely know what kinds of things I’m talking about.  Sex scandals.  Firings.  Debates about the value of third-party reviews.  Apologies for public statements.  And things like these.  I have no inside track perspective about any of these things, and I am woefully under-qualified to wade into public debate about who should’ve done what, and when, and why.  But, watching a number of recent situations involving high-profile pastors and Christian leaders unfold, is leading me to a number of conclusions.  And I thought there may be some value in sharing those thoughts here.  So, here goes…

The spiritual dangers that attend wide visibility & influence are myriad.Continue reading

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You can’t hide from Sin City

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Unknown

I wish I had a dollar every time someone told me about the dangers of Las Vegas and why they could not raise a family here. I habitually hear, “Oh, ministry in Sin City? Well, just like Corinth they need the Gospel too.” It seems many Christians think Las Vegas the most dangerous place in the world. After all, this IS Sin City! Right? (Or at least that is how we market our city to you). [1] Is Las Vegas the most dangerous place to anyone? Let’s face it, everyone knows the Strip has drugs, gambling, free drinks, and prostitution (even though it is technically illegal in Clark County (LV)).… Continue reading

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