Happy Sunday dear readers! I bring you an exciting and challenging realization…
We are starting a new sermon series at my church for the summer, going through this book. I am barely through the first part of the first chapter and I had to set the book down and blog about it! 😉
From the title, one can gather that the thrust of the book is about what makes a healthy church. At first I wasn’t so sure I’d be interested in such a subject, but the more I think about it, there is nothing more important to be aware of than the health of your church. After all, the Church is the hands and feet of Jesus in the world! We are the eyes and ears and hearts of God sent out to love in His name. If we and our congregations are on the path to destruction and blindness, we immediately become workers on behalf of the enemy. C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters come to mind. In that book (another one I encourage you to read!) demons are on a mission to cultivate an underhanded type of misunderstanding; humans sin but think they are doing the right thing.
If you are reading this and you don’t exactly belong to one specific church, or perhaps you don’t believe it’s necessary to belong to a church, I pray that God put it on your heart to still read this book! (Or feel free to listen to my excellent pastor’s sermons on the book starting next week at CBCSB.org)
Now, the reason I’m so excited about the first chapter: Mark Dever says, an important mark of a healthy church is Expositional Preaching. Expositional Preaching is the practice of taking a passage of scripture and “throwing light” on it. [This is in contrast to Topical Preaching, which is the practice of choosing a topic and then going into the Bible to find all the supporting evidence for that topic.]
The difference is that Expositional Preaching looks to God’s Word first, and gleans all the nuggets of truth, versus already knowing what you want to say and going and finding verses to back yourself up. I realized, or God revealed to me, the major implications this concept has for the art of writing blogs!
If you have your own God-centered blog, this is especially for you: If you’re like me, you’re going through your day constantly mulling over in your mind anything that might be ripe for a post. Learning this tiny piece of Seminary 101 knowledge has completely changed the way I think about forming blog posts. What if…I didn’t already have an idea of what I wanted to write about, but let the Word of God lead me? Have you ever had a friend who dominated the conversation so much that you avoided talking to him at all? How much better if the other person were made to feel included. I’ll be the first one to admit my tendency to dominate my conversations with God, and leave him little room to respond to me.
Disclaimer! This is not to say that topical preaching is bad! In fact, we all need to hear what the Bible has to say to us on a particular topic. And like I mentioned before, I’m not halfway done with the chapter yet. So don’t stop your topical devotionals by any means! I only mean to bring attention to the type of thinking of which I myself am guilty – selfishly writing on topics that only interest me, and with which I am comfortable. My intention is to be more mindful of how I write and with what motivation.
Hopefully this idea is inspiring to someone! At any rate, I know that God works his power in us mightily, no matter what.
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:11
What an interesting post, and what an interesting book that seems to be! Regarding topical preaching, it definitely is both good and bad. Sometimes I really want to learn more about a specific topic, and then search all scriptures I can find about it. But, it is so important that we read through the context in which a particular scripture is written, to understand it fully.
I also use that type of Bible study when I look for scriptures to lean on. Like, I need to remind myself constantly of God’s grace and salvation, then I look up all those scriptures to remind myself. As you know I’m very fond of promoting grace….not to forget everything else that also is important, but simply because Christianity today needs to hear about grace.
I definitely agree about that. We are SO resistant to the idea of Grace. I know I can’t remind myself enough about it
I love this post Molly! Yes, I can totally relate to what you said,” If you’re like me, you’re going through your day constantly mulling over in your mind anything that might be ripe for a post.” I am so quick to “pass the buck” so to speak that I sometimes don’t fully soak in what God is telling me or showing me for myself. Taking the approach of Expositional Preaching will certainly take some pressure off the day so I can enjoy God’s gifts to their fullest! You are so right about “How much better if the other person (God) were made to feel included.” My blog is for Him after all!! Thank you for this awesome share of insight! I will be implementing this new- to- me approach as God leads me! Hope you have a great day! God bless you Molly! ❤