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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bible Conferences Never Die; They Just Fade Away

A Bible conference—yes, a Bible conference—is under way here in Colorado Springs. The speakers are good, and the sessions are well attended, mainly by white-haired, bald, and dye-haired believers. I think the senior believers miss the good old days, when Bible conferences were annual events in churches across North America. I could be wrong, but I think the Bible conference movement declined when a growing number of pastors abandoned expository preaching and embraced topical sermons.

Now we have sermons and seminars on finances, divorce recovery, relationships, church growth, and self-image. These are all worthwhile concerns, but maybe we wouldn’t need so many sermons and seminars about them if we hadn’t buried solid Bible preaching and teaching alongside the dinosaurs about 40 or 50 years ago.

Yes, I’m old fashioned. I still believe 2 Timothy 4:2 offers the best advice a young preacher can receive. Paul instructed young Pastor Timothy to “preach the Word.” He realized the time would come “when men will not put up with sound doctrine” (v. 3).

A sermon may be cleverly composed of snippets of video clips, book quotations, and cartoons, but if it doesn’t communicate God’s Word as it is to people as they are, it makes white-haired, bald, and dye-haired Christians hunger for a Bible conference.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Are You Ready to Order Now?

Our son-in-law Jim, Gloria, and I met for dinner last night. A friendly, 60-something waitress took our order and then took it to the kitchen. Three minutes later she returned to our table and asked, “Are you ready to order now?”

“We just did that,” I replied.

Things were not going well, and I kind of expected to receive two bills at the end of the meal, three minutes apart.

God doesn’t mishandle our prayer requests, does He? He never asks us to repeat a request. It is as impossible for Him to mishandle our prayers as it is for Him to stop loving us. With full confidence we can cast all our care on Him, knowing He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Plumber and the Preacher

Picture it—you call a plumber to your house to fix a broken pipe. He repairs the pipe, and you pay him for his time and whatever parts he installs. It is a normal transaction.
Now picture this—your church calls a supply preacher to fill the pulpit because your pastor is on vacation or sick. The supply preacher drives a considerable distance to minister to your congregation, preaches, and returns home without having received any compensation. Incredible? Perhaps. Uncommon? Not as uncommon as you might think.
I have supply preached often without knowing what compensation I would receive. Sometimes the compensation has been a big fat zero. Nevertheless, I would rather preach without pay than be paid not to preach.
Churches ought to be businesslike, offering fair compensation for ministry. Jesus said, “the worker deserves his wages” (Luke 10:7), and the apostle Paul instructed the Corinthian church to do everything “in a fitting and orderly way” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
Maybe we need to elect more plumbers to serve as church treasurers!