Review of Keller’s New Book On Preaching

Keller PreachingI haven’t got round to reading Tim Keller’s new book on preaching yet. But my anticipation is growing after this helpful review by Robert Kinney of the Simeon Trust.

What does he think is the strongest element of the book? The way Keller helps us think through the contextualization of our sermons to our listeners.

Indeed Kinney suggests Keller makes a “unique contribution to the literature of preaching” on this point. That is quite a thing to say.



Al Martin Lectures

From 1978 to 1998, pastor Albert Martin taught a course at the Trinity Ministerial Academy on how to be an effective pastor.  Every Friday, students would gather for two hours of instruction on this vital topic.  Pastor Martin himself has been pastoring for over 50 years and brings a wealth of experience to bear on all the issues which relate to the pastor and his work.  Fortunately, the last time pastor Martin delivered these lectures, they were recorded in video format for the benefit of the church worldwide.  These are the lectures which comprise the essence of this course.

I will take the liberty over the next few weeks to link to some of the lectures relating to preaching. Here is the first: The Distinction Between Preparation and Delivery.

A Modern Classic Revisited

9780801027987A book that I love and frequently return to, gets a review over at 9Marks.  The crit of Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching reminded me of some of the strengths of that book:

1) It clearly defines expository preaching.

2) It gives excellent practical instruction about how to prepare sermons (for example, the chapter on application – ch.8 –  is one of the best you will read).

3) It instills into the reader a theology of Christ-centered preaching.

If you haven’t taken time to read it, you should!






Preaching Series: Long Or Short?

First things first, there is no ‘right’ answer to this question.  Just because MLJ preached over 300 times on Romans (366 sermons to be exact) doesn’t mean that you should! And just because that trendy church you visited on holiday keep all their sermon series short, hardly means you should ape their method. In truth, there are benefits in taking both the longer and shorter route. There are also downsides to each approach.








The big plus of a longer series is that you can study a book in greater depth. Consequently, your congregation will become intimately familiar with that book of the Bible. The book in question will not be a place where your church made ‘a quick visit’, they will have ‘lived there’ for a period of time. A book studied over long period can have a profound impact on the life of a congregation.

Preaching longer series can come with its downsides too, however. First, there can develop an unfortunate ‘sameness’ to our preaching, because we are covering similar themes and applications repeatedly. I felt this happened to me when I preached a very long series on Hebrews. I was making the same application again and again. It wasn’t that Hebrews was bad, but my preaching wasn’t sufficiently good to produce a steady stream of interesting, powerful sermons.

The other potential problem of the longer series is that we only cover a narrow tract of the whole Biblical pasture. If you spend five years on Acts, your congregation will have learned zero about the Old Testament, the Gospels or the Epistles. Unless we have other outlets of teaching, this could prove problematic.

So which should you choose: long or short? I guess its a matter of judgement. At the moment I am preaching 3 sermons on Habakkuk. But I have also just reached sermon number 60 on Luke!


Vaughan Takes You From His Study To The Pulpit


In March 2014, one of my favourite preachers, Vaughan Roberts, gave a series of talks at a preachers training day of the East Anglia Gospel Partnership.  His theme: The Journey From Study To Pulpit. In three sessions, Vaughan walks us through how to prepare a sermon on  Old Testament narrative (using Daniel as an example). It is insightful to hear a respected preacher like Roberts discuss the ‘mechanics’ of his sermon preparation.