The blog is where Pastor Townsend will be posting some of his thoughts. Feel free to comment!
I was recently asked, "Pastor why do you continue to preach? When it appears people are not listening as evidenced by the lack of change in their life." I thought long and hard about that question and as I did, I remembered the following article that was shared with me by a mentor. The article is written by Dr. Albert Mohler, Pastor, Author, and Seminary President. Read and be blessed!
"Preach the Word! That simple imperative frames the act of preaching as an act of obedience. That is where any theology of preaching must begin.
Preaching did not emerge from the church's experimentation with communication techniques. The church does not preach because preaching is thought to be a good idea or an effective technique. The sermon has not earned its place in Christian worship by proving its utility in comparison with other means of communication or aspects of worship. Rather, we preach because we have been commanded to preach.
Preaching is a commission--a charge. As Paul stated boldly, it is the task of the minister of the gospel to "preach the Word,...in season and out of season" [2 Tim. 4:2]. A theology of preaching begins with the humble acknowledgement that preaching is not a human invention but a gracious creation of God and a central part of His revealed will for the church. Furthermore, preaching is distinctively Christian in its origin and practice. Other religions may include teaching, or even public speech and calls to prayer. However, the preaching act is sui generis, a function of the church established by Jesus Christ.
As John A. Broadus stated: "Preaching is characteristic of Christianity. No other religion has made the regular and frequent assembling of groups of people, to hear religious instruction and exhortation, and integral part of divine worship." The importance of preaching is rooted in Scripture and revealed in the unfolding story of the church. The church has never been faithful when it has lacked fidelity in the pulpit. In the words of P. T. Forsyth: "With preaching Christianity stands or falls, because it is the declaration of the gospel."
The church cannot but preach lest it deny its own identity and abdicate its ordained purpose. Preaching is communication, but not mere communication. It is human speech, but much more than speech. As Ian Pitt-Watson noted, preaching is not even "a kind of speech communication that happens to be about God." Its ground, its goal, and its glory are all located in the sovereign will of God.
The act of preaching brings forth a combination of exposition, testimony, exhortation, and teaching. Still, preaching cannot be reduced to any of these, or even to the sum total of its individual parts combined.
The primary Greek form of the word "preach" (kerusso) reveals its intrinsic rootage in the kerygma--the gospel itself. Preaching is an inescapably theological act, for the preacher dares to speak of God and, in a very real sense, for God. A theology of preaching should take Trinitarian form, reflecting the very nature of the self-revealing God. In so doing, it bears witness to the God who speaks, the Son who saves, and the Spirit who illuminates.
The God Who Speaks
True preaching begins with this confession: we preach because God has spoken. That fundamental conviction is the fulcrum of the Christian faith and of Christian preaching. The Creator God of the universe, the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Lord, chose of his own sovereign will to reveal Himself to us. Supreme and complete in his holiness, needing nothing and hidden from our view, God condescended to speak to us--even to reveal Himself to us.
As Carl F. H. Henry suggests, revelation is "a divinely initiated activity, God's free communication by which he alone turns His personal privacy into a deliberate disclosure of his reality." In an act of holy graciousness, God gave up His comprehensive privacy that we might know Him. God's revelation is the radical claim upon which we dare to speak of God--He has spoken!"
Published on Sunday, May 19, 2013 @ 12:49 AM CDT
Few dilemmas are more difficult to cope with than being done wrong after having done right. Our natural tendency is to resent such treatment, retaliate, and then hold a grudge. Strange as it may seem, God offers rare and wise counsel: Instead of getting even . . . submit (See 1 Peter 2:13-25). In this section of Peter's letter, believers are exhorted to follow in the footsteps of their Lord. What an unusual reaction! In a day when most will sue or slug it out, submitting seems out of the question. Nevertheless, God's ways are always best. His instruction may not come naturally or easily, but it is effective. Nothing is more disarming to our enemies. As Christ modeled so beautifully, submission to the Father leads to remarkable results. Below is a prayer that may be helpful as we learn to biblically handle unfairness!
A Prayer for Hope Beyond Unfairness
Dear Lord, find within me a yielded and quiet spirit of submission
To make that happen, I need You to come in like a flood.
Occupy me as water finding empty spaces.
Occupy reserved portions of my life where anger is festering and the secret places where grudges are being stored.
Sweep through my house...don't miss one room or a single area --- cleanse every dark closet, look under every rug.
Let nothing go unnoticed as You take full control of my motives as well as our actions.
Deep within my heart I pray that You would sweep me clean of blame and revenge, of self-pity and keeping score.
Enable me to be big enough to press on regardless of what unfair treatment I've had to endure.
Take away the scars of ugly treatment and harsh words. Forgiveness comes hard...but it's essential.
Help me forgive even those who never acknowledge their wrongdoing and hurting me!
Give me peace in place of turmoil and erase the memories that keep me offended.
I need fresh hope to go on! I ask this in the name of Him who had no sin and did no wrong, but died, the just for the unjust: Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Published on Sunday, May 12, 2013 @ 12:36 AM CDT
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:9, 10 KJV)
I once read a survey that asked 500 people what emotions they felt when experiencing guilt. The answers were heartbreaking. People reported feeling punished, depressed, worthless, rejected, and isolated. A general sense of low self-esteem overwhelmed the respondents. There was no joy, no hope, and no vitality. In a sense, it is as though the feelings of guilt had completely blotted out everything else in their lives.
This seems like such a sad way to exist, and yet it’s safe to assume that all of us—even those of us who are believers—have gone through these exact same emotions. In fact, you may be dealing with intense guilt right now. If so, let’s consider one simple question: Where does your guilt come from?
In 2 Corinthians 7:10, we see two forms of guilt. One is a sorrow that comes from God. This call to repentance is a tool the Lord uses to draw unbelievers to Himself through salvation in Christ. It also motivates believers to confess any wrongs causing “interference” in their fellowship with Him.
A second form of guilt is the dark emotion that plagues people with remorse and the reactions mentioned on the survey. Such sorrow isn’t from God at all, but from the world.
If you’ve received Jesus’ free gift of salvation but still struggle under the assault of guilt, let Scripture assure you: these feelings didn’t come from God. He is not attacking you. Rather, He holds the keys to your freedom. Don’t fall victim to the Enemy’s lies. In Christ, you are forgiven and free. Lay down your chains today.
Published on Sunday, May 5, 2013 @ 12:50 AM CDT
But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. (Acts 6:1)
Show me a church where people want to reach out and impact the culture around them, where people want to live godly lives, and I will show you a church that can expect satanic opposition.
In the book of Acts, we see the early church being attacked through persecution (see Acts 4). We see the enemy trying to infiltrate the church through compromise (see Acts 5). And then we see the devil using one of his most effective tactics against the church: division (see Acts 6).
A disagreement arose in the early church about how the widows were being treated. There was a feeling that partiality was being shown to one group over another.
During the days of Alexander the Great, the Greek culture and philosophy had permeated the world. Many of the Jews had adopted Grecian ways, and they were known as Grecians, or Hellenists. Unlike the native Hebrews, they spoke Greek. But there were other Jews, called Hebrews, who stayed true to the old ways. They were critical of the Grecian believers and thought of them a second-class Jews.
The Grecians felt their widows were getting less attention than those who were raised in the Jewish culture. And it caused a division in the church.
Probably more havoc has been wreaked on the church through division than anything else. And when you get down to it, many of the divisions in a church are actually over minor things. People will get bent out of shape over things that really don’t matter.
You can always find something wrong with a church. No church is perfect. So here is a good adage to remember: In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things charity. Because one of the devil’s most effective ploys is causing division among believers.
Published on Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 12:02 AM CDT
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. (Romans 15:1-2)
There is a true story about a church several years ago that opened their doors to some kids on Friday night. So the street kids, the beach kids, and the hippies flocked in, many of them barefoot and dirty. And as they came in, many were encountering Christ in powerful, life-changing ways.
Well, that was fine until the church decided they were going to put brand new baby blue carpet on the floor of their sanctuary. And as you could imagine, it wasn’t long before these kids with their dirty feet were staining that beautiful baby blue carpet.
So in a deacon’s meeting one afternoon, the deacons said, “Pastor, we’ve got to do something about these kids. They’re messing up our baby blue carpet!” So the next Saturday, the pastor went in there and started ripping up the carpet. Somebody stopped him and said, “What are you doing?” He responded, “We don’t need this carpet but we must reach those kids!”
A church’s programs and everything they do shouldn’t be for comfort, but, for the purpose of bringing people to Jesus Christ. That’s why the Church exists. Reaching the lost is our mission. I am afraid, however, the church has lost its focus and become more concerned with comfort than Christ! Things have become more important that people. The madness must stop! The church must wake up and put others first so that they can be led to Christ!
We must not allow our craving for comforts to hinder others from coming to Christ. Mt Pisgah let us put others first and make it a priority to lead them to Jesus!
Published on Sunday, April 21, 2013 @ 12:59 AM CDT