Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Is Expository preaching really a need?

Yesterday I read an article by Preaching magazine endorsing what the author called "topical exposition." In effect, he found verse by verse expositional preaching to be lacking in his own personal experience. Specifically he noted that such areas of doctrine as baptism, the Lord's supper, etc. need to be treated topically, or the congregation will suffer. His definition of topical exposition is, well, just topical preaching with a new name. Understand, I have no real problem with the occasional topical sermon, in fact I preach one every now and then myself (and then repent, immediately!). But a steady diet of topical messages will not develop a healthy church. Christians need to be exposed to the Word in its context. They need to understand the apostle's argument in the epistles as he moves from one paragraph to another. They need to grasp the larger themes of the NT books and how each paragraph and sentence fits into those themes.

Much of the superficiality and ineffectiveness of the modern (or postmodern if you wish) church can be blamed on the weak topical talks that pass for preaching. Most pastors justify this approach by claiming they are meeting the felt needs of the people. That if we can meet those needs then we can bring them to faith in Christ. I commend any effort to bring lost people to Christ. It's just that preaching to felt needs is to miss the mark. People who are lost, and even carnal Christians, have a convoluted understanding of what their needs truly are. They think their problems lie in their marriages, their jobs, their finances, or whatever; but in reality what they need is repentance and forgiveness. Preaching the Word of God in its context, line by line and verse by verse exposes our real problems and dispenses real help from the Gospel. Much of the amateur psychology that passes for preaching today is like putting a bandaide on a gunshot wound. It just doesn't help.

I hope that pastors will reclaim our grand duty to preach the Word. This involves a tremendous amount of hard work, prayer, and personal holiness; but it is the hope of the Word.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Influencing the Future

About 6 months ago God called home Dr. Dana Mathewson. Dana was without a doubt one of the most profound influences of my life. Dana was a man who loved God passionately. He was man of integrity, honor and joy. Everytime I talked with Dana I spent half of the conversation laughing. And you know what, that was exactly what I needed. The kingdom of God needs a lot more men like Dana. Men who take the time to influence younger men, guide them in ministry and their relationship to the Lord.
Dana now resides in glory. I cannot begin to imagine the joy and the fellowship he experiences with Christ right now. Just thinking of it makes me long for the serious pleasures of heaven. And to think that my friend is there, now - well - Wow! That's all I know to say. Dana's presence in glory adds another voice to the great cloud of witnesses that spurs me on to be faithful to Christ.
I also know that God is sovereign and put Dana Mathewson in my life at just the time he did for a reason. Dana influenced the future through me and many other young men just like me.
Isn't that what Paul meant when he commanded Timothy to pass along the faith to others who would be faithful to do the same. Dana's life and example challenges me to impact the future by influencing others. Some of you should do the same. First Swartz needs leadership, across the board we need leadership. Why not contribute to the solution of this problem by mentoring a young Christian? You never know what God can do with someone like you!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Here are few more Pictures of Steven Austin Wimberly, the six million dollar baby! Next is Daniel (13) and Steven, and finally, Seth, Leah Carrie, and Steven.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they will not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Blessing of God's Providence

Sorry that I have not posted in a few weeks. Gina and I are trying to get a handle on having eight children. I honestly never imagined that I would be father to eight kids. God is always jumping into life and changing my plans. Thank God for that! I mean I have great kids, a great wife, a great church to minister in, a great life. And believe me, I cannot take credit. God has given me all that I have.

This morning I read Ps. 31:15 "My times are in your hand" God is providentially in control of every moment of my existence. Nothing catches Him by surprise. Nothing causes Him to wring his hands or mumble, "What to do, what to do!" I thank God that all the seasons and moments of my days are in His sovereign control. No chance occurrences. No coincidences. Everything, the good and the bad comes from his righteous hand.

This kind of thinking gives a person's life real meaning and direction. God's providence is the reason Paul exhorts us to "be anxious about nothing." After all, God is in control - so why worry? This doesn't mean that my decisions and will have no real significance. They do. But God is God and that is a blessing to me!