Archive for the ‘Preaching/Teaching’ Category

I found this to be a helpful reminder, especially since I am tempted often to feel the pressure to “flash up” certain biblical passages, always looking for the new hook or clever misunderstood Greek translation. That’s not to say we shouldn’t try and paint the most vivid picture possible of Scripture, but just a reminder that the Bible does a pretty good job of doing so without my help:

From Max McLean’s Unleashing the Word:

The Bible is its own evangelist. I came to faith because I was deeply affected by the words of the Bible. The famous British preacher Charles Spurgeon was once asked how he responded to criticisms of the Bible. “Very easy,” he responded. “I defend the Bible the same way I defend a lion. I simply let it out of its cage.” That quote captures our vision for this book and for the growth of ministries that are committed to the passionate, articulate, and powerful reading of Scripture. Isn’t it time to let the Bible out of the cage, or (to borrow from the title of this book) to unleash God’s Word?

When I tell a Bible story, I have a quiet confidence that God is going to do a mighty work by the very act of reading his Word. Therefore, my objective is to engage hearers and draw them into the Word of God. My role is to use my skills and abilities, as best I can, to draw them into an experience with the Word.

(HT: Challies)


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The Passion Conferences have been a huge influence in my life, a catalyst for spiritual growth. This January, in just a few weeks, I will be attending the 2010 conference as a community group leader.

I’ll be there with around 20,000 college students and other leaders in Atlanta.

If you’re a student reading this blog, then are you going? Why not? It will be worth your time. Sign up here.

But there are some students who won’t go – not because they don’t want, but because they can’t. They don’t have the money. So how about sending a student to Passion this year for Christmas?

There are a couple of ways to do this. You can take the initiative and seek out a student in your own church or life and just ask them if they’re going. Offer to comp them the registration fee, which is $199. It’s worth every penny.

Or you can simply give at the Passion site, $199 or more. Or less. If you want to do that, just click here. Follow the links under “About”, then “Donate”. And give to Passion 2010.

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Hello from Cali!

Sorry for the lack of blogging the last couple of days. I’ve had the great privilege to be on the campus of California Baptist University speaking at their annual Spiritual Emphasis Week. Jana and the kids are here in Riverside, CA, too, and we spent today at the San Diego Zoo.

The theme of the week is “Walk Deep,” and I’m preaching through a series built on the biblical metaphor of “the walk with God.” I’ll be doing 3 sermons this week:

Monday: “Deeply Walk” examining the life of Enoch from Genesis 5.

Wednesday: “Deeply Care” talking through the principles of Isaiah 58.

Friday: “Deeply Struggle” from Jacob’s wrestling match in Genesis 32.

If you want to follow along, you can download all the sermons from the “Walk” series by clicking on the Resources page of the blog, then entering my Online Store. There you can purchase all 4 talks associated with the “Walk” series.

I’ll be back soon with regular blogging updates. Thanks for checking in.

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I changed the format of the blog a little in order to add something new, should you be interested. If you click on the “Resources” page of the blog, you will see a link to download a sermon series I preached a month ago.

The series is called “Walk.” You can read the description on that page, too, but here it also is for convenience:

When the Bible talks about our relationship to Jesus Christ, the word used time and time again is “walk.” But what does it mean to walk deeply with Jesus? This 4-part sermon series, available below for $10, examines the metaphor of walking, examining key attributes in our ongoing journey with God.

Here’s how it works: Click on the link for “Enter Michael Kelley’s Online Store” below the description and then follow the instructions to purchase the “Walk” series. After you purchase the series, it should automatically download into itunes on your computer.

One favor, please – if you do this, would you please leave a comment to let me know? I’m testing out this process with what seems to be a great and user-friendly company and I’d love to know how it worked for you.

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Don’t get me wrong: I like Mark Driscoll. And Andy Stanley. Heck, I’ll say it: I like the creativity and admire the delivery of Ed Young. These guys are amazing communicators and it’s no wonder they have a tremendous following.

But there’s something in me that’s a little uneasy about a church going so multi-site that churches across the country look to a guy who lives thousands of miles away as their preacher of the morning. (I wrote more about the vitual pastor in this article).

The trajectory of the church seems to headed this way, and I’ve got to wonder if we are seeing the rise of the next stage of denominationalism; this time, the denominations won’t be called “Methodist” or “Baptist,” but instead organized under the platform of a main speaker. Now I don’t doubt the sincerity of these guys. I certainly don’t doubt their ability to effectively communicate God’s word. In fact, you could easily argue that they have more or less been pushed into this position by bad preaching. After all, who wants to hear the local guy when you can have Andy Stanley?

But maybe there’s another reason that has forced this issue – sheer lack of numbers. Where are all the preachers? My own demonination is reporting a continuing drop in seminary enrollment and that less and less people are giving their lives to be pastors. I can’t help but wonder why that is. I suppose you could argue that they’re being run off. After all, the job of “pastor” doesn’t have the greatest reputation as far as paychecks or sustaining a good home life. Or maybe it’s sort of circular, that young ‘uns feel intimidated about potentially having to “compete” with the big dogs on the video screens. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t seem like we are turning them out any more.

So where did they all go? Where are all the preachers? I don’t think it’s arrogant for someone to stand up, under the calling of God, and say simply: “God has given me something to say. And I’m going to say it.” It maybe my perception, but it seems like fewer and fewer are doing so.

What do you think?

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This post from Ben Arment reminded me again why I love One Point Teaching and Preaching. In that philosophy, you teach one major point. Everything leads to or comes out from that single point. It’s the one thing you want people to walk away from your Bible study, church service, or teaching moment with, echoing in their minds.

It’s called the 3 AM Statement.

The reason it’s called the 3 AM Statment is because it’s a short, memorable phrase that summarizes what your talk is about. It’s the main idea, so much so that if someone called you at 3 AM the night before you were teaching and asked what tomorrow’s lesson was about you could quote it to them through the early-morning fog.

There’s alot of advantages to teaching this way, but here’s 2:

1. It isolates the core truth of the message. Many times, I know I walk away from a sermon with lots of great content, so much so that I struggle to remember all the things I want to. But with that statement in my mind, it helps me organize my thoughts and fix on the core of what the Lord said to me.

2. It safeguards the message. You don’t chase rabbits when you have the 3 AM statement. As a teacher or preacher, the 3 AM serves as a gate for your talk. In your study, you’re going to find a ton of information. But with every piece of information, you have to stack it up against the 3 AM. It may be really interesting that there’s 19 Greek words for “the” in this passage, but does that fact support the 3 AM? If not, you tuck it away for use at another time.

Now some people might say, “But how can you preach verse-by-verse in this manner? Surely Paul or Jesus or Moses talks about more than one point in a passage.”

My response is that it all depends on how you divide the text. These guys (Paul, Jesus, Moses) were smart. And they were really, really good communicators. They were thoughtful about their presentations, too. And they were organized. If we take time on the front end to divide the text appropriately, we get closer to the single thing they were trying to say in a sentence, paragraph, or several paragraphs.

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Did I get you with the title? Ha! What a sneaky communicator I am. I’m in Lubbock, TX, today with the super-cool folks from Paradigm. I’ll be here the next 2 Thursday nights doing a sermon series from Luke 15 called “Lost.”

Last night I talked about how in the book of Luke one of the ways the good doctor described Jesus was as the seeker. Most notably, that description occurs in Luke 19, when Jesus came into contact with a certain diminutive, tree-climbing tax collector. The summation statement at the end of the story of Zaccheus is striking and simple: The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

I don’t often think of Jesus as a seeker, but there He is in Luke. Seeking. Looking for lost coins, lost sheep, lost sons, and even someone like Zaccheus.

It’s humbling to consider that I once was lost but now am found.

Thanks for the chance to hang out with Bruce, Austin, and Pearl Merchant; see you Red Raiders next week.

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