Sermon Preparation: Outlining a Book

I'll spare you a trip through the pseudo-mystical phase wherein the preacher "gets alone" with God and through "divine revelation" receives his next sermon! It is frustrating to hear pastors say, "God gave me this message," or "God laid this message on my heart." Typically, that means (loosely translated), "I am just winging it" and/or... Continue Reading →

Gideon: Coward, Conqueror, & Charlatan

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? As the cycle of rebellion, oppression, and deliverance continues, a new deliverer is introduced: Gideon, the farmer. The Midianites and Amalekites raids of Israelite farmlands caused Gideon to hide in a winepress to beat out his wheat, which certainly makes him look like a coward. However, when the angel of the... Continue Reading →

The Book of Micah: The Incomparable God

Micah’s Context: Micah's preaching (prophetic ministry) overlapped with the reign of three kings, covering a period of roughly fifty-five years (1:1). As a contemporary of the prophets Hosea and Amos, Micah witnessed a nation that was simultaneously at its zenith economically and spiraling into spiritual darkness. However, the people were oblivious to their spiritual depravity... Continue Reading →

When Every Man Creates His Own Religion

Micah and His Personal Priest:  When every man creates his own religion. (Judges 17:1-18:31)WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? Micah, whose name ironically means, “Who is like Yahweh,” ignores the religious precepts revealed by God and attempts to establish his own cultic system. First, he had idols built with money that had been dedicated to the LORD.... Continue Reading →

Samuel: The Judge & Prophet Who United Israel

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? Samuel’s place in redemptive history is often overlooked; he is both a transformative and transitional figure. His life and ministry serve as a high point in the history of Israel. Under his leadership, a revival of true worship is ignited (7:3-6), and Israel was freed from Philistine oppression (7:12-14). Samuel was... Continue Reading →

The Danger of Exchanging Grace for Law

What’s it all about? If the Galatians turn from God’s grace to legalism (i.e., trying to approach God through strict observance of the Law) or moralism (i.e., trying to approach God through good works), then Paul’s ministry among them would have been a waste of time. The Galatians had professed faith in Jesus Christ as... Continue Reading →

The Minor Prophets: The Twelve as One Book

The Minor Prophets (“The Twelve”) as One Book[1] In the Hebrew canon of Scripture, the modern thirty-nine books of the Old Testament were categorized as twenty-four books. The twelve books commonly referred to as “The Minor Prophets” were arranged in the Hebrew Bible to function as one book that unfolded in twelve parts (cf. Acts... Continue Reading →

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