30 October 2006

Ensuring God Speaks to His People

The leadership of TRC has recently embarked on an extended reading of Mark Dever's book Nine Marks as part of our elder/deacon development. As I was contemplating mark one: expository preaching, I was struck by a thought in a different book about the importance of expository preaching--it is a clear channel for God's voice to be given to the church. Here's an edited version of the quote:

The preacher does not have the license to express any and every private opinion about whatever happens to be of personal interest. Luther argued the case rigorously:

If any man would preach, let him suppress his own words. Let him make them count in family matters and secular affairs. But here in the church he should speak nothing except the Word of this rich Head of the household; otherwise it is not the true church. Therefore this must be the rule: God is speaking.… That is why a preacher, by virtue of his commission and office, is administering the household of God and dare say nothing but what God says and commands. And although much talking is done which is outside the Word of God, yet the church is not established by such talk, though men were to turn mad in their insistence on it.

From Luther's quote, we can see that the best pastoral preaching is clear, forceful, relevant exposition of the texts of scripture. That is what distinguishes the ministry of the Word from editorial opinion on economics, politics and domestic affairs.

The amount of true authority in any sermon is in direct correlation to how much of the Master's voice is contained within it. May our hearer's hear His Word and not ours.

24 October 2006

Monarch of the Glen

Why did my ancestors ever leave this place?
From Monarch of th...

My Eileen Doonan Photo

Eillen Doonan, situated on the mainland of Scotland just opposite the Isle of Skye, was one of those places Royale and I had always wanted to visit, but never had the opportunity. After speaking at the 2005 Berlin Shepherds' Conference with John MacArthur, Steve Fernandez and John Glass, we headed to Scotland to visit our ancestral home area west of Ft. William.
We enjoyed a delightful week traversing the area and enjoying magnificent scenery on the Isles of Skye, Mull and Iona. Eileen Doonan was a fun stop and this picture commemorates our visit and one of our family's finest vacations.

23 October 2006

Picture of Peonies at Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University

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Several months ago, my friend Phil Johnson visited my home and noticed a picture I took in Scotland of Eileen Doonan Castle, which I'll publish on this blog soon. He was taken by the photo and remarked that he didn't know I was artistic.

I felt somewhat awkward by his remark since artistc isn't a term I feel worthy of owning. There are others far more capable.

When a boy, I learned ceramic painting from my mom and dad. They were both certified teachers and several pieces of my mom's work grace various homes. As a boy, I entered ceramic painting competitions and won several awards at the shows. I even made some good pocket money selling my work. But upon leaving home for the military at seventeen, I haven't painted.

Recently, I've begun to focus more on photography. I'm far from adept, but learning. Interspersed with other posts, I'll publish photos I enjoy and feel deserve shared.

The first is this photo of peonies. In 2003, My son Ben competed in the Odyssey of the Mind World Championship at Iowa State University in Ames after winning regional and state competitions. Proud parents, we spent the week in Ames to cheer Ben and watch the competition. Ben's team placed 18th in their class.

While in Ames, we enjoyed meeting a distant relative, as well as seeing the sites in and around Ames. We were quite pleased to discover Reiman Gardens, a beautiful gathering of lush plants, wonderful flowers and stunning butterflies. The picture is my favourite peony shot. Enjoy.