Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Thought of This Bothers Me ...

I have been pastoring and preaching for about 15 years now. In all that time, I can remember every single time I have used someone else's material in my preaching. Now I am not talking about quotes or illustrations... I am talking about someone else's material. I have used an outline by John R. Rice called "Sir, I have no man...", a soul winning sermon taken from John 5. I preached my own material on Dr. Rice's outline. I have used a John MacArthur sermon called "The Mark of a man of God." I called Dr. MacArthur and spoke to him personally to get permission to (again) preach my material on his outline. I have preached a Charles Spurgeon outline once on the topic of what you do shows what you really believe. In context, Spurgeon was talking about the poor turn out for Wednesday night prayer meetings versus the Sunday morning worship meeting. And finally, I once read "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" to my congregation in Nebraska. I told them I was doing it because I believe every Evangelical Christian ought to be familiar with that sermon. That is it. That is all.

That is why I am disturbed by what I read this morning on the Founder's Ministries blog. Dr. Tom Ascol reports on the growing phenomenon of pastors selling their sermons on the Internet. Worse, he writes of the pastors who buy these sermons to preach verbatim. They use these in an attempt to be able to get everything done in a week's time they have to get done. They are busy and it is easy to use someone else's material if it is available. According to Dr. Ascol, one popular preacher's website sells sermon manuscripts for $10 a piece and last year earned $1.7 million in revenue. That's a lot of manuscripts!

Friends, especially those who are preachers, we are appointed to our task by God Himself. He has not called us to do the easy thing but to open the Word of God to our congregations and feed them what they need (not what we rehash from some popular preacher who has no idea our congregation even exists). We are the undershepherds of the people of God under the Lordship of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Some might say I am picking at nits. Others might not. But this idea of buying someone else's sermons to preach to my church offends me. I was thinking about it ... if you think of preaching Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night ... that is 156 preaching opportunities per year. Over the course of 15 years that adds up to 2340 preaching opportunities total. Accounting for the times I have been out of a church or between churches, that is still over 2000 sermons. And I have preached someone else's outline only 3 times and someone else's message once. That is just me, but honestly, shouldn't that be all of us?

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