A Secret Life of Prayer Will Prevent a Secret Life of Sin

There always seems to be some sort of news of a scandal or shameful practices concerning professing Christians. Somewhere a pastor or professing Christian’s secret life of rampant sin gets revealed. As a result, we all (rightly) lose our collective breaths and our stomaches turn.

Then questions come. Why? How did this happen?

I remember hearing John MacArthur say,

“Nobody just falls out of a tree. They climb up in it, move around a bit, and then fall out.”

His point is obvious: this doesn’t happen overnight.

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What is the most crucial thing in the life of the church?

According to John MacArthur:

“Expository preaching is the most crucial thing in the life of the church.”

The most effective thing you will ever do is preach the word of God from the pulpit.”

More below:

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What do you do when the power goes out? Keep preaching Christ.

I witnessed something today that I consider a remarkable privilege. It was as if I travelled back in time to colonial New England. And it happened here in the middle of the epicenter if technological development and advancement.

I’m in Los Angeles at Grace Church for the Shepherds’ Conference along with 3,000-plus other pastors, and mid sermon the power went out. The place went black with only emergency lights dimly shining in the cavernous brick auditorium that is Grace Church.

What did John MacArthur do? He grabbed a flashlight and just kept on preaching. He didn’t flinch. He was unflappable.  He literally just kept going. His voice grew with intensity as he unpacked the covenant of redemption. Soon his voice was traveling powerfully to every corner of the room.

Without being trite, let me just say, it was awesome. I felt like I was in an auditorium in Geneva with men leaning in to hear each word Calvin spoke or out in a field in western Massachusettes to hear Whitfield. Dr MacArthur just went on preaching Christ. In Spurgeon fashion he powerfully pleaded with pastors to preach Christ or stop preaching.

Since the power outage prevents access to his words, I’ll give you snippet here:

I just wish that the church would lift up Christ. If anyone would tag your church let it be this, “They were ever and always exalting Christ” you and your church should be known for robust Christology. Do you want to know the secret to Grace Church? These people keep be …

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Book Review- Feed My Sheep

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have quite a few jobs in my relatively young life. The experiences are truly life-shaping. However, there really is nothing like pastoral ministry. One aspect of its uniqueness is the amount of talk from within the camp of what we as pastors are to be doing. This is interesting because the job description is pretty simple: lead, feed, and protect the sheep. Pastors are to give themselves to the word and to prayer.

This is simple. This is hard.

Therefore, as a pastor, I really appreciate when quality books come my way and add to the discussion of the subject of preaching. They are oftentimes my favorite books to read. In particular, I love reading of how other preachers do what they do. I love reading how they expound the priority and practice of preaching. It is refreshing and instructive.

I have been both refreshed and instructed by Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching. The book has contributions from Mohler, Sproul, Piper, and MacArthur (among others). As you might expect, it is a very helpful reminder and instruction into the priority of preaching.

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‘Slave’ Book Winners

A big thanks to all who participated in the ‘Slave’ book giveaway by John MacArthur. We had a great response here on the blog and on Twitter.  Also, props to Thomas Nelson for supplying the books.

Here are the winners as picked by the admin staff here at Ordinary Pastor…

Congratulations to:
Steve Gardner
Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

I will email or DM you to get address details.

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Book Giveaway: Slave by John MacArthur

As I mentioned in my review yesterday I have a couple of copies of Slave by John MacArthur available for giveaway. The contest will run this week and I will plan to announce the winners and get the copies out in the mail by Friday afternoon.

Here is how you can get enter:

1. Subscribe to Ordinary Pastor’s Feed & leave a comment below stating that you want the book.

2. Follow the Ordinary Pastor blog on Twitter

3. Retweet this post on Twitter

If you do all 3 then you obviously have a better chance to win.

(note: due to a low budget operation here, I have to limit this to ‘contest’ to readers in the US or international folks with an APO.)

Here is the promotional video from MacArthur…

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Book Review-Slave

John MacArthur believes he has ‘uncovered’ something of a cover up. This cover up is by the English Bible translators. Now you may be wrongly tempted to think that in his later years of ministry he has gone off the deep end to join someone like Dan Brown. He hasn’t. He believes “the cover-up was not intentional–at least not initially. Yet its results have been dramatically serious.”

What is the cover-up? It is the translation of the Greek word doulos. The word is most often translated ‘servant’. MacArthur contends that we should be translating it as ‘slave’.

Why? MacArhtur writes:

“While it is true that the duties of slave and servant may overlap to some degree, there is a key distinction between the two: servants are hired’ slaves are owned.”

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Slave by John MacArthur

This promotional video got my interests piqued. I am curious to see how this book is put together and how Dr MacArthur interacts with justification. The challenge, often times, is to make certain the indicative (what Christ has done) before unloading (or confusing) the imperative (what we must do). Here we have the indicative (who we are) and doubtless the imperative, (who we must be/do). I’m looking forward to it.

You can preorder it at Amazon now (here) or (Kindle here). Release date is 12 28 2010.

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MacArthur Study Bible in the ESV is now available

I have had some people asking about the ESV-Macarthur Study Bible, well I found out that it begins shipping from Amazon at the end of this week.

The initial editions are listed below and available from Amazon (hardcover & TruTone Leather)

Hardcover with Jacket

List Price:

$29.69 (free shipping)

You Save:
$15.30 (34%)

Blue TruTone Leather

List price:

$47.24 (free shipping)

You Save:
$27.75 (37%)

You can download for free a PDF of the book of Romans with Dr. MacArthur’s introduction, outlines, notes, etc.

More information can be found here.

(ht: Justin Taylor)

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Personality Cults and Why it’s Still a Problem Today

I recently had a terrific conversation with a fellow pastor. We talked about how much we appreciate the accessibility of so many great bible teachers today. There seems to be a larger number of helpful books, blogs, podcasts, and videos available than ever before.

For this we remain thankful.

Well, sort of.

One of the things that has disturbed me in the last few years is the way in which the public debate so galvanizes us against one another. For example: Pastor so and so (let’s just call him John) who is highly successful with a substantial following takes a public shot at another pastor (let’s just call him Mark), who also is highly successful with a substantial following. (whether the first or second pastor were right is not the point at this point)

What is the result?

Well, a fairly awkward climate for discussion among the less visible pastors and lay people.

This is real life for me. I like John MacArthur. I have ever since I first laid eyes on The Gospel According to Jesus. In so many ways I want to emulate his pastoral & preaching ministry. At the same time I like Mark Driscoll. I have ever since I read Radical Reformission. I am thankful to God for Driscoll’s personal devotion to Christ, love for his flock and desire to reach those outside of Christ. You may recall that last year there were a series of blog posts that lit up the blogosphere, twittersphere and any other reformed sphere out …

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