19 June 2007

Pyro in the pulpit

by Dan Phillips

I had the honor of preaching at our church twice last Sunday. (Those keeping score at home will recall that I am a baptist, dispensationalist Presbyterian. It's a little weird.)

In the morning I preached on Matthew 26:41. The sermon was titled You Can't, But You Must. I will just tell you that, in the wise providence of God, the circumstances, preparation and delivery were uniquely brutal for me. You will get some of that if you choose to listen. (You'll also hear sermonic reflection of some of the "25 things.")

God was very gracious and very good, and my good brothers' and sisters' response was very moving and humbling.

The evening message was different in content and tone. Called The Fear of Yahweh in Proverbs, it was a study of this "pan-Biblical" theme. I focused mostly on Proverbs, but the topic was traced literally from Genesis to Revelation. Though I tend to preach when I teach (and vice-versa), this was more of a study than a sermon.

I'm always grateful when I'm given the opportunity to preach, anywhere; and particularly grateful when Pastor Andrews temporarily trusts to me the pulpit he so regularly adorns with great preaching of Christ. Reddit knows how much it means to me to let out a bit of the fire in my bones.

Dan Phillips's signature


James Scott Bell said...

Excellent exposition, Dan. Something I appreciate in addition to the content is your delivery. It's not "forced casual" as I hear so often; it does not call attention to itself (another "sin" from the pulpit). Rather, it is thoughtful and well spoken (not a lot of "hesitators") which indicates to me that you've really thought this through and prayed it through. When a pastor preaches too casually, I get the impression the deep thought hasn't been there. And sometimes it hasn't, which is an affront to the God given task and shortchanges the people in the pews.

But it's obvious that you are a faithful steward of the gift. So thank you.

DJP said...

Thanks for taking the time to listen, JSB, and for your kind words. I'm encouraged (Proverbs 12:25). Glory to God.

Kim said...

I'm planning on listening to them both. I am hoping that my laptop, which seems recently to be offended by MP3 files of Calvinistic preachers, won't shut down in the middle of the sermon like it did when I last listened to an S.Lewis Johnson sermon.

Stefan Ewing said...

Kim: That is a known problem with many computers. I strongly advise you to check and see if NetFinney has been installed on your laptop.

Stefan Ewing said...

Dan, I will so listen to both sermons as soon as I get a chance.

Please forgive me for the comments I've posted and deleted. I wrote them in a jocular tone, riffing on Dan's being a Baptist, dispensationalist, and Presbyterian all in one, but in hindsight, they were too irreverent and off-topic. Who am I as a Calvinist Mennonite Jewish Christian to joke about such things?

Chris Ross said...

Hey Dan,

Maybe you and me can start our own denomination! I'm a Baptist prog-dispy who's sold on the doctrines of grace (the whole flower, I'm pretty sure), but my view of church gov't is quite flexible. In what way are you Presbyterian? I assume you mean in terms of church gov't. We could have something here. I think me and Dr John Hannah at DTS are like, the only dispies I know who research the Puritans.

I look forward to listening to one or both of these messages. Here's a recent one of mine, on Martin Luther:


(Don't feel obligated to listen. Just wanted to return the favor.)

(Being a fellow dispy, I figured you'd appreciate all the parentheses I've used here. :-) )

donsands said...

Good message and fine teaching. Edifying.

The spirit is eager, but the flesh is without strength.

Keep on prayin' and watchin'. And we need to be praying for one another.

I sometimes find myself above average in strength spiritually and mentally, and more encouraged than discouraged, and I come to find out someone was going to the throne of grace for me.

I pray that I would pray more for others "to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man", and to recognize just how much the Savior loves each of us.

Kristine said...

Because the kiddos and my husband will be here any minute now, and as such, I need to get to work on dinner, this post will be much shorter than it would be otherwise (just be thankful for that!).

While at work today, I had the opportunity to listen to the message you delivered on Sunday morning.

There I was at my desk, with spreadsheets and reports around me, and the boys from the office, walking by continuously...with literal tears in my eyes.

Your exposition of that remarkable passage, was thorough and enlightening, bringing me to a greater understanding of what occured that night.

The truths you delivered from it, were soul-piercing.

Thank you. As I've looked inward into my own spiritual walk, and look out onto professing Christianity (especially in our country), my heart breaks.

We're asleep, or numb, or indifferent, or apathetic...whatever you want to call it.

May God cause a great awakening in the hearts and souls of the church, so that we may become ever aware of the reality of the spiritual forces at work around us, all the time; and may we come to a greater understanding of our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and so rely on the power of God alone, to resist such evil forces, surrounding us.

Your message: it was beautiful, convicting, and sent me straight to the Lord in prayer.

Thank you.

DJP said...

H.C., thanks for that, and for my best laugh of the day.

Your link got cut off: HERE IT IS.

I'm Presbyterian in that I'm a member of a Presbyterian church, simply because it is by far consistently the best, most Christ-honoring, passionate, truthful preaching and alive fellowship that I can find near us. The leadership know that I am what I am, and so, though I'm nominated yearly for elder, I'm unable to serve.

But my friend the pastor does give me opportunity to preach and teach.

Email me, and I'll tell you a bit more.

I'm listening now, thanks.

DJP said...

Kristine, praise God, and thank you for your gracious and heartening words. As is usual, the truths pierced me before I preached them. That's the thing about handling a two-edged sword: you're twice as likely to get cut, yourself.

Stefan Ewing said...

Man, I have so got to listen to these sermons (no iPod; no headphones or speakers where I am). What moving testimony from Dan, Kristine, and JSB. The Lord be with you, Dan.

Caleb B said...

This is a little off topic, so forgive the question.

Scripturally, what is the difference between preaching and teaching?

danny2 said...

threw it on my ipod...right between piper and macarthur.

no pressure. ;-)

DJP said...

LOL, second-best chuckle of the day.

Bet that's as close as I get to preaching with those guys, too!


Stefan Ewing said...

Dan, you preached it, brother. Watch and pray. For the rest of our lives. So true, so true (so I say, but will I do?).

By the way, I very much liked the metaphor of God's light shining through the stained glass windows of the writers of the books of Scripture.

May God give you many more opportunities to preach and teach in the months and years to come.

Stefan Ewing said...

Oh, also I didn't know that "Gethsemane" means "oil press," and all that that association entails, especially in the ancient world where olive oil was used for everything. Great stuff.

Caleb B said...

I'll try again.

you said: "Though I tend to preach when I teach (and vice-versa), this was more of a study than a sermon."

In response to that quote I wanted to know what you see as the Scriptural difference between preaching and teaching and where your perspective comes from. I wouldn't normally be thinking about this but a friend of mine recently challenged the distinction I held between the two and I have failed to come up with an adequate distinction, hence the question.

Thanks for your response.

Daryl said...


I don't know what to say. God used you to convict me today. Do I watch and pray, hardly, rarely it seems.

Thank you for the powerful reminder.