Written by cycleguy on October 24th, 2010

It is Sunday morning.  It is soon to be “show time” i.e. preaching time.  It is also “I-have-been-reading-a-book-that-is-challenging-me-and-convicting-me” time.   I started reading Chuck Swindoll’s new book, The Church Awakening, the past couple of days.  Talk about a big hit to the solar plexus!  WOW!  I have always liked Chuck because of his biblical grounding and have to admit that I have used his outlines a time or two.  🙂  There is another reason I like him- he is a voice of reason amidst the sea of chaos.  While others may have some of the same thoughts, Chuck has always been a man of grace and a gracious attitude.  That doesn’t mean he has compromised one bit.  It just means that when he speaks or writes he does so with a calmness and an ease but also an intensity that is unmistakable.  He doesn’t back down but he doesn’t blow someone up in the process either.  This book is no exception.

Back to my original idea…It is about time for people to start coming in and in one hour we will begin our “worship.”  We will sing.  We will observe Communion. We will give.  We will also study the Word.  It is this latter that falls on my shoulders as God’s messenger.  Studies have shown a great amount of biblical illiteracy is cropping up in our churches.   I realize there are a whole lot of  “reasons” given for that malady but I personally believe that the finger points directly back at me and those who have the responsibility I have.   Because our world is ignorant of the basic facts of the Bible, many are now convinced there is no such thing as absolute truth.  I realize we live in a whole new world these days but the effect that postmodernism has had on the church and its relationship to God’s Word-the Bible-cannot be denied.  It is seen all over the landscape, both within and outside the church.   To quote Chuck:

When the Bible loses its central place in the church’s worship-even if good things replace it-the fallout is biblical ignorance.  The longer substitutes replace the preaching of the Word as the centerpiece of Christian worship, the more we will witness the drift into ignorance intensifying.  the more postmodern thinking dominates the church, the weaker and less important the church becomes in the eyes of the world.  Over time, a congregation that is distant from the Word of God seeks more entertainment and less biblical truth.

I don’t want to be part of the problem.  I want to be part of the solution.  It behooves me-it behooves all preachers of the Word-to take up the mantle of biblical preaching once again.  No mamby pamby.  No skirting issues.  No glossing over sin (can we still call it that?).  No ten-minute sermonettes preached to Christianettes,  full of positive thinking and “this many ways to a fuller life.”   It is time to “bring it.”  Bring the truth.  Bring the life-giving words of Jesus.  Bring the life-changing words of Scripture.   I suspect I will have more to say about this subject this week in upcoming blogs.  But for now…it is time.

Any thoughts you care to share?  If you are a pastor, do you concur or am I off kilter?  Does your pastor preach messages grounded in the Word?  I would like to hear from you.


22 Comments so far ↓

  1. Rick Boyne says:


    For me, as a pastor, the challenge is not to keep the Word central, but to keep my own preaching about it interesting!

    I am comforted by the fact that I don’t need flowery language or clever speech to persuade, but the Holy Spirit teaches through me.

    I am also comforted by the fact that it isn’t me who saves, but God, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

    God didn’t call me to be a “life coach” or an “inspirational speaker”; He called me to preach the message of salvation through Christ, and Him crucified!

    You aren’t off base; let’s take our churches back for God. Then perhaps our churches will be relevant and make a real change in our country and in our world.

    • cycleguy says:

      Rick: you and i definitely share something in common. i remember Swindoll once saying it was sin to bore people with the greatest message in the world. Cant’ argue that one! I know there are places for life coaches (Scott is one I know) but like you, I have not been called to be one. Gotta pray that we will be relevant in a good way. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Hope your Sunday went well.

  2. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    I think the Bible is being attacked and undermined in subtle ways right now in our world and in Christian circles.
    Without the Holy Scriptures we have nothing to stand on. Our theology becomes shifting sand, changing with the times and the popular beliefs or wishes of the people of the world. This is the hope of the antichrist.

    There’s teaching going on right now in many if not all christian circles that there are many ways to worship God. You can worship him by your political action, by your works of charity, by your love for other people.(the context for these comes after the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives). God is a good god, and he will do the right thing in the end. He will not put people into hell. Even if they don’t know who they are worshiping they will be saved. Some will be saved by trying to keep the 10 commandments. God will excuse them from the second death because all they knew was the Koran. All they knew was Buddah. How can they be held guilty? Allah is the same God as the Christians serve. Allah just means ‘great being’ or something like that. This is coming from a student in a Bachelor of Theology program in a small SDA college in my area.

    Here’s my objections. Why did God send his Son then? Why did the Prophets of the OT prophecy of His coming and of his redemption and salvation? What is the purpose of the resurection? What is the purpose of faith if we can be saved by trying to keep the 10 commandments? What is the purpse of the cross? Was all that of no real consequence?
    Does the name of the God we declare really matter? I think yes, very much so. Allah is not the Lord Jesus Christ. They are not the one and the same God.

    I think that Romans is a good book to bring someone to, especially Christians to show that we would have to excude nearly all of the teachings of the Bible if we want to say that our good God will save people who do not believe and who do not have faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    • cycleguy says:

      I agree with you that the Bible is being undermined in many ways, some very subtle. It means we have our work cut out for us in getting the message out. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Jaycee (E.A) says:

    I like the quote from Chuck Swindoll because it is the honest plain truth, written in block letters for all to see.

    One thing I’d like to add is that “the more pastors try to please the members of their congregation, the farther away they stray from propagating the truth of the Word of God.” Let’s face it, most times we don’t want to hear about our wrong-doings, which is why God needs honest watchmen (like Ezekiel).

    • cycleguy says:

      Glad you liked the quote Jaycee. I really like your suggestion to add and agree wholeheartedly with you. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  4. Kim says:

    I don’t have any pastoral advice for you, but can say I am warmed, comforted, and encouraged. That you and other pastors are not only aware that this is a growing issue, but are actively seeking ways to get back on track is a great thing.

    Blessings on your Sunday services, and I look forward to reading more on this topic.

    • cycleguy says:

      Kim: thanks for taking the time to comment. I realize not everyone will have pastoral advice but if it makes you and others more aware of searching the Scriptures and holding feet to the fire then it will work. 😛

  5. I think of all your readers you have that post here-I come from an opposite direction or viewpoint. One that came from a fundamentalist background where “hell fire damnation” preaching was a regular diet. Where the word of God was harsh, legalistic, fierce and unloving. I mean men who wore untucked shirts while they preached and talked about the “loooove of God” were tools in the hand of Satan worthy of being called the worst things ever…”liberal”.
    It is good to preach the WHOLE COUNSEL of God otherwise you will see a group of hurting wounded souls like I do on a daily basis healing from “bible preaching” and amazed that there IS such thing as a loving gracious God.
    The awesome thing is Bill I believe you have a balance, a biblical view that is one of truth..I don’t see you as teeter tottering to any extreme..it is refreshing.

    • cycleguy says:

      Julie: I know where you are coming from here and I truly understand. As you know from our correspondence and comments on our blogs, I was one of those types at one time. No more. I do try to preach the whole counsel of God while surrounding it with love-God’s and mine. I think that is one of the reasons I have liked Chuck for so many years. While a strong Bible-believing pastor, he also couches it all in love. Thanks for the encouraging words. 🙂 I will always pray for a balance.

  6. Jim F. says:

    Dead on Bill.

    God impressed upon me early on that I preach in a style that challenges and uplifts people. The style that I do is verse by verse and book by book. I do this so that those I preach to can hear the whole counsel of God’s Word. I also do it so I can not get around verses that talk about sin and verses that talk about love.

    Love the Swindoll quote and I want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

    Good post Bill!

    • cycleguy says:

      Verse by verse or expository preaching does allow preaching all that is there. Glad you have chosen to take that approach Jim. Keeps one from preaching on pet topics. Thanks.

  7. Tom Raines says:

    Per usual I am showing up a day late…but this morning I was in Matthew 4 where Jesus told Satan as He was tempted in the wilderness “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” We must continue to live on it as the bread of life itself. Thanks Bill!

  8. Your congregation is fortunate to be led by you with that kind of perspective.

    God bless God’s ministry through you!

  9. herbhalstead says:

    Bill, I agree strongly with what you are saying. As a pastor of a church plant, I find myself so tempted to adopt the methods of some of the “successful” ministries out there, who primarily use the Bible as an “add-on” to their message. Thankfully, my Bible college experience deeply entrenched a love for expository preaching, that I just can’t bring myself to do anything but preach in way that the passage is the message. Now, I do try to be creative about it.

    One other thing I’ve begun doing is studying the passage so strongly that I preach from a pretty loose outline rather than writing out and memorizing the message word-for-word. It allows me to preach from a thorough knowledge, but allow the Holy Spirit to direct the course.

    • cycleguy says:

      herb: I would say that for a church plant the temptation would be extra strong to adopt from “successful” ministries. Glad to hear you are not compromising in your preaching. I study also but (at my age) I use cheat notes in my Bible since I don’t use a pulpit. 🙂 Thanks for coming by.

  10. jasonS says:

    Jesus was so outlandishly effective because as John puts it, He was full of grace AND truth. We have to have both. So many times we think we’re giving one or the other when in fact, they coexist together in God’s kingdom. They have to!

    All that said, I have been having convicting thoughts on the same lines but more that Sunday morning is not enough to teach everything in depth. We need more effective discipling and we have to come to a decision on how God would have us do that.

    • cycleguy says:

      jason: Agree 100% about grace AND truth. No question we need more than just Sunday morning. finding the answer is the study! 🙂 Thanks for the comment.