Pssst. Wanna hear a good preacher? 21

Someone asked us in a comment yesterday why PP doesn’t just oppose every pastor. The answer, obviously, is that there are many, many pastors doing fine work and preaching God’s word faithfully and intelligently. Besides my own pastor, one of my favorite preachers is Sinclair Furguson of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia. While every sermon he preaches is very good, I’ve linked to a couple that I’ve listened to recently that are simply magnificent. (The links are to the podcast section on iTunes, though you can stream them from the church’s website.) If you have a spare 40 minutes, you won’t do much better than to listen to either one of these.

Jesus: Maveling and Moved

A Grace that Saves Suffices

Here’s what I find so attractive and refreshing:

  1. It respects the power of the Word. Furguson doesn’t promise to rock our world, yet he does so simply by preaching simply.
  2. It shows the benefit of going deep. Furguson knows the Bible, and it shows in the observations and insights he passes on to his congregation.
  3. It engages the whole person. I love the way Furguson invites you to think with him about the Scripture, and then he moves beyond logic and touches the soul and the heart as well. Don’t tell anyone, but the conclusions of these sermons made me a little teary eyed.
  4. It shows the benefit of sane thinking. A good pastor need not be out of his mind. Furguson uses careful thinking and logic to reveal profound insights that are not obvious at first reading.
  5. It reaches the whole family. Notice at the beginning how children are encouraged to read the Word and follow the sermon. There aren’t any bouncers at the doors of this church.
  6. The focus is on Jesus. These sermons are a careful study of Jesus and his grace. The first one, Marveling and Moved, invites you to sit and watch the Savior for as long as you possibly can. Furguson, through the Gospel, paints a picture of a loving Savior from whom you would never want to avert your eyes.
  7. It is expository exaltation. When you hear the Word of God preached well, how can you not worship? As Piper said,

    Preaching does not come after worship in the order of the service. Preaching is worship. The preacher worships–exults–over the word, trying his best to draw you into a worshipful response by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  8. It feeds the sheep. These sermons are excellent examples of how we can eat the Word. Learning anew of Jesus’ grace is life changing. Although these sermons don’t start out promising to solve some felt need, their life application is at once profound and practical.
  9. It witnesses to the lost. After listening to the Word of God being proclaimed so clearly to the saints, how would you not want to know Jesus as your Savior? Furguson shows that good preaching to Christians is inherently evangelistic.
  10. The accent is just right. Reformed theology and Scottish accents just work so well together (sorry, pastor).

21 thoughts on “Pssst. Wanna hear a good preacher?

  1. JT Sep 4, 2009 9:38 am

    “If you have a spare 40 minutes, you won’t do much worse than listen to either one of these.”

    You mean, “…won’t do much better,” don’t you?

  2. Jim W Sep 4, 2009 10:16 am

    Alistair Begg is great, as well.

  3. James Duncan Sep 4, 2009 11:14 am

    Yes, JT, I do. Thank you.

  4. James Downing Sep 4, 2009 11:20 am

    Well, commentors are always asking for a positive post. Here ya go. I’m sure this will get all kinds of activity.

    On the serious side. I like this idea. May have to pull one of these myself.

  5. Seth Sep 4, 2009 12:13 pm

    I like the idea. I am always open to listening to new people and learning new things. I am hoping to get a chance to listen to it today. Pretty excited.

  6. Paul Sep 4, 2009 12:24 pm

    amen brother. i am always encouraged to hear that there are still biblically faithful pastors laboring for the Gospel. Lets pray that God will raise up more.

  7. Simeon Duncan Sep 4, 2009 6:59 pm

    There’s much biblical wisdom in Sinker’s sermons. If the Bible really is the standard for my faith and practice, I need to make sure that those I’m listning to know their Bibles. Those preachers that have made it onto my iPod are: Sinkers, Alastair Begg, Piper and Matt Chandler.

  8. James Duncan Sep 4, 2009 11:41 pm

    Good suggestions, Simeon.

    It’s been a while since you’ve made an appearance at PP. Been busy?

  9. Simeon Duncan Sep 5, 2009 2:02 am

    Busier than a one armed paperhanger with an itch.

  10. MW Sep 5, 2009 11:05 pm

    Simeon

    You are a man after my own heart! especially with the Matt Chandler suggestion. The first time I heard him was at the Advance 09 conference back in June. That dude is PASSIONATE! Between Him, Driscoll and Piper you can only leave a conference like that JACKED up for the gospel.

  11. Tommy F Sep 6, 2009 12:45 am

    MW, this is not meant in a hostile way.

    I get JACKED up watching my favorite team win. I yell SCOREBOARD when they score a touchdown (they did tonight).

    But, when I hear SFerguson (thanks JDuncan for the link) speak on Faith and Works in James 2, I don’t get jacked up. I feel as if I’ve just heard a very thoughtful, well-prepared sermon expositing scripture, and it causes me to pause and consider the purpose of the sermon and the main passage, and furthermore what I should do in response. Same with other speakers I listen to. Is getting a congregation JACKED up one of the goals a pastor should have for a worship service? And also should we (as Christians) be promoting church as the place to get JACKED up?

  12. James Duncan Sep 6, 2009 12:57 pm

    MW,

    What is it with youth pastors and their (y’all’s) limited vocabulary? After the whole BangORang discussion, I don’t quite understand why you’d use a word like that in a forum like this.

    You do know what it means, right? In its negative sense, which I don’t think you intended, it means broken. In its more excitable sense, it means to be high on drugs. It entails being out of your mind and out of control.

    I doubt that’s the response that Chandler was going for.

  13. David J Horn Sep 6, 2009 8:26 pm

    Sometimes God speaks to us in a very dry way that does not get us “jacked” up, but rather brings self examination. This leads to sorrow and then repentance in our lives.

    To get so far into the new “jacked up” and “pumped up” theology is setting ourselves up for:

    1. disappointment
    2. missing what God is conveying to us.
    3. does not prepare us for the hard times when we solely rely upon Jesus even though we are emotionally miserable.

    Just my thoughts….

  14. JT Sep 7, 2009 12:53 pm

    Real nice, guys.

    MW shares his excitement about learning from God’s word, and the first thing you can respond with is a criticism of his usage of slang?

    From reading your comments, I get this picture of you all walking around with the OED in one hand a stick in the other.

    MW- Don’t let the cranky ones dissuade you from showing excitement for the gospel.

  15. Tommy F Sep 7, 2009 1:01 pm

    JT,

    My guess: you’re a youth minister like BCoop and MW, so slang is part of your job description. How close am I?

    I’m glad my comment JACKED you up.

    It’s ironic though, isn’t it? In a blog that just pointed out BCoop’s poor use of slang, MW resorts to a phrase best suited for a football cheer section, drug use, a very muscular person, or a breakdown… This underlines the whole point about the proper use of slang, for me.

    Words matter. Especially when one is describing God (BCoop), the worship of him (JDuncan), or the purpose of worship (my comment).

  16. JT Sep 7, 2009 9:44 pm

    Tommy,

    You are correct that words matter.

    Incidentally, that is exactly why using the language of the culture you are trying to reach is so important.

    Or do we only preach the gospel to those who speak proper English?

    1 Cor. 9:19-23

    And I am not a youth pastor. You know what happens when you assume, don’t you Tommy? For all you know, I could be Perry Noble himself. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

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  18. Steve Cuss Sep 8, 2009 4:00 pm

    Wow guys – you even throw down on people leaving positive comments on your blog. Pretty stunning behavior. Just to be clear – you claim to be followers of Christ, right? You guys are evidence for my latest bumper sticker idea, “Christians aren’t perfect, just smug.” Shades of the older brother in your responses and in this blog in general.

  19. Anthony Sep 8, 2009 4:35 pm

    Steve…well said. Tommy F…I’m not sure if you know this or not, but its okay to get excited about church and say things like JT and MW have said! In your church, do you sing a couple hymns, sit down with your hands in-between your legs and make sure the pastor keeps the sermon under 30 minutes? GROW UP! Heaven is going to be awesome with angels singing loud music and it will be glorious! I’m PASSIONATE and JACKED UP about church every sunday but I guess that is a bad thing huh?

  20. Tommy F Sep 8, 2009 11:37 pm

    Steve & Anthony,

    Words matter, yes or no? If they do then I’m right. If they don’t, then I’ll change the meaning of right, and I’ll still be right, and you can’t complain that I’ve changed the meaning.

    This isn’t bad = good culture-type definition-changing. This refers to God, worship, adoration, praise, and a host of other issues. You all are the ones who seem hung up on defending nonsensical words to describe God.

    To answer your questions: I’m done growing. Angels singing will be awesome, but I doubt they’re jacked up.

  21. James Duncan Sep 8, 2009 11:48 pm

    Anthony, why is it that you and Noble and Furtick and [fill in the blank] assume that the only reason that someone would disagree with you and Noble and Furtick and [fill in the blank] is because they go to your’s and Noble’s and Furtick’s and [fill in the blank's] mythical, always-unnamed, dysfunctional church?

    It’s cheap and unwarranted.

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