Uncommon Sermon Prep Advice

I’m not sure if it is original to him, but I have heard Alistair Begg tell pastors that sermon preparation should involve at least four components:

  1. Think yourself empty
  2. Read yourself full
  3. Write yourself clear
  4. Pray yourself hot

Anyone who has spent time preparing expository sermons knows the wisdom of this advice. If I might be so bold, I would add a fifth component I have found very helpful during my own sermon preparation:

Continue reading “Uncommon Sermon Prep Advice”

Dads, Who Is Discipling Our Children?

The question in the title of this post assumes that somebody will disciple our children. Our kids are being discipled every day. Discipleship is about teaching, influencing, and showing someone else how to live as a particular kind of person. As my children get older, they have an increasing number of influences on their lives. Friends, classmates, songs, books, music, media, teachers, relatives, movies, all have a platform in one form or another with my children. Some of these influencers are better than others, but none of them is as vital or persuasive as me. That may sound arrogant, but I think it’s biblical. God has designed and commissioned fathers to lead their households (Eph 5:22–23; 6:1–4). God has entrusted us with the authority to lead our families and disciple our children in the truth. Children look to dad (and mom) for answers to life’s questions, and they typically trust us more than anyone else on earth. What I say to my children as their father carries more weight than what they hear from anyone else outside of the home. God has designed it this way. The cry of “Daddy!” is the deepest instinct of our hearts. Continue reading “Dads, Who Is Discipling Our Children?”

Thanksgiving: An Antidote to Sexual Sin

One of the simplest ways to fight lust is often the most overlooked. In Ephesians 5:3–5 Paul gives us a strategy to combat sexual sin:

Ephesians 5:3–5 (ESV) — 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

What is the weapon Paul gives us here in the war against lust? Thankfulness. Paul balances his two negative commands prohibiting sexual immorality and obscene speech with a positive exhortation: “Let there be thanksgiving” (Eph 5:4). Thanksgiving is not only the opposite of dirty, foolish, obscene talk; it is a weapon we can employ in the fight for purity. How does this work? Continue reading “Thanksgiving: An Antidote to Sexual Sin”

The Knowledge of God

There are two different extreme positions on the knowability of God. On the one hand is agnosticism. Agnostics argue that, if there is a God, we do not know anything certain about him. We have no sure and certain proofs of his existence and we cannot be sure that he has revealed anything about himself. On the other hand is a belief, usually among cult religions, that God can be fully comprehended by his creatures. Those holding this view have created a god in their image that fits their creaturely sensibilities. If human beings cannot fully comprehend God, they suggest, then they cannot love and worship him. Continue reading “The Knowledge of God”

A Tribute to Dottie Olson (1935–2018)

My wife’s grandmother, Dottie Olson, passed away a little over a week ago. Before she died, she requested that I perform her funeral service. Unfortunately, I contracted a severe illness and was unable to travel to conduct the funeral. To make up for it, I wrote a tribute in her honor. Below is a manuscript of my tribute to Dottie Olson. My wife’s cousin read it at the funeral in my stead.

Dear Family and Friends,

I, Matthew Emadi, am deeply saddened that I could not be here today in person. I would have considered it an honor and a privilege to participate in the funeral for Dottie Olson. When I finally accepted the fact that I was too sick to travel, I became haunted by one of my childhood memories. It was June 11, 1997. I was 13 years old as I watched flu-ridden Michael Jordan score 38 points in game 5 of the NBA finals leading the Bulls to victory over my beloved Utah Jazz. How come he was able to rise to the occasion and score 38 points in an NBA finals game, and I can’t even get out bed to get on a plane to travel across the country? I guess that is why he is considered so great. Continue reading “A Tribute to Dottie Olson (1935–2018)”

Thoughts on Mark 5:21–43

In Mark 5:21–43, Jesus supernaturally heals two people: Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the issue of blood. Most interpreters rightly affirm that these miracles are meant to reveal Jesus’ identity as the Messiah and Son of God. But is there more going on here? When we consider the details of Mark 5:21–43 in light of the Old Testament, Jesus’ ministry to these two women reveals something else about his identity; namely, he is a priest superior to the priests of Israel. Continue reading “Thoughts on Mark 5:21–43”