Apr 10

Never the Same Again

2013 at 8:05 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre

“Preaching should make such a difference to a man who is listening that he is never the same again. Preaching in other words, is a transaction between the preacher and the listener. It does something for the soul of man, for the whole of the person, the entire man; it deals with him in vital and radical manner.” ~Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Apr 9

Worthy of Honor

2013 at 3:46 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre

Before we move on in our little “Timely Cautions” series, we want to encourage you to encourage your pastor.

We presented this as our first topic because we believe nothing—no program or institution or book or blog—is more important for the recovery and effectiveness of the gospel in our generation than the local church, and that effectiveness is directly linked to the faithful preaching of God’s Word by local church pastors.

These days, we are blessed to have so many opportunities to receive sound teaching. But if our biblical priorities are in order, then our local church pastor’s gospel-centered preaching should uniquely shape our growth and understanding of God’s Word.

That’s why we want to encourage you to drop your pastor a note. Tell him specifically how a sermon has transformed your thinking, created fresh affection for the Savior, helped you to grow in godliness. Encourage your pastor and you will serve your entire church. And you will be refreshed as you recall the gracious work of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of God’s Word.

So don’t wait. Send him a message right now!

Our prayer and hope is that this generation of women will be known as women who were devoted to the preaching of God’s Word—to listening and applying the Bible. And that by the grace of God we would pass that legacy on to the next generation. May it be said of us that we did not neglect our pastor’s teaching.

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in teaching and preaching.” 1 Timothy 5:17

Apr 8

A Testimony: Grateful for My Pastor’s Sermon

2013 at 2:39 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Church Life

So how did you benefit from your pastor’s sermon yesterday? One girltalk reader wrote in to tell us how:

I’m a 20 year old student at the University of Arkansas. I attend and serve in faithfully a wonderful, Christ-centered church, so when you began the latest series on preaching, I must confess that I paid little attention. I thought, “Oh, I don’t really need this. This is for those other people that look for excuses not to go to church or are always critical of their pastors’ sermons. That’s not me.” So I lightly skimmed the articles, closed the webpages, and went on with my life. Then, this morning, it all came flooding in. When I sat down [for the sermon], my pastor continued our series on Zephaniah. I almost immediately tuned out. All my homework, life questions, and even convictions of my own sin swarmed and clung to me like so many wasps of hell, with only one purpose—distract me from the sermon. Praise be to God, it only took Him a matter of moments to bring that realization home, and I thought of the little I had gathered from your blog on the importance of preaching. I flung the thoughts and worries off as best I could and trained all my focus on what my pastor was saying. It was not easy, but I forced myself, at the exclusion of all else, to take in his message from The Word. Not surprisingly, I came away joyful and refreshed. I was renewed in my fervor to find my satisfaction in Christ alone and to live with a bright, eternal mindset rather than my grimy, earthbound one. Our Lord was faithful, and the sermon was precisely what I needed to hear (what I REALLY needed, not what I thought I needed). So thank you for writing about preaching. I intend to go back and read those posts all the more carefully, and come to the house of God with prayerful humility in the future.

Apr 3

How to Get the Most Out of Preaching

2013 at 10:10 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Church Life

bible chairI was running errands with my kids yesterday, and playing our favorite in-the-car game: Ask Mommy 100 Questions Before We Get Home. In between the usual “What’s for dinner?” and “What does that sign say?” my son Jude threw out a new one: Why is the Bible so important? To which I was very happy to explain that the Bible is the most important thing, because it is the very Word of God. I believe this with my whole heart and I dearly want my children to believe it too. But the thought struck me—do I always live like it is true? For if the Bible is the Word of God and the most important thing in my life, then the preaching of that Word should be the most important event of my week. And if the preaching event is the most important event in my week, then it should shape the priorities in my week. Right? But to my shame I often plan my week around my to-do list or my children’s activities. Or I find myself looking forward to a family gathering or coffee with a friend more than the preaching of God’s Word. Although I faithfully attend church on Sunday, I sometimes show up tired or distracted. And then I don’t draw the spiritual benefits God has ordained from the preaching of His Word. So here are a few practical habits or disciplines, that when I am faithful to apply them, help me to keep the most important event of my week most important.

Prepare

I need to prepare my heart and my schedule. The Puritans taught me this years ago. They would begin to prepare their hearts on Saturday evening in anticipation of the Sunday morning service. We can prepare our hearts by reading the passage our pastor will be preaching from, spending time in prayer to quiet our hearts, confess sin, and pray for illumination. We can prepare practically (unlike I did a few weeks ago!) by getting food and clothing planned and set out to make for a peaceful morning. We can avoid scheduling multiple events late into the evening that leave us rushed and tired Sunday morning.

Listen

While the fellowship that occurs before and after a Sunday meeting is a visible sign of the health of our relationships with the people of God, preaching should be our first listening priority. This may mean we avoid the temptation to check our smartphone or let our mind wander during the service. That we ask God for grace to focus solely on what the preacher is saying. I know for moms with infants or small, clingy children it can be difficult if not impossible to listen to the Sunday sermon. Take heart—this season will soon be over and if you are caring for a fussy child you are doing what God has called you to do. But be alert to ways you too can make listening a priority. Maybe you can adjust your infant’s feeding schedule or bring toys/snacks for your child. If you are in a separate room with a video feed, make listening to the sermon (and not chatting with friends) the most important goal of the hour. And thanks to modern technology, you can benefit from listening to your pastor’s sermon some other time during the week.

Apply

Several godly “older” women I know make it a priority to review the Sunday morning sermons in their Monday morning quiet time. This is a habit I’ve been sporadic at but always benefit from when I do. One of my favorite practices is choose a good commentary to help me study the book of the Bible our pastors our preaching from in my quiet times. And finally, don’t take lightly the conviction or encouragement to change that comes to you during the preaching of God’s Word. Act on it! This is the Holy Spirit speaking to you through His Word and He is eager to help you apply. One more thought—It is sobering for me to remember that my children are watching. I want to do more than just tell Jude that the Bible is the most important thing to me. I want to live it. Now this list is by no means exhaustive, but I have stuffed a bunch of ideas in one post. I don’t mean that to be overwhelming—especially to moms with young kids. Starting with myself, I want to spur us all on to a greater love of God’s Word. Let’s start small but let’s start. Let’s make the preaching of God’s Word the most important part of our week.