Speaking Options

A.      Pulpit Replacement (One Hour or Less)

The Minor Prophets are preferred for one-session pulpit replacements because it is almost guaranteed that there will be no interference with any on-going series. Nor is it likely that the congregation has just heard a sermon on that passage, thereby tempting comparisons and contrasts. All topics listed speak from the entire book, except Hosea. Due to the nature of a sermon, there is no time set aside for questions or discussion.

i)        Hosea – The Five Stages of Backsliding

ii)      Joel – God’s Calendar for Israel

iii)    Amos – Caring for the poor, the widow, and the orphan

iv)    Obadiah – The Peril of Pride

v)      Jonah – A Biblical View of Racism

vi)    Habakkuk – The Folly of Measuring God’s Work

vii)  Haggai – The Priorities of a Christian

viii)            Malachi – A Final Message Prior to Silence

 

B.      Summary Studies (4 Hours)

The four hour study is ideal for a Saturday morning, or perhaps two hours on each of two consecutive week nights. If travel is not a concern, this could be spread out over (say) four Wednesday nights, though it is better if we can reasonably anticipate that the same people will attend all four sessions. I would not recommend using the four-hour study to fill four Sunday morning services, as they are tailored for discussion.

i)        Overview of Isaiah. People will learn the basic structure of the book of Isaiah, and will see how the various pieces fit together to form a single continuous story. The controversy of the Unity of Isaiah will be addressed, though by “single continuous story,” I mean to teach the topical progression of Isaiah rather than to teach each chapter as an isolated oracle. The continuity of Isaiah shifting from chapter 39 to chapter 40 as a necessary continuation of the unified prophecy will be explored.

ii)      Overview of Matthew. The emphasis will be on Jesus, the ordained King of Israel. Matthew goes into great detail to explain that His Kingdom was offered to Israel right then and there. But because they rejected it, Jesus announced that He was going to delay the Kingdom, and insert a number of years we know as the Church age.

C.      Detail Studies (6 Hours)

The six hour study is geared to an all-day Saturday meeting, or to a short (24-hour including an overnight) retreat. Multiple sessions at the church location is workable. But it’s rare that the same people can attend six different times. The six hours includes breaks and question and discussions.

i)        Isaiah in context. This is the same material covered in the four-hour Overview. Most passages will be examined more carefully, and the context of various key verses will be emphasized. Demonstrating that it is a rare Christian who even knows what it means to trust God will be introduced. This session will challenge Christians to hate the idolatry in their lives.

ii)      Trusting God above Trusting Man. This session fuels the creation vs evolution controversy. It explains up to 15 of the claims of science regarding the age of the earth. The Appearance of Age model first proposed by John C. Whitcomb is presented, though some of the details he presented. The science-oriented will grow in faith by the explanation of the scientific models. The non-science-oriented will grow in faith because we will show that the findings of science are not a factor in whether someone believes science or believes the Bible. The principle of trusting God so prominent in item i) immediately above is highlighted in this session.

iii)    A Biblical Look at Tragedy. The focus of this session is on man-made tragedy specifically. Natural tragedy can be addressed separately, but the presentation is not yet ready. This session explains how the often-asked question of how a man can be so heartless (say, as in the shooting of school children). It turns the question upside down to ask how God is able to cause us to thrive notwithstanding the wickedness of man’s heart. It was written shortly after Adam Lanza opened fire on a grade school in Connecticut.

D.      Intense Studies (8 hours)

The eight-hour sessions work best in a Friday night to all day Saturday setting, or during a retreat that extends Friday night to Sunday. Retreats generally contain recesses for play, but we will make ourselves available during play breaks to discuss what has been taught with anyone who chooses.

i)        Applications From Isaiah. This is the same material covered in the six-hour Overview. We will intensify the application of trusting in God and work to close the disconnect between our understanding the need to trust God, and the inability to press our trust into action. There are precious few role models who can teach Isaiah’s mandate to trust God by example, and in most cases, we must forge our own path. Despite its intensity, this contains material vital to the Christian walk, and offers a spiritual growth potential that is not easily rivaled by any other intensive seminar on any topic.

E.       Small Group Studies

It is recommended that the Church select up to ten people to populate studies in this category. These studies would be presented not as one person manning a lectern and a microphone. Rather they would be presented sitting around a conference table with an eye towards continuous discussion. The recommended format is a getaway location spanning two to three meeting days. A single session can run eight to twelve hours, depending on how deeply the group wishes to discuss it.

i)        A Biblical Look at Idolatry and Sexual Impurities. This study examines several biblical texts which show the connections between idolatry and the biblical canons of sexual purity. It will look back on the Church as it struggled to keep abortion unacceptable. It will examine the present as the Church struggles to disapprove of homosexual behavior. It will look ahead to the next generation as the Church struggle with changing social values concerning bestiality. The study takes a hard look at the Church’s strategy for combating this social digression away from God. The strengths and the weaknesses of these strategies are evaluated.

ii)      Isaiah Verse by Verse. It is an intense study, but very much worth the investment of time. The underlying thought behind the study is that a fluent understanding of Isaiah, John and Romans form the tripod of foundational reading critically required for anyone to claim an intimate knowledge of God’s Word. Isaiah teaches how to trust God; John teaches how God is revealed to mankind; and Romans teaches how to receive God Revealed. But with its poetic presentation and its tendency to focus on prophetic events, Isaiah can be daunting to read and understand without direction.

 

iii)      Comparing Versions Through Verbal Parallel. Parallel Bibles are popular. But Parallel Bibles are published section by section. Specialized parallels are available such as Gospel Harmonizations which subdivide sections into smaller units. But section by section is inadequate for version comparison. It is too easy to be content with looking up the way various versions translate a word, and overlook that one version has totally restructured a verse. And there are occasions where, if you are not careful, the wrong word can be identified as the parallel word. (Have you ever even noticed that NKJV and NIV reverse Philippians 1:16 and Philippians 1:17 altogether?) With the Verbal Parallel, both word selection and structure selection differences become apparent at a glance. This method is ideal for short passages during sermon preparation. The study includes a complementary copy of Philippians in Verbal Parallel and as we read through the book of Philippians with an emphasis not only on the verbal differences, but also on the translation philosophy differences of various versions. You would be surprised to find out how much can be uncovered.

 

Speaking Options

A.      Pulpit Replacement (One Hour or Less)

The Minor Prophets are preferred for one-session pulpit replacements because it is almost guaranteed that there will be no interference with any on-going series. Nor is it likely that the congregation has just heard a sermon on that passage, thereby tempting comparisons and contrasts. All topics listed speak from the entire book, except Hosea. Due to the nature of a sermon, there is no time set aside for questions or discussion.

i)        Hosea – The Five Stages of Backsliding

ii)      Joel – God’s Calendar for Israel

iii)    Amos – Caring for the poor, the widow, and the orphan

iv)    Obadiah – The Peril of Pride

v)      Jonah – A Biblical View of Racism

vi)    Habakkuk – The Folly of Measuring God’s Work

vii)  Haggai – The Priorities of a Christian

viii)            Malachi – A Final Message Prior to Silence

 

B.      Summary Studies (4 Hours)

The four hour study is ideal for a Saturday morning, or perhaps two hours on each of two consecutive week nights. If travel is not a concern, this could be spread out over (say) four Wednesday nights, though it is better if we can reasonably anticipate that the same people will attend all four sessions. I would not recommend using the four-hour study to fill four Sunday morning services, as they are tailored for discussion.

i)        Overview of Isaiah. People will learn the basic structure of the book of Isaiah, and will see how the various pieces fit together to form a single continuous story. The controversy of the Unity of Isaiah will be addressed, though by “single continuous story,” I mean to teach the topical progression of Isaiah rather than to teach each chapter as an isolated oracle. The continuity of Isaiah shifting from chapter 39 to chapter 40 as a necessary continuation of the unified prophecy will be explored.

ii)      Overview of Matthew. The emphasis will be on Jesus, the ordained King of Israel. Matthew goes into great detail to explain that His Kingdom was offered to Israel right then and there. But because they rejected it, Jesus announced that He was going to delay the Kingdom, and insert a number of years we know as the Church age.

C.      Detail Studies (6 Hours)

The six hour study is geared to an all-day Saturday meeting, or to a short (24-hour including an overnight) retreat. Multiple sessions at the church location is workable. But it’s rare that the same people can attend six different times. The six hours includes breaks and question and discussions.

i)        Isaiah in context. This is the same material covered in the four-hour Overview. Most passages will be examined more carefully, and the context of various key verses will be emphasized. Demonstrating that it is a rare Christian who even knows what it means to trust God will be introduced. This session will challenge Christians to hate the idolatry in their lives.

ii)      Trusting God above Trusting Man. This session fuels the creation vs evolution controversy. It explains up to 15 of the claims of science regarding the age of the earth. The Appearance of Age model first proposed by John C. Whitcomb is presented, though some of the details he presented. The science-oriented will grow in faith by the explanation of the scientific models. The non-science-oriented will grow in faith because we will show that the findings of science are not a factor in whether someone believes science or believes the Bible. The principle of trusting God so prominent in item i) immediately above is highlighted in this session.

iii)    A Biblical Look at Tragedy. The focus of this session is on man-made tragedy specifically. Natural tragedy can be addressed separately, but the presentation is not yet ready. This session explains how the often-asked question of how a man can be so heartless (say, as in the shooting of school children). It turns the question upside down to ask how God is able to cause us to thrive notwithstanding the wickedness of man’s heart. It was written shortly after Adam Lanza opened fire on a grade school in Connecticut.

D.      Intense Studies (8 hours)

The eight-hour sessions work best in a Friday night to all day Saturday setting, or during a retreat that extends Friday night to Sunday. Retreats generally contain recesses for play, but we will make ourselves available during play breaks to discuss what has been taught with anyone who chooses.

i)        Applications From Isaiah. This is the same material covered in the six-hour Overview. We will intensify the application of trusting in God and work to close the disconnect between our understanding the need to trust God, and the inability to press our trust into action. There are precious few role models who can teach Isaiah’s mandate to trust God by example, and in most cases, we must forge our own path. Despite its intensity, this contains material vital to the Christian walk, and offers a spiritual growth potential that is not easily rivaled by any other intensive seminar on any topic.

E.       Small Group Studies

It is recommended that the Church select up to ten people to populate studies in this category. These studies would be presented not as one person manning a lectern and a microphone. Rather they would be presented sitting around a conference table with an eye towards continuous discussion. The recommended format is a getaway location spanning two to three meeting days. A single session can run eight to twelve hours, depending on how deeply the group wishes to discuss it.

i)        A Biblical Look at Idolatry and Sexual Impurities. This study examines several biblical texts which show the connections between idolatry and the biblical canons of sexual purity. It will look back on the Church as it struggled to keep abortion unacceptable. It will examine the present as the Church struggles to disapprove of homosexual behavior. It will look ahead to the next generation as the Church struggle with changing social values concerning bestiality. The study takes a hard look at the Church’s strategy for combating this social digression away from God. The strengths and the weaknesses of these strategies are evaluated.

ii)      Isaiah Verse by Verse. It is an intense study, but very much worth the investment of time. The underlying thought behind the study is that a fluent understanding of Isaiah, John and Romans form the tripod of foundational reading critically required for anyone to claim an intimate knowledge of God’s Word. Isaiah teaches how to trust God; John teaches how God is revealed to mankind; and Romans teaches how to receive God Revealed. But with its poetic presentation and its tendency to focus on prophetic events, Isaiah can be daunting to read and understand without direction.