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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Monday, April 16, 2007
Off My Notes...
These aren't really my notes, but I have a pen something like that...For those of you who don't read my blog all that much, I am a "teaching" deacon in my church - I am the chairperson of the Christian Education Committee, and I get to (informally) preach every Sunday to a small (but faithful) group of adults who attend our Adult Bible Study.

Our former pastor began the Adult bible study a few years ago, and set the format - it ended up being a 45 minute topical sermon, wherein you could put up your hand and ask a question, though such a thing rarely happened. Even after he retired from being our Senior pastor, he continued to teach our Adult Bible Study, but being in his late eighties, and living a considerable distance from our church building - and being on a fixed income, and having our winters six months long, cold, and treacherous for driving - he found himself unable to make it to the services consistently, and having found himself often having to cancel at the last minute, he retired from the Adult Bible Study as well. That was when I stepped in, and I have continued the format - a 45 minute informal sermon, though while I still bring the occasional topical message, I have opted to exposit whole NT books verse by verse.

In that capacity I have had the opportunity to preach a lot over the past two years or so, and notwithstanding, I have had the opportunity on occasion to preach elsewhere - in other churches, and in my own church.

Even just posting a pic of MLJ brings dignity to this post...Martyn Lloyd Jones once remarked that he wouldn't cross the street to listen to himself speak. Now, anyone who has heard a recording of MLJ would be amazed at such a statement. MLJ was a brilliant communicator, articulate, intelligent, humble, thoughtful - a craftsman who glorified the Lord from the pulpit weekly - and even beautifully; I mention this by way of introduction.

When my church began to put audio recordings of the weekly sermon and Adult Sunday School stuff online, I began to have convenient opportunity to (occasionally) download one of my messages and give it a listen; and frankly, whenever I do that I give serious thought as to whether I should be speaking in public at all!

As I listen to myself I think - Doh! I should have said this, or maybe I should have said this thing another way. Arn't I talking way too fast? Why is my voice so annoying? Speaking of annoying, why do I keep saying "okay?" and "right?" every five minutes? No matter how much effort I put into preparing a sermon, I never seem to glance down at my notes once I start speaking - I almost always start winging it as soon as I get in the pulpit.

Now that is not to say that I am just improvising, I am not - I know what I want to say and I try to stick to it, but as I preach I am often looking at, and taking my cues from the congregation. If they seem to understand what I am saying, I move on, but if they look perplexed I explain myself in another way, often requiring some tangential information be brought to bear - information that isn't in my notes - and once I get off my notes, getting back on them with any sense of congruency is sometimes difficult. ;-)

I have never read, and therefore cannot endorse, this book.I am still pretty new at this, and I trust the Lord to grow me in this too, that is, if it really is His will that I continue teaching in this way - yet I find when I listen to myself preach I am so critical of myself I find it discouraging. I almost want to adopt a feigned histrionic - to craft my presentation like an actor - you now, to write out a script, stick to it, and carefully determine before hand the metre and volume, where to make that voice-cracking passionate plea, where to thunder, where to adopt that quiet, conversational tone - to prepare the sermon before hand, and thereafter polish my oratory skills so that the message has the "greatest effect."

I say, I almost want to do that, or perhaps more accurately, I know that deep down I really want to do that; but for all the wrong reasons. First there is personal glory - the desire to be admired not only for the rich content, but also for the excellence of the presentation - which is vanity and pride. Mixed in is the deceptive lie that really I just want to make the biggest impact for Christ - but that is a lie from hell - founded as it is upon the erroneous thought that God's word is made more effective by a skillful preacher. God's word is effective because it is God's word. The gospel will save people even if Satan preaches it. God's word goes out and does not return to him fruitless - it bears the fruit that God sent it out to bear.

So instead of improving my histrionics, I entrust myself to God, if He is glorified by making me a better speaker, then let him be glorified in that, and if He is glorified by allowing a donkey to speak - then I am pleased to speak as a donkey. Woe to me if, given the chance, I would allow my vanity to rob God of His glory just to admire myself!

On that note I submit to you my sermon from Sunday. My pastor was preaching at another church, so I got to give the sermon. I preached on walking in the Spirit, and in particular the greatest hindrance to walking in the Spirit - walking in the flesh.

If you are inclined to listen to me say "right?" and "okay?" more often than is tolerable, and to flip around in my bible looking for verses I can't seem to find, and to wander off my notes so that the point I am making seems disjointed and hard to follow - and if you like to listen to a sermon preached in a voice that has no pleasant timbre, accent, or even mannerism, at a pace that seems at times too fast and at times jarringly halting - then I invite you to listen to this past Sunday's sermon here, and if there is anything praiseworthy in it, I can at least be certain it is not because of my oratory skill, but because we serve a God who is glorious.

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posted by Daniel @ 3:02 PM  
  • At 12:06 PM, April 17, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    It is so quiet around here lately...

  • At 2:49 PM, April 17, 2007, Blogger David said…

    "Silence is golden." -some homeschooling father of eight

    Am I blind, or did you forget to post the link to your sermon?

    Listening to yourself is painful. Everyone wants to sound like someone they admire, but seldom like themselves. Listening to yourself is a good way to polish your rough edges, such as habitually repeated words and phrases. However, you've got to accept certain things, such as the sound of your voice, as being exactly the way God made you, and therefore right and good. For what it's worth, I don't find your voice annoying at all. You're very easy to listen to. So get over yourself!

  • At 3:47 PM, April 17, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Dave, it is encouraging to remember that the Lord made me thus!

    I admit, part of my struggle (though struggle is too strong a word) in this area is that I want to guard myself against putting on airs in the pulpit. I wonder if something of my own pride is at work here, but not as one might expect it to work - that being, I wonder if I am not taking pride in the fact that I haven't made any effort to be a good public speaker - that is, if I am not justifying this deficiency on my part under the deceit that I am being "more" spiritual.

    This sort of stuff has to be handled carefully and prayerfully, I know. My gut reaction when I hear myself preach is that if I don't sound perfect and polished right "off the cuff" as it were, perhaps I am not meant to preach at all?

    I find in having to express that thought - that it looks petty when you drag it out into the light.

    Hmph? Your reply has given me plenty of encouragement - thanks for that.

    BTW, You're not blind, the links show up in a red that is almost impossible to see when it is mixed in with the background text - I made the link bold so it can be found more easily now.

  • At 3:52 PM, April 17, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    I grabbed the MLJ image from somewhere too, but I made it blue instead of B/W, and I put a nice shadow behind it to give it some depth.

  • At 7:24 PM, April 17, 2007, Blogger David said…

    Thanks, I'm listening right now.

  • At 9:28 AM, April 18, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I listened too! VERY good stuff, Daniel. And now I have a voice to go with the face. :)

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