Money and Happiness, Trust of Pastors, and Profanity (01.28.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

Last week, one of the stories we discussed was a major news event. This week we have three stories that will be far less likely to be discussed on the network and cable news. But we have three interesting stories about money, pastors, and profanity.

STORY #1 – A New Study Says Making More Money Makes People Happier

“Money improves happiness because it gives people more choices – [Matthew Killingsworth from Penn’s Wharton School] finds one of the main links between money and increasing happiness is the flexibility a higher income gives people. ‘When you have more money, you have more choices about how to live your life. You can likely see this in the pandemic. People living paycheck to paycheck who lose their job might need to take the first available job to stay afloat, even if it’s one they dislike. People with a financial cushion can wait for one that’s a better fit. Across decisions big and small, having more money gives a person more choices and a greater sense of autonomy.’” (StudyFinds.org)

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STORY #2 – Americans’ Trust of Pastors Hovers Near All-Time Low

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are more likely to trust medical professionals, while few believe pastors are completely honest. […] Americans’ opinion of clergy’s honesty falls between judges and nursing home operators. Around 2 in 5 (39%) say pastors have at least high ethical standards, including 10% who say their honesty is very high. For 41% of the public, the honesty and ethical standards of clergy are average, while 11% rate it as low and 4% as very low. Another 4% say they have no opinion of pastors’ honesty, the highest of any profession. […] This marks the second time since Gallup began surveying Americans about their trust of various occupations that fewer than 2 in 5 gave clergy the highest ratings.” (Lifeway Research)

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STORY #3 – Profanity Is Performative

“In 1934, Rear Admiral Richard Byrd spent almost five months living entirely alone in a tiny shack buried under the ice of Antarctica’s interior. […] The longer Byrd spent in isolation, the more he noticed the trappings of his old life fall away. He grew his hair out. Dropped his table manners. And, interestingly, stopped swearing. “Although at first I was quick to open fire at everything that tried my patience,” he observed, “Now I seldom cuss.” Byrd realized that profanity is essentially performative — done for the sake of others. To shock. To evince toughness. To add emphasis. Even a swear uttered when alone is born of the societal habit — the hope of attracting attention, and, if the curse was evoked from pain or fear, eliciting help.” (Art of Manliness)

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A Sermon Delivered in the Dark

A. L. Todd: At the End of the Trail

The book, Christians on the Oregon Trail, describes the lives and labors of those who were part of the Restoration Movement during the time when settlers were first trekking across the continent to the Oregon Territory. These early pioneers faced many challenges in the Pacific Northwest. As these settlements grew, efforts were made to spread the gospel among those who were arriving in the area.

One of the men who endeavored to preach in Oregon during this time was A. L. Todd (1820-1886). In the book mentioned above, the author presented a picture of this man’s labor.

“A. L. Todd traveled far and wide in pursuit of souls for Christ, and often his audiences were very small. On one preaching tour through Coos County he sent word ahead that he would be preaching at Burton Prairie school house. It was a rainy afternoon in the wintertime, and only four persons came out to hear him preach. All four of his hearers were men, and none of them had thought to bring any matches for the candles. There was not enough time for any of the men to return home, so Todd began preaching in the fading light of a winter evening. The school house was cold, damp and dark, and as he preached the darkness deepened.” (Christians on the Oregon Trail, p. 319)

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What’s the Difference between a Preacher and a Pastor? (Episode 15)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll be considering in this episode was submitted via the podcast question submission form:

What’s the difference between a preacher and a pastor?

Many people use the terms “preacher” and “pastor” interchangeably. Are they basically the same, or are there differences between them? In this episode we will examine the Scriptures and consider what is commonly practiced in the religious world in order to answer this question.

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What Is Church Planting and Evangelism? (Episode 8)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll be considering in this episode was submitted via email:

What is church planting and evangelism?

Christians have always emphasized the importance of evangelism. Lately, I have also noticed more people talking about church planting. How are we to go about evangelizing? How do we “plant” churches? Rather than following the “experts” in the religious world today, we need to look to the apostles and the pattern they left for us in the New Testament.

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Do you have a question you would like to submit for a future episode? Fill out the Plain Bible Teaching Podcast question form.

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The Church as a Self-Edifying Body

Legos

When we read through the New Testament, we find the church being described in several different ways. In the passage below, the church is depicted as a self-edifying body.

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).

In these verses, Paul indicated that when the church functions according to God’s design, it causes itself to grow and be built up. What does this mean? How did God design the church to do this? How are we to act in order to help accomplish this?

Let us consider these questions as we learn how the church is a self-edifying body.Continue Reading

Where Do Sermon Ideas Come From?

Man studying the Bible

There are times when the most challenging part of preaching is deciding what to preach. Just as writers sometimes suffer from “writer’s block” and have difficulty creating content, preachers can also suffer from what we could call “preacher’s block.”

One who preaches full-time in a local congregation may preach up to 100 sermons in a year. That means writing two sermons every week. Often he will also have to decide what to preach each time. One who preaches less frequently can still experience the same challenge because he often has full-time secular work and other responsibilities in addition to the sermons he prepares from time to time.

It is a great privilege and blessing to have opportunities to preach the word before an audience. Yet it can also be frustrating when it seems difficult to decide what passage or topic to discuss before the congregation. It is not that the Bible contains a shortage of important messages, but it is sometimes hard to decide what would be best to preach during a particular sermon. So where can we find sermon ideas when we are having difficulty deciding what to preach?Continue Reading

“You Have Killed Yourself”

Reuben Dooly: You Have Killed Yourself

The three previous Restoration History articles have focused on examples of some lesser-known preachers found in the biography of David Purviance – Purviance himself (1766-1847), George Shidler (1776-1828), and William Kinkade (1783-1832). In this article, we are going to look at another lesser-known preacher found in the same book: a man named Reuben Dooly (1773-1822) – sometimes spelled “Dooley.” In this account, we can read about the final sermon that he preached while battling with poor health.Continue Reading