Tatsuya Shindo was a gangster in Japan. More precisely he was a Yakuza.
He converted to Christianity in one of his prison stints and is now a pastor/preacher in a converted bar. You can read more about him here.
What really inspired me, and should encourage every church planter, was his commitment to preaching. After he became a Christian in prison, he felt called to be a pastor and to preach the gospel. According to his testimony at the TTGU Chapel, he preached for 6 months only to a dog. That was his only audience, but he persevered because he believed that God called him to preach the Gospel.
How many of us have displayed and will display that kind of commitment and perseverence?
Now he has been blessed by the Lord. His church is full and he has been used by God for a revival in some of Japan’s toughest jails.
Praise the Lord and let’s keep our brother Tatsuya Shindo and Japan in our prayers. Maybe revival in Japan will start from the prison!?
I just started another website to post some material related to this. You can find the new website here Preaching the Ten Commandments.
When I heard about the intention of the senior pastor I was not very excited. I never preached from the ten commandments and I was planning to continue my preaching through Genesis (the Isaac story), and later from Ecclesiastes. However, since pastor Steve Chang started preaching through the ten commandments while I was in the hospital (he preached through the first four), I had to continue when I came out, especially since he left for his sabbatical.
As I started preparing for my sermons I realized that there was a lot of wisdom in preaching through the ten commandments, as they reflect the character of God and as the law functions as a mirror that should lead us to God and the cross. (Of course – the law has other functions: map/guide, muzzle/restrain etc).
So far – I find these books the most useful for my preparation (my time is limited, partly because of my knee injury):
Keeping the Ten Commandments by J. I Packer – this is a good and brief introduction to the commandments from a great contemporary theologian.
Written in Stone: The Ten Commandments and Today’s Moral Crisis by Philip Ryken – this is the best resource for teaching/preaching I have found so far. It is very insightful and informed!!! He gives very good guidelines for understanding OT law and has a very good grasp of the Reformed catechisms (Heidelberg and Westminster) and of today’s culture.
Words from the Fire by Albert Mohler – this is also very insightful, but I find Ryken better.
You can get all of these 3 books on KINDLE (as I did), and that makes it much easier to take notes. If you can only afford two (or have limited time), go for the first two.
Two more books look useful, but I have not been able to access one of them in time though I wish I had it (it is not available in Kindle):
How Jesus Transforms the Ten Commandments by Edmund Clowney. I do not have access to this, but knowing Clowney’s theology and preaching I am sure it would be very useful. See the first review on Amazon for a good idea about this book.
The Ten Commandments in History: Mosaic Paradigms for a Well-Ordered Society also looks good (and I found it in my library), but I have not had very much time to look at this and I haven’t used it (almost) at all in my preparation. However, it seems worth looking at especially for its chapter on Jonathan Edwards etc.
My sermons (from the 5th commandment on) can be found here. They are from the early (10 a.m.) service because the second one is not recorded anymore. However, starting in March we will have only one service at 11:30 am.
Again – some material/notes for preaching the ten commandments should be poster here: Preaching the Ten Commandments.
There is an excellent article by John Piper in the Taste and See series of Desiring God ministries about television.
You can Read it on their website.
I strongly recommend that you read this, because he does an excellent job in answering the following question:
“Piper says get rid of my TV, and Driscoll says buy extra DVRs. How do you reconcile this difference?”
This quote alone is worth your time:
“I think relevance in preaching hangs very little on watching movies, and I think that much exposure to sensuality, banality, and God-absent entertainment does more to deaden our capacities for joy in Jesus than it does to make us spiritually powerful in the lives of the living dead. Sources of spiritual power—which are what we desperately need—are not in the cinema. You will not want your biographer to write: Prick him and he bleeds movies.”
You can also read full article below:
There is a great panel discussion about what it means to be a pastor with Tim Keller, John Piper, Crawford Loritts, Ligon Duncan and Stephen Um (chair). This took place at the 2009 National Conference of The Gospel Coalition.
Here it is: 2009 Panel Discussion . Enjoy and learn!
I plan (when I have more time) to post some more information on preaching Christ from the Old Testament.
I will start with this series of messages (and Q and A’s) of Keller and Edmund Clowney on Preaching Christ in a Postmodern world. This is an excellent resource and can be downloaded for free for your iTunes.
Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World – RTS class with Ed Clowney (iTunes).
For other great resources from Keller click here.
Enjoy and learn!
There are some good preaching points floating out there on Youtube. The following by Walter Brueggemann is one of the better ones:
It reminds me of the text in Acts 6, where the apostles made a firm decision to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the WORD!!!
As pastors and preachers, we certainly need to decide on our priorities. As a rule, I tend to go with the advice of the apostles vs. that of the latest church growing seminar/book. The rabbis provide a fine and sobering example too!
Who is your example?