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preachingthatchangeslives

Purchase:  Amazon

With a title like “Preaching that changes lives”, it is clear what the purpose of this book is about. In this work, the author Michael Fabarez gives a treatment concerning the application of sermons. This is a good and necessary balance for all the books in the market on expository preaching, since somewhere in the midst of the sermon preparation expository preachers can forget the importance of application in the exegetical work. It was with great anticipation and eagerness that I read this book, as a young preacher working on improving this aspect of the sermon! Fabarez devotes a chapter (chapter four) on studying the passage and the audience of the message. This was a helpful reminder, since a sermon is always delivered to a specific audience, which means our sermon preparation should not be done in a vacuum. The chapter gave some useful principles for studying, such as camping on and revisiting the imperative verbs in the selected passage (41-42). Of course, camping out on imperatives has its theological risks concerning what can transfer over for contemporary application, but Fabarez introduces a great controlling principle here, where one ask if the immediate text limit the target of the application, or other parts of the Bible limit the target of the application (44). Concerning legitimate transfer of application, Fabarez states principles that assures an imperative’s direct transfer of application if it is rooted in God’s character (46), addressing man’s depravity (46-47) and God’s created order (47). Other valuable questions that Fabarez suggest as guides during the study of the passages include “How is my audience currently neglecting or abusing the application?” and “What should my audience feel about the application?” Concerning the structure of the outline of the sermon itself, the book argues that it is important to use second person pronouns in the main points and to make these main points imperatives (62-63). Perhaps the most edifying aspect about this book is the sections that dealt with the personal life of the preacher. For instance, in chapter three the author discusses about the need of the preacher’s life to be changing. One can’t expect preaching to change lives if the preacher himself is not changing! Then in chapter six, Fabarez discuss the importance of prayers for the sermon if it is going to really change lives. It was convicting, as it was a wake up call of my lack of faith in God when I do not pray for the sermon, or seek others to pray for my preaching. If lives are going to change because of God and I but just His agent and messenger, then I need to really seek God in prayer for lives to be changed, and souls to be saved when I preach. He lists on pages 73-76 what to pray for, beginning from the sermon prep to the actual delivery and it was sobering to think about how many steps a preacher can walk thinking they are depending on their own might! Fabarez also recommended enlisting a prayer team for the sermon, truly a simple yet revolutionary idea and he even offered in the appendix a practical example of his prayer team schedule.

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