A Great Cloud of Witnesses (on CD)

Written by Karl Dahlfred on .

Since Sun hasn't been feeling well because of the pregnancy, I've been taking care of Joshua more than usual so that she can rest but I run out of things to do with him and get completely exhausted. On the days that he decides to wake up at 5 am, it doesn't help matters. And, frankly, I can only build towers with blocks or watch him drag pillows around the house so much. Keeping him from getting permanent head damage from his climbing (and falling) expeditions also gets old after a while. I love the kid, but often times I would rather be doing some language study or sermon prep instead of watching him for hours on end. But, in any case, I decided to try to make the best use of time, so while I lie on the floor and try to prevent Joshua from hitting me with wooden blocks or plastic tubs, I also listen to sermon CDs. I don't always get through a whole CD before he needs a snack from the kitchen, or a piggyback ride, or the something else happens to take us out of his room, but I have been incredibly blessed by some of the good preaching I've been listening to while watching Joshua at home, and while driving around town with him doing errands.

I was given a set of CDs from the Shepherd's Conference (MacArthur's pastor conference) and it is just excellent to hear some good solid Biblical expositional preaching and teaching. I've heard quite a bit of preaching here in Thailand and frankly, a lot of it is not that impressive. The church here seems to suffer from the same ailment as Western churches - sermons that don't really teach the Word of God but rather merely use a verse or short bible passage as a jumping off point for the pastor to talk about whatever he wants to talk about - some of which may be very Biblical, some of which may not be, but the listeners would never know because the sermon is not grounded in the text of Scripture. It is refreshing to my soul to hear the truth taught well and it energies me in devoting myself to sermon prep, or visitation, or thinking about how to disciple people, what resources to use, and of course just rejoicing in the majesty of God revealed in Christ and His sovereign rule of the world and His church.

Hearing good preaching (especially in English), is to me a great cloud of witnesses that calls me to be faithful to my first love, to Christ. During this stage of life when family needs dictate that I have more time to listen than to read (because Joshua assaults most books that I try to read in his presence), I find listening to good sermons to be really beneficial in encouraging me and teaching me so that when I do have the time to be out doing ministry or in doing teaching & sermon prep.

Some of what I am learning, I share with Sun so we can both think on the things of the Spirit (besides the fact that the truth is too good not to talk about). We both really enjoy listening to Biblical, expositional, Reformed, Calvinistic sermons that exalt God and his truth in Scripture, rather than exalt the preacher and his funny stories, psychological self help tips, political hang-ups or what not. The latter just doesn't feed the soul like Scripture (nor do sermons like that really qualify as Biblical preaching anyhow). Some of the more well known guys who tend to do a good job with this type of solid Biblical preaching (that I've heard) are R.C. Sproul, Ligon Duncan, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, and John Piper, just to name a few. Praise God for the blessing of being able to listen to some of these guys from a world away.
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