The Ancient Prophetic Message of Zephaniah Still Speaks to Us Today

 Tap here to read Zephaniah 2:4-3:8

I think it would be safe to say that we are living in days of crises. 

This contemporary context makes the messages of the Prophets especially relatable because prophets (like Zephaniah) spoke in the context of crisis and crises.
 
The prophets interpreted these circumstances and crises in the light of the sovereignty, the covenant, and the purposes of God. God revealed His plans to these prophets, including Zephaniah. Zephaniah is filled with the revelation of God’s judgements and the coming Day of the Lord. 
 
We looked at the first section of Zephaniah two weeks ago. There was a call for “silence” as God revealed His plans for judgment. At the same time, God called for His people to seek Him honestly, obediently, and with humility to avoid the coming judgement. 
 
This actually is a message for us today as well. For...
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Practical Preaching Workshop October 18 through 21

 

Hello!

This is David Olford inviting you to our Practical Preaching Workshop October 18 through 21 here Memphis with Olford Ministries International.

This is a great time for very focused, personal and practical training in expository preaching.

We want to be preachers who rightly divide the word of truth in the power of the Holy Spirit.

So get in touch with us, and join us for our practical preaching workshop October 18 through 21.

We really need to hear from you by October the 10th.

You can call us at 901-453-6422 or 9014 or 536444 or check out our website olford.org or stephenolford.org to get information.

Blessings to you.

Take care.

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Living a Life Shaped by God’s Revelation

This beautiful Psalm is a poetic celebration and response to God’s personal Revelation both through His Creation and through His Word.

 

 Psalm 19

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
    It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    ...

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A Most Memorable Meal

Meals are often special occasions. 

They can be special because they are part of a particular celebration. They can be special because they bring together family and friends. They can be special because of the food that has been prepared. Mealtimes can also be special because of words that are said or things accomplished around the meal.

 There are many special meals referred to in the Scriptures. Some are regular feasts, and some are unique occasions. Some involve many people, some involve few. Some involve the regular preparation of the food, and some involve a miraculous provision, such as Jesus’ feeding of the 5000 and the 4000.

I want to focus on one memorable meal found at the end of John’s gospel that, I believe, has much to say to us.

So, turn with me to John 21 and read this account of A Most Memorable Meal that impacted the life of one man especially, the Apostle Peter.

Reading from the ESV: John 21:1-22)

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

21 ...

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Don’t Settle for Less

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they shall be satisfied”

(Matt. 5:6 ESV)

 

I made a very rare visit to a department store in the USA a while back and found something called “True Religion.”

Yes, true religion. 

The true religion I found was a line of fragrances, cologne, I think, for men.  I picked up a card beside this pungent product and sure enough it says “True Religion” and then “fragrances.” Then, under these words is a character that looks somewhat like a religious holy man or guru, holding a guitar in one hand and making a happy gesture with the other. What a combination of words and images to sell something to help you smell a particular way!  

Now, I mention this product because it illustrates for me what a touch of religion actually does, it just does something to the outside of you. It is external. It is surface. It doesn’t impact your life at an internal or deep...

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The Exemplary Leader

“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

(1 Timothy 6:11-12 NKJV)

In 1 Timothy 6:11, the term “man of God” carries a specific emphasis. It underlines the special role of Timothy (in this instance) as a man called of God into His service. And in that role, the person in leadership and the person preaching the Word, is to be an example in life, not just in word.

So, it is appropriate to look with more detail into this exemplary life of the called servant of the Lord. Ultimately such a life is the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work and power. Here, the Apostle has much to say to his son in the ministry about the kind of life he should lead.

Our discussion will not be comprehensive, but it is representative of what the Apostle...

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Spiritual Living and Ministry

There is a close link between the Word of God and the Spirit of God doctrinally, and in terms of Christian living and ministry.

Indeed, God’s Spirit is the One who uses His Word in our lives and through our lives. So, life in the Spirit is really a description of the Christian life itself.

Our key text for our thoughts today is Galatians 5:13-6:5. I am following and adapting my father’s material found in a chapter in our textbook, Anointed Expository Preaching.

Notice that:

Life in the Spirit Calls for Spiritual Freedom

This truth might sound strange because we think of freedom as a gift, and indeed it is! But, we are to live according to the gifting of the Spirit and the freedom that is ours in Christ. What do we mean by “freedom” in this context? We are called to freedom from “religious legalities” (Galatians 5:1). It would take a long time to explain fully the wonderful freedom that has been bought and secured by the gracious and merciful...

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Taking the Word of God Personally

It might seem an obvious truth that those who teach and preach the Word of God need to be personally committed to and blessed by the Word of God themselves.

Sometimes, though, we need to be reminded of an obvious truth because it is an essential truth.

A good doctor can help many people with their health, but not give adequate attention to their own health. An excellent home builder may not give as much attention to their own home.

What about us who minister the Word of God in one way or another?

Ezra, the godly scribe, provides a great model for us involved in the ministry of the Word of God.

Ezra 7:10 reads, “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (NKJV).

Our own hearts need to be set on God and His Word. Also, there needs to be a commitment to obey the Word of God. Then, we can teach others. Ezra is an example of someone who had a personal “heart” commitment to the Word...

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The Grace of God

A Sermon Outline Based on Titus 2:11-14

by Dr. David Olford

 

 11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (NIV)

 

This glorious passage of scripture, Titus 2:11-14, is doctrinal and motivational in purpose.

 

1. GOD’S GRACE LIBERATES – THE POWER OF GRACE – Titus 2:11

A. God’s Grace is Definite

“For the grace of God … has appeared to all men”

Grace appeared historically, personally, visibly, and...

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