When we dress provocatively, we dishonor God and display a lack of regard for His holiness. We can also become a distraction for our brothers in Christ.
I’d been traveling all weekend, and my flight from California to the East Coast got in at midnight. All I wanted to do was go home, drop my suitcases and hit the sack.
But the story my husband had waiting for me made me drop my jaw and want to hit—well, not the sack!
“She was just visiting our church service this morning,” he began haltingly.
He didn’t notice her at first, he said. But then came “greeting time.”
“Bob, I’d like you to meet John’s cousin,” a friend said as he introduced her.
That’s when my husband’s mind began to whirl. He’d heard about her. She was the one with the perfect—well, let’s just say she qualified to be a fitting model for Victoria’s Secret. You figure out what was perfect!
Through the rest of the service he was restless. Intrigued. Annoyed.
He wasn’t the only one; I asked.
Many of our friends were introduced to her that day, and like us, they had heard about her unique career. I asked all the men the same question: “What did she look like?”
The funny thing is, none of them could quite remember her face. But they all remembered her skin-tight leather pants with the lace-up fly.
Please understand that my husband, Bob, is a godly man in full-time Christian ministry. Like most men, though, he is subject to visual temptation.
Christian psychologist Mark Laaser estimates that 30 percent of Christian pastors and leaders struggle with pornography. Among Christian men in general, more than 60 percent are estimated to struggle with continual sexual compulsions of some type.
Those are scary numbers. I wouldn’t share them with you if they hadn’t been substantiated repeatedly.
My husband’s ministry involves helping men of all ages live lives of mental purity—a battle he himself wages daily. Bob gets into the faces of other men and asks them to name the specific distractions they need to remove from their lives in order to live in sexual integrity.
You’d expect them to name temptations such as the Internet, R-rated movies, magazine covers, even the giant Victoria’s Secret display ads in the mall. But sadly, they often point to a surprisingly different pit—and they fall into it every Sunday.
“I’m struggling with the way women dress in church,” they groan. They are specific in adding those two words—in church—because the location is what makes them feel so vulnerable.
After all, isn’t church supposed to be a place where they can go to be free from temptation? What’s a guy to do when the woman in his Sunday school class keeps showing up in a tight shirt and miniskirt, announcing it was a little cold in the parking lot?
I suppose he could sit on the front row every week. But come on, sisters! It’s time we accept some responsibility for this predicament.
Many of us are sinning where the men in our churches are concerned—and in the process, we’re sinning against God.
As Christian women, our greatest desire should be to please God in everything we do. First Peter 3:3 reminds us, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment. … Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (NIV).
But some of us are getting up on Sunday mornings and adorning ourselves in ways that aren’t pleasing to God. The outfits we choose are intended to cause all eyes—especially men’s eyes—to be on us.
For the sake of our brothers in Christ, not to mention the health of our personal relationships with God, we need to do four things:
1. We need to understand the power of certain kinds of visual images.
Have you heard of the Gestalt theory? It’s a visual design theory that teaches designers to control the attention of their viewers by forcing the viewers to mentally complete a visual image.
According to the theory, the challenge of completing an image that is incomplete intrigues the human brain. Our minds will always pause to finish an unfinished picture.
Try it yourself by checking out this trio of circles. What else do you see?
You think you see a triangle, don’t you? That’s because a triangle is the most common image that your brain can come up with to complete this picture.
Now let’s apply the Gestalt theory to the issue at hand. What happens when a man sees a woman walk by wearing a low-cut blouse or a long, tight skirt with a slit all the way up the sides? He pauses—maybe even does a double take—because he sees something in part, and his brain wants to complete the picture.
He can’t help it. It’s a simple fact of visual science!
2. We need to understand the special weakness of men for a woman’s beauty.
The power of the Gestalt principle is multiplied by the fact that men have a God-given craving for a woman’s beauty. Proverbs 5:18-19 says, “Rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always. May you be ever intoxicated by her sex.”
I italicized two of the last four words in that verse because I changed them to better reflect the actual Hebrew meaning of the passage. The God of the universe looks down at woman, created to be a physical masterpiece, and man, created to enjoy the view, and actually encourages man to be fully intoxicated by her sexuality. Wow!
When a guy gets “intoxicated,” his body can’t help but react. Physiologically, many of our bodies’ responses are activated by something called the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This system is controlled not by the will but by the environment.
For example, have you ever lost one of your small children at the mall, if only for a moment? Do you remember the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach? The rapid pulse?
Your body reacted automatically to the situation. You cannot control such reactions by choice. That’s how the ANS works—it forces the body to respond to the environment.
Sexual arousal operates the same way. Certain things in the environment—what we see, what we hear, what we smell—work together to tell the brain that the time is right for sexual response. The ANS takes over, and the brain reacts by sending specific chemicals through the body.
In a man this reaction is particularly strong since God created him to be visually stimulated. If he sees a woman walk by wearing revealing clothing, his pulse may increase; his body temperature may rise. Other changes may take place as well.
Of course, all this is beautiful and even celebrated by almighty God when the woman responsible for the arousal is the man’s wife. But too often that’s not the case.
Our culture constantly bombards us with sexual content in movies, magazines, advertisements and more. It’s enough to overwhelm even the most godly man.
And though he can choose how to act upon this arousal, he frequently cannot control that it occurs. The environment controls it.
Exposing a man to continual visual stimulation is like hanging a noose around the neck of his spiritual life! Yet many Christian women contribute to the hanging Sunday after Sunday.
3. We need to call immodesty what it really is.
The Bible is emphatic: We must never do anything to cause a brother or sister in Christ to stumble (see 1 Cor. 10:32). That’s an uncomfortable challenge for those of us who’ve been lulled into thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just fashion!”
We may squirm even more when we read Ephesians 5:3: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
Get that? Not a hint of sexual sin! But aren’t we hinting at sin when we wear a low-cut blouse, a tight T-shirt or a super-short skirt?
According to its Hebrew and Greek definitions, sin means missing God’s intended purpose for our lives. So what is God’s purpose when it comes to our sexuality? Proverbs 5:18-19 says that it’s to intoxicate one man with our beauty.
We are no doubt quite capable of getting many stares. But God says that the unique characteristics of our sensual beauty are to be treasured secrets—secrets kept for one man. When we dress immodestly, creating arousal in many men, we miss the purpose of the carefully crafted masterpiece that is our body.
Is it just a matter of fashion? No. Immodesty is sin.
4. We need to develop a righteous response to the crisis immodesty has created in the church.
As you read this, maybe you feel a twinge of guilt. I know I felt one as I worked recently on a new book for teenage girls on the subject of modesty. Perhaps you need to clean a few things out of your closet, as I did.
Maybe you see a reason for concern in your church. Don’t be afraid to ask a women’s Bible study leader or perhaps even your pastor to address the issue. God’s call for purity in the lives of His people is worthy of the tremendous effort it will take to break through the strongholds of denial in this area of sin.
If you’re married, be ready to help your husband walk through a visually tempting world. When I came home to the news that a Victoria’s Secret model had unexpectedly visited my husband’s mind, I didn’t condemn him or react with jealousy or hurt. Rather, I thanked him for sharing his struggle with me.
We talked about it until 2 in the morning. As Bob opened his heart, I was able to erase the shame that had been caused by this woman’s indiscretion. We agreed to work together to make sure visual temptation is treated with a zero-tolerance policy in our home.
Whether you are married or not, it’s important to set a good example. Make certain the clothes you pull out of your closet on Sunday morning—and every day of the week—are a statement of your commitment to live a godly life.
(CNN) Marijuana smokers now have a new place to put on their bucket lists: Alaska, which on Tuesday became the third state to officially OK marijuana use.
Following Colorado’s lead, voters passed the Alaska Marijuana Legalization ballot measure in November. Legalization became official on Tuesday, which means that now “the use of marijuana (is) legal for persons 21 years of age or older.”
There are limits to this law, as there are in similar ones in other states. People still can’t legally have more than 1 ounce of marijuana on them. Nor can they harvest more than 4 ounces in their home. And consuming marijuana in public and driving while high are no-nos.
Then there’s the fact that the law isn’t fully implemented yet. The regulatory structure allowing for entrepreneurs to set up shops like those found in Colorado is still in the works, so right now no one can legally make a living selling the drug.
Not to mention that, under federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic. That makes its use a federal crime.
Is weed legal in your state?
Still, as in many states, there seems to be movement in Washington on that front. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told CNN in October he is “cautiously optimistic” on the subject of marijuana legalization. Holder said the Justice Department is focused on marijuana distribution to minors, interstate trafficking and drug violence, not incarcerating “low level people who are simply there for possessory offenses.”
In the absence — some might say in defiance — of any sweeping federal change on marijuana, some states have taken the initiative.
Twenty-three states still prohibit cannabis outright. But the rest of them have either legalized medical marijuana or decriminalized marijuana possession.
Colorado became the first to go one step further in legalizing pot, followed by Washington state. And now there’s one more in Alaska.
The unavoidable truth is that many are becoming desensitized. When the Holy Spirit no longer fills hearts and minds with a passion for purity and holiness, there is a general lack of conviction.
Compromise in this area can be well illustrated through a story that I heard years ago.
Eskimos in the barren North often kill wolves by taking a razor sharp knife and dipping it in blood. They allow the blood to freeze to the blade. Then they bury the handle of the knife in the snow with the blade exposed. As the wolf begins to lick the blade, his tongue becomes numb and desensitized due to the cold. As he continues, his tongue begins to bleed, and he licks even faster—unaware that he is consuming his own blood and slowly killing himself.
Within time, the Eskimos return and bring the dead animal home. In the same way, the enemy numbs us through compromise. Within time, we, like the wolves, don’t realize that we are dying—dying spiritually. The enemy desensitizes us until we are numb to the things of God.
A famous quote resounds with clarity for us today: “All the water in the world, no matter how hard it tries, can never sink a ship unless it gets inside. All the evil influence of the world, no matter how hard it tries, can never sink a Christian’s soul unless it gets inside.”
The greatest battle we will ever fight is within. Our mind is where the battle is either won or lost: “As a man thinks in his heart so is he” (Prov. 3:27). Galatians 5:17 says that the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what our sinful nature desires, and that these two forces are constantly fighting against each other.
As a result, our choices are rarely free from this conflict. Don’t be alarmed. The fact that there is a fight confirms the value of our commitment to Christ and His standard of holiness.
There is a very troubling trend toward moral compromise in the evangelical church. I’ve witnessed soft porn images on Christian websites, questionable movie clips during PowerPoint sermons, and youth pastors talk about their favorite sexually charged TV show or movie with the youth, all under the guise of “relating” to the culture.
Most walk away from Christ not because He fails them, or because the Word of God proves to be untrue, but because of the love of this world (gratifying the flesh). We cannot overlook the seriousness of this issue. Jesus said that the worries and desires of this world, along with the deceitfulness of wealth, come in and choke the Word of God, making it unfruitful (cf. Mark 4:19).
The passion we once had for the purity of God’s Word can easily be exchanged for the pollutants of the world. For this reason, I take every opportunity to write about making wise entertainment choices. What we put into our mind affects our relationship with God at a very deep level.
1 John 2:15-17 says, “Love not the world [the worlds mindset], neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
What we watch and listen to affects the heart—it’s impossible to separate the two. If we would make it our goal to know Christ more personally, we would preach Christ more powerfully. For example, if a pastor (or Christian leader) fills his mind with the world all week and expects the Spirit of God to speak boldly through him from the pulpit, he will be gravely mistaken. E.M. Bounds said, “The sermon cannot rise in its life-giving forces above the man. Dead men give out dead sermons, and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual character of the preacher.”
Carnal Christians give God “His due” (a few hours on Sunday), but they forget His call to “come out from among them (the world) and be separate.” Every day of the week is the world influencing you? What does your mental media diet consist of? Who do you hang out with? What, and whom, do you listen to? Is your heart set toward the things of God or the world’s influence? A quick peruse of your “likes” and posts on Facebook reveals what we truly value.
Compromise also deceives. James 1:22 reminds us that if we listen to God’s Word without doing it that we are fooling ourselves … we are deceived. The power of God’s Word lies in the application. In addition to non-Christians, it is Christians who are moving sexually explicit and violent movies to the Top 10 by not applying purity to their lives. It is Christians who are addicted to porn and supplying the revenue to fuel the industry.
We cannot love both Christ and this world. Carnality destroys our relationship with Christ and genuine fellowship with other believers. It destroys our prayer life as well. A carnal Christian does not pray, really pray and seek the heart of God. A deep prayer life exposes facades and crushes hypocrisy. Carnality also destroys spiritual power and hinders the infilling of the Spirit. It also affects our home life. In short, everything that God calls us to be is compromised.
Being selective with what we watch and listen to has nothing to do with legalism; it has everything to do with wisdom. We are to recognize what glorifies Christ and what clearly does not then choose accordingly. Grace does not relieve us of responsibility. We actually live under a higher standard when grace guides our decisions, not rules. It’s not about following rules. Let your freedom in Christ, and a relationship with Him, guide you. We’ve all watched questionable material and have made wrong choices; don’t live with ongoing regret. But don’t justify wrong behavior by thinking that God doesn’t care about what you watch or listen to, He does. We serve and love God with our mind. (See Romans 7:25.)
Watch my sermon, “Are You Wheat or Tare?”
Shane Idleman is the author of the “What Works” book series and “One Nation Above God.”
Unless otherwise specified, the opinions expressed are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Charisma Media.
Reactions from Beyoncé’s Grammy performance of notable gospel song, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” has drawn a great deal of attention from fans on social media. And while some may feel the international pop star slighted Ledisi from performing the track, who sang the song in the movie “Selma,” Beyoncé has revealed how personal the tune is to her family lineage.
On Monday, via her official website and YouTube channel, “Queen Bey” released an exclusive 8-minute documentary titled, “’Take My Hand, Precious Lord’: The Voices” highlighting rehearsal footage of her performance and interviews with her background singers sharing their thoughts on racial injustice.
In addition to the Grammy Award-winner recollecting childhood memories of her mother, Tina, playing Mahalia Jackson’s original version of the song, she also discussed singing the ballad in honor of black men including her father and former manager, Mathew.
“I wanted to find real men that have lived, that have struggled, cried, have a light and a spirit about them,” Beyoncé said in the clip. “I felt like this is an opportunity to show the strength and vulnerability in black men.”
“My grandparents marched with Dr. King and my father was part of the first generation of black men that attended an all-white school,” she continued.
“My father has grown up with a lot of trauma from those experiences. I feel like now I can sing for his pain, I can sing for my grandparents’ pain. I can sing for some of the families that have lost their sons.”
Documents obtained and analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reveal how HSBC (HSBC) used the secretive Swiss banking system to conceal the identities of accounts holders, and in many cases, help depositors avoid paying taxes.
ICIJ’s findings are based on data turned over to French authorities by former HSBC employee Hervé Falciani in 2008. The files were later obtained by the newspaper Le Monde and shared among other media outlets.
ICIJ said the leaked documents show that HSBC “repeatedly reassured clients that it would not disclose details of accounts to national authorities” and even “discussed with clients a range of measures that would ultimately allow clients to avoid paying taxes in their home countries.”
In a statement provided to ICIJ, HSBC said that its Swiss private bank has undergone a “radical transformation in recent years,” including reforms that will make it more difficult for clients to evade taxes or launder money.
“We acknowledge that the compliance culture and standards of due diligence in HSBC’s Swiss private bank, as well as the industry in general, were significantly lower than they are today,” the statement said.
Shares in HSBC fell 1.5% in London on Monday.
According to ICIJ, HSBC “served those close” to regimes including that of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, former Tunisian President Ben Ali and current Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad.
Other clients included former and current politicians from Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, India, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Senegal, among others. (Explore the data here.)
HSBC, in its statement, said that it has drastically reduced the number of accounts at its Swiss private bank. In 2007, the bank had more than 30,000 accounts. It now has around 10,000.
Kendrick Lamar’s hip-hop music may sound secular at first, with profanity tucked into his rap songs, but the lyrics actually describe the redeeming love of Christ. Buzzfeed reports that Lamar’s music seems to fall somewhere between Christian and secular, and the artist himself is a professed Christian.
Lamar was brought up in a gang culture, and says his grandmother introduced him to the Bible. He was baptised in 2013, after his Grammy-nominated album Good Kid, m.A.A.d City went platinum.
Lamar told Complex last year that his work is for God.
“I got a greater purpose. God put something in my heart to get across and that’s what I’m going to focus on, using my voice as an instrument and doing what needs to be done,” he said.
According to Buzzfeed, Lamar is not a smoker and drinks rarely unlike many other rap artists. He has been in a relationship with one woman since before he became fame and openly talks about his faith. Still, some Christians doubt that Lamar is a real believer.
Chad Horton, co-owner of Christian hip-hop blog Rapzilla said, “Some Christians might hear Kendrick rapping about God or Jesus and still reject it, because even though he says he’s Christian, they listen to his other songs and look at his lifestyle and might not feel like they reflect what a Christian is.”
The rapper is not the only Christian in the hip-hop industry and has befriended critically acclaimed Christian rapper Lecrae.
Lecrae said that he can turn to Lamar to help him cope with deeper issues.
“In this industry, a lot of people shake hands and high-five each other, but there’s not a lot of genuine conversation about the deeper things in life. When you’re struggling with your girl or your mom is sick, it’s rare that you find someone that actually wants to talk with you on a real level. So being able to connect with him on spiritual matters is definitely something that I value and appreciate,” he said.
Publication date: February 4, 2015
Source: Christianheadline.com Picture: ridesoffame.com
The granddaughter of the late Trinity Broadcasting Network founder is suing her uncle, the now vice president of programming at the network, after she says he threatened her with a gun.
Brittany Koper, the granddaughter of founder Paul Crouch, was promoted to Chief Financial Officer of TBN in 2011. She became the corporate treasurer soon after, Christian News Network reports.
“Koper learned through specific instructions from Defendant Trinity Broadcasting, Defendant Jan Crouch, Defendant Matthew Crouch, and Defendant John Casoria that the requirements of Plaintiff Brittany Koper’s new job included active participation in numerous illegal schemes that were disclosed to Plaintiff Brittany Koper following her promotion,” her husband Michael wrote in a new lawsuit filed on Jan. 29.
Just two months after she was promoted, Koper, her husband and father were fired from the network.
Koper also claims that during a meeting about the issue, her uncle, Matthew Crouch, threatened her with a gun.
Koper first filed a legal complaint in 2012, saying that TBN officials were using donations for personal expenses and her job was to “find ways to label extravagant personal spending as ministry expenses.” This new lawsuit claims that her confidential communications with officials had been disclosed without her consent.
TBN attorneys have claimed that Koper stole $1.3 million from the network, but returned $500,000. She has since admitted that she took loans from TBN with permission.
Publication date: February 6, 2015
President Obama on Thursday (Feb. 5) called for an emphasis on what is just about the world’s religions as a way to counter the ways faith has been distorted across the globe.
“We see faith driving us to do right,” he said to more than 3,500 people attending the annual National Prayer Breakfast. “But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or worse, sometimes used as a weapon.”
He urged believers of all faiths to practice humility, support church-state separation and adhere to the golden rule as ways to keep religion in its proper context.
“As people of faith, we are summoned to push back against those who try to distort our religion — any religion — for their own nihilistic ends,” Obama said. “Here at home and around the world we will constantly reaffirm that fundamental freedom: freedom of religion, the right to practice our faith how we choose, to change our faith if we choose, to practice no faith at all if we choose, and to do so free of persecution and fear and discrimination.”
Obama denounced the so-called Islamic State that is waging a bloody war across Syria and Iraq against fellow Muslims and religious minorities, labeling the group “a brutal, vicious death cult.”
The breakfast has often turned controversial, and this year was no exception with the inclusion of the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, who attended but did not speak and was not seated on the dais with other speakers.
Under pressure from China not to recognize the Nobel laureate, Obama nonetheless opened his remarks by welcoming the Dalai Lama, calling him “a powerful example of what it means to practice compassion” and someone who “inspires us to speak up for the freedom and dignity of all human beings.”
Chinese officials had criticized the Dalai Lama’s plans to appear at the event.
“We are against any country’s interference in China’s domestic affairs under the pretext of Tibet-related issues, and are opposed to any foreign leader’s meeting with the Dalai Lama in any form,” said Hong Lei, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before the breakfast.
Obama and the Dalai Lama have met several times at the White House, but the White House usually keeps the meetings private and low-key so as not to anger China.
NASCAR commentator Darrell Waltrip, the keynoter of the breakfast, joked about his being invited two years after conservative neurosurgeon Ben Carson raised eyebrows by directly confronting the president about Obama’s signature health care reform.
“I’m not a brain surgeon and I’m not running for office so I’m the perfect guy to be here this morning,” he said.
From a distance, Pope Francis joined Obama in calling for greater religious freedom.
“I ask you to pray for me and to join me in praying for our brothers and sisters throughout the world who experience persecution and death for their faith,” the pontiff wrote in a letter to attendees that was read in part by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who co-chaired the breakfast with Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
Following the recent deadly attacks on a French weekly that had published satirical cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, Obama also spoke of the need to support both freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
“If, in fact, we defend the legal right of a person to insult another’s religion, we’re equally obligated to use our free speech to condemn such insults,” he said, drawing applause, “and stand shoulder to shoulder with religious communities, particularly religious minorities, who are the targets of such attacks.”
Obama expressed thanks for the safe return of Christian missionary Kenneth Bae, who was held in North Korea for more than a year, and recounted his recent meeting in Boise, Idaho, with the family of U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini, who remains imprisoned in Iran and has become a cause celebre for many evangelicals.
“We’re going to keep up this work for Pastor Abedini and all those around the world who are unjustly held or persecuted because of their faith,” the president said, noting that Rabbi David Saperstein, the new U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, would be heading soon to Iraq to work with religious leaders there.
The breakfast, in its 63rd year, is chaired each year by members of Congress who meet weekly for prayer when Congress is in session. It draws politicians, diplomats and prominent evangelical Christian leaders but often includes an interfaith roster of speakers.
Rabbi Greg Marx of Maple Glen, Pa., gave the invocation and former Ambassador Andrew Young, once an aide to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a president of the National Council of Churches, gave the benediction.
Wicker read from the Gospel of Luke in place of the scheduled speaker, King Abdullah II of Jordan, reciting the story of the good Samaritan. Abdullah had to return home after a hostage crisis involving the Islamic State turned deadly.
“We all know the heartbreaking circumstances his country is experiencing at this point,” Wicker said. “Our prayers are with the people of Jordan during this troubling time of crisis.”
Courtesy: christianheadlines.com/Religion News Service
Photo: President Obama speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday (Feb. 5, 2015).
The opinions about the “right” sermon length are varied, but they are typically intense. Several months ago, I conducted a social media poll to find out the preferred sermon length of preachers. Since that time, I have been observing pastors’ preaching on podcasts and in person. I have also been asking them directly about their sermon length.
I found three dominant schools of thought about this issue. I have also been able to see some specific parameters that were not as clear in my previous post. Allow me to list them in order of their magnitude
1. The most frequent preaching length is 20 to 28 minutes. This preaching preference is not only noted among the greatest number of pastors (and church members as well), it appears to be the fastest growing segment. A number of pastors who were preaching longer sermons are now in this category. The most frequent rationale for this length is that it is received best by our culture of shorter attention spans. I find it interesting that 30 minutes as a sermon length is rarely mentioned. Many pastors are fastidious about keeping their sermons at least a couple of minutes shy of 30 minutes.
2. The second most frequent length is 45 to 55 minutes, but the number of pastors preaching this long is diminishing. Indeed, I wish I had considered this issue as one of my 15 trends for 2015. The longer sermon is still advocated by many pastors, but there are fewer of these pastors every year. The most common rationale for this longer sermon is that good exposition cannot take place in 30 minutes or less. One needs at least 45 minutes to do justice to the text.
3. The third most frequent length is one of no time constraints. This category of preaching is relatively small compared to the first two, but it has some strong advocates. Indeed the number of preachers and church members who are proponents of this view has held steady around 10 percent. The rationale for the “no time constraints” position is that we should not dictate how God might work in a sermon. If God leads the preacher to preach 10 minutes, so be it. If the sermon is over an hour, that is fine too.
I am watching these trends in sermon length carefully. A lot of my input and feedback comes from you readers of this blog. I look forward to hearing from you for a lively discussion!