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Pastor describes God’s ‘high definition’

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Preaching the Word of God is foundational to corporate worship, Jim Shaddix, pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Denver, said during chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“Pastor, you are the lead worship leader in your church,” he said. “You are responsible for pointing people to the glory of God in high definition, and there is no occasion for musical worship outside God’s revelation of Himself.”

Shaddix was among the featured speakers at the third annual Expository Preaching Workshop March 5-6 at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus. A two-time graduate of Southwestern, he has traveled throughout the United States and Canada to speak at evangelism conferences, revivals, youth conferences and conventions. For many years he was an associate professor of preaching and dean of chapel at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Shaddix is the author of “The Passion Driven Sermon” and “Power in the Pulpit,” which he co-authored with Jerry Vines. Shaddix’s ministry, Hope for Today, uses media technology to communicate hope, draw people to Christ and connect them with a church.

More than 200 people attended the preaching workshop to learn from Shaddix and other speakers, including Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Seminary; Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.; and Eric Redmond, a Southwestern trustee and senior pastor of Temple Hills Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Md.

Each year, the workshop shows preachers and preaching students how to develop and deliver expository, Scripture-based sermons. This year’s focus was on passages in the Bible that are challenging to handle. Shaddix, who presented a lecture titled “Exposing Christ in the Psalms,” then exemplified the principles he taught through his chapel sermon.

“I bought one of those high definition TVs,” Shaddix said in the introduction to his message. After a week of thinking that he was seeing a better, higher resolution image than he would on a regular television, Shaddix was astonished when someone told him he needed to purchase a special tuner to access the high-definition broadcasts.

“I had been receiving a low-resolution image on a high definition television,” Shaddix said. “Where do you watch the glory of God in high definition? You understand that there are millions of people thinking that they are looking at the majesty and glory of God in high definition when all the time they are just seeing low-definition stuff because they don’t have the right receiver. … That is not something to take lightly, because God is very serious about people seeing His glory in the clearest way possible.”

Psalm 19 teaches believers how to see God’s glory in high definition, beginning with how God’s glory is revealed through material creation, Shaddix said. But he was quick to point out that believers cannot look only at the material creation if they desire to see God’s glory in high definition.

“When we come to look at the glory of God in high definition, we look at the Lord Jesus Christ,” Shaddix said. In the last verse of Psalm 19, the psalmist prays to his Rock and Redeemer. Christ, Shaddix said, is that Rock and Redeemer.

The psalmist emphasized that a high definition image of God’s glory may be viewed through the written Word of God, in which God displays His glory in Jesus Christ, Shaddix said. “God wanted to give us an objective way to see and respond to His glory,” Shaddix said, noting that expository preaching “is a vital part of corporate worship” because it likewise gives people “a vision of God’s glory to which they can respond.”

David Allen, dean of Southwestern’s school of theology and one of the organizers and presenters at the workshop, described the two-day event as “thoroughly practical, full of how-to advice on such subjects as preaching a parable, preaching an Old Testament narrative, and using video clips in the sermon.” Southwestern’s next Expository Preaching Workshop will be in March 2008.
Archived Flash Media and MP3 recordings of Shaddix’s chapel message can be accessed at www.swbts.edu.

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  • Benjamin Hawkins & Melanie Lloyd