Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Value of the Word

Leslie Basham: Is preaching really a necessary part of a typical church service? Here's Pastor Bill Hogan.

Bill Hogan: To abandon the expository preaching of the Bible is to abandon the heart of the ministry, the heart of Christianity. And so I think it's totally wrong-headed to replace it with entertainment or anything else. I believe in the power of the Word of God.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, October 8.

What do you like best about church? What don't you like? We're going to get some perspective on what really matters when we meet as the Body of Christ. Here's Nancy to introduce our guest.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We have a very special treat today on Revive Our Hearts. I'm really delighted to be visiting in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area where I'm speaking for a conference this week.

A dear friend, dear friends live in this area and we've made arrangements to have dinner together and spend some time. I asked if my friend, Bill Hogan, would be willing to talk with us today on Revive Our Hearts.

Bill was my pastor for many years when I was a junior and senior high school student and then into my college years. Bill and Jane and I have been lifelong friends just about.

Bill has pastored in a number of different churches and been involved in a number of different ministries over the years. They have been very close friends of my family. And I just thought it would be a real treat if Bill could come and share, as a former pastor of mine, some of the insights that God has given him.

This is a man who has had a significant influence in my life and in my spiritual development. So I'm so thrilled, Bill, that you would join us today. Thank you for being with us on Revive Our Hearts.

Bill Hogan: It's my pleasure.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I grew up actually with your children, your two daughters. But most of all, I think back to having the privilege of growing up under your teaching and preaching ministry.

In fact, one of my very first memories of you is when I was in elementary school and you were teaching a Bible study on the Book of 1 John. The Bible study met in our home.

These were a lot of young believers and some of them probably not even believers yet.

You were involved in student ministry, a para-church ministry there in the Philadelphia area. My parents asked if you would come teach this Bible study. I can remember sitting in the background and taking notes and following along.

That's the first teaching I ever heard probably on the Book of 1 John. I still have some of the notes of the years of your teaching the Word in that study and then in the local church that started in our home and that you pastored for many years.

Now you weren't always a student of the Word. Just tell us a little bit about how you came to have an interest in the Scripture and how it came to be such an important part of your own walk with the Lord.

Bill Hogan: Well, I was raised in a nominally Christian home; attended church sporadically. But I actually became a Christian in a Billy Graham crusade when I went to college in Houston at Rice University and soon after that began to attend a Bible church in Houston.

It was the first time I'd ever been in a church where everyone came with their Bibles. In those days there weren't so many different translations. Everybody had the same translation so when a Bible page was turned, five hundred people were turning pages at the same time. It sounded to me like the rustle of angels' wings.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That's a great sound, isn't it?

Bill Hogan: It's a wonderful sound. And the pastor taught the Bible, verse by verse. The more I heard him, the more notes I took and the more studies I went to, the more I realized that if God would see fit, I would love to be able to do what this man did. And so, through his influence, I went to seminary, Dallas Seminary. That was the beginning of it all.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And this whole thing of teaching the Bible verse by verse, now we call it expository Bible teaching or preaching, but there are those today who really feel that what we need is something that's a little more entertaining, that's more captivating to the minds of those who are lost.

Do you believe that in this contemporary culture that verse by verse teaching and exposition of the Word can still work?

Bill Hogan: I believe it more now than I've ever believed it. I believe that we have to learn from this visually-oriented culture how to present the Word of God in more vivid ways, more interesting ways but to abandon the expository preaching of the Bible is to abandon the heart of the ministry, the heart of Christianity.

And so I think it's totally wrong-headed to replace it with entertainment or anything else. I believe in the power of the Word of God.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How have you seen the Word make a difference in your life or in other people's lives you've pastored over many years? What's the value, the benefit, the blessings of being a student of the Word?

Bill Hogan: Well, let me say that the Bible is the Word of God. When it's taught accurately, the teaching is and the preaching is the Word of God. One of the great creeds of the Reformation actually said, "The preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God."

So when people hear the Bible preached, if it's preached faithfully, then what they're hearing is God Himself speaking through the mouth of the preacher. So they're not just hearing a man's opinion about God. They're not being told about the Bible. God is speaking through the Scripture, through that preacher.

I just preached two or three weeks ago on the Parable of the Sower where Jesus tells about the sower who sowed the seed, the seed of the Word, and it fell on different kinds of soil.

Some was hardened and it didn't take root and some was shallow and it grew initially and then withered under the sun. Only part of it fell on good ground. So I think that when the Word of God is preached, it still meets with those kinds of responses. Some are hard, some are indifferent but some respond and their lives are changed.

Just to give you one example: I preached just recently on how to be filled with the Spirit. And twice now, since that sermon, a woman who's become a good friend of Jane's called and said, "My husband and I have begun to pray every morning that God would fill us with His Spirit and give us opportunities to be a blessing in people's lives."

On at least two occasions (that she's told us about) she said, "I had the sense that God was using us in powerful ways." It seemed to be a new and revolutionary concept in their lives.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So she came to the hearing of the Word with that prepared heart, that good soil and what you're really saying and Jesus says in that parable is that it matters how we hear. So that it's not just a matter of the Word being preached accurately and effectively, it's also how we listen to it.

Bill Hogan: Exactly. But I think part of the problem today is that people, as you put it a moment ago, come wanting to be entertained. That's not to say we shouldn't enjoy the fellowship of God and His people, but it is to say that worship ought to be reverent.

It ought to take into consideration the fact that God is majestic and sovereign and holy. A lot of the things that are done in the name of worship today seem to me to be silly, superficial.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And when God is speaking, that's awesome. I mean, that can be terrifying.

Bill Hogan: Exactly. Well, joy is just one response to some parts of the Word. But there's repentance, there's brokenness, there's challenge, there's change, there's pain sometimes if we're really listening and responding properly to what God has to say.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So what can we do as listeners to the Word before we come to church? Or as we come to church?"¦the night before"¦that morning"¦how can we prepare our hearts and come to get the most out of the sermon, out of God speaking to us?

Bill Hogan: I think the Jewish faith has a terrific insight when they say that the new day begins at sundown the night before. And if we really believed that, then we would begin on Saturday night to prepare for the Lord's Day--which means we wouldn't stay up so late that we're exhausted. We wouldn't do things that would so dissipate us that we can't pay attention. We would come physically prepared.

Then, I think, we ought to come spiritually prepared which means we pray, we confess our sin, we ask the Lord to fill us with His Spirit and, like Samuel, we say, "I'm Your servant, I'm listening."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If the Word is being proclaimed, that Word is effective. It is life-changing. It is life-giving. And I've found so many, many times over many, many years, including years under your faithful ministry of the Word, that God has used that teaching.

Now today as I'm teaching on Revive Our Hearts, as I'm writing and sharing the truth with women, I'm really reproducing that truth, that Word of God that you sowed in my heart.

But then now to see that Word being reproduced in other lives I just want to say thank you. What a gift and a blessing you were in those very formative early stages of my life.

It's interesting today when I see doctrinal aberrations; I'm so helped in discerning truth from error because of that foundation that the Lord used you to lay in my life with those years of solid teaching of the Word.

Under your ministry I came to love the Word of God--to know it, to treasure it and it's an incredible part of my own life today because of those years of teaching. So I just want to say thank you.

We want to pick up tomorrow with some other thoughts about the local church and why it's important. Also I want to ask you some questions about what we can do as church members to be of encouragement and help and blessing to our pastors.

So I hope you will join us again tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts. Our guest has been my former pastor, Dr. Bill Hogan. I know that you're going to be blessed by what he has to share with us tomorrow as well.

Leslie Basham: Today's conversation between Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Pastor Bill Hogan is timely because this is Pastor's Appreciation month. We hope that you do something special for your pastor and that you don't forget about an unsung hero, your pastor's wife.

We'd like to help you make her feel appreciated. We've put together a gift pack that includes everything you need to express your love to her. It includes a signed copy of Nancy's book, A Place of Quiet Rest along with Psalms From the Heart which is a CD of Nancy reading Psalms set to music.

She'll also receive a beautiful gift candle. The scent is pumpkin pie spice, perfect for this time of year plus some gourmet tea called Peaceful Moments. It's a caffeine-free raspberry blend herbal tea so she'll have something to drink while reading her new book.

When you order this gift package, we'll even include the gift bag, card and tissue paper. You'll have everything you need to brighten the day of your pastor's wife. It's all available for a $30 suggested donation.

We'll ship it to you so you can present it to her. Just call us at 1-800-569-5959 for more information. Or go on-line. Our address is ReviveOurHearts.com.

And then write and let us know how your pastor's wife liked her gift.

Thanks so much for joining us today for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.