Just about every day I listen to speeches and messages from a variety of individuals — over 100 a month!
Some speakers (actually many) I just enjoy hearing them do what they do so well. As I listen to them again — on yet a different passage — I find myself saying — “They are good!” [i.e. Tony Evans / Andy Stanley / D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones / Tim Keller / Charles Swindoll / John McArthur / John Monroe / John Whitcomb / Alistair Begg / Stephen Davey — all good-to-great for different reasons!]
Yet other speakers I listen to because someone mentions them in an article – a sermon – an interview — or personally suggests them to me.
Mike McKinley of Sterling Park Baptist Church, Virginia is just such an example. Someone suggested that I listen to him because they have been listening to him on their way to work and thought him to be really good (Let me know what you think as well!).
In listening to him “today,” I thought — Mike McKinley provides an example of . . . a solid introduction to a biblical message.
It is a solid introduction because . . . . .
#1) He Has An Introduction: First of all, Mike McKinley does not start out with — “Today we are looking at the book of Hebrews — chapter 6 — where the writer states . . . . “
#2) He Draws In The Audience’s Thinking: McKinley has the audience thinking along with him about how and what we know — “Okay – I’m following you.”
#3) He Stays On A Layman’s Level: McKinley has the audience thinking along with him, without getting philosophical and going into epistemology. He uses examples most everyone can relate to as he examines what and how we know.
#4) The Introduction Parallels His Big Idea: McKinley is NOT just broadly introducing the general topic, which is what so many introductions do — introduce the broad theme with a series of similar examples. His introduction parallels where he is going in the message.
#5) He Includes A Little Consistent Humor: I say “consistent humor” in that the humor is germane and fitting to the subject — not just humor for humor sake or unrelated to his other content [ i.e. — “It could be an elaborate hoax like the moon landing after all.”]
#6) He Speaks As A Speaker – Not An Author: As you can see, we would have to grammatically correct the transcript below if we were concerned about proper grammatical form — when it comes to writing prose. However, “Public Address” is a different art form and allows you to do with words what “writing” does not technically allow!
So how do you know the things that you know.
If you stop to think about it for a second, there are a lot of things that you really can’t be sure of
so we can’t always be sure of what will happen in the future
I don’t know who will win the next presidential election or who will win this year’s World Series
and sometimes we can’t be sure of even what happened in the past
so — for example — I’m uncertain about the assassination of John F. Kennedy Jr
Was it the work of one lone man? or some much larger conspiracy?
Honestly, I don’t know.
But there are a lot of things I am certain of
so for example
I know that George Washington was the 1st president of the United States.
I know that my parents were John and daddy McKinley from Springfield Pennsylvania.
I know the 1927 Yankees had a team batting average over 300 for the season.
I’m confident that the sun will set tonight at 8:07 pm.
By all accounts, those are uncontroversial and universally affirmed realities
We know that those things have happened or that they will happen
but if you think about it for a second — can we really be certain of those things at all?
after I didn’t witness Washington’s presidency
I didn’t see the 1927 Yankees season
I have no personal firsthand knowledge of those events
but it could be an elaborate hoax — like the moon landing — after all.
I can I can’t even really be sure that the sun’s going to set tonight at 8:07 pm
That’s what my phone says but what’s to say tonight won’t be an anomaly
Do I really know that my parents are my parents?
After all, I don’t remember being born to them right
maybe they stole me as a baby
I’m sure there were times when I was a teenager when they would — were hoping to somehow be disassociated from me
but you can see the problem right
we – we know that we know stuff – right – no sane person
doubts that George Washington was the 1st president of the United States
no sane person doubts that the sun is going to set tonight when we expect it to set
but what’s the basis of our confidence for any of these things that we know
but think about there are probably a couple of things that serve to give us that confidence
1st There – there are our past experiences so if an idea is consistent with our experience of reality our experience of the world and the things that have happened to us in the past then we’re more likely to have confidence about it going forward so the setting of the sun has followed a predictable pattern my entire life
I’ve never figured that pattern out but I can’t ever think of a time where I looked on my phone and it gave me the wrong time for the sunset
you try to convince me that night the sun’s going to sett tonight at 11 — I have trouble believing you that’s just not consistent with my experience.
We also tend to invest confidence when we’re told something by an authority or someone that we find credible
so when I read a book of history that’s written by a person with appropriate credentials and they tell me that in fact, George Washington was the 1st president of the United States — I’m in inclined to approach that with a posture of trust
There are news outlets that you may find more credible than others so when they write something or produce something you’re more likely to believe it because you trust the source.
When someone who’s an expert in their field tells me something I tend to believe it
so if a gifted musician tells me something about a Mozart concerto I’m more likely to stash out away in my brain as a fact or as a certainty
if my cardiologist tells me something about my heart I believe what they’re saying
right – our experience and good authority — when those two things combine We tend to have a good basis for confidence and certainty
What about God?
Have you ever thought why you believe what you believe about God
So whether here this morning is a Christian — an agnostic — an atheist — something else we all believe something about God about who he is and how we relate to him
maybe you’re not confident in your beliefs — perhaps you are — but have you thought about what the basis is for however you feel for whatever you think whatever you believe about God
Is it even possible to have confidence and to be sure of what you believe
What are you going to do this week when you begin your message?
Will you really have an introduction?
Will it do more than just introduce the broad general theme?