God’s Word is powerful, and when preached clearly and applied pertinently it can change lives. Yet preaching does not always have this impact. When it is concerned merely with teaching information, it can leave congregations unmoved, and when it sacrifices substance for relevance, it shortchanges the power of the text.
For preaching to truly change lives, biblical faithfulness and insightful application must work together—a powerful combination.
Murray Capill helps preachers to shape sermons that impact lives with lasting application. He takes preachers through the “living application” preaching process—moving the Word of God, via the life of the preacher, to the lives of the hearers. His model avoids the pitfalls of tacked-on application and enables preachers to aim at the heart from start to finish, and he outlines how they can do so in some specific preaching challenges.
Here are the tools to systematically explore the application potential of any text, in any situation.
Table of Contents:
1. A Beginner’s Guide to Application
Part 1: The Living Application Preaching Process
2. The Living Word: It Has Work to Do
3. The Life of the Preacher: A Full Reservoir
4. The Lives of Our Hearers: The Heart is the Target
5. The Lives of Our Hearers: One Size Doesn’t Fit All
6. Applications That Live: Shooting Sharp Arrows
Part 2: Putting Living Application Into Practice
7. Preaching the Kingdom
8. Engaging with Stories
9. Preaching the ‘ives’
10. Preparing Holistically
Appendix: Living Application Tools
Murray Capill (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary, California) has pastored churches in New Zealand and Australia and is principal of the Reformed Theological College in Geelong, Australia, where he lectures in preaching and pastoral ministry.
“Experienced preachers are well aware of the pitfalls that pervade the terrain of application in preaching. . . . The Heart Is the Target not only provides biblical and theological correctives to such errors and imbalances, but also offers practical guidance in preparing sermons that serve the transformative purposes of the Bible.” — Dennis E. Johnson, Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, California
“Murray Capill has obviously thought deeply and long about sermon application and clearly has a passion for it—one that is highly appealing to the reader. There is a sensitive awareness of the situation of the ‘average preacher.’ . . . I wish I had had this text in my hands when I began preaching over fifty years ago.” — Bruce Milne, traveling preacher and teacher of pastoral leaders