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Spirit Empowered Preaching: Involving The Holy Spirit in Your Ministry (Mentor Immprint) Paperback – May 20, 2015
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"The goal of the book is to present a biblical theology of Spirit empowered preaching and it succeeds very well...reminded of much, challenged, rebuked, convicted (having frequently to turn aside to prayer), humbled, encouraged, and stirred up with a renewed desire to go at it again! My heart has truly been stirred." (Ray Van Neste ~ Director, R. C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee)
"When you finish reading this book not only will you have a better idea of the role of the Spirit in preaching, but you will also know better how to preach in dependence on the Holy Spirit. Everyone who is preaching, or preparing to preach, needs to read this book" (Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. ~ President, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Greenville, South Carolina)
"Seldom does a book arise of which one can say, "This should be essential reading for preachers at whatever stage of their ministry!" But I can say this honestly of this book. . . It has made me wish that I could start all over again." (Derek Prime ~ Author and former pastor of Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh)
"Arturo Azurdia believes that much modern preaching is powerless. Sadly, he is right . . . in a searching and warm-hearted analysis he shows how the situation should and can be remedied." (John Blanchard ~ Internationally known Christian preacher, teacher, apologist and author)
'Art Azurdia's excellent book will convince you, if your mind and heart is open to God, to get power as well as material . . . I intend to read it again and again and widely recommend it to pastors the world over. (John Armstrong ~ Director of Renew and formerly a Pastor for twenty years)
"He seeks a balance between the Holy Spirit and the Word. He proceeds to show the need for the unction and describes the work of the Holy Spirit in preaching, and impresses upon his readers the benefits of being Spirit-filled ministers. His main points are supported by the New Testament and by those people considered to be great evangelical preachers of the past. He shows that the empowering of the Holy Spirit is a sovereign work of God, and that the minister of the Word should be a person of constant prayer. His last chapter, "Pray me full" affirms this and is helpful to all ministers." (Aldwin Ragoonath, Pneuma Review)
"You will be delighted by this book . . . If your praying for the Spirit's power has become formal or thoughtless then this book can change both you and your ministry - by the Spirit's power." (Edmund P. Clowney ~ (1917-2005) Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary in California, Escondido, California)
"The goal of the book is to present a biblical theology of Spirit empowered preaching and it succeeds very well...reminded of much, challenged, rebuked, convicted (having frequently to turn aside to prayer), humbled, encouraged, and stirred up with a renewed desire to go at it again! My heart has truly been stirred." ~ Ray Van Neste (Director, R. C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee) "When you finish reading this book not only will you have a better idea of the role of the Spirit in preaching, but you will also know better how to preach in dependence on the Holy Spirit. Everyone who is preaching, or preparing to preach, needs to read this book" ~ Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. (President, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Greenville, South Carolina) "Seldom does a book arise of which one can say, "This should be essential reading for preachers at whatever stage of their ministry!" But I can say this honestly of this book. . . It has made me wish that I could start all over again." ~ Derek Prime (Author and former pastor of Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh) "Arturo Azurdia believes that much modern preaching is powerless. Sadly, he is right . . . in a searching and warm-hearted analysis he shows how the situation should and can be remedied." ~ John Blanchard (Internationally known Christian preacher, teacher, apologist and author)
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Arturo Azurdia is the author of Spirit Empowered Preaching. He writes vividly, pastorally, and biblically. His main objective is to compassionately and lovingly grab the preaching pastor by his ears and get him to better understand, anticipate and appreciate the work of the Holy Spirit in his ministry.
Azurdia is helpful in clarifying the chief goal of the Holy Spirit as not creating a bunch of noise and disorder but rather as glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. John 16.14). Thus one might conclude that a church, and their pastor, are Spirit filled when they are Christ-centered and cross-boasting. This is a helpful calibration to our evangelical culture which equates the Holy Spirit so much with subjective feelings and fuzzy mystery rather than the bull's eye of Christ's glory.
It is with this theological underpinning of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to exalt Jesus that Azurdia formats much of his explanation and exhortation. He does spend a healthy time behind the woodshed with the church growth movement, noting that without the accompanying power of the Holy Spirit working through the preached word of Christ, the hearers are unable and unwilling to respond and receive forgiveness. Azurdia's contention is that with the contemporary downplaying of doctrine, imprecision with respect to the gospel and the marginalization of the preached word, the hearer is not served a lick by the shenanigans performed by many men who call themselves pastors in many evangelical churches today. Instead men ought to humbly put themselves under the authority of the word, beg heaven for help, and preach with all of the passion and power that God sees fit to dispense, that if God is pleased, might wake the dead.
One of the helpful features in this book is the wide array of quotations that the author provides in his various chapters. We are given insights from Calvin, Luther, Spurgeon, Watson, Lloyd-Jones and many others. Azurdia has done his homework and provided a rich resource to stir the preacher's heart.
One minor critique that I have is with regard to the prolonged discussion of unction. Unction is that special gift of God given to the preacher whereby God attends his words with a special divine enablement. I believe that God does do this and we can see it in the Scriptures and throughout history. However, the way in which it is presented leaves me asking a lot of questions. Such as, "Is this a special and unique work of the Spirit or normal and regular?" "If it is not regular, is such unaided preaching not used by God?" "Is unction only measured by `unnatural silence' and stillness?" When this type of Spirit impacted preaching is described as in such terms as "the voice of the Spirit of God" I think we are beginning to wander a bit far into subjective patches of ground that are not so clearly defined in Scripture. (To be fair, the author makes his case primarily through the events in the book of Acts, however, these events appear far more descriptive than prescriptive.) I am far more biblically comfortable with the confession that God does (and must!) attend our preaching with his Spirit in order to produce genuine God-glorifying results.
In conclusion, I believe that I will revisit the chapter on prayer on a regular basis. The premise of this book is the neediness of the preacher, specifically of his neediness for divine help. For the preacher to neglect his duty in prayer, both in his preparation and delivery of the message, appears to be a severe dereliction of duty. Azurdia has helpful words here as he beats the drum for the minister of the gospel to devote himself to prayer and to the ministry of the word (Acts 6.4).
What Dr. Azurdia's book is centered around is really the operation of the Spirit in the life of the pastor and in the Spirit's role when pointing to Christ. Dr. Azurdia shows this in many ways, whether it is through the prayer of the preacher to preaching Christ in the Old Testament. One of my favorite aspects of the book is the continual reliance on quotes from other notable pastors and their thoughts on the different subjects that were brought up.
In the end, I think the reason that I felt like it came up a little short is because I believe that Dr. Azurdia tried to cover too much, so when the reader was done with the book it is like getting nailed with a fire hose. I might just think that it came up short because it was more theology than practice, so I was waiting for Dr. Azurdia to say, "here is what I do." But, it didn't come to that. I could also be taking this from too much of an elementary look at this book and not at a book where its intent is not application or orthopraxy but merely orthodoxy. Nevertheless, I believe the strongest part of the book was when he set forth the ministry of the Spirit and why He is here for us. I strongly encourage reading the book for that alone. Either way, I felt like the book could have really used some practical thoughts on the subjects set forth.
There are some great reminders in the book, and it isn't that I wouldn't recommend the book, but I just found myself ready for more, but it never came. I strongly recommend to listen to Dr. Azurdia's preaching because the application of this book is found in his preaching, I just wish he could have put that down in words. If one wants a great practical book on this same matter I would encourage one to take a look at "Preaching that Changes Lives" by Michael Fabarez
Don't skip this book on this review though, pick it up and glean from this great pastor, his thoughts on preaching and the Spirit, and you will definitely get great things out of it. Recommended.
It seems his main premise is that the special presence of the Spirit mentioned in various places throughout the New Testament is manifested in the Bold and effective (though not attractive cf 1Cor 1 & 2) proclamation of the gospel. This is an irreplacable tool in the toolbox of the preacher of the gospel. I give it my highest recommendation.