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10 thoughts on “The Heart Is the Target

  1. says:

    In my opinion, there is no finer book on the subject of experimental preaching This book has opened my eyes to some weaknesses in my preaching and has caused me to think deeply about application as I work through the exegesis Every budding pastor preaching needs to read this book and than once It is a gem.


  2. says:

    I found this phenomenally helpful So many useful tools in here Beneath and beyond the various tools, the theology of preaching presented in this book is true to the theology of God s redemptive purposes in our lives He reveals Himself to us in His Word that we might be made holy in the whole man so that we might commune with Him There s an agenda in preaching beyond merely informing or lecturing or educating There is something deeply formative and spiritually vital in this most central of ordinances of the church.


  3. says:

    It can be a problem, particularly in reformed circles, to think that preaching is little than explaining the exegetical details of a text and talking theology for about 30 minutes While these aspects are important to the preaching process, they are only part of the process, and if sustained careful thought is not given to the task of application, the sermon likely will be of no use to anyone.Murray Capill covers just about every conceivable angle of how a preacher can apply a sermon to the hearts of his listeners If there is any fault to the book, it s that the reader is left with too many good practical ideas for how to give application For instance, Capill discusses even the difference between necessary applications that a text definitely calls for possible applications that a person might be called to do, but not necessarily and impossible application, which is the way a person must not respond to a text 255 It is this kind of nuance that makes this book endlessly helpful to all preachers of God s word I will return to it often.


  4. says:

    Excellent book on application in preaching The sixth chapter entitled Applications that live Shooting Sharp Arrows alone is worth the price of the book.


  5. says:

    Capill s book is a gem, an excellent tool that every pastor at least every young pastor needs to have in his tool shed It will now sit on the book shelf nearest my desk to be consulted each week and reread each year.


  6. says:

    This is essential read for those who are aiming to preach passionately


  7. says:

    To my knowledge, there is no finer analysis of developing application in preaching To be commended to every preacher of the word.


  8. says:

    Really helpful


  9. says:

    Weird confession time I read preaching books for the sheer joy of the thing.Heart is the Target coverThere s a few degrees of fascination for me how do you teach something as strange as preaching Further, how do you teach something as lively as preaching a physical, verbal, performatory act from a book Is doing so akin to dancing about architecture Why do some people seem like they were born to hold the microphone sometimes despite a relative lack of scholarship Why do some seem like they were born to institute naptime sometimes despite overabundance of scholarship Enter Heart is the Target by Murray Capill This is Capill s second book about preaching, his first being Preaching with Spiritual Vigour, a fine book on preaching informed by the sermons and method of Puritan Richard Baxter When he s not writing about preaching, Capill is the principal at the Reformed Theological College in Melbourne.Heart is the Target is in an uncommon category a book not just about preaching, but about application in preaching Application is usually left to the last chapter or so of books about preaching books that are only about application are few and far between.There s a reason for this application is a slippery beast for the preacher If you don t do it enough, people lose focus, and you ve just preached theory rather than the practice If you preach application too much, then you risk emphasising human action, and taking the focus away from God s sovereign grace If you preach application too narrowly then you exclude hearers If you preach application too widely then it loses its edge, and becomes a blunt thing best represented by the pray, read the Bible, tell the gospel school of application.But for those who are willing to try and rein in the slippery beast of application, I m happy to say that Heart is the Target is the best book I ve read on the subject.The book is structured in two parts the process, and then the practice of Living Application First, it must always reflect the grace of the gospel because biblical preaching is gospel preaching, and second, it must always be heart oriented because the gospel demands a heart response to God The first part, the process of living application, begins with a theology of the Word of God, but then proceeds through the life of the preacher, the life of the hearers, and then what actually makes for a good application.The second part, the practice of living application, digs into the nitty gritty of sermon craft how you preach application that applies to the kingdom and not just individuals , how you preach narrative, how you move from the indicative what God has done to the imperative what we should do And then how you put it all together for Sunday.What marks this book as a standout is the confident tightrope that it walks in a few different ways.Firstly, it s a book that is thoroughly steeped in wisdom of preachers from other ages, and other places There are some preaching books, unfortunately, that seem to believe that they re the only ones who ve managed to figure this thing out That kind of shallowness shows itself In contrast, the thinking, wisdom, and history and bibliography in Heart is the Target runs deep.Secondly, it s a book that practices what it, well, preaches It would of course be a severe irony to have a book on application that remained theoretical Avoiding that, Capill provides worked examples from biblical texts and his own sermons More than that, his writing is lively and eminently readable.Thirdly, it s a book that s thoroughly usable The frameworks that he provides for application are flexible, rather than over prescriptive The best compliment I could give is that they made me excited to prepare my next sermon, rather than shaking my head, wondering how I could actually use them.Fourthly, it s a book that gets it s theological anthropology right It understands that the best way to understand those of us who listen to sermons, is in listening to what the Bible says about us Capill gets that sermons are not directed to thinking machines who are able to isolate brain from body, but to whole people, hearts included But when application is done rightly the result will speak for itself Application doesn t need to be the forte of topical preachers while remaining the nightmare of expository preachers It doesn t need to be confined to a few closing remarks It doesn t need to be predictable and hackneyed, nor does it need to be moralistic and damning There are endless ways of presenting life giving applications from God s Word applications that are compelling and engaging, heart oriented and grace filled, practical and penetrating, varied in intensity and focus I m buying two copies, one to give away and another one to sit on my shelf If you or someone you know needs to sharpen the application edges of your sermon, get this book Review originally published here.


  10. says:

    a practical yet penetrating workThis book met me at a place and time of great need My preaching had become laborious for want of depth, creativity and impact Thanks to Pastor Murray Capill for enlightening to the wide world of Applicatory, Expository Preaching I recommend this resource to every preacher who desires to be a better preacher


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