October 3rd, 2013 | 1 Comment »

For several years I did this talk using Batman Begins as a key to the believer’s journey with God. This past summer, I retired this teaching. Here it is, in case you wanna see/hear it again.

[tentblogger-vimeo 44907065]

 

September 24th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

Preaching is terribly important.

In fact, it may be more important now than it ever has been. Everyone – both Christian and non-Christians – have some thought, idea, or question about preaching and what preaching should be.

What we like. What we don’t like. Who we believe is effective and who isn’t, all of these issues are front and center in the mind of the hearers when it comes to preaching.

Since Christians spend a good bit of time throughout their lives, sitting in pews and listening to preaching, it’s fair to assume that each would have opinions. Therefore, I’m not surprised to find an increasing number of people asking me about the preaching event and preparation for preaching. In recent weeks I’ve been contacted by preachers, youth ministers, lay persons, elders, and all other stripes of church members about my preaching, their preacher, their preaching, or becoming a better preacher (This is not necessarily because I am a great preacher, but rather because I’ve become well-known and greatly teased for my all too frequent railings about bullet points). To shed some light on my process, I’m going to spend a few posts dealing with – what I hope – is a helpful approach to the weekly homily. I pray I don’t bore my “non-preacher” readers with a shade too much “inside baseball.” Let’s start with a few words from a preaching giant, Dr. Fred Craddock:

[tentblogger-youtube eCCo5RWxqZg]

Share with us: What do you think makes good preaching? 

 

Posted in Bible, homiletics, preaching
May 28th, 2013 | 4 Comments »

You have a role to play in helping your preacher preach better. At the top of the list are time and prayer.

A sermon, like any form of communication, can go in one ear and out the other. Worse, a sermon can find hospitality in the head and hostility in the heart. Many of us struggle with the weekly homily. We struggle applying it, remembering it, living it out, and making sense of it in a world wherein we hear so many messages all the time.

Try theses 5 Strategies to “Getting” the Sermon.

1. Dwell In The Word. If Sunday morning is the first or only time you’ve spent in the scriptures this week, you’re bound to miss a great deal. Understanding God means encountering him in the scriptures. Knowing the scriptures will give  the sermons a depth and richness that only accompany knowing the Bible.

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April 2nd, 2013 | 4 Comments »

In the 21st Century, you don’t have to be a doctor to be on call.

We are all now on call all of the time. I’m not old enough to know for certain, but I’m told by some people, that a time existed when people could go home. And be at home. You could clock out, disconnect, leave.

Let’s call this time P/I, or pre-Internet. Now surely, there have always been people who were always on the clock. They were the first with beepers, pagers, a red phone or a driver standing by. But that’s not been most people. Now everyone is on call.

Now we all have electronic tethers. And most of the time, I love the connection it provides – e-mail, blogs, Skype, Facetime, and Facebook, help me stay connected to friends both near and far. But more and more all of this restrains us from facing the fact that we are little more than leashed to a desk or a client, a project or a need. We are always available – whether the needs are important or not. Little by little, the constant drip of ever-present connection reminds us that we are always on call. All of us. All the time.

There is always someone, somewhere that wants our attention. And it’s not always work or volunteering that demands our deliberations. There are projects, both at work and elsewhere, that need advancement or completion.

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September 18th, 2012 | 11 Comments »

This past Sunday, we began a new teaching series called, “It’s Your Move.” Over 4-weeks I’ll be presenting our church’s strategy for ministry in Temple, TX. It’s a simple church strategy. Thinking through the implications reminded me of this which I posted some time ago.

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I never thought about grass getting too much water.

There’s a place on our church’s playground that’s dead grass. As far as I know, it’s always been dead. It’s a small rectangle, a different blend of grass from the rest of the playground. It’s at the corner of the playground where two sidewalks connect.

I’ve always been puzzled by the mud and dirt that settled there when the rest of the play yard has always been so lush. I think I may have figured out the mystery.  As I walked a first-time visitor through our campus back to his car on Sunday, he almost stepped into that muddy corner. Flippantly, I said, “We’ve never been able to get grass to grow there.”

In an instant, he said, “Sure. It gets too much water.”

He went on to explain to me that it was evident that water from our sprinklers pooled in that corner and it was over-saturated. Grass won’t ever grow there.

Wow! The things an outsider can notice about your church.

Since Sunday my heart has had some clarity about factors contributing to the numerical decline of my faith family of origin – Churches of Christ. I posted some initial thoughts last week. While I still think those reasons are true, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to believe that we’re drying up because of too much water.

Here’s what I mean:

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