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Showing posts from February, 2018

My Four Week Preaching Template

I love crockpot cooking. Allowing the meal to sit in it's own juices for hours seems to heighten the flavor of every bite. I look for chances in life to add a crockpot mentality to my tasks. Taking the crockpot approach to sermon preparation allows me to let passages soak in my mind for several weeks before I present them. This means when I stand up to preach, the wrestling is done and the passage feels like an old friend. Most of my sermons take four weeks to prepare. That doesn't mean I'm working on one sermon for four weeks, but that every week I'm working on four sermons. Each week I have a specific goal to accomplish for each sermon: Week One: I need to understand what the text says. I have two study sessions set aside during week one in which I devote my efforts to exegeting the text. Week Two: I need to determine how this text applies to our church community. During week two, I work through several exercises to help me look at the passage from several

Immigration and School Shootings Are Not Problems That Cannot Be Solved

WHY DON’T THEY SOLVE IT? Most problems require more than one solution because it is the complexity of the situation that has made a problem. Most problems have a presenting and immediate symptom, a long-term pattern which is unhealthy and a mess that needs to be cleaned up. Over the next few paragraphs I’m going to tease out the three steps needed to solve most problem and then I’ll demonstrate how these three steps should be used to solve some of our countries most “unsolvable” problems. Finally, I’ll share some thoughts on why our elected officials often seem unwilling to address these difficult issues. This is a long post, but I think it will give you some mental beef jerky on which to chew if you make it to the end. STEP ONE: SOLVE THE URGENT AND IMMEDIATE PROBLEM. Imagine your boat is sinking. While you may decide it’s time for a new boat and you may realize a need for boating lessons so you can stop running into rocks, neither of these problems are urgent and immediate

Is it even possible to find or know God?

This is from J.M. Boice's Foundations of the Christian Faith in which he quotes Os Guiness' The Dust of Death: "In The Dust of Death Os Guiness makes this point by describing a comedy skit performed by the German comedian Karl Vallentin. In this routine the comic comes onto a stage illuminated only by one small circle of light. He paces around and around this circle with a worried face. He is searching for something. After a while a policeman joins him and asks what he has lost. 'I've lost the keys to my house,' Vallentin answers. The policeman joins the hunt, but the search eventually appears useless. 'Are you sure you lost it here?' asks the policeman. 'Oh no!' says Vallentin, pointing to a dark corner. 'It was over there.' 'Then why are you looking here?' 'There's no light over there,' answers the comic. If there is no God or if there is a God but the failure to know him is God's fault, then the

Top 10 Ways To Fail As A Team Leader

I found this list which I created 10 years ago today. I still agree. These are all bad ideas. 1) Fill your team with people just like you. 2) Ask someone to do a specific job, and then do it yourself. 3) Don't trust anyone. 4) Look out for #1. 5) Exercise high control. 6) Make sure all ideas originate with you (or at least that people think they do). 7) Foster an atmosphere of paranoia. 8) Make sure nobody appears smarter than you. 9) Have a closed-door policy. 10) Conserve affirmation.

The Bible Is An Autobiography, And It's Not About You

The central character of the Bible is God. This is very important. Often when reading the Bible we are wondering what it has to say about us, about our lives, about what we need to do, about what is in store for us, yada, yada, yada... That's not what it's about. It's about God. It begins with God: In the beginning God created... It ends with God: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus... The middle is about him too. The entire Bible is all about God. Why make such a big deal about this? Because understanding Genesis 1 is impossible without a proper understanding of the Bible's main point. Genesis was not written to teach us about the scientific origin of the universe (that is not to say it is not completely accurate and trustworthy in any "scientific" assertions it makes). Genesis was written to teach us about God . Thus, when I read Genesis 1, the primary reason I must read it is to learn about God. If I learn something about origins... bonus! Genesis ope

If I don't let myself get stretched, eventually I'll get broken

I've noticed something as I get older. When I run on the treadmill, I'm sore the next day...unless I stretch really well. In the past, I could play a full 90 minutes of soccer plus overtime in the snow and just walk off the field afterward... no soreness the next day. Sadly, those days are over. Now, if i don't stretch regularly, I'll likely pull something when I try to really exercise. I think the same is true of us mentally/philosophically/spiritually. As I get older (and I notice this in others also believe it or not), I sense a tendency toward being brittle in what I believe, the practices I deem acceptable, and my perceptions of what is truth. I'm more inclined to quickly dismiss new ideas, afraid of them, because they may stretch me too far and hurt me. However, if I'm regularly stretching myself (by reading/considering/dialoguing/listening to ideas/books/people i don't necessarily agree with), I find it much easier to engage the more diffic

Why Is Christianity Different Than Every Other Religion In The World?

Hebrews 9:26 says: But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Three words in the middle of that verse define the distinction between Christianity and every other religion in the world. ONCE FOR ALL. Virtually every world religion shares one fundamental similarity. At the heart of the religion is instruction for achieving “eternal life”, or whatever else might be the ultimate goal of the religion (eg. Nirvana, Heaven, etc.). These instructions always tell you what you need to   DO . I think this concept of religion resonates with most people. Let me provide a few examples. Buddhism is built on a process of holding to or believing four noble truths. The fourth of these noble truths instructs Buddhists to follow the eight-fold path, which is a list of eight activities designed to help the Buddhist gain liberation from attachment and suffering. Following the eight-fold path means doing the following: Ri

Do Amazing Things. All You Need Is A Stick.

Moses summonded 10 plagues, parted the Red Sea, brought water from the rock and more using only a stick. Ehud freed his people from the monstrous Eglon, but only because he was left-handed. David brought down the giant using only a sling-shot and a smooth stone. Jesus fed 5000 people or more with only a few fish and some bread. When God is working through you, you can accomplish greatness using only what is in your hand. Everything you have has been given to you by God and everything He gave you has a purpose. He has uniquely gifted you to carry out an important role in His kingdom. As you walk through your life's journey, think about the gifts God has already put into your backpack. He has perfectly prepard you for the road He designed you to follow. You have POWER. Everyone has different abilities. Some are athletic, some are strong, some are intelligent, some have common sense. You may be able to create art and your neighbor might be able to fix anything. Your be