New Feature

I get questions now and then about what books I’m reading in preparation for my messages. So I’ve started a list of books that I’m reading called, “Study Resources”.

I’m teaching the Gospel of Mark, so that’s what I’m studying and the bottom right-hand column of my blog’s front page you’ll find the books that I’m reading during the series of teachings. Enjoy…

I’m Still Amazed…

I’m still at how much good stuff gets left on the editing room floor of a Pastor’s office as he’s preparing a weekend message. Sometimes there’s just more content than there is time, so you’ve got to boil it down (like a stew).

There are days I wish we go old school and preach like the Puritans: 30 point messages, lasting 5-6 hours.

I know it’s not realistic, but a preacher can dream…

Varying Your Approach

One of the things that I think is important is to vary your preaching throughout the year. I like to mix topical/ textual teaching and expositional teaching into the life of our church. Last year, I taught Daniel, Numbers, and Colossians. But I also taught a series on the church, marriage, and stewardship.

There are some subjects that are best tackled with a topical/ textual approach. But I believe it’s important to teach books of the Bible to not only ground believers in the faith, but also to give people a love for the Scriptures. As I looked at 2007, I saw that I have leaned a bit much on the topical/ textual approach. So I’m going to start teaching the Gospel of Mark on Easter Sunday. We’re going to spend the next several months looking at the life of Jesus. I can’t wait!

Money Sunday

We continued our marriage series “Illusions” as we dealt with one of the big 3 issues couples get divorced over: money. Many churches do a decent job talking about tithing (insert joke here) , but very few ever help people with what God has to say about the other 90%. This, to me is a tragedy. So I shared a very autobiographical message and talked about how as a college student, I got myself into major debt. Then through some study of the Scriptures and some very helpful Christian books I was able to gain some wisdom and develop a plan to get out of debt.

It took my wife and I 3 years from the time we got married to be totally debt free. This took having no cable, no vacations, and $35 a month for groceries our first year of marriage (no, $35 a month wasn’t a typo). The thing that kept ringing in my spirit was that as a guy who was even going to Bible College to enter the ministry, I had never heard a message on how to handle money God’s way. So I told our church that I never wanted that to be said of anyone here. So we went for it!

Honestly, I never know how people are going to react after hearing a message on money (mostly I’m speaking of newcomers). The church has such a bad reputation in regards to money (much of that reputation is justly earned – can you say “TV preachers”?) But as I talked with at least a dozen new families and individuals this morning, they thanked me for sharing the Scriptures and my own story.

You walk away from a morning like this and just feel like God’s hand was all over it!

“Sole” Mates

I felt good about my Sunday message this week. I felt as though people connected. The Illusions series we’re doing is one where we are debunking a lot of the relational myths that mess up our marriages. We’ve been looking at different couples in Scripture and learning from their successes and failures. This week is was the illusion of a Soul Mate. I don’t if there’s a concept that makes people jump ship on their relationships more than this one.

Having taught on Jacob and his relational issues, I’m still gnawing on this one truth from Scripture: Jacob wanted to be buried with Leah (Gen. 49). Even though Rachel was the one he loved more, he wanted to be buried with Leah. Why? Not only because it was in the place where his father and grandfather were buried, but I believe he knew that Leah was the one that had the blessing. She’s the one who gave birth to Judah. And from Judah descended King David and ultimately, Jesus.

Yet he realized this truth too late. He had Leah, but married Rachel, then Zilpah, and then Bilhah. Only to realize that the one who woke up next to (albeit unexpectedly) was the one who would bless the entire world. I talked to a lot of people after the services who were encouraged and believed that God could do a great work in their marriage. Great marriages are just 2 people who work hard to make it work!

Next week: “But we’re just too different!” That’s what David and Michal thought…