The thirteen-year-old boy’s father was a pastor, as was his grandfather. He had been around gospel truth all his life, and yet something still hadn’t “clicked” for him. He was under conviction of sin and was yearning for peace and right relationship with God. His hunger was such that he set out by foot on a Sunday morning with the intention of attending a particular church.… read more
In August of 2023, Lisa and I had the privilege of visiting Cyprus for a few days. While there, we did some exploring… visiting the places where Paul and Barnabas first stepped on to and off the island on the first leg of their first missionary journey. … read more
With the Spring weather, I’ve recently been able to do some yard work. I’ve had certain tools that I’ve been using, such as a rake, a shovel, and some pruners. All of these are helpful as functional instruments, but they don’t reflect me—my character—in any way. How often have Christians prayed, “Lord, use me. Make me your instrument, etc.” … read more
I’m all for “positive preaching.” I believe people need to be lifted up and encouraged as they walk through a world that is constantly beating them up and dragging them down. But does preaching a positive, encouraging message mean that we never bring up anything that could be considered “negative?” … read more
Here is a question for every minister to consider: How does a minister operate in boldness and authority without being harsh or abusive? How does a pastor balance being a strong leader and still walking in love toward the flock?… read more
This is such a great question. Initially, I was inclined to say that we should preach on things we have experienced, and that is a good approach much of the time. We don’t want to be overly theoretical or ethereal—always preaching things that seem out of reach for the common person. … read more
Vance Havner asserts, “Popularity has slain more prophets of God than persecution ever did.” I think that could also be applied to the pursuit of popularity as well. Richard Niebuhr noted that essential themes of the Christian faith were being stripped from Christianity through liberal theology. He summarizes (in 1937) an anemic, neutralized “gospel” with these words: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.” I think that Niebuhr encapsulates the four areas … read more
We all like to hear a powerful and moving message—one that touches our heart and challenges us to reach new heights and greater goals. However, we have all been the unfortunate victims of a poorly planned and executed message. This can be a mind-numbing and torturous event. In order to prevent unnecessary suffering on the part of our future listeners, I submit the seven major public speaking mistakes that people make. … read more
One occupational hazard of ministry is that the work of God can become routine to us. Another sermon, another church member with a problem, another meeting, etc. All of it can accumulate, taking a toll on a pastor, and result in our simply going through the motions of ministry. …read more
As a young pastor, I’ve just been preaching about whatever I feel inspired to preach. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to preach on Sunday morning until Saturday night. I don’t want to eliminate all spontaneity or being led by the Spirit, but should I have some kind of “preaching overview schedule” to make sure I cover certain topics each and every year? How do other pastors plan their preaching schedule and establish which topics they’re going to cover over the course of a year to ensure their people receive a well-rounded diet?
As a young preacher, I’m finding it helpful to get inspiration and ideas from others in writing my messages. Where is the line, ethically speaking, when it comes to gleaning and borrowing from other people’s material in my own sermon preparation and delivery? At what point should I give credit to others? I’m also curious how much other pastors borrow from and are inspired by what other people have said/written, and how much of other pastor’s preaching is entirely original to them?
Paul not only said that all Scripture is inspired, but that it is, “…profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). He also told Timothy to, “convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). How does a pastor find the right “blend” in his preaching? I want to be positive, uplifting, and encouraging in my preaching, but I know there are times that serious issues need to be addressed. How do you address negative issues without coming across as harsh or “beating the people up?” What tips would you give a young pastor who wants to preach the whole counsel of God without coming across as condemning?