Archives for March 2011

7 Reasons to Weave Eschatology into the Fabric of Your Preaching

When you hear the word “eschatology” do you think about number codes, multi-headed dragons, and colored horses? I hope not. More than plotting out the events of the end of the world. Eschatology is about history’s trajectory toward the end of the world as a result of Christ’s already/not yet destruction of the old age (accomplished […]

Why You Must Preach Against Sin

What keeps your people from the salvation available in Jesus? What blocks out the joy of sanctification? What tethers our hope to this world, preventing us from being so heavenly minded that we can do some earthly good? The answer is sin. Specific sins. Sins that don’t feel like sin, having been dutifully neutralized by […]

Find a Task List System That Fits Your Personality

This is the fifth and final article in series on How to Get Organized. Be sure to hit up Part 1, 2, 3, and 4. The last mile of getting organized is pulling together all the tasks you have to get done into a single place, and to start plowing through them, one by one. […]

Something for Pastors to Remember on Monday Morning

“All things considered” is an ingredient that will tame the zing of a spicy Sunday church service. The sermon wasn’t that bad, considering that important visit to the hospital that ate up some prep time. The attendance at the evening service wasn’t that bad, considering it was the start of spring break. The singing wasn’t that bad, considering […]

5 Characteristics of Constantly Improving Preachers

What tricks have you tried to make your preaching better? Writing more interesting introductions? Stating your your main point more memorably? Is it actually working? Ironically, I have found that the more I try to preach better, the worse I do. But the more I just try to preach, the better I do. In other words, […]

24 Examples of Gospel-Centered Ministry from 1 Thessalonians

Understanding gospel-centered ministry merely in terms of preaching the message of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection will turn you into a one-trick pastoral pony. Pastoral work should have the gospel as its motivation, not only its message. Paul defines his ministry in terms of proclaiming the gospel in 1 Thessalonians, but it works itself out […]

How To Set Up Your Files for Efficient and Effective Sermon Prep

This is the fourth article in a series on How to Get Organized in Pastoral Ministry. Don’t forget to read articles one, two, and three! When it comes to filing, there are two kinds of pastors in the world. Black hole filers keep everything, but the stuff will never see light again. Anti-filers don’t file […]

10 Questions You Better be Ready to Answer at a Pastoral Interview

A reader emailed me today to let me know that the articles here have been a big help to him as he finishes seminary and prepares to candidate at a church in a couple weeks. It reminded me of an article I read a year ago by R.C. Sproul entitled “10 Important Things to Ask […]

How to Read 200 Blog Posts in 20 Minutes

You should read blog posts like you’re following directions on Google Maps. I use the Google Maps app on my iPod Touch (waiting for iPhone 5 from Verizon) when I don’t know how to get where I want to go. In the course of the trip, many places grab my attention, but most are irrelevant to […]

How to Make Your Desk a Cockpit for Exegesis

Have you ever thought about how efficiently your office is set up? There’s a reason why fighter pilots don’t have to reach behind their head for missle triggers. Matt Perman, over at What’s Best Next, wrote a great series on how to set up your desk. Find a setup that aligns best with your study habits. Or […]

Get Rid of Inefficient Sermon Prep with Preaching Templates, Part 2

One reason we prepare sermons inefficiently is because we get stuck. Either our mind somehow wanders off, or we lose momentum between steps. That’s why preaching templates help. Its headings focus your attention on the task at hand, gliding you from step to step. The exegesis template focused on figuring out the text. This one guides us […]

Get Rid of Inefficient Sermon Prep with Preaching Templates, Part 1

Could you say that you have your sermon preparation process nailed down? Ever since my first preaching class, I’ve searched for the method that “works for me” like a pimply faced teenager goes through acne medication regimens. I’ve seen blemishes disappear here and there over the years, but I have finally found something that really works. […]

You Don’t Have to Be a Neat-Freak to Stay Organized

This is the third post in a series on How To Get Organized. Don’t forget to check out the first and second one, too. Getting organized is easy. Staying that way is what’s difficult for most people. But it doesn’t have to be. I want to show you that staying organized is not as complicated […]

5 Nerdy Tools That Will Make You an Organizational Jock

This is the second post in a series on How To Get Organized. If you missed the first one, be sure to check it out. Pastors need to be organized in order to run on all cylinders. Yet our information-driven world bogs us down with clutter and slows down our work. I have found these five […]

3 Signs You’re Not as Organized as You Think

Your empty desk and dewey decimal worthy bookshelves might be fooling you into thinking you’re organized. The truth is that your physical environment is only part of what needs organizing. Information, commitments, resources, ideas, and goals all have a place where they need to be put. Mere tidiness is faux organization. Why even worry about […]

17 Simple Actions to Grow as a Pastor Scholar

Pastors stall in their growth sometimes. It is to be expected because we are imperfect. But how do we break out of the plateau? New challenges have always seemed to work for me. That’s how P90X works for physical muscles. We should expect the same for pastoral muscles. But new challenges don’t have to be the […]

How a Robust Theology of Creation Affects Your Productivity

The seven days of creation model how we ought to do productive work, not only the schedule of the workweek. There is no greater demonstration of creativity than Genesis 1, from which I derive a theological definition of productivity. A productivity system is a set of tools and habits that enables you to produce something. But many use […]

Something Old, Something New

As I recover from getting hacked earlier this week, I’ll be reposting some old content. If you are new to, it might be stuff  you haven’t seen yet. So enjoy! If you have been with us for a while, some of it will be new to you, too, as I’ll be making edits along […]

Pastoral Ministry and Strengths-Based Leadership

Have you ever rationalized ignoring your weak areas of ministry? “I’m not a people person, so I spend most of my time preparing sermons.” We all make excuses to avoid pastoral work that doesn’t come easy. But is this reasoning valid? Avoid weak roles and focus on strong ones? One major book  in the strengths […]

What Not Enough People Are Saying About Rob Bell’s “Love Wins”

Everyone is talking about Rob Bell’s controversial forthcoming book (out 3/15/2011), Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. It is a polarizing book on many levels. For the same reason you have to gaze at the scene of an accident as you drive by, I was quick to […]

I’m Recovering From a Hack

Hey, everyone. When I sat down to publish Tuesday’s post, I was greeted with an eerie page letting me know that I had been hacked. I got the same feeling I had when my bike was stolen in junior high. The genius that I am, I didn’t set up my database backup plugins, so I […]