Something Pastors and Preachers Always Need to Be Reminded Of

I’m just wrapping up Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer, and it is full of wisdom. (Tim Keller said, “Alec Motyer has had a profound, formative influence on my preaching. In this book he puts his decades of wisdom on expository preaching at the reader’s fingertips. This is as practical and Biblically solid […]

Why You Need Imperatives in Your Sermons

“It is, however, vital to understand that, although ‘Christianity begins with a triumphant indicative’, it does not end with one. Certainly, the indicative mood in Christianity enjoys a preponderance; it does not, however enjoy an exclusiveness. Christianity is not altogether in the indicative mood. Indeed, although there is a primacy and a priority about the […]

Why Playing it Safe as a Pastor Is the Riskiest Move You’ll Make

My article this month at Pastors Today was posted this morning. My wife said it’s one of the best articles I’ve written, so I hope you will click over and give it a read. Here’s a preview: The call to ministry is a call to confrontation and controversy. It’s impossible to read the Bible and […]

How to Improve Your Sermons in 2014 (From a Preacher from the 1800’s)

Have you thought about how you are going to grow as a preacher this year? What do you need work on improving? What bad habits do you need to not do so much? And what are you going to do to make those improvements happen? John Broadus, a 19th century homiletics professor and seminary president, is […]

The Top 10 Verses For Every Preacher to Highlight in His Bible

Every preacher needs a “go to” list of Bible verses to either kick him the butt, or pick him up when he’s down. I hope these do both for you. 1. Galatians 2:20 Your identity is not in your sermon, it’s in Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who […]

Evangelistic Preaching 101: How to Reach the Lost from Your Pulpit

David Murray recently finished a challenging and helpful series on evangelistic preaching. I commend each one of his posts to you. 1. What Is Evangelistic Preaching? 2. Four Kinds of Evangelistic Sermons 3. Why Is Evangelistic Preaching So Rare Today? 4. Four Characteristics of Evangelistic Preaching 5. Four (More) Characteristics of Evangelistic Preaching

How to Saturate Your Sermon with Application Without Sacrificing Doctrine and Exegesis

There are three common factors that cause preachers to quarantine application to a mere few corners of their sermon. One is the misconception that application and doctrine is a zero sum game. The more you have of one, the less you have of the other. As we will see, that isn’t true. A second is […]

40 Lessons I’ve Learned About Preaching After My 400th Sermon

One of the joys of preaching is that it presents the challenge of getting better every week. Here are the top 40 ways I’m trying to raise my game based on the preaching experience the Lord has graciously provided me. 1. Progress. You don’t have everything about preaching figured out after 400 sermons. You’re just getting started. […]

3 Reasons to Say “You” More Often in Your Sermons

Saying “you” in sermons has become uncomfortable for preachers. Like third grade teachers who switch from red to green pens, many preachers are afraid of coming across too strong. What I mean by saying “you” in a sermon is that the preacher uses “you” to make it obvious that his exhortation is aimed directly at […]

How to Preach Like Phil Ryken and Duane Litfin Without Sounding Like Them

Ever wondered how to preach like a Wheaton College president? This spring, Phil Ryken and Duane Litfin each gave a seminar on preaching for our pastors and pastoral residents at my church. Both men are seasoned and gifted preachers, in addition to being the current and former presidents of Wheaton College, respectively. Each presentation was […]

The Value of Sermon Introductions: How to Stop Giving Your Congregation Theological Whiplash

Too often pastors start their sermons full speed ahead. This is a negative result of a good thing. There is a resurgence of theologically mindful young pastors who are eager to get their congregations excited about the deep things of God. We don’t need less of that. That said, over eagerness will cause a pastor […]

Personal Priorities for Every Pastor

This is a guest post by, my friend and colleague, Jon Nielson, the High School Pastor at College Church. He wrote “Why Youth Stay in Church When They Grow Up,” a top ten most read article at The Gospel Coalition Blog in 2011. Follow his daily devotionals at his blog, Something More Sure. 1. First […]

5 Lessons I’m Learning in My First Year as a Lead Pastor

This is a guest post by Brandon Levering. Brandon is a recent graduate of the Pastoral Residency Program at College Church (check out the program’s intro video and info packet). He now serves as Lead Pastor at Westgate Church in the suburbs of Boston. Learn more lessons on ministry from Brandon at his blog and on […]

The Best 3 Places to Find Sermon Illustrations: From Jay Z to Brian Regan to (Almost) Plagiarizing

Pastors are always on the hunt for sermon illustrations. But perhaps you’ve noticed that illustrations from “sermon illustration books” and websites feel like you’re wearing someone else’s clothes. You have to do some tailoring to make them fit right. But even as you tell the reshaped story, it still doesn’t feel like yours. The power […]

10 Ways to Improve Your Preaching in 2012

If you’re like me, you’re already thinking about how you want to improve your ministry in the coming year. Here is a quick list to get you thinking about steps to take toward feeding your flock better in 2012. I’ve given you the bullets below, but I suggest you head over to the Sydney Anglican […]

3 Interesting Versions of the 3-Point Sermon Outline

The cliché “three points and a poem” has a negative connotation for a reason. Three-point sermons sound the same after a while. If the letter you use to alliterate your points is the only thing that changes in your outline structure, you’re going to lose your captive audience. But there are benefits to three-point sermons, […]

5 Ways to Preach Right to Your Congregation’s Hearts

While it’s easy for you to teach your church new theological nuggets, and it’s easy to give a few practical applications, it’s not so easy to impact your congregation’s hearts in your sermons. Ultimately changing the heart is a result of the work of the Spirit. But that doesn’t excuse us from quenching him with how we […]

Be Quick to Reread, Slow to Outline, and Slow to Read Commentaries

Busy pastors must always fight the tendency to crank out sermons. The signs that you are preparing a sermon in crank out mode are manifold. You read your passage through once or twice. As you read, you look immediately for application. You divide the text up into its parts, not to break down the author’s […]

How to Call for a Gospel Response Like a Calvinist

In case you haven’t been over to The Gospel Coalition Blog in a while, get on over and check out my article, “How to Call for a Gospel Response Like a Calvinist.” I hope that you find it helpful.

How to Preach Like Tim Keller Without Sounding Like Him

It’s not usually a good idea to reject D.A. Carson’s advice. At The Gospel Coalition’s National Conference this past April, Carson said, “Young pastors shouldn’t try to imitate Keller’s preaching. If you do, you’ll sound like a twit.” In case you’re wondering what a twit is, Urban Dictionary says it’s the kind of person that […]

How to Crank the Impact of Your Sermon Illustrations Up to 11

I thought Spinal Tap was pretty funny. I’m not sure if pastors are supposed to admit that. One of the classic scenes is when lead guitarist, Nigel Tufnel, shows his amp that goes up to 11. It gives him that extra boost he needs to rock it out just a little more. (I once had a […]

28 Ways to Conclude Your Sermon: A List of NT Doxologies and Benedictions

Ever wanted just the right verse to read at the end of your worship service, or to conclude your sermon, but couldn’t think of one? Couldn’t remember where it was? I bet it’s listed below. I suggest you either bookmark this page, or, better yet, copy it and post it to Evernote, so that you’ll […]

6 Rules for Using Quotes in Sermons

When you use a quote in a sermon, do you have a reason, or do you use quotes because pastors are “supposed to”? Do you quote with intentionality? Perhaps the best question of all: do you waste a ton of time digging through magazines, commentaries, and puritan paperbacks looking for just the right quote for […]

What the Letter to Philemon Teaches About Forgiveness

I had the privilege to preach in the main service at my church last Sunday. I have done several evening services, but this was my first time in front of everyone. Multiple services are exhausting! My sermon was on Paul’s Letter to Philemon, and was entitled, “The Unique Characteristic of Christian Forgiveness.” It’s on the […]

5 Resources to Check Out to Improve Your Application in Your Sermons

A reader emailed me last week with a question about doing application in sermons. I bet many preachers have the same question as Glenn (published with his permission): Hi Eric, I read your post about preaching like Mark Driscoll without sounding like him. You mentioned that Driscoll’s applications are very specific, and I’m wondering if you could […]