A Quick Thought for Pastors

There’s a few pastors who have followed my blog. So here’s a thought.

Your sermon must tell, educate and explain more about the passage than the congregation can determine from just READING it.

You had to learn Greek and Hebrew to graduate seminary.

Use it.

Is there a repeated word? Is this word rarely used in the sermon?

The Bible is written in Greek and Hebrew. The congregation doesn’t care that much about Greek tenses – but they’re interested in what words mean.

Dig deeper. Just looking in Holman’s Bible Handbook and writing a sermon in one hour will not feed them.

Cut back on visiting prayer groups. Cut back on all the excess stuff. The Pastor’s primary job is to preach. The job writing the sermon should be Tuesday morning, not Friday or Sunday at 6 AM.


Evernote for Ministry Research

I’m always on the lookout for anything that can assist me in cataloging and storing resources. When I first started this blog, I wanted to give appropriate references. What I needed was a reference manager, and I couldn’t find one. Now I have Zotero, but for a while there, all my research was lost. If that ever happens to you, I wrote an article on how to get it back. It takes like 21 steps.

I also have been looking for a way to save webpages. I’ve done it in Zotero, and I’ve saved to PDF. But often I’m in a hurry, and the endless “save to” “Save as” process of saving a web page to PDF was truly irritating.

And it left you with no real way to catalog what you saved. So to write an article sometimes took hours, if not days. The worst was when I saw an article on an official Seventh Day Adventist website where they credited the man who influenced Charles Taze Russell’s corrupt theology as being “A genuine Seventh Day Adventist.”

It created a hoo-rah of controversy when I published the post, and the SDA website pulled the quote from the article.

Enter Evernote. If I’d had Evernote, I could have saved it as an article, added keywords, and then clipped the address to Zotero. No kidding. Real quick to do.

If you’re involved in Christian ministry, Evernote is a tool you need. I think the best bet is to get the Plus membership, at $32 a year. I’ve gone a year with it at the free level, but some months I’m pretty much stopped cold by the 10th day because I’m almost at my free limit. I’m either going to get the Business level (which is on sale) or the plus level.

Get into the habit of clipping things. Have a default category, then plan out an admin day every month where you go through all your clippings and categorize them into the correct notebooks, and add appropriate tags, like “quote later” “Heretic”, etc.

Embarassing Newspaper article

Years ago, I remember growing up in New England. Well, I remember it TODAY… but I grew up years ago in New England. I remember the huge media buzz about Pope John Paul was coming to Massachusetts, and the newspapers were buzzing about the details etc.
Sept 30, the stadium will be readied.
Sept 31, they will begin assembling the stadium for the Pope’s appearance
Oct. 1, the Pope will speak.

I wonder how long it took for them to realize there’s no Sept. 31?

There you go. Free sermon illustration from a man who hates Sermon illustrations.

When you preach this, please remember to point out Pope John Paul II was not a Christian. He was a Roman Catholic, believed in Salvation by Works, and was totally devoted to Mary.

Longing for the Ministry

I’ve spent years preparing for the pulpit, praying for it, studying for it, working on advancing my knowledge of it.

PreachPhoto by Andrew Yardley on Unsplash

One of the biggest disappointments of my life is the realization that this may not be what God has in store for me.

I’m really not sure, but I really would have thought that after 5 years of doing this blog, that a church somewhere would have contacted me and said, “Hey, you’re exactly the kind of pastor we’ve been looking for.”

Especially after my series’ on church planting, pastoring, sermon writing, etc.In 2015 I put a lot of work into articles on how any man can start the process of being a pastor. What it entails. How to prepare. How even to get into a seminary. How to study the bible. How to preach. How to name a church.

It’s leading me to believe that perhaps the ministry I’ve been praying for.. Is the one I’ve been doing all along.

This blog.

That realization hit me hard. I did break down and weep when I realized it. But very often, the people in the Bible prayed to be able to do one thing, and eventually had to bow to God’s will, not their own.

If God wanted me to pastor, then it would have happened already. So what I’ve got is probably this.

The essential part of the Christian life is that some get to choose what ministry they want to perform for the Lord. Others do not.
And submission to what God wants is a major part of the Christian life.

It’s truly painful to realize it.

But God’s will be done.

The Lord has allowed this ministry to me, and I’m thankful for it.

The Pastor’s Study

I’ve talked about this program before.

pastors study
The Pastor’s Study – Click the graphic to download!

Here’s a list of sermons I did a few years ago.

I think this program is indispensable. You can track your visitation schedule, contact info for congregation, library, journal entries, Sermon illustrations, and interact with your chosen word processor, presentation program, and even open your chosen Bible program – all from within this program! This literally is a Pastor’s office inside a single program!

I keep my download files (most of the time) so I could offer it – but i’d need his permission. And there’s no way to reach him right now. UPDATE 2017: HERE IT IS!!!! Click Here to download! (thanks to Worthy of Praise for changing my web hosting plan to accommodate this!)

Anyway, it’s possible to write your sermon in this program, and then print out the pages. I never used it for that, I just used it to catalog all my sermons.

If you’re the author of this program, I’d love to hear from you.

Anyway, what I did was write it in Wordsearch (now that I’m used to Logos’s much better word processor, the Wordsearch one seems hideous to me), and then open The Pastor’s Study and enter it in there.

The interesting thing for me is to begin to see how I’ve preached the verses 1 Cor. 10:13, 1 John 1:9, 1 John 2:6, 1 Kings 19:4, 1 Kings 19:18, 1 Peter 1:23, 1 Peter 3:15, 1 Thess. 4:14, 1 Thess. 5:23-24, 1 Tim. 4:6, 2 Thess. 2:13-15, 2 Tim. 2:11-13… and many more.

It’s exciting.

I’m really tickled to see in my mind the outline of the Bible, and little check-marks where I’ve preached. This can help you to focus and think, “Okay, I’m always in 1 & 2 Timothy, and Matthew…” and start looking at quoting other texts too.

If your church is actually in a building, and not a rented place or a house church, I’d make the report list and print it on the wall right next to my computer. Maybe in a gilded fancy frame.

Because it’s a huge thing, to me able to meet the Lord face to face and tell Him, “I’ve preached from every book of the Bible.”

And of course, to see His smile, and the gentle response, “And you got every one of them wrong.”

But anyway, you tried!

Download this tremendously cool ( – and free!) program! You’ll be glad you did if you’re in the ministry!


4 Reasons to Invest more time in Preaching

I’ve listened to a lot of Independent Baptist Preachers, trying to find someone GOOD to listen to. There’s remarkably few good Independent Fundamental Baptist preachers.

Now, there may be some with a gentle style, like some of the classic radio preachers. There may be some with a fiery style. There’s quite a few with a folksy style.

None of that matters if your teaching quantity in the sermon equals zilch.

Today’s IFB congregation cries out to be fed. They can go to SermonAudio or Soundfaith and listen to Marc Monte, Dan Botterbrodt, and a few others I’ve heard with good teaching quality. There was an IFB preacher I used to like, but he’s a hyper-dispensationalist, and he came under some kind of absolutely bizarre home church only conviction, where he thinks the father is automatically the preacher spoken of in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus.

No, Not so much.

You, as a Pastor, need to rapidly re-evaluate your sermon system. I know of one who works three jobs, and writes his sermons at 0130 hours Sunday morning. It’s fresh for him by the time he gets into the pulpit, but unless he’s an exceptional preacher, the teaching content can’t be all that high.

So let’s look at why you should invest some serious time into your preaching.

  1. To prove you are a workman to be approved. All Pastors will have to stand before Christ and give an account. Many, Many IFB pastors are going to be questioned on why their preaching was so slap-dash and haphazard. You want to hear “Well done” and not “I have somewhat against you.” You’re still saved, you just want to be able to stand in front of the Lord and hear that you did a good job!
  2. Your congregation is begging to be taught. You can bellow for 45 minutes every Sunday, but when someone brings you Romans 3:23 and asks you what that means, you better have an answer! To hear well done from the Lord, your congregation needs to be taught. If you’re called to be a preacher but just haven’t learned the Bible well enough to preach it, then cancel the golfing and get to studying.
  3. SermonAudio. Real Christians crave to hear the word of God. If you aren’t filling their ears with sound doctrine, someone is filling it with heresy. Listen to your congregation talk to each other at the next potluck, and listen to what they’re saying. If you hear the names “John MacArthur”, “Paul Washer”, “R. C. Sproul” and “John Piper” more than once, then you’re not feeding your congregation, Calvinists are. If you hear “Benny Hinn” more than once, you’ve got a serious problem.
  4. Up and coming pastors. What if you hear your congregation talking about “Philip Dean” and “Parsonage”? That’s not good – it means your congregation is getting ready to replace you with old grumpy Philip, and the only thing holding them back is trying to find a house for Mr. Dean! And of course, thanks to Faithful Baptist Bible College, theres many people coming out of a seminary with credentials and SERIOUS doctrine and learning.

The days are past where each preacher llives in a bubble. no kidding, it’s too easy to spot when you’re staling someone else’s work. Frank Norris admitted to one of his two congregations that every sermon he preached he stole from somebody – that’s going to be an awkward moment at the Believer’s judgment! My wife and I have literally spotted when someone has preached a message someone else wrote. -your congregation will too.

your congregation is crying out to be TAUGHT. Teach them! If they don’t like the teaching, then their pew spots will be taken up quickly by people who do. And trust me, if they’re going to leave because they’re offended that you taught from the Bible, then they weren’t going to stay long anyway!

The Sermon wrap-up

The writing of the sermon is done. As you saw, I ended up jettisoning about 50% of the work I did on it. Then why do all that work?

Two reasons. First, you need the confidence to get up and speak on a subject you absolutely know. I ended up going in a completely different direction than what I envisioned, and I think the sermon itself forced it.

The second reason is, that work is not wasted. You studied a lot, learned a lot. And the written text of a sermon is not final – I sometimes am skipping parts as I watch the congregation and their reactions – and that’s when my research will lead me to possibly offer up the definition of a hypocrite. I also ditched a sermon illustration, and held one more mentally in check. What you WRITE is not always what you SAY.

Now, for the delivery. The pulpit is not a cage, unless you only have the one microphone. I like to walk around a little. Little gestures here and there. If you’re looking at the congregation, they pay more attention. Try not to be distracted by a Deacon fast asleep in one row. It’s not always your preaching! Most Americans tend to go around in a complete state of exhaustion brought on by habitual dehydration, lack of fitness and muscle tone, and too much stimulation from television. THe odds of someone falling asleep during the service… well, it happens. That’s why you should consider a sermon on throwing out your television back in Matthew 5.

Remember, action. move around. Make eye contact. Vary your voice pitch. Go UP, go DOWN. And put some intensity in your voice. There’s room in here for intensity. It’s not a college lecture. Notice I really didn’t get into the whole “how to wash your hands in first century Israel”. I never mentioned an eggshell, I never mentioned large stone pitchers where water is kept. If your congregation perks up at this point in the sermon, by all means, deliver that. If they’re focusing on the sermon points, then skip it. You have to KNOW this material. That’s why we did about 8 hours of work on it. And don’t forget, you hae two more sermons to write this week.

The sermon ends when the congregation wakes up Monday morning. Everyone makes decisions they’re going to be more for the Lord on Sunday morning, as lunch is approaching. But as Lunch passes, so do the resolutions. If you preach it right… some of them begin to walk it Monday morning. That’s where the sermon REALLY is. It’s not you.

It’s your congregation. They ARE your sermon.

Give it your all.