Month: August 2008

A Prayer

Ran across this prayer in John Piper’s book Taste and See and am praying it for CBC…

O Lord, by the truth of your Word, and the power of your Spirit and the ministry of your body, build men and women at Country Bible Church . . .

  • Who don’t love the world more than God,
  • who don’t care if they make much money,
  • who don’t care if they own a house,
  • who don’t care if they have a new car or two cars,
  • who don’t need recent styles,
  • who don’t care if they get famous,
  • who don’t miss steak or fancy fare,
  • who don’t expect that life should be comfortable and easy,
  • who don’t feed their minds on TV each night,
  • who don’t measure truth with their finger in the wind,
  • who don’t get paralyzed by others’ disapproval,
  • who don’t return evil for evil,
  • who don’t hold grudges,
  • who don’t gossip,
  • who don’t twist the truth,
  • who don’t brag or boast,
  • who don’t whine or use body language to get pity,
  • who don’t criticize more than praise,
  • who don’t hang out in cliques,
  • who don’t eat too much or exercise too little;
  • But

  • who are ablaze for God,
  • who are utterly God-besotted,
  • who are filled with the Holy Spirit,
  • who strive to know the height and depth of Christ’s love,
  • who are crucified to the world and dead to sin,
  • who are purified by the Word and addicted to righteousness,
  • who are mighty in memorizing and using the Scriptures,
  • who keep the Lord’s Day holy and refreshing,
  • who are broken by the consciousness of sin,
  • who are thrilled by the wonder of free grace,
  • who are stunned into humble silence by the riches of God’s glory,
  • who are persevering constantly in prayer,
  • who are ruthless in self-denial,
  • who are fearless in public witness to Christ’s Lordship,
  • who are able to unmask error and blow away doctrinal haze,
  • who are tough in standing for the truth,
  • who are tender in touching hurting people,
  • who are passionate about reaching the peoples who have no church,
  • who are pro-life for the sake of babies and moms and dads and the glory of God,
  • who are keepers of all their promises, including marriage vows,
  • who are content with what they have and trusting the promises of God,
  • who are patient and kind and meek when life is hard.

Irving Bible Church & Women Preachers

Should women be allowed to preach in a church? What does Paul mean when he says women are not to teach or exercise authority over men? {1st Timothy 2:11-12}

This has been a debate for years and centralized now, particularly in Dallas, as evidenced by some churches opening up and having women preach to congregations.

Denny Burk recently blogged about Irving Bible Church and their elder’s decision to have women fill the pulpit. You can read about that here: First Female Preacher at Irving Bible Church.

The Dallas Morning News ran an article last week discussing this. You can read that here: Woman’s turn in pulpit at Irving Bible Church brings buzz, beefs

Denny Burk also debated the topic with Irving Bible Church’s pastor, Andy McQuitty, on Monday evening on Barry Creamer’s radio program “Live from Criswell.” This is well worth the listen. 

For you dedicated readers, I thought I’d let you know that I called in to the show to speak my mind…about 45 minutes into the program. You can listen or download here: Radio Debate with the Pastor of IBC


Preaching Notes

Josh Harris has started a series of posts highlighting the preaching notes of some of the more well-known preachers, so I thought I’d post mine and the process behind my own sermon preparation.

Years ago I was introduced to “mindmapping” by my good friend Ross {who also blogs here at amazing grey city}. Ross conjured me up my own mind map and I have been using it faithfully for about 4 years now as the template for my sermon manuscripts. Mindmapping works well for me. It may not be the thing for you, but I can often recall specific points from my sermons weeks after I have preached them and can even picture in my mind where they were located on the manuscript itself.

Below is my manuscript from last week’s sermon on Ruth 1:1-5

“When Things {and People} Go South.” Usually I have 3-4 pages for each sermon.


Although this looks chaotic, it is very structured and my mind “gets” it, thus the genius of mindmapping. Often I’ll lay in bed on Saturday night and walk through the mind map in my mind. This reinforces what I’ve prepared and I’m able to navigate the manuscript and know what’s coming up even as I’m preaching.

First, you’ll notice the block print capital letters. This is what I call the “theological proposition/principle” that I am pulling up from the text of Scripture in the specified verses. The colors are significant as well:

GREEN: This is crucial. I always highlight Scripture with green. I always want to make sure I am directing the congregation to the Bible and showing them where I get the principle/propositions. If I don’t see enough green, then I know my sermon is not directed enough to the Word of God or I have not referenced it enough.

BLUE: Blue is my cue to change the powerpoint or picture. For instance, in this sermon I showed the congregation a picture of Baal and his lover Asherah, gods worshipped by the Canaanites {and sadly the nation of Israel!}. When I see something circled in  blue, I know I need to switch to the next slide.

YELLOW: Illustrations, quotes or direct applications are colored in yellow.

PINK: Anything that needs explaining as far as ancient Near Eastern culture, background information, or explanations of Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek words/tenses/etc gets highlighted in pink. 

ORANGE: This is the catch all color. I highlight things that I either want to directly read off the page or keep my mind flowing with the sermon’s train of thought.

SCRIBBLES: I work on my sermon even right up to preaching it. If something comes to mind from the moment I printed it out to right before I preach, I’ll write it to the outside. Often thoughts, illustrations, ideas, etc get added at the last minute.

STRUCTURE/FLOW: The mindmap is designed to flow clockwise. I start with the “A block” and move on to B, C, D, etc. Some brains are wired this way and the flow is what makes it work. The structure enables me to recall information and its place on the mindmap up to several weeks after I’ve preached it.

I hope this helps. Perhaps if you preach you’ll consider mindmapping. 

If you do preach, what do you use? Notes? No notes?


Back In the Saddle {Again…}

Okay, I’ve disappeared for awhile I know. Finishing a thesis made me not want to sit in front of a computer and type anything other than sermons. But through the chastisement {public, albeit!} of some brothers, I will assume blogging again.

I ran across some interesting statistics. Now, I’m not one for building cases on statistics, but I found these very interesting. ChurchRelevance lists the top reasons people choose a church. You can read it here.