Check out

50 Years Later and Still Dreaming
Wow! What a post. Let’s dream on. The vision is so, so bright. And here’s Jemar with his eloquent dream.

A new kind of librarian
“Bloggers who do book reviews are a new kind of librarian.” Aimee says that with the decline of physical bookstores, online reviewers are playing an increasingly important role in helping people select books. And Aaron Armstrong has some good advice on book reviewing here.

10 Healthy Brain Essentials
“Many bright and intelligent people put themselves at a disadvantage every day because they make choices that limit the functioning of their brain. The following ten things have been shown to enhance brain functioning and can help anyone live up to their full intellectual potential.”

Why bother with Wisdom?
Colin Adams gives us five reasons to preach from Wisdom literature.

One Hug at a Time
A non-huggy person learns how to hug…and it becomes contagious.

50 Things Replaced by Technology [Infographic]
View this if you want to feel old.


What does it mean to “Preach Christ?”

“Strange as it may seem, we are not at all clear on what it means to ‘preach Christ,’” says Sidney Greidanus in the opening pages of Preaching Christ from the Old Testament. Common answers, moving from narrow to broader, are to:

  • Link verses to Christ’s crucifixion
  • Connect sermons to Christ’s death and resurrection.
  • Present Christ as the eternal Logos, who is also active in Old Testament times (especially as the Angel of Yahweh, God’s Wisdom, etc.)
  • Preach God-centered sermons (as Christ is God, a God-centered sermon is Christ-centered).
  • Substitute the name of Christ wherever we see “Jehovah” in the Old Testament (because Christ is Jehovah).

As the New Testament is full of preaching Christ, it must be our guide and model. Gredianus quotes C. H. Dodd’s survey of Apostolic preaching, which identified six core themes:

  1. The age of fulfillment has dawned.
  2. This has taken place through the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
  3. By virtue of the resurrection, Jesus has been exalted at the right hand of God, as Messianic head of the new Israel.
  4. The Holy Spirit in the Church is the sign of Christ’s present power and glory.
  5. The Messianic Age will shortly reach its consummation in the return of Christ.
  6. The proclamation always closes with an appeal for repentance, the offer of forgiveness and of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of salvation.

Greidanus concludes that “a quick scrutiny of these six elements indicates that preaching in the New Testament church indeed centered on Jesus Christ – but not in the narrow sense of focussing only on Christ crucified, nor in the broadest sense of focussing only on the Second Person of the Trinity or the eternal Logos.”

For the New Testament Church, preaching Christ meant preaching “the birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfillment of God’s old covenant promises, his presence today in the Spirit, and his imminent return. In short, ‘preaching Christ’ meant preaching Christ incarnate in the context of the full sweep of redemptive history” (Greidanus, 4).


What did you really learn at College?

Probably not a lot of History, or Science, or Math.

But you probably learned a few much bigger lessons that have shaped your whole life.

Author Stephen Dubner, of Freakonomics fame, returned to Appalachian State University to thank his three favorite professors  for these three life-changing lessons he learned in their classes.

  • No matter what you are or who you are, don’t blame your equipment.
  • Be willing to learn from everything and everyone.
  • Know your audience/medium/customers.

What’s especially intriguing is that none of the professors could remember teaching these lessons! Which makes me wonder what lessons I am unconsciously teaching my students.

When I look back to my University and Seminary days, it’s true I can hardly remember anything I was taught in formal lectures. I was definitely taught to think and write a bit better, but I struggle to recall any lecture content.

Like Dubner, though, I did learn life-lessons that continue to influence my own life and ministry:

  • The character of the teacher matters more than the content of his teaching.
  • Striving for simplicity, brevity, and clarity is the hardest work but the greatest service.
  • Passionate teaching makes for passionate hearers.

The podcast touches on this last point when Dubner asks what makes a successful student. One of the professors answers: “You gotta want it. You gotta bring something to the table. If you want it, you’ll get it. You gotta learn to be passionate about something. If you don’t have any passion in life, who cares?” Students take heed!

What three life-lessons did you learn at College?


Listen to The Things They Taught Me (NB: there’s a semi-bleeped word around 10.22-10.24)


Check out

Best Genesis Commentaries
Tim Challies’ list plus the comments could save you a lot of time and money – and do your soul and your hearers much good.

10 Mistakes Preachers Need to Avoid
Tony Morgan with preaching lessons from a book on successful TED talks.

10 Things Pastors Desire in Church Members
A follow-up on 10 things Church Members want in a Pastor.

Why do we ignore wisdom?
Colin Adams suggests three reasons why the OT wisdom books are rarely preached.

How imagination shapes your brain
Fascinating little video. I love the idea of building my muscles by thinking.

My Pastoral Confidentiality Policy
Vitally important subject and excellent advice.


8 lessons I learned about preaching from painting my kitchen

This could actually be retitled, “ONE lesson I learned from painting my kitchen,” with the post shortened to one line, “Don’t even think about it.”

However, you’ll want your money’s worth, so here are my eight painful lessons:

1. Estimate a time and triple it. It’s not the actual painting that takes the time. It’s the preparation, the sanding, vacuuming, cleaning, covering, taping, etc. The ratio of prep time to painting time is probably about 10:1. About the same for preparation and preaching.

2. Know your limits. I did quite well using the paint roller on the wide kitchen walls. I should have stayed with that rather than taking on the facings and window frames as well. As in painting, if you bite off more than you can chew in preaching, you can mess up a lot of the good work you’ve already done.

3. Clean up mess immediately. It’s so hard to stop and clean up drips and sprays when slapping on the paint. But delay means drying, and drying means chisels instead of tissues. Preaching mistakes are best corrected and cleaned up immediately rather than have worse problems to deal with later.

4. When you are getting angry and frustrated, stop. Anger does not improve painting or preaching.

5. Don’t take shortcuts. Spray painting seemed such a timesaver. But despite wearing a face mask I ended up not only with a white nose, but white nose hairs and nostrils too. I dread to think what my lungs look like. My kids favorite proverb on Saturday night was, “A hoary head is a crown of glory.” If you don’t want to wash your hair with turps, stick with good old-fashioned paint brushes. Similarly, not every modern promise of faster and easier sermons beats tried, tested, and trusted methods.

6. Don’t spread the work over multiple days. A couple of concentrated periods of time produce far better results than catching the odd 30 mins here and there.

7. Your wife is not always your best critic. Sometimes she sees you are so crushed by the DIY disaster, that love takes over and she assures you that really are the next Leonardo Da Vinci. Ditto some sermons.

8. Stick to your calling. Just as I don’t want a painter as my preacher, I shouldn’t ask a preacher to paint my kitchen.


Check out

Self-help books help depression
The BBC reports that, “Patients offered books, plus sessions guiding them in how to use them, had lower levels of depression a year later than those offered usual GP care.”

Divine Art
“When we see an amazingly beautiful piece of art in a museum, we give credit to the talented artist who created the work of art. No other piece of art comes close to the complexity and stunning beauty of nature. Each glimpse of nature’s beauty should remind us of God, the Divine Artist.” And here are some free bulletin inserts on creation.

Raising Fear-less Children
What can we do to help our children or grandchildren grow up with less fear and anxiety?

What we all need to learn from the minority experiences
Trillia Newbell interviews Thabiti about what Christians can learn from African Americans’ suffering. So helpful.

Girl Solidarity
“Dear Teenage Girl: I was once you a long time ago.  I was without God in my life, lonely, and wondering what the purpose of life was. I didn’t feel I could talk to my parents. I wanted validation, approval, love.  I wasn’t promiscuous, but I definitely knew how to get a boy’s attention, and I had my share of boyfriends…”

A week without Google
I don’t know how, but Mike Leake did it and lived to tell the tale.