CNN learns ten spiritual lessons

1840 posts and 452,603 comments later, CNN’s Belief blog reflects on its first birthday with Ten lessons the Belief Blog learned in its first year. Here are the headlines:

  1. Every big news story has a faith angle. 
  2. Atheists are the most fervent commenters on matters religious. 
  3. People are still intensely curious about the Bible, its meaning and its origins.
  4. Most Americans are religiously illiterate. 
  5. It’s impossible to understand much of the news without knowing something about religion. 
  6. Regardless of where they fit on the spectrum, people want others to understand what they believe. 
  7. Americans still have an uneasy relationship with Islam.
  8. God may not prevent natural disasters, but religion is always a big part of the response. 
  9. Apocalyptic movements come and go. 
  10. Most Americans don’t know that President Barack Obama is a Christian.

You can read more of the details here. It’s a bit of a mixed bag: some encouragement (# 1, 3, 5, 6), some discouragement (#4), and #2 is just so intriguing isn’t it!

Body Theology

It was good to be back in the pulpit on Sunday morning for the first time since my illness. I’ve never before felt so privileged to be a preacher of the Gospel.

Don’t know if this is helpful or not, but thought I would post my sermon notes from that sermon. As some of you know, I am a strong advocate of preaching without notes (or with minimal dependence upon them). I’ve written about the why and the how before.

So here’s an example of what I do. I write out my sermon in full; well not quite full, but about 80-90% of what I plan to say. Then I reduce the 4-5 draft pages to one page of highlighted outline which I study until I have the structure and points fairly well cemented in my mind. Before I preach, I pray the points of this outline to my own heart, kind of preaching and applying it to myself and making each point a matter of adoration, thanksgiving, confession, or supplication. I find that process really helps to give clarity to my mind and passion to my heart.

Obviously I don’t remember everything I wanted or planned to say. However, I’ve decided that the sacrifice of some material, and even of precise grammatical expression, is worth it for enhanced contact with my listeners.

So, here’s the “full” notes, here’s the outline, and here’s the resulting audio. BTW, this was a communion service, which means that my eighth point (don’t usually have that many) was spoken at the Lord’s Table – hence not recorded.

And for those who just want some bullet points, here they are:

1. Your body is defiled by sin (9-10)
2. Your body is saved by God (11)
3. Your body remains vulnerable (12)
4. Your body is for the Lord (13-15)
5. Your body is a member of Christ (15-17)
6. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (18-19)
7. Your body was bought with a price (20)
8. Your body is to glorify God (20)

1 Cor 6v20 Outline.pdf
Download this file

Top 5 Deathbed Regrets

Bronnie Ware, a palliative care expert, has compiled a list of the five most common regrets expressed by dying people.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard (expressed by every male patient)

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Read the rest of the post here.

There’s got to be a sermon or two here, preachers!

Children’s Bible Reading Plan (36)

Following the interaction on Tim Challies blog about these children’s Bible reading notes, I’m also including the Word documents so that those who want to customize to suit their own family’s needs can do so more easily.

So here’s this week’s Morning and Evening schedule in pdf and Word.

Here’s this week’s single use schedule in pdf and Word.

And here’s the first six months of the Morning and Evening schedule in Word.

Cut and paste away!

CK2:14 Training your children

Download here. And here’s Tim’s description of what to expect:

In this week’s edition of The Connected Kingdom, David and I discuss a topic that we’ve both written about but never actually talked to one another about—children’s devotions. I wanted David to explain why he created a program of personal devotions for his children and then wanted to describe how I’ve adapted it a little bit for my own children. You may want to see this article for reference. We discuss the importance of having children learn to do devotions on their own while also touching on family devotions and the importance of a father leading his children in this area.

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