Check out

Idle of the Heart
Joe Thorn challenges jobless and aimless young men.

Admiration – and a word of caution – for Angelina Jolie
Never thought I’d link to a post about Angelina Jolie, but her decision to have a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer has raised many challenging questions.

A $7,000 Online Masters Degree
The Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a $7,000 online master’s degree in computer science to 10,000 new students over the next three years without hiring much more than a handful of new instructors. And here’s a book review of Is College Worth it?

How fishing helps veterans heal – and land jobs
More reasons to spend some time on the water.

In praise of a former homeschooling Mom
Marty Duren pens a beautiful eulogy to his homeschooling wife which many men, including myself, can put a hearty Amen to.

American Church Planters in Scotland?
Mez answers the question: “Can Americans really get past their culture, move to the poor areas of Scotland and plant churches there?”


8 Principles of Sermon Application [Video]

In a previous video, I defined sermon application as follows: Application is the process by which the unchanging principles of God’s word are brought into life-changing contact with people who live in an ever-changing world. 

In today’s videos we look at how that definition shapes the way we apply the truth in our sermons.

Video 1: Principles of Application (1)

1. Passage:  The faithful preacher bases his application not on anecdotes or inspiring stories, but on God’s Word, and on that particular preaching passage.

2. Primary:  Preachers must not draw applications from the accidental, incidental, or coincidental parts of a passage, but from its essentials alone

3. Persistent:  Although at times it may be appropriate to leave application to the conclusion of a sermon, it is usually best to apply throughout.

4. Prepared:  Unprepared application usually means repetitive application.

Video 2: Principles of Application (2)

5. Present:  Applications should be up-to-date and relevant.

6. Personal: Hearers must know that they are being addressed personally and even individually. 

7. Precise:  The general principle must be pointed to specific, concrete, everyday situations by asking “How? Where? When?”

8. Proportionate:  Application must be varied and balanced.

Video 3: A Plea for Passionate Christ-centered Application

For other videos in the How Sermons Work series click here.


Check out

How has faith shaped our view of mental illness?
A treasure trove of contributions at Adrian Warnock’s blog.

Church History in an Hour
Mike Reeves squeezes 2000 years into one hour.

Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
What an amazing online resource. Every JBMW journal online, indexed, clickable. And on the CBMW blog you can read Modesty and Legalism.

Financial Advice Graduates Need to Hear
R.C. Sproul Jr. with some life-changing advice. Wish I’d read this 25 years ago.

7 in 10 Christians killed last year came from one country
You’ll be surprised which one.

Tragic Worship
Carl Truman: “The problem with much Christian worship in the contemporary world, Catholic and Protestant alike, is not that it is too entertaining but that it is not entertaining enough.”


New Baby Pics

I don’t know if anyone else is interested in this, but as Shona is coming home from hospital today and I’ve got about 2 minutes to get the house tidied, I thought I’d throw up some baby pics instead of writing a blog post. World, welcome Scot Lewis Murray!

And it’s all too much for this old man.

“Where’s Mom?” you’re asking. “Did she not have something to do with this?”

She’s not quite ready for public internet photos in her pyjamas! It’s an old people thing. Maybe tomorrow.


Check out

Sorry, College Grads, I Probably Won’t Hire You
“If you’re at all interested in media, technology or related fields, please learn a little computer programming.”

Laptop U
Extensive essay on the impact of MOOCs and digital technology on the classroom.

What does the highest paid public employee in every state have in common?
Click on the link to find out. What does this say about us?

The purpose-driven wife (and other sermon titles)
Peter Grainger challenges us to become more creative in our sermon titles. Along similar lines here’s Michael Hyatt on Four Strategies for Creating Titles that Jump off the Page.

There is Hope!
Greg Lucas guides us through one of the most harrowing disability stories I’ve read and into the hope of the Gospel.

My problem with Life of Pi
Joel Miller: “Like the version of events at sea, Pi constructs his own version of God. It’s a fantastical and nonsensical version, but it’s his. The problem is that it no more honors the Jesus Pi claims to love than his fantasy honors the memory of his mother who was murdered and thrown to sharks.”


What do you do when the Word leaves you cold?

“What do you do when the preaching of the Word no longer impacts you as it once did?”

That’s the question I was asked by an earnest young man recently who appears to be sincerely seeking the Lord.

Many of us can identify with the question as we’ve been there ourselves. We remember the impact sermons made on us in the past – deep impressions, piercing convictions, powerful drawings – but now we feel like cold lifeless statues as we listen to the same preachers preaching similar sermons. What’s gone wrong? This will vary for different people, but let me suggest a few possibilities.

1. Tiredness
The main cause for unprofitable hearing of the Word is fatigue, even exhaustion. We work too long and too hard throughout the week. We sit down and sit still for the first time on Sunday morning, and surprise, surprise, our eyelids begin to feel like lead, and our bodies start sliding down the pew. An extra hour of sleep each night can revive our souls.

2. Distraction
Saturday afternoon and evening are a good time for tying up the loose ends of the week and preparing for Monday. If we don’t do it on Saturday, we’ll be doing it on Sunday in church.

3. Indiscipline
If we are not reading our Bible and praying in a regular disciplined way throughout the week, we can’t really expect to be spiritually tuned in and sensitive on Sunday.

4. Sin
As unrepented sin forms a barrier between us and God, we need to make sure that there’s nothing major in our life that is blocking God’s blessing.

5. The Preacher
it may be that the preacher is preaching a series of sermons on a book or subject that doesn’t fit your spiritual needs at the moment. Although this tests our patience, taking a more long-term view can mitigate our frustration. No, you don’t need these truths/this series so much right now, but you can store it up in your mind and heart for when you will need it in the future. Maybe we can also mortify our selfishness by praying, “Lord I’m not getting anything from these sermons, but I’m thankful others are and I pray for your blessing upon them.”

6. Sovereignty
God may be testing our faith by allowing us to experience a period of coldness under the Word. Will we walk by faith even when there are no feelings to help us along?  Will we listen, trust, and obey, even when we’re not being inspired and moved by the preaching?

7. Humbling
God can also use such periods to humble our hearts and show us how much hardness remains within us. “I’m listening to the most beautiful truths and it leaves me stone cold. The preacher is pouring his whole heart into this and I can’t even be sure I have a heart.” Such painful experiences reveal how much sanctifying work remains to be done in our hearts.

8. Encouragement
The fact that we are upset about our spiritual coldness is a reassuring sign. If we are unmoved about being unmoved, unconcerned about our lack of concern, that would indeed be worrying. However, the very fact that we feel this, and grieve over this, should encourage us that God has worked in out hearts. We can remember sitting under the Word without an ounce of spiritual life and it didn’t bother us in the least.  That it bothers us now, and makes us pray for a changed heart, reveals a heart that has been sovereignly changed.

What do you do when the Word leaves you cold?