Check Out

Blogs

9 Types of Bivocational Ministries | ChuckLawless.com
“I’m convinced we will not win North America and the nations to Christ if we don’t affirm and encourage these roles as well as full-time roles. ”

The Gift of Being Limited | Christine Hoover, For The Church
“I was starting to see what God was trying to say to me:

  • God = limitless goodness and faithfulness
  • Me = limited in every way
  • God-designed limits for me = God’s goodness and faithfulness to me”

Christian, Do You Love God’s Law? | Sinclair Ferguson, Ligonier
“Think again of Ben Crane. Why keep the complex rules of golf? Because you love the game. Something similar, but greater, is true of the believer. Love the Lord, and we will love His law—because it is His. All is rooted in this beautiful biblical simplicity.”

The Dangerous Divide Between Theology and Practicality | Ed Stetzer, The Exchange 
“In many corners of the church today, there’s an unhelpful and unhealthy division between theology and practical ministry. This division is damaging to both the discipline of theology and the practice of ministry because one without the other causes an imbalance.”

Religious War and the Martyrs of Orlando | Rod Dreher, The American Conservative
More proof of the LGBT movement using the mainstream media to blame Orlando on Christians.

New York Times Can’t Figure Out Orlando Terrorist’s Motive | Sean Davis, The Federalist
“In the fantasyland of modern progressive politics, if a boy identifies as a girl, then he’s a girl. But if a gay Muslim registered Democrat identifies as a martyr for the Islamic State, he’s still a Republican.”

Research: Sleep-Deprived Leaders Are Less Inspiring | Christopher M. Barnes, Harvard Business Review
“We found evidence that sleep-deprived leaders tend to be less charismatic (meaning they will have a harder time inspiring their teams), and sleep-deprived team members attribute less charisma to their leaders (meaning that they are more difficult to inspire). This is important because many leaders are sleep deprived most of the time.”

New Book

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.


The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs by Andrew and Rachel Wilson

Kindle Books


Defeating ISIS: Who They Are, How They Fight, What They Believe by Malcolm Nance ($1.99)


Comfort the Grieving: Ministering God’s Grace in Times of Loss by Paul Tautges ($3.99)


The Pastor’s Ministry: Biblical Priorities for Faithful Shepherds by Brian Croft ($3.99)


Rediscovering Discipleship: Making Jesus’ Final Words Our First Work by Robby F. Gallaty ($3.99)


His Loving Law, Our Lasting Legacy: Living the Ten Commandments and Giving Them to Our Children by Jani Ortlund ($9.59)


Emmy Award Winning Filmmaker Joins PRTS

DB

“There’s something about storytelling that really breaks into the core of our beings by bringing various things into focus which ultimately captivates our minds and resonates with us in so many compelling ways.” ~ Darryl Bradford.

I’m delighted to share the news that filmmaker Darryl Bradford Jr. has joined the staff at Puritan Reformed Seminary as our Video Producer and Editor.

Darryl comes to PRTS by way of his own journey and story. He grew up in Detroit and nearby suburbs as a professing Christian with a loving family. Despite being exposed to the Gospel he grew disillusioned to the faith upon graduating from Michigan State University.

However, with his major concentration in Video Production, it was his love for visual media that led him to a series of videos that confronted him with his sin and his need of a Savior.

Now being rescued, an overwhelming desire to share Christ with others burned in his soul and the Lord simultaneously began opening up opportunities in his profession.

His hard work in developing his craft and desire for storytelling resulted in receiving 2 Emmy Awards for his documentary film work.

His passion for God’s Word, people and visual arts has now led him to pursue theological studies and also join the staff as Video Producer/Editor at PRTS where he will be involved in filming lectures, producing educational films tailored for distance learning, telling the story of PRTS to the wider world through film, as well as making short videos that share our Reformed and Puritan heritage with the wider world.

His wife of 8 years and 3 young children are members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and they look forward to this new adventure and the Lord’s leading in Grand Rapids. Here’s Darryl’s demo reel and another sample of his work below that.


Check Out

Blogs

5 Times to Say No to Yourself to Stay Productive | Time Management Ninja
Here are 5 times that you need to say no in order to get more done.

ARP Synod Approves Report On Race Relations | The Aquila Report
“We, the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, do confess the sinful failings of our church in the past in regard to slavery and racism. We reaffirm that all people are made in the image of God. We also reaffirm our historic stance that the Gospel should be offered freely to all sinners regardless of race or ethnicity through the preaching and teaching of God’s holy, inerrant, and infallible Word.”

Who Pastors the Pastor? | Brent Prentice, For The Church
Here are five ways pastors and churches can work together to care for the pastor.

What Book Shall I Preach On Next? | Adrian Reynolds, The Proclamation Trust
10 questions to ask when choosing a book for consecutive expository preaching.

The Christ-Shaped Pastor | Mark Johnston, Place for Truth
“There is no shortage of handbooks on what it means to be an effective pastor; but none can begin to compare with actually meeting someone who is just that. To have such a man as your pastor, or to cultivate a friendship with someone who embodies the qualities needed for the task, is guaranteed to leave an imprint on your life in the best possible way. The reason being that what shapes a man for this kind of service is nothing less than the imprint of Christ – the true Pastor – upon his life.”

You Won’t Believe How Chick-Fil-A Responded To The Orlando Attack | Bre Payton, The Federalist
In the wake of the Orlando terrorist attack, the worst strike on U.S. soil since 9/11, employees at Chick-Fil-A restaurants in the Orlando area performed a beautiful act of kindness.

Orlando: The Reichstag Fire | Rod Dreher, The American Conservative
Rod Dreher prophesies that Orlando will be turned against Christians:

Orlando is a genuine and appalling atrocity that will lead to the demonization, in law and in custom, of orthodox Christians and any who disagree with whatever LGBTs and their allies want.

For further proof read Scapegoating Of Christians Begins | Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

Kindle Deals

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.


The Pastor’s Family: Shepherding Your Family through the Challenges of Pastoral Ministry by Brian and Cara Croft ($2.99)


PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones ($3.99)


The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg ($1.99)


The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson ($1.99)


Profiting from Sermon Fails

If you’ve ever preached, you know what a sermon fail feels like. Sometimes, even before we preach it, we have the horrible sense, “This one is just not going to fly.” Other times, we’re a few minutes into the sermon and we think, “How can I dig a hole in the pulpit and get out of here?” Or maybe it’s halfway through and we get that horrible sinking feeling as our sermon dies in front of our eyes. Worst of all are the times we think we preached a home-run but afterwards we discover that everyone else thinks we struck out. Sermon fails are awful experiences that can linger with us for days, even weeks, as we mull over the disappointment and even the humiliation.

As someone who has preached my fair share of sermon fails over twenty-five years, I’d like to share with you how I try to turn these painful experiences into profitable ones.

Looking back: What went wrong?
It’s appropriate to have a post-mortem when a sermon dies on us. I start with questions about the sermon such as:

  • Was it too complicated?
  • Was it too long?
  • Was it too heavy — too much theory and not enough application?
  • Was it too boring?
  • Was it too fast or too slow?
  • Was it inaccurate — did it misrepresent the text?
  • Was it illogical and confusing?
  • Did I choose the wrong text/message?

I might ask my wife or an elder to help me answer these questions accurately.

Then I go on to ask questions about myself such as:

  • Did I put enough hours and work into the sermon?
  • Did I pray enough over the sermon?
  • Did I depend on the Lord or was I depending on myself too much?
  • Did I strike the right tone?
  • Did I put enough energy into the preaching?
  • Is there sin in my life that I need to repent of?
  • Is my relationship with God in the right place?

Then I ask questions about the congregation such as:

  • Is there a problem in the congregation that I am not aware of or I am not dealing with?
  • Is the congregation preparing adequately and prayerfully for the preaching?
  • Is there a disconnect between me and the congregation that I have to put right?
  • Were there too many distractions and disruptions (crying babies/kids to bathrooms)?

We have a quarterly review of the preaching by our elders which considers questions such as these.

Looking forward: What can I learn?
After looking back with the post-mortem I will hopefully have discovered some lessons I have to learn. But I also go forward with these additional thoughts:

1. Sermon fails are inevitable. As long as I am a sinner with many flaws and faults I will preach sermons that bomb from time to time. I must accept that and live with that, and not get angry with myself or with God for the discomfort and sometimes the humiliation that I experience.

2. Sermon fails are profitable. They humble me and teach me to depend much more upon God than upon myself. They remind me that God is sovereign and that he alone gives the increase. They make me search my heart and life to find any unrepentant sin. They also teach the congregation that the best preacher is only human and needs much prayerful support.

3. Sermon fails produce better sermons. The painful memory makes us work harder at our sermons in the future — improving our exegesis, our structure, our application, our delivery, etc. We don’t want to go through that again any time soon and so we double our efforts.

4. Sermon fails can be blessed by God. We don’t need to preach a perfect sermon for God to bless it. God is sometimes pleased to take our most pathetic sermons that we want to forget forever and to turn them into a means of salvation for some or for many. I’ve been stunned at how God has used sermons that died on me to give life to others.

5. Sermon fails increase my sympathy. If I never preach an “F” now and again, I will be hyper-critical when listening to other preachers. Failing now and again increases my sympathy and prayers when other preachers are struggling.

That’s how I try to “fail forward.”


Check Out

Blogs

Mourning Orlando, Longing for Truth and Love |Nabeel Qureshi, TGC
“As an ex-Muslim who loves America and my Muslim family, my heart is hurting beyond expression.”

The Orlando Attack Is What Actual Homophobia Looks Like | Daniel Payne, The Federalist
“Homophobia is not a reasonable objection to the deficiencies of modern gay culture, but a profound and even homicidal desire to harm gays because of their sexual preferences.”

5 Ways Christians Can Respond to the Orlando Shooting | Joe Carter, TGC
“These five calls to action apply to the most recent in a string of tragedies.”

The Lost Art of Praying Together | Bob Allums, TGC
“The great challenge of the church today is that she doesn’t pray well. Feelings of inadequacy in community prayer only magnify the reasons why most churches avoid prayer meetings altogether—or resort to only the most scripted and rehearsed public prayers. ”

Reconsidering Proverbs 22:6 & the “Way He Should Go” | Eric Davis, The Cripplegate
“The verse is not a promise of blessing consequent of godly training and parenting, but a warning against letting a child live according to his/her natural, sinful desires. In addition to grammatical reasons, this understanding seems to better fit the context of Proverbs and Scripture as a whole.”

Five Great Books on the American Founding Era | Thomas S. Kidd, TGC
“As we move into summer, and the Fourth of July approaches, here are some suggestions for great summer reads on the American Founding.”

Why Are Christians Bitter and Unhappy? | Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries
“One explanation for our cheerlessness is simple: many of God’s people don’t believe that the Christ we serve is cheerful.”

How to Avoid the Worst Form of Failure | Tim Challies
“Succeeding at lesser things at the cost of the greater things is the worst form of failure.”

Kindle Books

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.


Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace by Heath Lambert ($3.99)


A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering by Michael Horton ($2.99)


How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture by Michael Williams ($2.99)


The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs by Sebastian Traeger and Greg D. Gilbert ($2.99)

Video

Newlywed comes out of coma after wife refuses to give up
“90% of people in this situation never regain consciousness. You should pull the plug.” This is what happened when this young wife said “No” and took her husband home to care for him. You might want to press mute from 0.42-0.44.


Check out

Blogs

The Surprising Stability of Americans’ Moral Attitudes | First Things
Here’s a more optimistic take on current trends:

“Social conservatives need not despair. Pro-lifers are passing record-setting amounts of legislation at the state level. Opponents of doctor-assisted suicide have used an ideologically diverse coalition to win legislative battles in many states. And this Gallup poll shows that public opinion on social policy issues is far more stable than many pundits imagine.”

The Masculine Mandate: Save 50% Until Father’s Day
Every young man (and not-so-young) should read this book.

Help! I Struggle With My Pastor’s Preaching | Gentle Reformation
My congregation probably needs this one. 

Politics aren’t Worth Your Friendships – Trillia Newbell
Trillia warns about falling out over our presidential preferences:

“This election is revealing our hearts and what we believe to be true about God and our fellow man. We must be ready to love and forgive where needed. Whoever is elected won’t care a wit about our local churches and our organizations and our neighbors and whether or not they have been damaged. They won’t know. We will be the ones left to clean up the mess. We will have to stand once again with one another. My prayer is that we’re not left in a wasteland of friendships destroyed.”

10 Proven Ways To Grow Your Brain: Neurogenesis And Neuroplasticity
You can skip #9.

Could You Go a Week without Checking Work Email? | Time Management Ninja
A vacation challenge:

“Use your vacation to reconnect with what is most important. When you look back, you will not remember that ”important email” you had to handle, you will remember the fun adventures that you had with those that are closest to you.”

Epic Correction of the Decade | Power Line
You have to read this.

Kindle Books

Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes $2.99.

The Shepherd Leader at Home by Timothy Wittmer $2.99.

Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead in Their Homes by Voddie Baucham $3.99.

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No by Henry Cloud $2.99.

Video

10-Year-Old Blind Autistic Boy Singing
You’ve probably seen this before but I came across it again at the end of last week and the prayer stayed with me all weekend: “Open the eyes of my heart Lord. I want to see you.”