Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Book Recommendation

This is a terrific new book for every ministry leader, not only youth pastors:

Check out my personal review and recommendation.
How to Preach a Worthless Sermon

Nathan Rice gives us fifteen steps toward preaching a worthless sermon. Some of these are uncomfortably close to home for Bible teachers!
Loving God With All Your Mind

Rosalie de Rosset writes on the importance of using our intellect for God. Though writing to women, I think this is a key message for everyone.
Another Stunt -- But Reveals the Hearts of Some

There are plenty of news stories these days about the James Cameron documentary that claims to have found the remains of Jesus Christ and his son.

This is ridiculous stuff. Very common names. Why would they be buried away from the hometown?

But I'm even more disturbed by the 'Christian' leaders who are saying, even if these were proven to be the bones of Messiah Jesus, it would not affect their faith.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Asking Questions

I've created several resources on asking great questions (including 52 Model Questions). Here's another inexpensive resource you should consider:

Asking Great Questions (NavPress)

This one is tailored for small group settings, but a lot of the information applies to other teaching settings as well.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Stories are for Adults

Check out this excellent part 1 article about how to engage adults with biblical stories. Recommended.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Amazing Grace Movie

Nope, haven't seen it, but plan to.

I did want to point you to a useful editorial in the WSJ, "Hollywood's Amazing Glaze." Charlotte Allen points out that the movie script de-emphasizes the Christian motivation for William Wilberforce. She also gives some useful history about the social improvements driven by the evangelical community at the time, particularly the Methodists. (John Wesley's last letter was written to Wilberforce a few days before he died.)

So I am hopeful that people will see the movie and learn more about the events through other sources. Here is a good jumping-point to many sources.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Working From a Manuscript

Here's a short interview with David Crabtree about preaching from a manuscript -- many of the same ideas for teaching from the Bible in other situations (sunday school, small groups, Bible studies).

I don't write out the whole lesson, because I use a question-and-dialogue approach for most of the content. But I do script out the opening (the hook!) and the key questions and practice those in advance.

There are certainly those brothers and sisters who say, "The Holy Spirit will work through me, so I don't need to prepare." I presume then, their preparation is primarily in prayer. I advocate bathing your preparation and teaching time in prayer. I would also point out that the Holy Spirit will work in us and through us as we invest in teaching preparation.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Why Teach This Way?

A Bible teacher emailed me recently. "I'm not interested in 'facilitating question-and-answer' on a Bible passage. My work is to teach them facts and what it means."

I appreciate his candor. I know a lot of people are more comfortable with lecture approach, and not back-and-forth dialogue.

This was part of my response to this man:

"My primary objective is that people learn what God wants them to learn from His Word.

"People will only learn if they are engaged. The spray-and-pray method of teaching is demonstrably ineffective. Common observation tells us that people learn more (and learn in a way that's more likely to result in changes in their lives) when they interact with the Word and with one another -- including the teacher.

"Therefore I will stretch myself into uncomfortable places, as necessary, in order to maximize their opportunity for learning. Yes, I have a LOT I can say. And it's good stuff :-) But if I fill up all the time with what I say, then they're less likely to learn what God wants them to learn.

"My secondary objective is to help people develop the skills to learn from God, and not be dependent upon me. So I coach people on how to do this work. I want them to be able to hear God's voice to them, and encourage them to obey it."
Add Your Sermons and Devotions to Google Base

Google is inviting people to add sermons, devotions, meditations, and other original content to Google Base.

I relay this because I know many readers of this blog have this kind of original material. It would be a good way to share it with a wide audience.

I have not (yet) done this myself.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I subscribe to a word-a-day email from Yesterday's word was "vivify." Here is the content of the email message I received:

* * * *
Word of the DayMonday, February 12, 2007
vivify \VIV-uh-fy\, transitive verb: 1. To endue with life; to make alive; to animate.2. To make more lively or intense.

Vivify comes from French vivifier, from Late Latin vivificare, from Latin vivus, alive.

* * * *

Vivify is a great word for what God asks us to do as teachers! We're helping the Word come alive for people!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Curing Souls

Eugene Peterson writes eloquently about recovering the pastoral work of curing souls, which has largely been swamped with our expectations that pastors run churches. This will warm your heart as you see the essential right-ness of it.
The "Powerful Learning Through Questions" audio lesson is ready for you now!

Two early reviewers said this was some of the bestinformation I've put out.

One wrote me this comment:"When you explained how easily distracted people are, and how to use questions that work with their mind instead of against it, I thought 'Yes, that makes complete sense!' And now that I know what to do, I can do it right --intentionally -- every time."

I know you'll get a lot out of this material.

Check it out today because it's only going to be available
through Friday, February 16th. (I explain why on the website.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Are You Ready to Become a Master at Asking Questions?

I'm making great information available Tuesday, February 13th.

It's an audio lesson that is stuffed with the best information available today for Bible teachers on how to use questions effectively.

You'll learn:

* the reality of how our minds work -- so you can work with someone's mind, not against it
* the three key principles about using questions for powerful teaching
* 12 practical strategies you can use right away (with specific examples)

Except for prayer, there is NOTHING more powerful for turbo-charging your teaching than using great questions to facilitate dialogue and learning. That's why it is so important that you absorb and practice what I will teachyou.

In fairness I need to tell you that I have talked aboutsome of this material before.

But... there is also information here that I have NEVER shared before publicly. I'll also explain a special bonus opportunity onTuesday. I've never done this before, but am confident you're going to get a lot out of it.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ten Deadly Temptations of Preaching

John Ortberg identifies 10 deadly temptations of preaching -- which I think you will see apply to many Bible teachers, as well:

1. The temptation to be inauthentic
2. The temptation to live for recognition
3. The temptation to live in feart
4. The temptation to compare
5. The temptation to exaggerate
6. The temptation to feel chronically inadequate
7. The temptation of pride
8. The temptation to manipulate
9. The temptation of envy
10. The temptation of anger

Read the details.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Using Cartoons in Teaching and Preaching
People enjoy cartoons and fun visuals -- so use them when they're appropriate. (Be sure to give appropriate attention to copyright and credit. )
This cartoon would be fun in a lesson that featured prayer, for example -- or prayerlessness.
I recommend you keep a folder (electronic or paper) where you capture fun cartoons and images you find that might be useful for teaching opportunities.
You'll also find that it's healthy to laugh periodically by paging through it!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dealing with "Difficult" People

Would you like to learn constructive, godly strategies for dealing with the "difficult" people in your class or Bible study group? You know, the ones who

talk too long
share too much (or the wrong things)
disrupt your lesson
aggressively challenge your point
are know-it-all
or seem to go out of their way to make your job harder?

I'm preparing some helpful material for you, but I'd also would like your feedback.

Please take this brief survey and let me know what you're facing, so I can make sure to address that. I'm interested in hearing your stories!

I've heard from over 400 people so far -- seems like just about everyone has some experience to share! How about you?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sorry for My Absence

Folk, sorry I haven't been posting recently. I traveled to my grandmother's funeral -- she's Home now after 91 spunky years in the Lord's service. Since then I've been battling the stomach flu. I'll get back to regular postings soon.