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The Role of Editing in the Sermon Writing Process

I can’t remember the last time I preached my first draft of a sermon. I’m sure that I’ve done it, but I’m also sure that it isn’t my ordinary practice. This past Sunday I preached D4 of a sermon on Genesis 3. The Sunday before that I preached D4b of a sermon on Genesis 2:24-25. “D4” indicates that it was “Draft 4”, and “b” indicates that it was a light re-write or update of Draft 4. In general, I use new numbers whenever I significantly alter the structure of a sermon and letters for lighter…

3 Reasons Why the Resurrection Matters

There are certain events that can change the course of an entire generation. Historians often speak about how the Great Depression in the 1930’s and the Second World War in the 1940’s worked together to forge what we call now the Greatest Generation. Those people were unflappable. They had been beaten like heated iron between the hammer and anvil of those two great events. The Baby Boomers were affected by Vietnam, Watergate and the Sexual Revolution. Those great events inclined many people in…

You Can’t Always ‘Maintain the Relationship’

Every pastor has been asked some version of this question: “My son/daughter is doing X which of course, as a Christian, I don’t approve of, but they want me to do Y; should I compromise so as to maintain the relationship?” I’ve been asked that question twice this week already. And one time, it wasn’t an erring son or daughter. It was an erring mother. Sooner or later we will all have to figure out what we should do when we are asked to support or affirm loved ones who are actively engaged in…

How (And Why) To Read Through The Bible in 2024

Last year around this time I retweeted something the late Tim Keller had posted that raised a bit of a ruckus on the interweb. I thought the tweet itself was innocuous: A surprising number of purportedly literate people seized upon the phrase "nothing more important" as if they were unaware of how the English language actually works. In common parlance, saying that “there is nothing more important than” is simply a way of saying, "I cannot overstate the importance of". Keller was claiming…

Is Transfer Growth ever Good for the Church?

Early on in my ministry I learned that sheep stealing is very baaaaaaaaaad. (Do you see what I did there?) Classic dad jokes aside, everyone knows that trying to lure sheep away from one flock in order to have them join your flock is a major no no. It doesn’t do anything for the Kingdom of God and in fact, it does a great deal to erode trust and fellowship between sister churches. So sheep stealing is definitely bad. But what about when sheep move around on their own? Granted that the angels…

Is It Time to Shut Down the Livestream?

The loss of large group worship gatherings over the course of the recent pandemic was undoubtedly a hardship for the church, but in the Providence of God, it may have been the catalyst for the development of some much-needed tools and resources. Almost every church in Canada figured out how to record and broadcast services, but now that the pandemic is over, the question remains: what should we do with these new capacities? Many churches that were having a hard time regathering their people…

How to Speak to Friends and Loved Ones About the Situation In Israel

Many of us are finding ourselves engaged in conversations about the crisis in Israel, therefore, I thought it might be useful to offer some pastoral advice as to what you might wish to say in that situation. Your first couple of sentences should probably go something like this: First of all, I categorically condemn these horrific attacks by Hamas. The killing of women, children, and the elderly is barbaric in the extreme. I support Israel’s right as a nation to defend her people and her…

Parenting Gen Z

“How are the kids?” I get asked some version of that question pretty much every day and I find it surprisingly difficult to answer. In part that is because I have 5 children and on any given day a couple of them are probably doing very well and at least one of them is likely to be struggling. All of my children fall within the demographic typically referred to as Gen Z (born 1995-2012). My wife and I are both Gen Xers (born 1965-1979) which means we often feel like we are speaking a completely…

100 Passages Every Preacher Should Memorize

To be a good preacher you have to believe in your bones that all Scripture is inspired by God and useful; you have to believe that the Word of God will never return void, and if you believe that then you will want to base your sermon in the text and to season your speech with the text on every occasion. Toward that end, I have assembled the following list of 100 passages that I have made frequent and fruitful use of in my preaching ministry. I find that having a stock of core text memorized…

Should I Get Baptized at Camp?

Every year around this time I am asked some version of this question: should I (or should my child) get baptized at camp? It would be difficult to defend an absolute prohibition of baptisms performed outside the confines of the gathered church given the descriptions of early Christian practice within the New Testament. The Ethiopian eunuch, for example, was baptized in a river on the side of the road: And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See,…

Mother’s Day: The Pastor’s Kobayashi Maru

Mother’s Day is the most nerve-wracking day of the year for many pastors. If they do a sermon on mothering or the importance of being a mom they will be criticized for not keeping the focus on Jesus and bowing to the pressure of the “Hallmark holidays”. This criticism will come from young men who are reading the Puritans and have completed one semester of seminary online. If they do a sermon from the next passage in the book of the bible they are currently studying, they will be criticized for…

Generations by Jean M. Twenge—Review and Reflections

As the father of 5 children born between the years of 1997 and 2011 I eagerly devoured Jean Twenge’s earlier book called iGen: Why Today’s Super Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Religious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – And Completely Unprepared For Adulthood – And What That Means For The Rest Of Us. I couldn’t put it down and I read large sections of it to my wife and kids during Family Devotions. It helped us understand why our son was not as eager to get his driver’s licence as we had been.…