Today's Word for Pastors...
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live/
Today's Preaching Insight...
In a recent article for his Ministry Toolbox newsletter, Rick Warren talked about ideas for adding interest to sermons to increase their impact: "There are many different "special features" you can insert into your message to add just a little bit more and capture the attention of the people. I have learned you can preach much longer when you use features interlaced in your messages. These features can include:
• Testimonies: When I get up to teach, people look at me as the paid salesman, the paid professional, but when we have a testimony, they are the satisfied customers. Personal testimony is still the most powerful form of persuasion, and it's why advertisers still use it.
• Skits or dramas: Just make sure the skit theme connects with your message. There are a lot of good resources out there to find scripts. (For more on using drama in your services, click here).
• Interviews: You can interview people live, by telephone, or on video to connect with your messages. A "man on the street" interview on video can be a good addition to your message as well.
• Film clips: Movies are so much a part of today's culture that they make terrific illustrations. Why? Because they represent a common language of the unchurched visiting your services each weekend. There is a site on the Internet (http://teachwithmovies.org/) that even categorizes the films by different character qualities that they portray.
• Intersperse songs between your points: At Saddleback we call this "the point and play" service. We've had an incredible response when we do this. We typically use this feature on Christmas and Easter. It breaks the service into modules, while maintaining high interest. Sometimes we perform songs by a soloist or a choir, and other times we sing congregational songs. Putting a song at the end of each point often adds an emotional, powerful punch that allows people to express what they feel as a result of what they've heard.
• Tag-team preaching: Sometimes we will actually have pastors share points. Another associate pastor and I will take turns during points of the message. I've done messages with my wife on marriage where she would do a point and I would do a point. I've brought in guest speakers and alternated points with them. Just having a different voice can shake things up just a little bit. It's also very helpful when you have multiple services to do!"
(Click here to read the full article)
A recent issue of the Friday Evenings newsletter notes that someone once said, "Falling down doesn't make you a failure, but failing to get up does." Thomas Edison was a man who saw many of his experiments fail, but he continued doing them anyway. He knew that it was better to get up than to give up. He was committed to excellence. In his search for a filament for incandescent light bulbs, he experimented with hundreds of fibers and metals. In 1879 he discovered a method for making an inexpensive filament that would handle the stress of electric current. Today we call his discovery "carbonized cotton fiber." Thread! But the filament was so fragile that it easily broke in an open-air environment. Almost by accident, he tried inserting the filament within an oxygen-free tube. To his surprise, the filament glowed! It didn't burn long, but it burned. Eventually he and his helpers discovered that the secret was in creating a vacuum within the glass bulb. And using a tungsten filament.
In the life of the Christian, we face many trips, tumbles, errors, and failures. The "voice" that visits us in those moments is not the voice of the Father, but of the adversary. He doesn't say, "Nice try." He shouts, "Failure!" He asserts, "You can't live this Christian life." Or, "You were better off before you started on this ill-fated journey." Or, "Stay down. You won't be missed." Or, "You deserve better than this."
It's the Other Voice that you want to hear. That Voice says "Let me help you with that." "I have been there before, and I know you can make it." "My strength is sufficient for you." "I will never leave you or forsake you." "Together we can become strong." Or, "Take my hand."
God wants to honor us for our achievements, not punish us for our falls. He is committed to be our companion, our counselor, our advisor, our helper, our friend. (To subscribe to Friday Evenings, write Tom Barnard at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)]
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