Today's Word for Pastors...
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
Today's Preaching Insight...
Planning Preaching Series
In an interview with pastor Mark Batterson, he talks about how they plan preaching series: "We do series the entire year. Occasionally in between--just to take a little bit of a creative breather--we'll do a buffer Sunday. Sometimes we'll call it PBJ Sunday, peanut butter and jelly. We'll kind of strip it down, not a whole lot of creativity. We'll often celebrate communion those weekends and do kind of a back-to-basics message, but by and large it's sermon series.
"We do a staff retreat in November and we begin strategizing our sermon series for the next year. By the time we're done with that meeting, we will have a rough strategy of those series that we're going to do throughout the next year.
"By the way, this might be really kind of a helpful tip: We do an annual survey every year before that retreat, and one of things I do in that survey is pitch a dozen sermon series ideas to our congregation and say, 'Which one of these series would be most helpful to your spiritual growth?' We track those numbers--the ones that come back with a very high percentage; it's a pretty good bet that we're going to do those series. Then, interestingly enough, the ones that come back very low--in other words, the series that people don't want to hear--those series often will end up making the cut, too; because we're wondering, 'Why don't you want to hear about this?'"
This Week's Laugh
Don't Scream Too Late!
Passengers on a small commuter plane are waiting for the flight to leave. They're getting a little impatient, but the airport staff assures them that the pilots will be there soon, and the flight can take off. The entrance opens, and two men dressed in pilots' uniforms walk up the aisle. Both are wearing dark glasses, one is using a Seeing Eye dog, and the other is tapping his way up the aisle with a cane.
Nervous laughter spreads through the cabin but the men enter the cockpit, the door closes, and the engines start up. The passengers begin glancing nervously around, searching for some sign that this is just a little practical joke. None is forthcoming. The plane moves faster and faster down the runway, and the people at the windows realize that they're headed straight for the water at the edge of the airport territory. As it begins to look as though the plane will plow into the water, panicked screams fill the cabin. At that moment, the plane lifts smoothly into the air. The passengers relax and laugh a little sheepishly, and soon all retreat into their magazines, secure in the knowledge that the plane is in good hands.
In the cockpit, the co-pilot turns to the pilot and says, "You know, Bob, one of these days, they're gonna scream too late, and we're all gonna die."
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