Easter Sermon

13 May



Here is the message I shared this past Easter. In it I explore the things we fear and explore how the empty tomb overcomes our fearsI pray that it is a blessing and encouragement to you.


3 Simple Things to Make Your Campus More Welcoming

10 May


Welcome Mat

Here are 3 things you can do right away to make your church more welcoming to visitors and outsiders.

1. Clean the building – this should be just common sense but tragically we all become blind to the things we see everyday. We are often much more forgiving/tolerant of the messes that we make than the ones others make. As I visit other church campuses I can quickly spot the overflowing trash cans, the stains in the carpet, the dirty windows, etc. The same clutter that I have a hard time seeing in my own building. Walk through your building with “fresh eyes” and see what clutter jumps out at you.
2. Paint – this is a simple, cost effective way to give your building a “fresh look.”  Often a new coat of paint, perhaps in updated colors will take a tired room into a new and inviting environment. Find those in your church with a gift for interior design and ask them to help you select colors and patterns. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish even on a limited budget.

3. Signage – You know the way around the building. You can find the nursery; but what if I was to walk in your building. How would I know where to go. Walk through your front doors and see what signs direct you to all the major parts of the building (worship center, restrooms, nursery, children’s ministry, etc). Giving people clear signs is a great way to make them feel comfortable even it is their first time at your church. Signs are inexpensive, you can even design them on your computer and print them at your local Kinkos.

What simple ideas do you have to help people feel welcome in your building?



30 Sermon Starters

29 Nov

For anyone who preaches/speaks regularly you know the toughest part of the week is to stare at the blank screen starting a new sermon. I always work better when I start with a small nugget of an idea or a spark. So here are 50 sermon titles to get your creative juices flowing…

(Some of these I have preached, but most I hoping you preach so I can see how it is done.)

  1. The Difficult Road
  2. The Forgotten
  3. How to live with disappointment
  4. DOUBT
  5. Heal Our Nation
  6. The Elephant in the Room (unaddressed issues or concerns)
  7. Permission To Speak Freely (subjects that appear taboo to discuss in church)
  8. Heaven
  9. Outlaw – character study of those whose faith put them at odds with the authorities
  10. Get Right Church
  11. In The Beginning…
  12. Words from the Cross
  13. Amazing Stories (study of the parables)
  14. Shadow Conspiracy
  15. How to have it all in the Kingdom
  16. King Jesus
  17. unwrapping Christmas
  18. Is there a Minister in the house?
  19. Why God?
  20. Christmas Presence
  21. God on TV / God in the Movies
  22. Letters from Prison (Paul’s prison epistles)
  23. Light vs Dark
  24. Unbelievable!! (miracle stories)
  25. Signposts (Jesus signs in Gospel of John)
  26. From Fear to Freedom
  27. Live Strong
  28. Why aren’t You DEAD Yet?
  29. Judged
  30. True Love
  31. Life on the Edge
  32. FREE

ACU Summit Class

19 Sep

To the great crowd of folks who participated in my class thanks for your encouragement and patience. I tried to cover too much material. I will post most of it here over the next few weeks.

Here are 2 of the resources that I presented during the class at ACU SUMMIT.

WH Stewardship Process

Elder Selection Process 2012

How to Preach Difficult Sermons

1 Aug

This past fall and spring I preached the 2 most difficult messages (not counting funerals) of my ministry so far. The first was on the church & homosexuality, the second was on divorce (see below). As I developed these messages I learned many things. Here are some tips to those of you responsible for preaching ALL of God’s word.

1. Pray – You commit the message to prayer and invite your elders to be praying for the message. If you share your message with them ahead of time then they are not surprised on the day it is delivered.

2. Seek wise counsel – Before each of my difficult messages I have sought the wisdom of my fellow staff members and other preachers. Each gave me great insight and clarity on how to proceed.

3. Craft your words very carefully – Understand that your words are like a surgeons scalpel, they can both heal or harm. Carefully prepare what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. DO NOT try to “wing it.”

4. Seek grace & preach grace – At the beginning of each difficult message I ask for grace from my congregation. I share that my heart is to help, but I may “mess this up.” In each situation they have been very gracious and appreciative that we would be willing to discuss such difficult issues. Then in the sermon, even when you are preaching “against” something, never forget the grace that God gives. The end of the message is never simply about what our “position is”. It must always conclude with the grace God gives to those broken by that issue.

What recommendations do you have for preaching the difficult messages?

Are you willing to KILL your programs?

4 Jul

Recent article about Google highlights their willingness to launch new products and then kill them only a few years later.

For many this would be viewed as a series of failures. But for Google it is the secret of their success. They are continually evaluating, developing, implementing and dreaming. They want to be effective and relevant to the market. Maiming a vast number of technologies that are non working would drain the energy from moving forward.
Now about your church and ministry programs. Are they still effective? Are they accomplishing the goal and mission for which they were designed?

Our mission as ministers does not change BUT our methods must be constantly evolving.

What programs do you need to kill, to free up energy to create something extraordinary?

Do you LOVE your church?

13 Jun

It seems that anyone who has decided to spend their life and career in ministry to a local church would naturally love the church they serve. Sadly this is not the case. In my ministry I have encountered many ministers who do not appreciate their congregation. While some congregations ARE systematically unhealthy and “abusive” to a minister and his/her family this is not always the case. Many ministers simply view their congregations a “lackluster” and always have their eyes scanning the horizon looking for the next opportunity. Most congregations are what Steve Sjogren calls the “Perfectly Imperfect Church.” These are churches of various sizes, made up of broken, redeemed people who faithfully make a difference in their world.

You May NOT Love your church if…
1. You wouldn’t attend there if you were not on staff.
2. The thought of going to work each day drains you.
3. You feel your “talents” are being wasted on these people.
4. You “run down” your church when you are with other ministers.
5. You are more excited about your future elsewhere than the future there.
6. They don’t get your best preaching and pastoring because you don’t think they deserve it.
7. You blame the church for its lack of growth, outreach, stewardship..etc.

Do you love your church? How do you let them know?