As both Ezra and Nehemiah show, the task of renewing, restoring, reviving the people was, and is, never-ending. However great the work has been in the past, Lord do it again.
When I did a readers’ poll a while back, top of the request list was advice on arranging a central prayer meeting.
Pastors can feel approved of by God when things go ‘well’, and sidelined by God when things go low or slow. There’s an old song with a solution.
So, I made a public promise at church, that this Lent we would have a 40 Day Prayer Journal available. In previous years we’ve had special resources to read through large chunks of the Old or New Testaments together, as a church, synced with a sermon series. This year, we said, ‘Prayer’ Could I find
Why ever wouldn’t you want to evangelise? And I know the answer: it’s because of the push-back that we anticipate, brace ourselves for, practice feeling the pain for, and therefore fear. As Bill Hybels puts it, “We say people’s ‘No’ for them.” So what’s the answer?
We all know that we need to develop our prayer lives, and to do so continually. Here, again, are nine lessons I’ve learnt.
Every so often I go away on a conference to sharpen my preaching skills – in fact, I’m on one at the moment. Something like this has popped up in my diary every year since – well, since a long time ago, and it is one of the top two things that help me improve.
So I lost speaking, leading, visiting – all went from the diary. I thought I’d be able to catch up with some reading, but that was a major reality check too. I had two piles of books waiting to be brought into hospital, but my wife laughed when she saw them – and she was
There is a huge difference between answering a question hypothetically, and answering it in reality. Take Peter Drucker’s famous clarifying question: ‘What is my single greatest contribution to this organisation?’ I think most Pastors answer that in terms of broad, but good, generalities. I’ve done that too: since I believe that our concern is with
Last week was one of those ho-hum weeks in the life of a sermon, where there’s only one prayer to pray, and I prayed it with increasing urgency. I did everything I should have done: sentence flow diagram (both Greek and English), translation comparisons, close observations, lots of observations, and the commentaries consulted. I
One of the strange things that happened to me, when I moved back into church-based ministry, was the experience of preaching the same sermon, repeatedly. I’d had it before, but I’d forgotten what it’s like. I don’t mean that thing where you need to preach at short notice, dig up a golden oldie, and pray it
There’s a curious, clarifying moment that happens. It’s impossible to engineer, but without it preaching feels lifeless, by rote. And it’s not something that happens in the moment, during the preaching itself. It happens days earlier, in the study. I find it goes like this: I’ve dug deep into the text, and done all my
I got it wrong again this week. In public, which was a touch embarrassing. .. I was speaking to a group of pastors in training, looking at the priorities of ministry from Acts 6. You know the story – the needy widows were being overlooked in the food pantry, so the apostles arrange for a
There are several prayers that I regularly pray as a preacher. 1. Lord, show them what you have shown me. Paul told Timothy to ‘Reflect on what I am saying and the Lord will give you insight’ (2 Tim. 2:7) A sermon is always the product of hard reflection, thinking and study, but there’s the