What do you want for Christmas?

Welcome to the Christmas season! Has anyone asked you what you want for Christmas? If you are like me, you shrug your shoulders because nothing comes to mind that you need?

I have a suggestion for a few good gifts, books! The Christmas season is a great time to build your Bible study library. Here are some of my favorites with Amazon web links.


How Much Hollywood Should We Let Into Our Home?

How Much Hollywood Should We Let Into Our Homes?

How would you react if someone were to break into your home and kidnap your children? You say, “Well, thankfully, that won’t happen. We live in a safe community where our doors are locked and the police are only a phone call away.”

What if I told you that children are being stolen, right from within their homes? The bodies of the children are left in the home but their hearts are lured away to serve a dark master.

Most surprisingly, many parents are in cahoots with these thieves. Who are these thieves that come to capture the hearts of our children and already rule the hearts of many adults? They are the media outlets that use music, movies and the web to re-educate our children.


Preaching with Freshness

Have you heard any fresh preaching recently? We like things fresh. When the lettuce in our salad bags becomes old and brown, we throw it out rather than serve it up. Our favorite orange juice touts that it is “fresh squeezed” and “not from concentrate”. I have yet to see a sign that says, “Old Fish.” It is fresh fish or no fish at all!all!

Our preaching is another thing people want served “fresh”, not with the freezer burn of a by-gone era. Don’t misunderstand me. We all stand on the shoulders of great men and women of faith who walked before us. But our preaching is not to stop with what God said and did in their lives; it needs to have a ring of freshness as we reach for what God is doing in our own. While Spurgeon was an incredible man of God, reheating and serving one of his sermons to our people is like serving a freezer burned steak and a green baked potato to a valued dinner guest.

What does it take to up the freshness factor in preaching? Some preachers have a knack for keeping the sermon in touch with reality. Larry Osborne is one of them. At the October 2007 Great Lakes District Conference of the Evangelical Free Church I sat down with Larry and talked with him about freshness and creativity. Tilt your head our direction, eavesdrop on our conversation. I trust you will pick up a few ideas to keep it fresh; I know I did. Read More...

Preaching for Church Growth

If you have studied church growth, you recognize Gary McIntosh’s name. He has spent his life helping churches reach our culture with the gospel. One of the ways he helps many us is through his writing. He is the author of over a dozen books; I expect you have at least one of them on your shelf. Spending time with him at the Great Lakes District Conference was personally encouraging and intellectually stimulating.

I was interested to hear his thoughts on the relationship between preaching and church growth. How important is preaching for church growth? What are sermons like in growing churches? What are things a preacher should consider to increase his effectiveness?

Join me around a circular table in the Jr. High Sunday School room of Naperville, EFC for a stimulating conversation. Read More...

Staying Power in the Pulpit

Preaching is like an old four-barrel carburetor, it needs constant tinkering to be kept in tune. Some preachers, like master mechanics, have the knack for preaching finely tuned sermons in spite of a changing audience.

Have you ever wanted to sit down with one of those preachers? Have you ever dreamed of just 15 minutes of their undivided attention to listen to their heart? In October I had the opportunity to fulfill part of that dream when I interviewed some excellent preachers at the Great Lakes District Conference of the EFCA.

What follows is my interview with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Pastor of Moody Church. In upcoming issues we will sit down with Colin Smith, Dr. Gary McIntosh and Dr. Larry Osborne. I hope you enjoy a few minutes of their undivided attention; just as I did.

So grab a refill on the Starbucks, kick up your feet and join me with Dr. Lutzer in the foyer of Naperville EFC as we pick up a few gems of wisdom to keep our preaching well tuned for the long haul Read More...

Transformational Expository Preaching

“But Pastor, why don’t you preach on something relevant? I need help with my marriage, raising my children and advice on saving for retirement. How can a book of the Bible like 1 Corinthians or Deuteronomy relate to me?”

How do we relate an ancient text to a modern world? Preachers adopt a variety of ways to connect their message to their audience. Recent decades witnessed a swing away from classical expository preaching and the elevation of need based topical sermons. Don’t misunderstand me; topical preaching has a valid place in the church. But in our zest to connect with the sophisticated world, have we come up spiritually undernourished by ignoring expository preaching?

Colin Smith, Senior Pastor of the Arlington Heights Evangelical Free Church, believes many of us may have inadvertently done this. At the October Great Lakes District Conference of the Free Church, Colin taught a track on Transformational Expository Preaching, a rethinking of expository preaching for our day.

I sat down with Colin, listened to his heart and found myself emboldened to unashamedly anchor my preaching in the ancient text as I preach to everyday needs. Join me as we sit down with Colin and listen to his heartbeat for the pulpit. Read More...