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Tools of the Trade – Extra Special Midweek Edition

My apologies that there was no Monday Tools of the Trade. I have the privilege of preaching this coming Sunday – something I have not done with a “live” congregation since August, 2017, and my focus has been on preparing my sermon on Daniel 5.

Before I give you a list of great articles to look at, let me address something that came to my attention. I don’t have a huge readership, but there are several dozen people who seem to drop in regularly and/or get updates by email. Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed that over 10% of the traffic has been for this particular article: What If I Don’t Like My Pastor’s Preaching.

I’ve had hits on that post almost every day for the last two weeks, which is fine. I hope that it is helpful. But if you’re reading this and you’re one of the ones who has been reading it (I have no way of telling), I can offer a confidential ear if you want to email me at If on the other hand you’ve been reading it to help you sleep, I understand perfectly. 😀

Here are articles to read, share, and file:

Brianna Lambert says (I paraphrase) that a lot of ink has been spilled on the subject of leadership. However, I’m glad she wrote this article sharing three leadership lessons.

The ubiquitous Tim Challies helps us understand that The Church is You, So the Church Will Be Like You.

Paul David Tripp’s recent book Lead is being used by Crossway to provide resources for Christian leaders.

Jared Wilson shares 4 Keys to a Heart-Level Discipleship.

In 2017 we celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Michael Reeves tells us why the Reformation still matters. (And I urge you to read this!)

Max Lucado contributes to the subject of lonely leaders in ministry.

Jacob Haywood tells us how the cancel culture can actually make the church stronger.

I’m preparing the groundwork for an exciting project in our church, and this article by Mary Wiley touches on the need for our people to know theology and theological terms. Go Mary!

This article infers that there may be some disunity over the issue of politics? Really? (Sarcasm). Good reading!

YOUNGER PASTOR MUST READ ARTICLE ALERT!!! Your Church is Not A Stepping Stone.

Peter Mead has some suggestions on preaching to students during this pandemic period. And he also has an admonition to evaluate our sermons before giving them.

This is the Babylon Bee at its best. The Bee Explains: Main Differences Between Popular Bible Translations. All in fun, folks.

Have a good rest of the week! I’ll share some older articles from my files over the weekend.

Five From the Files

You may note that I’ve taken the “Friday” off the title of these posts. I’m going to commit to getting them done on the weekend. Friday is my day off and for some reason I end up forgetting or just not wanting to be on the computer.

These “From the Files” articles come from my Evernote archive, but Evernote came out with a whiz-bang update that is as buggy as an old stump. So until I figure out how to actually scroll through articles or migrate to another note service, we may be putting this part of the blog on hiatus.

However, I would like to share a selection of articles from Peter Mead, whose blog Biblical Preaching, is one to which I refer often. Dr. Mead posted a series of five articles back in 2012 on preaching the Epistles, and for new and growing preachers they are must reading. So take look at this link and benefit from his wisdom. And by all means save stuff to Evernote. They’ll fix what they broke before long.

Tools of the Trade – Extra Special Midweek Edition

I saved the links to so many good articles over the last week that I decided to have another midweek edition of the Monday “Tools.”

The Dog Ate My Doctrine: Leaving No Place in Our Pews for Theological Laziness by Aaron Earls. Just read it. Good stuff

Christians, We Are Losing Our Witness is an article everyone on social media needs to read.

The Greatest Discipleship Challenge Facing the Church is about the problem of the autonomous self. JT English has some great points here.

The Gospel Coalition posted a link to a whole bunch of essays by well-known Bible teachers. They are grouped by theological category. Bookmark this site!

Michael Cooper writes about 7 Sunday Morning Habits to Encourage in Your Church.

H.B. Charles, Jr., known for his preaching and for what he has to say about preaching, writes Three Keys to Effective Sermon Preparation. You young guys finding your way will want to look at this one in particular.

Dr. Robert Godfrey has done some great series on church history. I’ve used them in our Sunday School with adults and they have been both informative and well-presented. Here’s a new series called The Necessity of Reforming the Church.

Michael Lundy shares some helpful tips on How to Pray When You’re Feeling Anxious.

Tim Challies shared a call to worship from his church that serves not only as a good model of the call to worship, but might minister to you or someone you know.

Here’s another look at social media. Chris Martin writes about The Real Cost of Using Social Media. Some of what he says may surprise you.

Finally, here’s an article I found quite significant: Are You Cheating On Your Church. I suspect that there are people within our churches who need to read this.

Five From the Files Friday

I should call this “Six From the Sack” or something. I’ve had little success getting this done on Fridays.

The purpose of Five from the Files is to give attention to blog posts or articles that were written as far back as a decade ago. Unlike books that sit on our shelves, these articles blow past us and seem to be gone. Here are five articles to help with your life and ministry, with the year of publication following each one.

Pastoral Theology: Some Recommendations Kevin DeYoung provides a list of helpful books in twelve different categories. No doubt this list could be revised with books written in the last few years, but this will point you to some solid stuff relating to pastoral ministry. (2012)

10 Reasons to Under-Program Your Church Jared Wilson write this back when he was a pastor. His stuff is always worth reading and you’ll find I link to him frequently on Mondays and Fridays (2010)

Some Thoughts on Preaching the Minor Prophets Dr. James Hamilton (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) shares some ideas on working through the minor prophets in your preaching. I guess that description was somewhat unnecessary given the title of the article . . . (2012)

Making Sense of Scripture’s “Inconsistency” Tim Keller is always helpful on topics like this. Somewhere along the line someone (maybe even you) is going to have questions about perceived inconsistencies in the Bible. Here’s one to mark and share. (2012)

How ‘Let Go and Let God’ Almost Ruined J.I. Packer’s Spiritual Life I had a phone call from a proponent of what has come to be known as Exchanged Life theology, Keswick theology, or the Deeper Christian Life. He wanted to make me aware of materials by a particular author he was representing, and I had to tell him that while I wasn’t questioning his client’s relationship with God, I do feel that the theology expressed in his books is not helpful. I’ve personally be exposed to this teaching, and again, while I call those who hold it brothers and sisters, I believe it is based on some very shaky ground. Justin Taylor wrote this article. (2012)

That’s all for me. I’ll have links to recently printed articles on Monday. Have a great weekend.

Tools of the Trade for the Week of October 5, 2020

I hope your weekend went well. Our Associate Pastor, Tim Hogan, preached on Daniel 3 and did a good job. If Tim sees this and mentions it, I’ll give him $1. 😃

Here are several recent articles that I believe you’ll find helpful:

The folks at 9Marks gave us Pastoring With Certainty In Uncertain Times. That’s certainly a topic that everyone in ministry can relate to.

An article by Mark Dance continues that theme, looking at Psalm 23. The title of the article is Four Truths For Pastoring Through Difficult Times From Psalm 23.

Kevin DeYoung assures us that It’s Ok to Be A Pastor.

Alex DiPrima points us to Charles Spurgeon as an illustration of how pastors should handle controversial topics. The article is How Did Charles Spurgeon Address Contemporary Issues in His Preaching?

Sam Amadi suggests that preaching through Revelation might be a really good idea for the times we’re in.

Do you ever wonder what your people say about you? Dan Miller encourages us to consider whether they would say we are good listeners.

Tony Shepherd talks about Pastoring Amid Suspicion.

Greg Gilbert followed up a post about pastors and politics with this article: How to Hold Your Tongue About Politics And Thereby Not Split Your Church Over Things the Bible Doesn’t Talk About: AN ADDENDUM.

Here’s an article that suggests three ways to reach non-religious people in our communities.

One of the great challenges of churches with a strong “family” emphasis is how to include singles. This is a helpful article that gives some solid suggestions.

Well, that’s ten bits of good reading to start your day off with. Younger pastors – make sure you’re saving a lot of these articles. As valuable as your schooling has been, these articles cover topics you likely didn’t learn about in the classroom.

I’m going to do another Wednesday edition because I have about ten more to share with you. See you then!

Tools of the Trade for the Week of September 28, 2020

Time is flying and we all have much to do. So without further delay here are some really great links for you to check out this week. Thanks for visiting!

Jared Wilson writes about the kind of Christian he wants to be in his old age. So good.

I had the opportunity to have lunch with our youth pastor today. Jacob joined the staff at the same time I did. This morning he asked, “What’s a blog?” Unreal, these kids. He was probably pulling my leg, which seems to be one of his spiritual gifts. Anyway, Jacob is the product of a church that took mentoring seriously. Here’s a great article about why it’s so important.

Evangelism isn’t easy. Sometimes church leaders – especially those for whom it comes naturally – forget that. This article talks about why people don’t evangelize and what can be done about it.

It’s important to make time to read. Yet it’s not easy to do it. Don’t feel guilty if you decide to block off time for reading. You need to do it, and here’s why.

6 Truths to Prepare the Church for a Post-Christian America. Yup. Please read this.

Here’s an episode of 9Marks’ Preacher’s Talk about Preaching the Gospel. It’s something that we all think we have down, but it’s good to check ourselves.

We Don’t Need Revival is the title of a very provocative article by J. Brandon Meeks. He’s got a point.

How are you doing dealing with expectations – your own expectations for yourself and your people’s expectations for you? As young pastors, facing what is expected of us can be hard (p.s. – it may always be that way). Here’s good counsel on managing them.

Jared Wilson’s articles may get more space on this blog than anyone. Here’s a really good one on building a happy ministry. Because sometimes you just feel like it’s time to throw in the towel. Pay special attention to his 2nd recommendation. And his 5th.

Have a great week!

Five From the Files Friday

And again it’s Saturday. But you forgive me, don’t you. Again the point of linking to these five articles is simple: unlike a book that stays on our shaves for future reference, blog posts come and go and often are never accessed again. And that’s a shame because there’s been some really great stuff written over the last decade.

So here we go with 5 from the past:

Jonathan Leeman wrote about the long-term effects of pragmatism in the local church. I believe the article was written in 2011, updated in 2014. But surprisingly (sarcasm) it still speaks to today.

I think I preached one Mother’s Day sermon during the years I was the preaching pastor. I began to get some pushback about even mentioning it, and to be honest, that bothered me at first. But then I began to think more sensibly. Russell Moore talks about at least one reason not to make Mother’s Day into a big deal. (2012)

Trevin Wax asks and answers well the question “Is it Biblical to Ask Jesus into Your Heart?” (2012)

Churches often wait until a need arises to hire additional staff. In some cases budgetary concerns make that the only option. But there’s a better way. (2012)

Eric Raymond answers an important question in his article How Do You Train Future Elders?

I hope you find something above that helps you in your ministry.

Let me leave you by pointing to the work of a friend who may be of help to you:

Hi! I’m Melanie – I redesign websites for world changers. I’m the one you call when you have big, gnarly problems that hinder putting your website to work for your mission. Through User Experience Consulting we can:

● Identify the website’s pain points
● Point to what the site should be like
● Illuminate how we get there

Reach out today to get unstuck and back on track!

Tools of the Trade – Extra Special Midweek Edition

I saved the links to so many good articles over the last week that I decided to have a midweek edition of the Monday “Tools.”

Before I share those articles with you, let me point out the website of Nitoy Gonzales. Nitoy regular posts links to free resources that you can download, including ebooks, courses, and videos. In addition he writes his own reviews and thoughts, and should be on your “sites to check” list. Thanks, Nitoy!!!

Here are some articles that will be helpful for you to read, share, and put in Evernote.

Dangerous Ways Pastors Can Mimic Politicians A challenging opportunity to look inside.

Book Review: The Analogue Church I spent a good part of the day outlining a series of teaching videos that we’re going to use as online resources, and we’re going to be doing more with virtual stuff (that’s a technical term). I haven’t had a chance to read this book yet, but as we move further into the online world, we need to remember that God’s people need to gather.

Waste Points On Your Preaching Clock Pete Mead contribute so much to those of us who preach, and this column contains suggestions that will make us all better communicators of God’s Word.

Mistakes Beginning Pastors Make Here’s a 1 minute video aimed at all of us but especially those of you who are starting out in ministry.

Three Ways to Prepare for the Battles of Ministry Paul Tripp shares some helpful insight into, well, preparing for the battles of ministry. Because there are battles in ministry. Check out his new book Lead.

Two Habits That Will Destroy Your Small Group Here’s one to save and then to share with your small group leaders.

5 Simple Steps to Stop Teenagers from Dropping Out of Your Church Why do I think everyone who stops on this page is going to read this article?

Church Planter: Are You Teachable? Certainly this applies to all of us.

The Disciple-Making Paradigm Churches Are In Danger of Missing “If success is the traditional “buildings, bodies, and budgets,” our heyday is behind us. However, if success looks like training those in your church to love the Lord more through cherishing the Word, practicing the “one anothers,” and engaging lost neighbors, that’s biblical—and it’s where our future lies.”

I hope you found something worthwhile here. I’ll be putting up 5 blasts from the past on Friday – articles I’ve saved in my Evernote files that need to be brought to light again.

Tools of the Trade For the Week of September 21, 2020

As usual on Mondays, here are some links to articles that you can archive and share. I hope you find something helpful in the following:

Helping Your Church Survive Election Season
It’s not going to be as easy as it was even a decade ago. Plan now to help your people respond well.

Ministering to Young People Requires A Different Approach
This CCEF article can be shared with your youth and children’s workers.

When You Don’t Hit A Home Run Sermon
For most of us, this happens nearly every time we preach! But it’s ok!

Want Faithful Teens & Young Adults? Disciple Faithful Parents
Because it’s not up to the church alone. You know that of course. But do your parents? 🙂

God’s Care for Postpartum Moms
Guys, there are some things we just don’t get. Nevertheless we may be called on to minister to people in situations with which we are unfamiliar. Here is one of them.

Recovering the Lost Art of Edification
Jared Wilson is such a good writer. Here’s a much-needed word for our times and our churches.

How to Run A Good Meeting – And Why It Matters More than You Think
Michael Kruger writes about something that is very important, and may be unfamiliar territory for young guys especially.

3 Ways to Tell if Physically Absent Church Members Are Still Spiritually Engaged
A must-read for this pandemic period.

How to Safely Uncover the Landmines in Your Church
Your church has them, you know.

I actually have quite a few more, so I’ll do a Wednesday edition this week. Some of the articles above are really valuable at this point in time. Happy reading!

Five From the Files Friday

Except it’s Saturday. I finished my fourth week back in pastoral work and it’s been a blast so far. I work with some great people. Well, not really, but in case they read this blog I have to say that. HA HA. At some point I’ll write a post about being back in ministry, but that has to wait for a bit.

Here are five articles from my Evernote archives, with the year they were first published in parentheses. Since blog posts pass by our attention and tend to fade into obscurity pretty fast, I thought it might be helpful to resurrect some helpful posts I’ve encountered along the way.

How to Run an Elders’ Meeting In many churches the senior pastor leads Elder meetings. This can be a bit intimidating if you’re a young guy, but here’s an article that will help you. (2012)

Gospel-Centered Parenting Parenting could be hardest thing you and your people will ever do. There are no guarantees, but there are good approaches to parenting and those that are not so good. Here’s help to share with fellow-strugglers. (2012)

What Happens to Children Who Die? Any pastor, regardless of age, may struggle with answering this question. Tim Challies added to the discussion several years ago in an article that’s worth clipping and saving. (2012)

How to Help a Depressed Spouse David Murray, who has contributed so much to our being better able to understand anxiety and depression in a compassionately Biblical way, provides another sharable resource.

Teaching Kids the Gospel There are so many ways churches get it wrong, but it’s so important to get it right. It’s imperative that your children’s workers and parents need to know how to teach the Gospel to kids without leaving parts out or reducing it to the point of heresy.

Have a great weekend!