Tools of the Trade For May 25, 2020, Part 2

I came across so many good articles this week that I decided to break them up into two groups. Yesterday I posted links primarily related to dealing with the coronavirus. The following list covers more generalized topics, including a few you could share.

When we suffer, we like to find the reason behind our suffering. Ed Welch talks about this and suggests that maybe we ought to think differently.

How many kids have come through 13 years of school only to miss their graduation day. For some, the ceremony doesn’t matter, but for others it is a loss. Here’s an article to share with your graduates.

Tim Willard has a helpful article on lessons learned from sourdough bread. Really. A good read!

Tim Challies writes a must-read, “What Is the Attractional Church,” and draws on some great material by Jared Wilson.

The International Journal of Reformed Theology and Life has a subscription offer and makes past issues available.

Nathan Bingham asks and answers some questions about whether we should design our services for believers or unbelievers.

Lilly Park presents “5 Common Mistakes When Counseling Others.”

Here’s a great piece on preaching in an age of distraction.

Scott Sauls writes about “Leaders and Loneliness.”

Here’s a helpful article by scholar Darrell Bock on the doctrine of Christ’s Ascension.

Christina Fox reflects on lamenting during this pandemic.


I hope something here will be helpful to you to someone in your congregation! See you Friday.

Tools of the Trade For May 25, 2020

I’m going to break this week’s list into two parts and post the rest tomorrow. Most of the links in today’s list are related to ministry and the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomorrow I’ll post another set of links. It was an unusually rich week of article-gathering.

John Macarthur’s church was one that had anticipated opening this past weekend, but a court in California put the kibosh on that. I appreciated Dr. Macarthur’s response.

Dan Doriani hits one out of the park. I understand that it has been a different time, but it seems that some pastors have been running at an unsustainable pace and are going to be toast when their churches reopen. Please heed the good advice here!!

This goes back a few weeks, but this interview between Phil Johnson and John MacArthur about the pandemic is worth reading.

Colin Adams writes about what preachers need to consider as they preach online.

Collin Hansen and Jonathan Leeman discuss “What Will Change, What Might Change, and What Must Stay the Same.”

The always entertaining trio of Carl Trueman, Aimee Byrd, and Todd Pruitt talk about “Phasing Back to Church.”

Steve Weaver says “We have catered to our congregations for so long without calling followers of Christ to die to their own preferences for the sake of others.” His article is titled, “COVID-19, Regathering, and Dying to Self.”

Over at 9Marks, Nick Gatzke asks and answers, “What Should I Do With Those Who Are Unable or Unwilling to Attend Church When We Start Gathering?”

Joe Carter writes about “A Small Tool to Salvage Your Sanctification While in Self-Quarantine.”

Another 9Marks discussion: “Help for those Who Are Nervous About Their Church Budget” by Jamie Dunlop and Jonathan Leeman. No one is feeling that way, is there?

Finally, Jen Pollack Michel says “Thank You, Pastors.”


I’ll be back with more tomorrow!

Tools of the Trade For May 18, 2020

May 18! Good grief! We should be almost two months into the baseball season at this point! Well, here are some links to some resources that I’ve come up with this week.

Have you ever had the opportunity to attend Together For the Gospel? This biennial conference was mind-altering for me. I attended the first one years ago and was able to go to several others over the course of my ministry. The first T4G was attended by under 1000, but is has grown to close to 10,000 from what I understand. The conference ended up being held online this year because of the you-know-what. All of the sessions are here.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary puts out a weekly newsletter and recommended this book by Aaron Menikoff called “Character Matters – Shepherding in the Fruit of the Spirit.” The premise resonates with me. I hope to read it soon.

Shepherding involves looking after those who wander. Jeramie Rinne writes about 5 Common Ways Church Members Go Astray.

Many churches will have to adjust budgets once the pandemic is over. Often missions is an area that gets cut. But read this article by Paul Chitwood before you decide who and what you trim from the budget.

Alex Hong writes about how to counsel those who are dealing with anxiety, loneliness, or depression. All three are common during this time, but the article has uses beyond these circumstances.

Trevin Wax asks, “What are the metrics for a church’s success? For decades now, pastors have joked about the three B’s: bodies, buildings, and budgets.” Then he blows up those categories.

Do you have moments when you wonder if you’d be better off doing something other than ministry? Here’s an article by David Schrock on what he learned from a guy who followed his calling for 70 years. Yeah, 70 years.

Rachel Green Miller helps us understand what it means to empathize with others.

David Prince tells us why the way we deliver a sermon is so important.

Jeff Robinson and Gavin Ortlund answer the question “What Theological Hills Should We Be Willing to Die On?”

This article, directed at church planters, deals with the subject of reopening after the pandemic. I suspect Dayton Hartman’s questions apply to a broader audience, so take up and read!


Anything there that looks helpful? I hope so! Thanks for stopping by and reading! Lord willing I will see you on Wednesday.

Tools of the Trade For May 11, 2020

Good morning! Here are some links to articles and resources you may find helpful.

The late R.C. Sproul wrote a helpful piece on the intercessory work of Christ called Jesus’ Prayers Keep You From Stumbling. This might be a good one to share with your people.

Matt Perman’s book How to Set Up Your Desk sounds geeky and nerdy, but it’s a helpful tool for keeping your workplace organized, whether working from home or from your office. And it’s on sale for $3 (Kindle).

Tim Challies linked to this Kindle deal the other day that would be especially helpful to you younger guys: A Little Book for New Preachers.

Howard Senkbeil gives us a peek at his book “The Care of Souls,” and challenges us with The Missing Link in Pastoral Ministry.

Here’s an issue you will face as you meet with your elders: Should Elders Insist on Unanimity.

The aforementioned Tim Challies reached back in his archives to repost What Makes a Sermon Difficult to Listen To?

Rachel, writing at Gentle Reformation, writes Give Us This Day Our Daily Friendship.

Chad Van Dixhoorn gives a helpful overview in 10 Things You Should Know about the Church’s Historic Creeds and Confessions. If you come from an independent church background, you may not have been exposed to the various creeds and confessions.

An article on The Gospel Coalition website surveys 6 pastors about their plans for reopening church when things settle down.

This is a must read if you haven’t already: 7 (possible) Church trends emerging from COVID-19.

Ray Ortlund reminds us that Ministry Is Never Just a Job.

Here is a review of a must-read book, Gentle And Lowly

Alasdair Groves, writing for CCEF, talks about Preparing Our Hearts Today for Post-Pandemic Fellowship.


I hope you have a good week! I’ll have a new blog post on Wednesday.

Tools of the Trade For May 4, 2020

Several places are edging closer to opening, though we seem to be a ways from that here in eastern Pennsylvania. I hope you’re doing well through this process. Here is a list of helpful resources I found this week.

David Prince shares some quotes from Andrew Fuller on “Contemplating Your Audience in Sermon Preparation.”

Here’s an article on finding forgiveness after an abortion by Wayne Grudem that you might want to save to share with someone or guide your own counseling.

Douglas Wilson, writing in Credo Magazine, talks about “The Greatness of Insignificant Service.”

Tim Challies reviews Gavin Ortlund’s book about doctrinal differences called “Finding the Right Hills to Die On.” Looks like a worthwhile read.

If journaling is something you do in your quiet time, read “5 Prompts for Journaling through Scripture.”

The folks at 9Marks have posted a bunch of articles about ministry during the pandemic. Here’s one that should be universally helpful: “What If We Have to Cut Our Budget?”

I have suspected that churches where the teaching is “light” are going to find that people who were attending have found other ways to spend their Sunday mornings. In this article, Brett McCracken tells why “Coronavirus Could Kill Consumer Christianity.”

Regardless of what has changed during this time, the majority of pastors are still preaching. Derek Brown writes on “5 Real Ways to Improve Sermon Preparation This Week.”

And that’ll do it for this week. Some good reading in these articles. Remember Evernote as a way to file articles you want to hold on to. I

hope you have a great week! See you on Wednesday. To borrow from the words of one news anchor, we’re one week closer to the end of this pandemic.

Tools of the Trade For April 28, 2020

Before I share some links that may be helpful, let me point out a new blog called “Counseling From A Christian View.” My good friend, Cynthia Epply, has been counseling for a number of years, working out of various churches in the area where I used to serve as pastor. Cynthia is insightful, helpful, and biblical in her dealings with people. She has “retired” from regular counseling, but her blog will further her ministry. Thanks, Cynthia, for this resource! Her blog is under development, but she’s posting articles.

Here are some links to recommended reading:

“Jesus Walked.” He didn’t rush around. David Mathis has a helpful video and accompanying article, subtitled “The Selfless Pace of Christian Love.” Worthwhile!

From time to time Tim Challies posts a sample pastoral prayer that serves as a superb model for a kind of prayer that is a “must” for our worship services.

Voddie Baucham, Jr., maps out A Blueprint for Multigenerational Faithfulness.

We recognize doctrinal differences exist among believers. Gavin Ortlund writes on “4 Ways to Practice Theological Humility.”

Here’s a really helpful article by Aaron Earls on “What Your Church Must Know Before Reopening Your Building.”

Here’s one to share with your people. David Prince gives some help on “Simple Tips to Study the Bible”

Mark Dever is a fine preacher, and here is a video on how he goes about preparing a sermon.

Jeff Robinson explains “Why Our Sunday Sermons Should Center on Sermons.” I wholeheartedly agree!

If you read nothing else in this list, read Joy Allmond’s “10 Ministry Idols Being Exposed By Covid-19.” Superb, superb, superb.

Chris Larson writes one that you should share with your people: “Live By God’s Word, Not Your Feelings.”

David Platt gives us “Shepherd the Flock of God: Eight Questions for Pastors of God’s People.”

Have a really great week!! I’ll be back Wednesday with some questions and answers I posed to pastor friends regarding life after the pandemic.

Tools of the Trade For April 20, 2020

I trust you had a good weekend. Here in eastern Pennsylvania the pandemic is still not over. I doubt that we’re close to the point where we can begin to see churches open again. That may be another 6-8 weeks away. We watched our own pastor yesterday morning, and he’s a natural in front of the camera. Ben, if you read this, maybe you should have your own show.😃

I didn’t post on Friday because I had nothing polished enough to post. I’ve got a few ideas that are still marinating, but every time I try to put them down in writing I’m not happy with how it turns out. So excuse my absence. I do believe the Christian blog community will survive! Another 😃.

Before I list the links to articles that I believe are worth your while, let me recommend Dane Ortlund’s book Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers. You can get the Kindle version for $8. I’m in the process of reading it and the short chapters make it a good tool for your devotions.

Here are some articles and resources that I hope you will find helpful:

Here’s a conversation with Dean Inserra on preventing moral failure. There have been enough stories in the press about this, and some of us have seen the disaster moral failure creates in lives and in churches.

In 2014 Garrett Kell wrote about The Pastor’s Second Most Important Book. Guess what it is.

Eschatology seems to be relegated to the fringes of “evangelicalism” but Michael Kruger argues that we need it more than ever.

Jason Allen talks about God’s gifting of pastors to preach and teach. Well worth reading.

Here’s a brief video by H.B. Charles on benedictions. I wish more churches used them.

David Prince writes about making sure your church misses the things it ought to miss. Part one is here, part two is here.

You can’t care for every issue that comes up. H.B. Charles writes about not trying to put out every brush fire. This is must reading!

Here’s one for you guys involved in student ministry. Sam Bierig talks about the Most Important Ingredient in Student Ministry.

H.B. Charles makes his third appearance on this list with a discussion of why expository preaching is so important.

This provocative title – “Saving Hermeneutics from Its Interpreters” is a podcast worth listening to. Thanks to the folks at Credo!

And with that I’ll bid you a good day! I hope to have something new on Wednesday. Thanks so much for stopping by!