To Plant or To Replant, That Is the Question

To Plant or To Replant, That Is the Question

Okay, I admit I am envious. I’m envious of the new house my friend recently built. I’m especially envious of the energy-efficient spray foam insulation, modern windows and doors, and fuel-miser heating system. As I lug firewood and watch my woodpile shrink through the long Maine winter, I often wish I could start over, building my house with all of the latest construction materials and systems. But then, I look at the charm of our older house and the spacious property it sits on, with westerly views across the lake, and my jealousy fades.

Preaching Through the Church Year - Jack Daniel

Preaching Through the Church Year - Jack Daniel

One Sunday during last year’s Christmas season, my wife and I worshipped at the church of a young, dynamic pastor whom I had been coaching. His message was biblical, practical, and well delivered, and the worship music was uplifting and skillfully led. Only one thing was missing: Christmas! No mention was made of Christmas anywhere or anytime in the service. The calendar in the bulletin showed that no Christmas Eve service was planned either. The sermon was on Christian living, not the birth of Christ or the doctrine of the Incarnation.

EXTEMPORANEOUS PREACHING: It’s Not Only What You Say, But Also How You Say It

EXTEMPORANEOUS PREACHING: It’s Not Only What You Say, But Also How You Say It

One Sunday morning in my early days of pastoring, I stepped into the pulpit and opened my Bible to where I thought I had placed my sermon notes. To my horror, they were not there. In an instant, I remembered that I had left them on my office desk. A sense of panic swept over me, and all of my options flashed through my mind. Then—in the next instant —a sense of calm came over me that could only have been from the Holy Spirit, and I realized that I knew the message well enough from preparing it to preach it without my notes.

Milk a Lot of Cows, But Churn Your Own Butter: Avoiding Plagiarism

Milk a Lot of Cows, But Churn Your Own Butter: Avoiding Plagiarism

A few months ago I worshipped at the church of a talented young pastor whom I had been coaching. His sermon was good, surprisingly good. While I was chatting with him after the service, another parishioner we both knew well joined us and told him how much she enjoyed his message. She then remarked, with all sincerity and not at all accusingly, “I heard Andy Stanley give that same message this week. He told the same stories you did.” My young friend was clearly embarrassed. I invited him to lunch that week and waited to see if he would bring up the incident. He quickly did.