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From the Editor:

Goal vs. Resolution

Make it Clear

Herding Cats

Jesus, Brokenness
Friendship, Friends
Blind Date

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

“God’s time is the best time.”

(T.J. Bach)

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    Vol. 7, No. 11 March 11 , 2008    

Michael Duduit

In the February 2008 edition of Fast Company, Chip and Dan Heath (authors of Made to Stick, a favorite recent book) write about the difference between a resolution and a goal. The former is a wish, while the latter involves planning. They note that our mental attitude is key: “The psychologists Peter Gollwitzer and Veronika Brandstätter studied college students who had to write a paper about how they spent Christmas Eve. The catch was they were supposed to submit the paper by December 26. At this point, the paper is in resolution territory: It feels good to imagine yourself getting a good grade by writing the paper. But, as with January gym memberships, the outcome was not pretty. Only a third of the students got around to submitting a paper.

“A second group of students were given the same assignment but were required to note exactly when and where they intended to write the report (i.e., ‘in my Dad’s office on Christmas morning before everyone gets up’). A whopping 75 percent of these students wrote the report. The act of visualizing yourself in Dad’s office, writing your paper, changes the way you respond to the environment when you encounter it. Now when you see Dad’s office chair, an association springs to mind: Get to work. You’ve managed to outsmart your future self.

“Dozens of studies have shown similar results. When people took the time to visualize exactly when and where they would do what they needed to do, they met their goals.”

Think about your own goals for your church and your ministry – are you planning to achieve them, or are they still in the “resolution” category?

Now pardon me while I visualize going for a walk tomorrow morning.

(Click here to read the complete article. And click here to learn more about the book Made to Stick.)

Michael Duduit, Editor

A sponsor has enabled us to offer special scholarships to full-time students who wish to attend this year’s National Conference on Preaching in Washington. To apply go to

Be sure to check this week’s Preaching podcast – an interview with Chuck Colson and a preview of some of the themes to be discussed at this year’s National Conference on Preaching. To listen or download go to


In their book God’s Message, Your Sermon (Thomas Nelson), Wayne House and Daniel Garland cite the danger of making certain assumptions as we preach. They write: “Preachers who deliver sermons with impact are those who make it impossible for people not to understand the message. Without insulting the intelligence of their audiences, they are careful not to assume their listeners know their Bibles, understand theological terminology, or have instant recall of statements made earlier in the message. Most important, they do not assume their audience came to the gathering motivated to learn or even interested in the topic!

“Good communicators know people can’t read their minds or always understand their words. They look for opportunities to provide visual aids, whether physical objects, projected images, handouts, body language, or picturesque speech. Without dumbing down God’s message, they word their sermons for ease in understanding.” (Click here to learn more about the book God’s Message, Your Sermon)


In a recent issue of Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox newsletter, Alan Nelson (editor of Rev.!) offers suggestions for “herding cats” (volunteer leaders) in your church. One idea is to: “Identify influencers. Ever buy a certain color or model of car and then begin seeing dozens of similar ones on the road? We notice what we emulate. Leaders recognize other leaders, naturally. Therefore, when less than 10 percent of pastors acknowledge the gift of leading in their mix (according to a Barna survey), it means many of us will have a hard time recognizing the natural influencers.

“Here’s a five-finger rule for discovering the leader cats in your congregation:

· Whose absence do people ask about?
· Who do people seek for input in meetings?
· Who actually leads people on the job and in the community?
· Who holds a position of authority? While title and position don’t make a leader, some positions have within them units of influence to be considered.
· Who has a history of leading? Interview leaders and you’ll hear things in their past such as team captain, student body president, district manager, CEO, etc. Society can call out the naturals for us.” (Click here to read the full article.)


It’s less than a month away, so plan now to join us for the 19th Annual National Conference on Preaching, which will be held April 7-9 in suburban Washington, D.C. “Preaching and the Public Square: Where Do Pulpit and Culture Meet?” is the provocative theme of the three-day event. You’ll hear speakers and panelists explore how preaching can and should engage cultural issues in the 21st century. You’ll get great ideas from a selection of practical preaching workshops.

At NCP 2008, you’ll enjoy insights and inspiration from some of America’s finest preachers and teachers, including:

Chuck Colson

Rick Warren James MacDonald

Barry Black

William Willimon A.R. Bernard

Mark Batterson

James Emery White Robert Smith Jr.

J. Alfred Smith

Timothy Warren Greg Thornbury

and many more. To learn more or to register, visit the NCP website at or call (toll free) 1-800-527-5226.


In the May 1982 issue of Guideposts magazine, Norman Vincent Peale told of a distinguished British violinist named Peter Cropper. Cropper’s work was so outstanding that the Royal Academy of Music in London had honored him by lending him a priceless 258-year old Stradivarius. It is the dream of every violinist to be able to play such an instrument, but a terrible thing happened while Cropper was performing in Finland. He tripped and fell on top of the Stradivarius and broke it. Cropper’s pleasant dream was turned into a horrible nightmare. He was inconsolable.
Then a London violin dealer told him of a master craftsman who could repair the Stradivarius. To make a long story short, the repairs were so perfect they could not even be seen, and the soaring notes of the instrument were more beautiful than they had ever been before – all because the broken parts were placed in the hands of a master craftsman who then applied his healing touch.
Yes, Jesus Christ is the One for whom we have been looking. Something terrible happens, and our lives are broken. Then we turn them over to Jesus Christ who is the Master Craftsman of all time. He takes the broken pieces and puts them back together again, and we are better than new! (John Thomas Randolph, The Best Gift)


A survey published in American Sociological Review revealed that in 2004 one out of every four Americans had no close friends, and there was a 33 percent decline in the number of friendships over the past two decades. On average, Americans had only two people they would call close confidants. (Today in the Word, May 2007)

From the March-April issue of Preaching …

Our annual survey of the past year’s best books for preachers – written by R. Albert Mohler – is a popular feature each year, used by many church leaders to guide their own book purchases in coming months. Mohler starts this year’s survey with these observations: “Are we witnessing the end of the book? That is the question being asked by educators, publishers, and booksellers as a recent report indicated American adolescents currently enrolled in high school and college programs are reading less. While educators debated the causes for this deficit in reading, some noted the competition now represented by digital technologies.”

“As if to make the point, Amazon released its new digital book format, the ‘Kindle,’ just in time for the 2007 Christmas season. This new technology supposedly allows for more natural appearance to the page, making it appear more like traditional ink on paper. This may be so, but I still doubt many readers will look forward to curling up in bed with a digital screen.

“The anxiety among publishers over the future reading habits of American adolescents should be mitigated, at least in part, by the voracious reading appetites of preachers. Preaching is intimately related to books and study, and this goes all the way back to biblical times. Preachers and books simply go together, and the most powerful combination of preacher and book comes when just the right book is available at just the right time in order to clarify and focus the preacher’s thoughts on the biblical text and the challenge of preaching.”

Every issue of Preaching contains insightful articles on preaching, plus great model sermons and practical resources. If you’re not a current subscriber to Preaching magazine, click here (or call, toll free, 1-800-527-5226) to go begin your subscription!

Also in the March-April issue of Preaching: Insightful articles on preaching and culture – including Mike Milton’s article, “Biblical Preaching in a Pluralistic Culture,” plus our annual survey of the past year’s best books for preachers (including our Preaching Book of the Year and our Top Ten list), sermons by Chuck Swindoll and Stuart Briscoe, and much more. Order your subscription today!

Millions of Easter baskets will soon feature those little yellow (or pink, or white) marshmallow chicks (or bunnies, or…) called Peeps. More than a billion Peeps will be sold this year, but I’ll bet you had no idea what a big deal Peeps are to some pretty troubled people. (Or at least people with LOTS of time on their hands.) Just check out a few of these “Peeps sites” for yourself:
Here’s an article about Peeps jousting:

“There is no fear like the fear of being found out.”


Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ (Kregel) by Robert M. Bowman and J. Ed Komoszewski is a powerful argument for the divinity of Christ. In a day when the deity of Christ is regularly questioned, the authors use the biblical evidence in a way that is academically solid and spiritually engaging.



In his book The Good Works Reader (Eerdmans), theologian Thomas Oden draws on the writers of the early Christian church (along with biblical writings) to explore the issue of works in the Christian life. Recognizing the place of both faith and works, Oden brings us these classic insights to remind us that we are called to lives of holiness.


Where Is God When We Suffer?

It’s an election year, in case you’ve missed it, and that means more discussion about the relationship of religion and politics. In Faith in the Halls of Power (Oxford Univ Press), D. Michael Lindsay draws on extensive interviews to survey how evangelicals have moved from the edge of American culture to take up leadership roles in politics, on Wall Street, and even in Hollywood. It’s a fascinating and illuminating read.

(Click on the title to learn more or order a copy from Amazon.)




This blind date just wasn’t working out. After being with his date all evening, the man was ready to escape. Earlier, he had secretly arranged to have a friend call him to the phone so he would have an excuse to leave if something like this happened.

When he returned to the table, he lowered his eyes, put on a grim expression and said, “I have some bad news. My grandfather just died.”

“Thank goodness,” his date replied. “If yours hadn’t, mine would have had to!”


~ Please welcome Pastor Don, a caring individual who loves hurting people.

~ Come out this evening for a time of prayer and sinning.

~ Overeaters Anonymous meeting will be held at 8 p.m. in the large room.

~ The ladies in the style show will meet with their dresses down in front after morning worship.

~ A worm welcome to all who have come today.

~ If you would like to make a donation, fill out a form, enclose a check, and drip in the collection basket.

~ Nov. 11: An evening of boweling at Lincoln Country Club.

~ Women’s Luncheon: Each member bring a sandwich. Polly Phillips will give the medication.

~ Karen’s beautiful solo: “It is Well with my Solo”

~ Congratulations to Tim and Rhonda on the birth of their daughter October 12 thru 17.

~ If you choose to heave during the Postlude, please do so quietly.

~ We are grateful for the help of those who cleaned up the grounds around the church building and the rector.

~ Hymn: “I Love Thee My Ford”

~ Newsletters are not being sent to absentees because of their weight.

Not only are doughnuts fattening, they can also get you put in jail.

That’s what two guys in cowboy garb learned when they offered doughnuts to some sheriff’s deputies, according to a March 5 AP story. Because the deputies were investigating a burglary involving doughnuts and the prints of cowboy boots, it didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to crack the case.

“The officers kind of put two and two together,” Deputy District Attorney Dave Hopkins said.

Sheriff’s deputies reported the pair offered the officers doughnuts, which they declined. Shortly afterward, the officers investigated a burglary at a store from which cigarettes, candy, chewing gum, and the telltale doughnuts were missing. And there were boot prints.

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