From the Editor:

Lessons from the Beach

Building a Bridge
Encouraging Change
Mark Your Calendar

Salvation, Grace
Being Prepared

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

“How wonderful it is ithat nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world.”
(Anne Frank)

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    Vol. 7, No. 29 August 12, 2008    
Michael Duduit

I spent last week at Myrtle Beach with my family and a batch of in-laws. For those who aren’t familiar with Myrtle Beach, think Las Vegas with with a beach, no casinos and a Southern accent.

While my family members spent their mornings at the beach, I spent mine at the laptop working on upcoming lectures and issues of this newsletter. (Don’t feel guilty–I don’t like the beach anyway.)

After our boys had their fill of sand and salt water, I would take them out in the afternoon and find something for us to do inside. (The heat index was about 105.) In the process I learned some important lessons:

1. Nothing is cheap.

2. Kids have a greater tolerance for heat and humidity than their old dads.

3. Myrtle Beach has more mini-golf places than anywhere else in the world.

4. Nothing is cheap.

5. Boys enjoy a good show, but they prefer activities where they are personally involved. (I suspect we never outgrow that tendency.)

6. Whoever invented air conditioning deserves sainthood.

7. Did I mention nothing is cheap?

Michael Duduit, Editor

This week’s featured podcast is with Kerry Shook, pastor of Fellowship of the Woodlands and author of the book, One Month to Live. Go to our podcast page to hear this or one of several dozen other podcast interviews.


In a recent issue of his Ministry Toolbox newsletter, Rick Warren says, “How do you build a bridge between God’s Word and our current situation? Let me give you four steps.

  • Observation: You start by studying the Bible. If you’ve never taken a class on that, let me recommend a book to you: Bible Study Methods. I wrote it when I was in college. I had a real hunger to study the Bible, but there were no books that showed me how. Most books on Bible study just focused on why I needed to study the Bible, not how. So I wrote my own.

    You may start by studying a particular passage (as you would with a verse-by-verse study). Or you may look at all of Scripture on a particular topic. Regardless, you start by studying the Scripture.

  • Implication: You find the timeless truth from the Scripture you’ve studied. What does the Word say that spans across time? Everything else builds on what that truth is.

  • Contextualization: Think about your audience. Think about what their needs might be. What are their hurts? What are their fears? What are their sins? After I exegete the biblical text, I need to exegete my audience.

    Every time I preach I know six realities about my audience. You can start with these six understandings:

    • Every person wants to be loved.

    • Everybody wants their life to count.

    • Life is empty without Christ.

    • Many people carry a load of guilt.

    • Many are consumed with bitterness from a past hurt.

    • There’s a universal fear of death.

Then you take it further by getting specific about the needs of your particular audience.

  • Personalization: Once you’ve studied God’s Word, discovered the eternal truth, and thought about your audience, you’ve got to apply the eternal truth to the particular needs of your audience. Consider their age, culture, spiritual maturity and other traits. Then ask yourself a few questions. What would it look like in their lives if they took that eternal truth seriously? What would they need to do to act on that truth? When you discover that, you’ve discovered the application.

Unless you take your audience from observation to personalization, you’re not building a bridge, and you’re not doing justice to God’s Word.” (Click here to read the full article.)


Ed Stetzer recently wrote an article for Rev magazine about leading a church through change, and the article is posted on Ed’s blog. One of the points he makes is that timing is a key issue when leading a church through change: “Making changes in church life is always going to be necessary, but it is also true that at least some people in every church are going to resist or flat-out oppose change. Therefore, it not only is vital to consider what needs to change and how long the change process is likely to take, but also to consider issues of timing so you and other church leaders are prepared to handle opposition to change most effectively.

“Two matters are important in handling opposition to change–understanding the nature of change in churches and following some key principles of timing.

“When faced with the reality of needing to change, many established congregations will function in what Roxburgh and Romanuk call the ‘Reactive Zone.’ A church will ‘respond to the changing environment by working harder to make their dominant habits, programs, and actions effective.’ In other words, people will react to change by adopting the attitude that, ‘We don’t really need to change. We just need to work harder at what we are already doing.’ Or, churches will adopt the attitude that they need to re-emphasize the commitments church members need to keep. They try to regulate their way out of the situation rather than really dealing with the change process that is needed.

One of the challenges in changing a church is its history–not because its history is bad, but because it provides an idealized memory of what things once were rather than a path into a future that must be. The more successful a past was, the more likely people want to return to it, which is why those who were most successful in a past paradigm have the most difficulty transitioning to the next.” (Click here to read the full article)

By the way … Ed will be a speaker at next year’s National Conference on Preaching in Tampa. (See the next item below.)


Our first major regional conference event is set for October 20-21 in Newport Beach, California. Preaching West is a two-day preaching conference using the theme “Preaching Biblical Truth in a Changing Culture.”Speakers will include Dan Kimball, Pastor, Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, Calif., and author of They Like Jesus but Not the Church; James L. Wilson, Professor of Leadership at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary and author of Future Church; John A. Huffman, Senior Pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, Calif.; Michael Duduit, Editor of Preaching magazine; and John Webb, Professor of Communication and Ministry at Hope International University. Register by Sept. 15 to save 25 percent on the registration cost. To learn more visit www.preaching.com/west

Act by Aug. 31 to take advantage of the lowest registration rate (only $150), and join us for the 20th Annual National Conference on Preaching, April 20-22, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. We’ll have a great line-up of speakers, including John Ortberg, Stuart Briscoe, Jack Graham, Robert Smith, Dave Stone, Steve Brown, Ralph Douglas West, Ed Stetzer, Tommy Green, Timothy Warren and many more. To take advantage of the deepest discounts available on registration, go to www.preaching.com/ncp



As a group of amateur climbers scaled part of the Matterhorn near Zermatt, Switzerland, a vicious gust of wind came along at a narrow ledge. The guide quickly shouted, “Get down on your knees! You are safe only on your knees!” That’s good advice for all of us: The ledges of life are narrow, and the winds are strong. Only on our knees, seeking God relentlessly in our prayers, can we find safety and security. (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 9-15-06)


On November 10, 1941, Dr. Ludwig Fischer (the German district governor of Warsaw, Poland) issued a proclamation declaring that anyone who gave any assistance to Jews–including lodging, food or transportation–would be punished by death. Despite this decree, some people still assisted Jews in escaping from the horrendous Warsaw Ghetto and the deportation to death camps like Auschwitz. The Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem honors some 5,000 Poles as “righteous Gentiles” for risking their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Our God also chooses to save. All we sinners were condemned to die as surely as the Jews during the war and those who assisted them, until God decided to redeem us.  (Today in the Word, June 2007)

From the September-October issue of Preaching …

In an article on “The Preacher as Storyteller,” Austin Tucker offers counsel on preparing to tell a story: “First, read the story for its own sake. Let the story make its impression on you without pausing too much to reflect critically on what that impression is or how it is made. Just enjoy the story and otherwise appreciate it. The second step is to read the story several times more. Read it aloud as well as silently. At this stage you want to fix the story as a whole in your mind before dealing with the parts.

“Then in the third step, begin to think about the parts. Think about the beginning, the middle, and the end. Notice the setting of the story if it is important. What is the starting situation? Is there a stress or conflict that arises? What search for a solution follows? And how is it resolved? In looking at the details, spend time with the characters. It may take time for them to become real. Give them time.

“A fourth stage is to visualize the story. This may be combined with stage three, but it is a separate matter. See the sights. Hear the sounds. Imagine the aromas and textures and tastes that may be in the story. What colors do you see in your vision? Take time to fix them in your mind. You may not mention any hue or scent in the telling, but whatever is vivid to you will more easily stick in your memory.

“Finally, practice telling the story. Tell the story orally as many times as necessary to fix it in your mind and assure yourself that you have it.

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 begin your subscription!

Also in the September-October issue of Preaching: Interviews with John Ortberg and Ralph Douglas West, articles on “The Preacher as Storyteller” and “Preaching in a Post-Everything World,” plus great sermons and much more. Order your subscription today!

A new movie about the early life of Billy Graham will be released soon. If you’d like to learn more (and see if it’s coming to your area), visit the Web site.

“Miracles are not a contradiction of nature. They are only in contradiction to what we know of nature.” (Augustine)

Harold Sala’s new book Why You Can Have Confidence in the Bible (Harvest House) offers helpful insights about the integrity of Scripture, including lots of interesting illustrations preachers will enjoy.


In Overcoming Your Shadow Mission (Zondervan), John Ortberg helps readers focus on the mission God has truly given them without being sidetracked.


We’ve previously mentioned A City Upon a Hill: How Sermons Changed the Course of American History (HarperOne) by Larry Witham, but now that it’s available in paper it’s worth another highlight. This is a book that anyone interested in the history of preaching (or American church history) will enjoy.

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


A new pastor moved into town and went out one Saturday to visit his parishioners. All went well until he came to one house. Someone obviously was home, but no one came to the door even after he had knocked several times. Finally, he took out his card, wrote on the back, “Revelation 3:20” and stuck it in the door. (Revelation 3:20 reads: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he will with me.”)

The next day, as he was counting the offering he found his card in the collection plate. Below his message was a notation, “Genesis 3:10” (“And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked”).


Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

Drive carefully. It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.

Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.

It’s the second mouse that gets the cheese.

When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

We could learn a lot from crayons–some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, and some have weird names, but they all have to live in the same box.

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Someone needs to explain to this guy how gambling works.

According to an Aug. 5 AP story, a Florida man was arrested on charges of making false 911 calls. An arrest report says the 47-year-old man was at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and called 911 to say the slot machine stole his money. The report says the man left the casino to place a second 911 call to say the same thing.

He was arrested and charged with making a false 911 call. He’s being held with no bail set.

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