From the Editor:

Honoring Billy Graham

Students & the Faith Lockbox
Americans Still Giving

Forgiveness, Repentance
Priorities, Timing

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.”
(French proverb)

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    Vol. 7, No. 41 November 18, 2008    
Michael Duduit

Billy Graham recently turned 90 years old. A lion in winter.

No preacher of his age can match the influence Billy Graham has had as a proclaimer of the gospel, an evangelist working across many media, at times a national chaplain. Who could have ever imagined a Baptist preacher from North Carolina being a counselor to presidents and the instrument of carrying the gospel into lands around the world, many with governments otherwise resistant to Christianity?

Those of us who preach have been able to look to him as a model of personal integrity and of faithfulness to the biblical message. When he has made mistakes, he has confessed them and sought forgiveness–that’s a lesson many of us who lead churches would do well to learn.

I hope you will join me in praying today for Billy Graham, and thanking God for the way He has used this simple vessel in bringing many to the kingdom.

Michael Duduit, Editor

Preaching podcast: Listen to my visit with Calvin Miller as we discuss his new memoir, Life Is Mostly Edges (Thomas Nelson). You’ll find it at www.preaching.com.


The Campus Ministry Update newsletter reports that research by the Fuller Youth Institute shows that 70 percent of youth group graduates do not find college a place where professors and peers reject their faith outright. On the other hand, it also shows that students are not nearly as “spiritual” as we like to think. 

For the majority of students, college is a time when many personal and religious connections are stored in an identity “lockbox,” tucked away for the collegiate years; unexamined and protected until reclaimed at a later time. This compartmentalization explains why so many youth group kids join the cultural mainstream of campus life, seemingly “walking away” from their faith. The report explains, “emerging adults seem to care more about fitting into society than about exploring who they might be.”   

Certainly, there are some who engage their minds and look into the box. These are often Christian and non-Christian students seeking to know more about and grow more deeply as people and in faith. The article encourages religious workers to pursue those who are looking into the box and help them grow. In addition, youth ministers would do well to help students prepare for a faith that grows and changes as they mature and encounter new ideas and people. This will help them continue to look into the box and press on in their walk with Christ. Read the article and interview with Tony Jones here.


In his Pastor’s Weekly Briefing for Nov. 7, H.B. London shares this: “While the recent economic downturn has caused many churches and non-profit organizations to wonder what the last two months of the year may hold in store, two recent studies suggest that, even amid tough times, Americans will keep giving.

“A national survey of online consumers released this week finds that 51 percent (89 million people) plan to donate to non-profit groups via the Internet in November and December. The study, which was commissioned by Convio Inc., a Texas-based maker of online donation software, estimates that online giving to charities will top $3 billion during this holiday season.

A related report, released in September by Giving USA Foundation, surprisingly shows that, over the past 40 years, times of recession and economic slowdown have not had a major impact on charitable giving. The research reveals that, during recessions since 1969, total giving has only dropped by an average rate of one percent. ‘It’s important at this juncture for cooler heads to prevail and for non-profits to not listen to those who would claim the sky is falling,’ said George C. Ruotolo Jr., past chairman of Giving USA Foundation. ‘Those charities with a clear and compelling case and an established loyal donor constituency will continue to succeed, even in difficult times.'” (Giving USA Foundation, yahoo.com)



Florida in April? Sounds good, doesn’t it? What will make it even better is investing three days that can change your ministry forever.

Make your plans now to join us for the 20th Annual National Conference on Preaching, April 20-22, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. The conference theme is “Preaching to Change Lives,” and your ministry will be strengthened through the addresses, powerful sermons and practical workshops at NCP 2009. You’ll enjoy a great line-up of speakers, including:

John Ortberg
Stuart Briscoe
Jack Graham
Robert Smith
Dave Stone
Ed Stetzer
Steve Brown
Ralph Douglas West
Tommy Green
Steve Sjogren
Timothy Warren

and many more. Register now to take advantage of the early-bird discount registration rate. To learn more or to register today, click here.



There is a story about a minister who had a strange dream. He dreamt he had died and was trying to get into heaven. When he approached the pearly gates, St. Peter told him he needed 100 points to get in. Proudly the minister said, “Well, I was a pastor for 43 years.”

“Fine,” said St. Peter, “That’s worth one point.”

“One point? Is that all?” cried the minister.

“Yes, that’s it,” said St. Peter.
“Well,” said the pastor, “I visited lots of shut-ins.” St. Peter responded, “That’s worth one point.”

“I worked with young people,” said the pastor. “That’s worth one point,” said St. Peter.

“I developed a number of excellent Scout programs,” said the minister. “That’s worth one point,” said St. Peter. “You have four points now. You need 96 more.”

“Oh, no,” said the minister in a panic. “I feel so helpless, so inadequate. Except for the grace of God, I don’t have a chance.” St. Peter smiled and said, “Grace of God: that counts for 96 points. Come on in!”
There will be a final judgment. God’s justice and our freedom of choice demand it. Every person will spend eternity in heaven or hell. Our passport to heaven is simple. It’s just a matter of saying to God sincerely, “I am a sinner for whom Jesus died. I claim him by faith as Savior and Lord.” If you haven’t taken that step in faith, do it today! Do it now!  (Bill Bouknight, Collected Sermons, via eSermons.com newsletter)


“Carl Michalson, a brilliant young theologian who died in a plane crash some years ago, once told about playing with his young son one afternoon. They were tussling playfully on their front lawn when Michalson accidentally hit the young boy in the face with his elbow. It was a sharp blow full to his son’s face.

“The little boy was stunned by the impact of the elbow. It hurt, and he was just about to burst into tears. But then he looked into his father’s eyes. Instead of anger and hostility, he saw there his father’s sympathy and concern; he saw there his father’s love and compassion. Instead of exploding into tears, the little boy suddenly burst into laughter. What he saw in his father’s eyes made all the difference!

“The sharp blow of God’s message to us is: Repentance. But look into your father’s eyes. What He offers you is forgiveness, and that makes all the difference. Repent, and you will be forgiven.” (James W. Moore, Some Things Are Too Good Not to Be True)

From the November-December issue of Preaching …

In an article by Danny Akin, he begins, “I am convinced the most important characteristic or qualification of a minister is personal integrity. I continually address this several times every semester at Southeastern Seminary. Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:2 that a leader in the church must be blameless or above reproach. Personal integrity is foundational to everything else one does in ministry.

“Second, I believe compassion and love for those we serve is crucial. Jesus said love would be a distinguishing mark by which men would know we are His disciples. Therefore, a genuine love and compassion for our people is absolutely essential. Third is biblical fidelity and conviction. A minister of Jesus Christ should live a Bible-saturated life.”

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 November-December issue of Preaching: Interviews with Adam Hamilton and Sidney Greidanus, our annual survey of the year’s best Bibles and Bible resources for preaching, articles on “Writing for the Ear” and “Must Every Sermon Focus on Christ?” plus a sermon by Max Lucado and much more. Order your subscription today!

The Preaching.com podcast currently features a two-part interview with Calvin Miller about his recently-published memoir, Life is Mostly Edges. Calvin is one of our favorite people, so we dug up this ancient (OK, five years ago) interview with him from the Wittenburg Door Web site, which means there is something to offend everyone. You can read it here.

What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?” (Erma Bombeck)

The issue of homiletical plagiarism isn’t a new concern, as Scott Gibson details in his new book Should We Use Someone Else’s Sermon? (Zondervan). He not only examines the history and ethical issues surrounding plagiarism but offers solid counsel in how to avoid an ordeal with it.

Seth Godin is an influential writer in leadership and marketing circles, and his new book Tribes (Portfolio) describes how the Internet is helping to shape a 21st-century tribalism which demands a new generation of leaders. Church leaders who want to communicate with today’s culture will want to invest a couple of hours in this interesting little book.

The Purpose of Christmas (Howard) by Rick Warren is a reminder of the real “reason for the season.” He shares the gospel in a readable manner that makes this an excellent gift for believers and non-believers alike.

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


A lady was taking her time browsing through everything at a yard sale and said to the homeowner, “My husband is going to be very angry when he finds out I stopped at a yard sale.”

“I’m sure he’ll understand when you tell him about all the bargains,” the homeowner replied.

“Normally, yes,” the lady said. “But he just broke his leg, and he’s waiting for me to take him to the hospital to have it set.” (Cybersalt Digest)



For sale: an antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.

Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home, too.

We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.

Dog for sale: eats anything and is especially fond of children.

Stock up and save. Limit: one.

Man, honest. Will take anything.

Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up and delivery. Try us once, you’ll never go anywhere again.

Illiterate? Write today for free help.

Wanted: Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.

Our bikinis are exciting. They are simply the tops. (from HumorHaus newsletter)

This problem is a little too large for Lost and Found. It appears an entire church is missing.

The 200-year-old Church of the Resurrection was last seen in July, as Russian Orthodox Church officials were considering reopening the abandoned church. This fall, however, it appears that villagers from the nearby village of Komarovo (northeast of Moscow) dismantled it and sold it off brick by brick, according to a Nov. 13 AP story. A local businessman apparently paid one ruble (4 cents) per brick.

“Of course, this is blasphemy,” an Orthodox priest told The Associated Press. “These people have to realize they committed a grave sin.”

In poorer, rural regions, vandals or petty thieves regularly steal gilded icons or donations from churches and sell them for alcohol or drugs.

However, this may be the first reported case of stealing an entire church building.

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