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From the Editor:

Birthday Wishes

Articles:
Link Vision to Reality
What’s Holding You Back?

Illustrations:
Holy Spirit, The Church
Work, Priorities
Frustration, Profanity

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf

Humor

And Finally…
 

“Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face to face with God.”
(Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

 
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    Vol. 8, No. 29 August 18 , 2009    
Michael Duduit

Today is my 55th birthday — the double nickel. This used to be when you qualified for AARP, until they lowered their standards by accepting 40-somethings. So in an age when my wife reminds me that “50 is the new 30,” I cling to the old standard that 55 is the entry point to Modern Maturity. (Although I think they changed the name of the magazine a few years ago — I guess “maturity” is not a goal in this youth-absorbed culture.)

My wife asked what I want for my birthday — is it too much to ask for a lot more birthdays? God has blessed me with a precious wife, two great sons, work I love, friends I enjoy and books all around me. Who could ask for anything more?

Well, OK, I wouldn’t mind a piece of coconut cream pie as well.

Michael Duduit, Editor
michael@preaching.com
www.michaelduduit.com

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MichaelDuduit

On this week’s Preaching Podcast: George Barna talks about his new book The Seven Faith Tribes, and why preachers need to understand who is sitting in the pews — and who isn’t (and why).


LINK VISION TO REALITY

Several years ago Warren Bennis wrote the excellent book Managing People Is Like Herding Cats. In his chapter on Leading Change, he reminds us that talking about “a clear and compelling vision” is important, but vision needs to be linked to real-life activities.

Leaders, he says, “must take this vision into account when doing everything that they do — when thinking about recruiting and reward systems, when considering empowerment, when changing the structure, when pursuing new markets, and when making decisions.

“The only way a leader is going to translate vision into reality — an ability that is the essence of leadership — is to anchor and implement and execute that vision through a variety of policies, practices, procedures, and systems that will bring in people and empower them to implement the vision.”

WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK?

In his most recent Ministry Toolbox newsletter, Rick Warren addresses the question of “What’s Holding Your Congregation Back?” Among the struggles to be overcome:

“Let go of your wounds. Many things wound us emotionally. Lies, broken promises, conflict, and betrayal are just a few. And internal wounds are much more serious than external ones. For example, you don’t remember the cuts, scrapes, and bruises you got on the playground as a kid, but I bet you remember the painful words that were said to you. We remember emotional wounds a lot longer than physical ones. Why? Because we rehearse those hurts in our mind over and over again. We replay the tape.

“That’s dumb. Your past is past. If you keep rehearsing a past wound, you allow someone to hurt you over and over again. There’s a word for rehearsing a hurt over and over again in your mind — resentment. That literally means, ‘to cut again.’ Every time you nurse an old would, you’re cutting yourself again.

“The Bible says in Psalm 37:8 (GW), ‘Let go of anger and leave your rage behind. Do not be preoccupied. It only leads to evil.’ When you rehearse the pain, you just reinforce and reinvent the hurt.

“You have people sitting in your church every week who have been nursing wounds for years. They can’t let go. They’ll never reach their God-given potential and purpose for life until they let go of the past.

“What hurts do you and your congregation need to leave behind? The only antidote for those hurts is forgiveness. There’s no other way to get past your hurt and pain. If you preach that from the pulpit, you’re going to have people say, ‘The person who hurt me doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.’ There’s a great answer for that: neither did you. You don’t forgive people for their benefit. Resentment doesn’t hurt the other person. It hurts us.” (Click here to read the full article.)


HOLY SPIRIT, THE CHURCH

A character in John Updike’s novel A Month of Sundays, reflecting on his youthful experience of the church, says, “Churches bore for me the relation to God that billboards did to Coca-Cola; they promoted thirst but did nothing to quench it.”

The Holy Spirit empowers the church to be the agent of change in the world, a counter-cultural entity. The task of the church is to breathe in the Spirit and be inspired by the Spirit to act on behalf of God. But the church has been waiting to exhale far too long. As the Spirit of God flows into us, it also ought to flow from us in the way we treat one another, the way we speak to one another, in the way we treat others in our community, in the way we live out the new life we receive when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord. (eSermons.com newsletter)

WORK, PRIORITIES

The founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, was asked by a reporter about his order of priorities. “I believe in God, my family and McDonald’s,” he said. Then he added, “When I get to the office, I reverse the order.”

When many people enter the public arena their priorities change, and they put God on the shelf. He may be something of a priority on Sunday morning and truly a priority when they’re experiencing some serious problems, but otherwise, He is out of sight and out of mind. (Steve Shepherd)


From the September-October issue of Preaching …

In an interview with Jud Wilhite, pastor of a fast-growing church in Las Vegas, he explains his shift toward a more expository preaching style: “The longer I’ve been in the Las Vegas valley, the more aware I’ve become of the absolute biblical illiteracy that exists in our culture and certainly in our area. I will almost always teach exegetically from one passage of the Bible. Our people don’t have the ability, the tools, many of them, to turn here and turn over there; so I work really hard to kind of anchor into one scriptural passage, have everybody turn to one place in their Bibles and stay there. And that’s become a huge value for me.

“If you rewound the clock five years, I was way more topically oriented. I was kind of all over the map, and it hit me one day that so many of our people are coming to faith. Las Vegas is a very transient community. Many of them will move on. If I don’t at least get them familiar with their Bibles, help them bring their Bibles, open their Bibles up, learn to not be afraid of it, learn to look at a passage and understand what it means, then I have really failed them as a pastor.”
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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!

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Also in the September-October issue of Preaching: “What Would Jesus Twitter?” (on preaching and social networking sites), interviews with Mark Batterson and Jud Wilhite, “Preaching and Leading,” and much more. Order your subscription today!

What can you say about ministry in nine minutes? You’ll have a chance to find out as Leadership Network sponsors The Nines, an online conference on 9/9/09 that starts at 9:09 am CDT (clever, huh?). A vast array of pastors and leaders will provide their nine-minute answer to the question: “If you had nine minutes to talk one-on-one with thousands of church leaders, what is the one thing that you would tell them?”

Among the folks you’ll be hearing: Reggie McNeal, Perry Noble, Mark Batterson, Bryan Carter, Dan Kimball, Ed Stetzer, Greg & Geoff Surratt, Dave Ferguson and what appears to be a cast of thousands. (Looks like the program may just run until 9:09 p.m.) Registration is free but limited, so if you’d like to reserve a spot, just click here.

“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be meetings.” (Dave Barry)

This week’s Preaching Podcast features an interview with George Barna and a discussion of his new book, The Seven Faith Tribes (Tyndale House). It is a fascinating look at the way various groups of Americans view (or don’t view) faith. Pastors and church leaders who want to understand their own communities will benefit from this analysis. (And click here to listen in on the discussion.)

 

The New Shape of World Christianity (IVP) by Mark Noll is a fascinating discussion of the shaping of the American church and how that group is influencing the development of the global church. It is important that American church leaders begin to see themselves as part of a worldwide movement of the body of Christ, and this volume is an excellent place to begin.

 

 

In an age when people think there are no consequences to their actions, is it any wonder that 85 percent of Americans assume they are headed for heaven? In Who Goes There? (Moody), Rebecca Price Janney offers a fascinating (and theologically informed) cultural history of how we have viewed the afterlife through various historical eras. (Click here to read a sample chapter and see a video.)

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


FRUSTRATION, PROFANITY

A preacher was making his rounds to his parishioners on a bicycle, when he came upon a little boy trying to sell a lawn mower. “How much do you want for the mower?” asked the preacher.

“I just want enough money to go out and buy me a bicycle,” said the little boy.

After a moment of consideration, the preacher asked, “Will you take my bike in trade for it?”

The little boy asked if he could try it out first, and, after riding the bike around a little while, said, “Mister, you’ve got yourself a deal.”

The preacher took the mower and began to try to crank it. He pulled on the rope a few times with no response from the mower. The preacher called the little boy over and said, “I can’t get this mower to start.”

The little boy said, “That’s because you have to cuss at it to get it started.”

The preacher said, “I’m a minister, and I can’t cuss. It’s been so long since I’ve been saved that I don’t even remember how to cuss.”

The little boy looked at him happily and said, “Just keep pulling on that string. It’ll come back to ya.”

 

MORE BULLETIN BLOOPERS

(or, “Does anyone ever proofread these things?”)

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

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

~ A woman’s blouse was found at a table in the middle of the servant appreciation dinner. If you lost your blouse, please come to the church office.

~ 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.

~ Sermon Outline:
I. Delineate your fear
II. Disown your fear
III. Displace your rear 

~ Next Friday we will be serving hot gods for lunch.

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


Maybe it’s because it’s my birthday, but stories about cake are getting my attention — and this is a big one!

A world record was set this weekend with the world’s largest cupcake: a 1,224-pound triple-vanilla cupcake with pink frosting. According to the Aug. 16 AP story, “The colossal cupcake took 12 hours to bake and included 800 eggs and 200 pounds each of sugar and flour. The sugary behemoth was unveiled Saturday at the Woodward Dream Cruise classic cars event in Royal Oak, Michigan.”

The new record-holder was more than eight times the size of the previous record holder. The cook estimated the culinary spectacle at more than 2 million calories.

Not to mention how many candles it would take to cover that thing.

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