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Episodes

Why and How to Avoid Moralistic Preaching

11/15/2017
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Preaching should stir people to do something, believe something, change something, be something. It should move people to action, heroic deeds, or repentance. In short, lives should change—even if we can't always see it. But here's one of my constant struggles in my preaching: how do I challenge people to grow, love, change, obey, repent, give, etc., without throwing them back on their own pathetic spiritual resources? That is the danger of moralistic preaching. It sounds good (and some...

Duration: 00:13:20


Manuscript vs. Notes

10/12/2017
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What do you bring into the pulpit when you preach? A complete manuscript, some notes, or no notes? I've always assumed this was one of those technical and trivial issues for geeky preachers. But when my friend Kevin Miller and I started exploring this as a topic for our Monday Morning Preacher podcast, we were struck by how emotional a lot of preachers get about this question. And it really matters. What you bring into the pulpit (manuscript, notes, or no notes) can affect how you connect...

Duration: 00:13:22


The Life Cycle of Your Sermon

9/28/2017
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After preaching for 25 years here's one surprising lesson: God wants to transform my soul through the sermon prep process. Pastor Peter Scazzero, formerly the senior pastor of New Life Church in Queens, New York, calls this process "The Life Cycle of the Sermon." It's a cycle that follows a familiar pattern: birth (you get the sermon idea), death (you struggle to put the sermon together), burial (it gets even worse), resurrection (you preach it), ascension (you leave your sermon in God's...

Duration: 00:11:30


Get The Text Right

9/14/2017
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At some point in our weekly sermon prep process we need to slow down, put aside our agenda or preconceived notions, and listen to what God is saying through his Word. How do you do that every week? Of course illustrations and applications are important. But how and when in the process do you take time to get the text right? That’s what we unpack in this episode.

Duration: 00:12:59


The Basics of Sermon Delivery (Part 2)

8/31/2017
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In this episode, ummmmm, we take a look at, ummmmmm, three important parts of sermon delivery, ummmmm: Movement, Gestures, and, ummmmm, Filler Words. Okay, as you can see filler words can become a little annoying for our hearers. You were probably annoyed with only the four above. But it isn't only filler words that can cause our hearers to be distracted in our preaching. That is why we are also talking about some tips for using movement and gestures to further your delivery. Also, in case...

Duration: 00:14:07


The High Calling of Preaching: Lessons from Haddon Robinson

8/17/2017
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I was about 22 and a new believer when a tall, odd-looking preacher came to my new home church in Edina, Minnesota. They said his name was Haddon Robinson. I can’t remember what he preached on. I just remembered how he preached—with authority and yet tenderness, with eloquence and yet relevance. Haddon had gravitas in the pulpit. He spoke to my heart and my mind. And because he believed and felt what he said in that sermon, my heart was stirred by God’s Word that day. Who has influenced...

Duration: 00:13:36


Avoiding Preaching Ruts

7/13/2017
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For a decade I used to write complete sermon manuscripts, which has one huge plus—I can easily review my preaching trends. About six years ago I noticed I didn’t have a few “trends,” I had some preaching ruts. Every outline, every conclusion, every application in my sermons started to have the same look and tone and focus. How about you? Do you have any preaching ruts? Do you allow every genre of Scripture and every text within that genre to have a fresh structure? Do you preach through...

Duration: 00:12:13


Outlining Your Sermon

6/29/2017
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A friend of mine once described a young preacher this way: "He has some great ideas but they aren't organized. It's like he offers people a bunch of pearls without the string." My friend was talking about how to structure your sermon. The string is your big idea—your central theme based on your text. The pearls are how you line up what you want to say about your big idea. Here's a crucial rule for preachers: some structure is better than no structure. And here's a corollary: a simple...

Duration: 00:11:59


Finding Illustrations

6/15/2017
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In this episode, we feature a very fun topic—how to find illustrations. Where do you go for quality ways to make the abstract truths concrete? (See also our podcast on "The Ladder of Abstraction.") Where can you start cultivating your own repertoire of good stories, quotes, stats, etc., that will help make your ideas pop? In about 12 minutes you'll find some great ideas for these questions.

Duration: 00:12:34


The Cutting Room Floor

6/1/2017
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Here are the typical five stages of my weekly sermon prep process: STAGE 1: Wow, I have a great Bible text and big idea. I could preach about this forever. STAGE 2: Oh, no! What can I possibly say about this subject to fill up the 30-minute sermon time? STAGE 3: I have so much material I could talk for 90 minutes. It’s all so good. STAGE 5: Preach the sermon. You noticed I skipped STAGE 4. That’s one of the hardest parts of preaching—knowing what to cut. Filmmakers call it “the cutting...

Duration: 00:11:33


Reaching Those Far From God

5/11/2017
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Almost every preacher has heard the phrase “spiritual but not religious.” It describes the rise of the Nones, folks without a religious affiliation. Some preachers think this trend is a disaster or a chore. Maybe, but Dave Ferguson, co-author of "Finding Your Way Back to God," calls this reality a massive opportunity to reach people through preaching. In this week’s episode we talk to Dave about how preachers can speak to people who are far from God.

Duration: 00:13:07


Preaching in the Power of the Holy Spirit

4/27/2017
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At PreachingToday.com we talk a lot about the craft of preaching. After all, it is a human craft, which means that we can always learn and grow as preachers. But we're also passionate about the supernatural aspect of preaching. It is God's Word delivered in the power of the Holy Spirit. In this episode we talk to J. Kent Edwards, Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, CA, a guy who literally boils over with his passion for what it means to...

Duration: 00:13:13


Sermon Feedback

4/13/2017
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You’ve prayed through your message, done your study and prep, and delivered the sermon. How do you get healthy and helpful feedback? Of course some folks can hardly wait to dump their unhelpful feedback at your feet. And other people will smile, shake your hand, and gush, “Great sermon, pastor!”—which is equally unhelpful. So how do you ask for, seek out, and receive feedback that will help you grow as a preacher? And why is that so crucial to your preaching ministry? We unpack those...

Duration: 00:11:59


Preaching During Easter

3/30/2017
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I've preached about 25 Easter sermons in my career, but Pastor Lee Eclov has me beat. He's studied, prayed over, written, delivered and then offered up 32 Easter sermons over his pastoral career. So on our latest episode of Monday Morning Preacher we brought Lee into our studio and asked him how he keeps the Easter message—and the preacher's soul—alive, creative, and in tune with the Holy Spirit. As usual, Lee had some surprising and refreshing insights that fed my preaching soul.

Duration: 00:12:19


Applying Your Message

3/16/2017
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I've been preaching almost regularly for about 25 years now. Rough estimate, I've preached nearly 1,500 sermons so far in my career. Looking back on those sermons I notice at least one glaring weakness in my preaching—applications, bringing the big idea in the biblical text home to the hearts and lives of your hearers. But I am growing in this area, partially by watching how good preachers apply their text. So, in this week’s episode of Monday Morning Preacher we break down John Ortberg's...

Duration: 00:12:34


The Big Idea

3/2/2017
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There's a simple concept that helps make your sermons hit home and then stick. It's called the Big Idea. You can use another term, but at some point you have to be able to say (to yourself first and then to your people), "This is what my sermon is about--one clear idea derived from the text that proclaims the good news of Jesus for my people." In this episode we unpack how to find and preach that Big Idea.

Duration: 00:14:31


Preaching with Intensity

2/16/2017
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Here’s a goal for every sermon: let it convey the emotion of your biblical text. Allow your listeners to feel the same emotion that comes through God’s Word. How do we do that? And why would you want to do that? We explore those questions in this week’s episode of Monday Morning Preacher. In the process we feature and then breakdown a clip from Francis Chan—a pretty intense guy. But you don’t have to be like Francis Chan. Let the Holy Spirit work through you and your personality.

Duration: 00:13:29


Preaching to the Heart

2/2/2017
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You've done your sermon prep. You have a neat, clean outline with some good illustrations. Now there's one more critical step--bring that message home to the hearts of your people. What do we mean by "preaching to the heart"? Why does it matter so much? And how do you preach to the heart? We explore those questions in this week's episode of our podcast Monday Morning Preacher.

Duration: 00:13:31


Preaching During Lent

1/19/2017
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Preachers are always looking for ways to disciple deep, counter-cultural followers of Jesus. Of course there’s not a single magic solution to that quest. But every year there is a surprising journey for transformation at every preacher’s disposal. It’s called Lent. What? That dusty old legalistic, Catholic, medieval thing? So give up chocolate for 40 days and think you’re a good Christian? As Aaron Damiani explains, the season of Lent may be a quiet but powerful way to invite your people...

Duration: 00:14:32


Monday Morning Preacher: Preaching with Courage

1/4/2017
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How'd you like to preach with a death threat hanging over your head? When I think of "courageous preaching" I think of a dozen people getting upset for a week or maybe a family leaving the church. But Martin Luther King Jr. faced constant death threats—among dozens of other dangers. What can you and I learn about preaching with courage from Dr. King? In this episode I talk with Rev. Lawrence Aker III, senior pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York—one of Dr. King's...

Duration: 00:14:30

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