Three Secrets of Powerful Preaching

Tucked in the middle of 1 Peter 4 there is a hidden gym.  A verse that contains the three secrets of powerful, effective preaching.  Any preacher who wants to be used by God in a greater way must know and apply these to his life.  If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.  1 Peter 4:11 First Secret:  Speak God's words, not your own.  Give God a voice.  Don't preach your own ideas.  Don't preach the ideas of another preacher.  Don't preach what people want to hear.  Don't preach your favorite subjects.  Don't preach what is safe.  Don't avoid the touch subjects, and the difficult texts.  Don't preach what you want the Bible to say.  Preach the word.  Stick to the text.  Read the text, explain the text, and apply the text.  The best way to be faithful to the t…

Growing in Peacefulness

The Bible commands Christians to pursue peacefulness (Col 3:15).  In fact, it says that we must allow peace to be in charge of our relationships.  We can't always be at peace with others, but must always be peaceful.  "If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Rm 12:18)."  
What is peacefulness?  It is working hard to get along with others.  The following three tips will help you to pursue peace with everyone (Heb 12:14).  
One:  When someone sins against you, you must go to them and point out the offense.  “If your brother sins against you, go tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother (Matthew 18:15).”  We naturally 
Two:  If someone has something against you, you must go and make peace.  “So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your…

Three Tips For Loving Others

Christians are called to love others (Lev 19:18; John 15:17).  We are called to pursue love (1 Cor 14:1), do everything in love (1 Cor 16:14), seek to excel in love (2 Cor 8:7), make every effort to cultivate love (2 Pt 1:5-7), and put on love above all (Col 3:14).  
What is love?  The Biblical definition of love is doing what is best for others, not what makes them feel good.  It is meeting people's needs, not their wants.  
It is one thing to know what real love is, and it is another thing to know how to love in the everyday business of life.  The Bible gives us three tips for loving others.  Three tips for knowing how to express life in any given situation.  
One:  Imitation (Jn 13:34; Eph 5:1).  God is love (1 Jn 4:8).  If you imitate God, treating people the way He would treat them in your place, then you will express true love.
Two:  The Great Commandment (Mt 22:39).  The Great Commandment says to love your neighbor as yourself.  Consider how you love yourself.  You take good ca…

Learning Gentleness

A key to healthy relationships is the grace of gentleness.  Do you know what it is?
Gentleness is staying calm and kind, even when you are angry.  People are going to make you angry.  But God wants you to stay calm and kind, even when you are angry (Col 3:12).
Gentleness can be summed with with two actions.
One:  Avoid harsh speech.  Several factors can make speech harsh -- volume, tone, and word-choice.  Harsh words only make you and the other person angrier.  
Two:  Do not harm or destroy.  The word "gentleness" is often used to describe a soft wind that does not harm or destroy, or the way you should hold a newborn infant so that you don't hurt her.  In your anger, do not harm anyone, and do not destroy anything.
The next time someone gets on your nerves, remember the grace of gentleness.  Stay calm and kind, even when you are angry.

The Triumphant Solution to People Problems

Relationships are hard!  People are both difficult and dumb.  One person said that relationships are a walk in the park -- Jurassic Park!
At the same time, we need relationships.  We need each other.  We were formed for fellowship.  We were made to be social.  "It is not good for the man to be alone (Gen 2:18)."
So how do we solve this challenge -- the need for people vs. the problem of people?  The Bible gives us the answer to people problems -- "the triumphant solution to the problem of living together (William Barclay)."  It is found in Colossians 3:12-15.  There we find nine Christian graces -- compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love, peacefulness, and thankfulness.  The Big Idea:  To get along with people, put on the character of Christ.  Here are the definitions of the nine graces.   Compassion:  Feeling sorry for someone and reaching out to help.Kindness:  Seeking to be helpful and beneficial to others.Humility:  Seeing yourself …

How Should Christians Handle Mistreatment?

How should Christians handle mistreatment?  You will be mistreated in life.  Some of you feel mistreated by the government right now for overstepping its bounds and unnecessarily crashing the economy.  Christians are not immune from unjust suffering, but we are called to respond differently.20 For what credit is there if when you do wrong and are beaten, you endure it? But when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God. 21 For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth; 23 when he was insulted, he did not insult in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.  1 Peter 2:20-23 Christians should handle mistreatment with endurance.  You were called to this (v. 21).  The word "endure" literally means to remain under.  Christians are called to remain Ch…

How to Read the Bible

Colossians 3:16 (ESV) "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God."
I love this verse!  While most people spend their energy trying to grow materially wealthy, the Bible commands us to become Scripture-rich.  Word-wealthy!  I'm going to preach on this verse in a couple of weeks, but I couldn't resist writing about it today.  
The Puritan author Thomas Watson wrote TEN TIPS FOR READING THE BIBLE.  I think these are very helpful.   Read the Word as a book made by God Himself.Read the Word as a perfect rule of faith; it contains all things essential to salvation.When you read the Word, look on it as a soul-enriching treasury. Search it as for hidden treasure!Read the Word as a book of evidences.Look upon the Word as a spiritual armory, out of which you fetch all your weapons to fight against sin and Satan.Look upon the Word as a spiritu…