I clicked SEND!

This is an announcement. And it is one excuse I have for not writing blog posts for the past year or so.

Tuesday evening I wrote an email, attached several documents, and clicked SEND. That email represents a big milestone in my life. Here’s why.

Old Typewriter

Several years ago while I was pastoring, a church member encouraged me to develop one of my sermon series into a book. The idea was very appealing. My administrative assistant transcribed the audio of some of the sermons so I could edit them for publication. I heard that’s how John MacArthur did it, so surely it couldn’t be too hard.

That process didn’t work for me. When I read over my sermons, I realized the way I speak would not read well in a book. I marked up pages and pages of text, drawing circles and arrows and rewording sentences. I finally decided the best way for me to turn sermons into books was to use the research and ideas, but start from scratch and word it for reading rather than listening. And of course that takes a lot of time and effort. I started and stopped a few times, then finally gave up trying.

Since then, I have turned some sermons into articles that have been published here and elsewhere. But the idea of a book has stayed on my mind. I just didn’t have the motivation or blocks of time to make it happen.

A little over two years ago as I considered what was next for me after pastoring, I wished and prayed for a role that would allow me time for writing. God in His wisdom and goodness placed me in a teaching job. And teachers get summers off.

During the summer of 2017 I started writing the manuscript for a book. Preaching trips, vacation, and home projects filled those summer months as well, so I couldn’t devote the whole time to writing, but I got off to a good start. I worked on it here and there through the next school year. Then last summer I devoted significant time to pushing it toward completion.

Writing does not flow easily for me. There are occasions when my fingers can hardly keep up with my thoughts. But most of the time it is laborious and I agonize over each sentence. I’m a plodder by nature, so I just keep at it.

A week ago, I texted my wife, “I’m about to jump out of my chair!” I could physically feel the excitement as completion was in sight. Reading over the manuscript later, I realized I had left out an important section. So I had to go back and fill that in.

Tuesday night I completed and collected all the necessary elements:

Cover letter: Check!

Manuscript overview: Check!

Table of contents: Check!

Biographical information: Check!

Manuscript: CHECK!

Earlier in the process, I had sent a proposal to a publisher and was invited to submit the entire manuscript when complete. I entered my contact’s email address, wrote a note, attached the documents, and clicked SEND!

Now a new process begins – waiting while the publisher evaluates the manuscript and, if approved, going through the steps of preparing it for publication. It’s a new adventure and I’m loving it. And I will be thrilled if the fruit of my labor helps others.

One of these days I’ll tell you what I wrote about :).

 

 

Start ‘er Up!

This blog has been sitting idle for over a year. Writing a post feels like trying to start a car that hasn’t been driven for a while. I’m going to crank it and see if it still runs.

I have not been idle in brain or life. In my first year of teaching (2016-17) at Faith Baptist Bible College, I was in survival mode as I developed class content, learned how to function in the academic milieu, and met students and colleagues. On summer break, in addition to completing two major home projects, I preached almost weekly in our church before we called a new pastor and preached two weeks at family camps in Iowa and Nebraska. In between these responsibilities, I also started a major undertaking which I’m hoping to bring to completion soon. It involved a lot of writing, and that’s all I’ll say for now :). Teaching went much more smoothly from my perspective first semester of the 2017-18 school year. I love what I do – preparing men for pastoral ministry.

Looking ahead, I am very excited for opportunities to encourage pastors. These include a workshop at Faith’s Refresh Conference in Februarytwo workshops for the pastors’ track at the MAACS Educators Conference also in February; the Timothy Retreat at Iowa Regular Baptist Camp for young men considering ministry; speaking at the Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches Annual Conference in March; and speaking at a pastors’ conference in June. What a privilege it is to connect with the men in these settings.

My mission in this stage of life is to equip men for ministry, encourage pastors, and strengthen churches. God continues to give opportunities to do these things, and I am grateful.

Hey, it runs! I might take it for a spin.

Elements of Effective Sermon Delivery

Yes, it’s been forever since I’ve posted. Moving and school have kept me occupied. I desire to pick it up again, with some new features. Soon.

I developed this quick guide to elements of effective sermon delivery for my Homiletics class at Faith Baptist Bible College. In first semester Homiletics we’re focusing on what to preach – learning to develop an expository sermon from a passage of Scripture. Second semester we’ll focus on how to preach – effectively communicating the sermon. But the guys will be preaching the sermons they’ve been working on this semester, and I wanted to give them a quick, helpful guide to some of the practical aspects of effective sermon delivery. I thought some of  you might benefit from it as well. Here you go. (I don’t usually try to alliterate, it just sort of happened.)

Your Heart

  • Prayerful – Invest time in prayer throughout the preparation process and before the preaching event.
  • Personal – Develop genuine concern, love, and compassion for the people you are speaking to.
  • Passionate – Believe what you are preaching and feel a compelling burden to communicate it.

Your Head

  • Finished – Prepare thoroughly and completely so that you know what the text means and what you will say about it.
  • Familiar – Go over your message repeatedly so that you can communicate freely.
  • Fresh – Review your message close to the time you will preach. Avoid distractions as much as possible without being uncaring or rude to people.

Your Mouth

  • Awake – Do mouth calisthenics to warm up your vocalization muscles.
  • Articulate – Pronounce your words clearly and correctly. Don’t mumble. Read your Scripture text clearly, reverently, and expressively.

Your Face

  • Eye contact – Look everyone you can in the eye at least once.
  • Expressive – Smile. Don’t look mad. Show compassion.
  • Enjoy – You’re preaching the Word of God. What a privilege and joy! Show it.

Your Voice

  • Clear – Lift your voice and enunciate your words. Hydrate before preaching, and while preaching if necessary. Use a small cough drop if needed.
  • Confident – Declare your message without mumbling or stumbling around. Avoid “uh.” Just wait until the thought comes. Speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11).
  • Controlled – Purposefully vary your pitch, projection/punch, pace, and pause for emphasis and interest.

Your Hands

  • At ease – Keep them in a natural position.
  • Accentuate – Reinforce what you are saying with appropriate gestures.

Your Body

  • Starting point – The centered pulpit is the most powerful position on the platform. It should be your base of operation. Start from it and, if you move away, return to it.
  • Stability – Maintain a poised yet energetic stance. Avoid nervous or distracting movement.
  • Steps – Move in ways that emphasize the message, keep people’s attention, and connect with the audience.

Your Audience

  • Focus – Concentrate on connecting with them, not on yourself or your notes.
  • Not Fans – Do not seek their approval or affirmation. Speak to please God, not man.
  • Friends – Help them along the journey that you and they are on.