Coffee Break – 11.24.2014

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European Coffee Capitals – We drink our coffee differently in America than they do in other places. Finding out how others drink their coffee is very interesting. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time in Costa Rica and Venezuela. I loved the difference in the way they drink coffee in those places, and have even adjusted my coffees to taste more like what I experienced there. This infographic gives a run down on three of the major coffee capitals in Europe.

Superheroes Reimagined As 16th Century Paintings – This is awesome! While the frilly collars are a bit much, the detail that this artist has included in these images is incredible. My favorites include Superman, Wonder Woman, and Darth Vader. Which is your favorite?

How Crayons Are Made – Although I wish this was more video and less still images, and would go into a bit more detail, I still found this pretty fascinating. My kids think I really do know everything when I tell them I know how crayons are made.

Memorize Scripture: Titus 2:3-5

Paul’s instructions to Titus in the middle portion of his letter are broken down in order to address various groups within the churches that Titus is working with. First, Paul addressed older men. In this week’s passage, he addresses both older women and younger women.

You can see his encouraging words in Titus 2:3-5:

Titus 2:3-5

Paul begins this paragraph with an interesting word: “Likewise.” In the same way, then, Titus is to instruct the older women, and in turn, the younger women. This word seems to be one of Paul’s favorites in the Pastoral letters, indicating a close comparison to what just came before.

In this case, Paul instructed Titus what to each the older men. In the same way, he is to also instruct the older women to be reverent int he way that they live. Paul’s meaning here probably meant women who have families, but whose children are grown have already left the home and begun families of their own. These are women that no longer have children to train. But Paul indicates that simply because they no longer have the role of instructing their own kids on a daily basis does not mean that their work is finished. They can continue to pass on their knowledge to others. In order to do this, they are given four instructions.

Book Review – Invitation To Philippians by Donald R. Sunukjian

Invitation To Philippians As a minister, I am always on the lookout for great preaching resources. Sometimes I find some incredible tools and helpful books that enable me to improve my preaching abilities. Other times, the books I find are not all that great. This book lands somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

Invitation To Philippians, by Donald R. Sunukjian, is a part of the Biblical Preaching For The Contemporary Church series. This is a series that provides resources for the church of today, and for ministers as they strive to be relevant.

The struggle to be relevant has always been a difficult one. If you become to culturally relevant, you run the risk of compromising the message. Or you miss the chance to relevant entirely. That was my feeling as I read this book. Really, each chapter is a sermon, and it covers the entire letter of Paul to the Philippians. But in my opinion, they are bland. They lack something that would give them the power needed to be great sermons.

As I read through this book, I decided that this is much more useful in a illustrative role, rather than as sermons, or even as commentary on the passages.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some useful gems hidden in these pages. But as a preaching resource, this is mediocre, at best. I’m sure that the author is much more engaging in person, since he is a professor of preaching. However, this resource leaves something to be desired.

There are better resources out there.

Question: If you preach, what passages are your favorites to preach on? Is Philippians one of them? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

If you are interested in reading Invitation To Philippians, from the Biblical Preaching For The Contemporary Church, by Donald R. Sunukjian, you can purchase it at Amazon.com in print or for Kindle.

I received this book free from Cross Focused Media as part of their Cross Focused Reviews blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Book Review – Persuasive Preaching by R. Larry Overstreet

Persuasive PreachingAbout a year and a half ago, I entered the preaching ministry full time. The previous two decades, and more, were spent in youth ministry, primarily to teens. In that capacity, I taught a lot. But I really didn’t have much of an opportunity to preach frequently. In all, I only filled the pulpit to preach a handful of times each year.

All that changed when I accepted the position as lead minister at my current church. In this new role, part of my primary priorities include preaching on a weekly basis. I was a bit nervous about making that change, since this isn’t something I was all that familiar with. But the change has been just what was needed, and it was obviously God’s leading for this change in ministry to occur.

However, I immediately realized my need to study more on the subject of preaching. It has been years since my homiletics courses in Bible college, and though I was adept at teaching teenagers, preaching to the whole church seemed to be a whole new league of its own. I immediately pulled out many of my old preaching books from those college courses and brushed up on style, preparation, and delivery, knowing that much of the content in these books, while helpful, was dated. So I began looking for other, newer material.

And I had a hard time finding anything really good, until I picked up a copy of Persuasive Preaching by R. Larry Overstreet. Persuasive Preaching was the shot in the arm that I needed to read to help me focus my attention on the areas of preaching that are the priority.

Book Review – The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney

The Woman Who Would Be KingI don’t know all that much about Egyptian history. The subject has always intrigued me, since much of the Bible’s early history is affected by Egypt. I even went so far as to purchase a few DVD courses a few years ago on Egyptian history, but haven’t studied them completely. It has always been an interest of mine, but never a passion.

That may have just changed.

Over the weekend, I read The Woman Who Would Be King, by Egyptologist Kara Cooney. I was hooked and couldn’t put the book down.

Written in an almost biographical format, The Woman Who Would Be King is about Hatshepsut and her reign as king of Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty.

Against all odds, and against early civilization’s strictures against women in power, Hatshepsut took firm control of the leadership of Egypt when her dynastic line was in trouble. Her powerful father, Thutmose I was dead, leaving a sickly heir, her husband and brother, Thutmose II. Shortly after this, he died as well, and the new heir to the throne was a young child.

Hatshepsut quickly stepped in as regent and co-ruler, taking the reigns of the nation in hand and leading firmly. As she consolidated her power, she built a legacy that few other kings could match. She expanded trade with several new regions in Africa and around the Mediterranean, and even into Asia. She pushed her military strength south into Africa, bringing home much wealth from Nubia. And she instituted a building frenzy of temples, obelisks, and other Egyptian structures that is unparalleled in much of Egypt’s history.

Coffee Break – 11.17.2014

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Starbucks Cup Art – I am not a fan of Starbucks coffee. I find it over-roasted, and over-priced. One of my favorite phrases is, “Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.” However, some people have created some pretty cool works of art out of a Starbucks cup. Check out the Pinterest page too.

Common MythConceptionsSnopes.com is one of the places I turn to to debunk myths on the Internet. But this infographic shows several common and persistent myths that we believe.

Don’t Waste Your Two Most Productive Hours – The past few years, I’ve discovered that my more productive time of day has shifted to the mornings, and particularly the early morning hours. But I still struggle with checking email and doing other mindless tasks during this time.