The Surprising Advantage Of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is tomorrow here in the United States. This is the day of the year when we take the time to be grateful for the blessings that God has given us. However, gratitude should be practiced more than just this single day each year.

Church In The Mountains

A thankful attitude has several tremendous benefits. There are ties to health and physical benefits. Some studies indicate that thankful people are less stressful people. Others suggest that gratitude benefits the emotional realm, and that negative emotions are reduced or eliminated when thankfulness is practiced.

Still another benefit of being grateful is the impact on our relationships. Thankful people are fun to be around and your relationships will benefit from surrounding yourself with those people.

However, there is one advantage of gratitude that supersedes all of these and more. Gratitude carries a benefit far greater than each of these. A thankful heart has one effect upon people that cannot be matched.

Grateful people have learned to rely completely upon the Lord.

You can do a study of the word thankful and all of its derivatives and find out that the Bible has much to say about the idea of gratitude. You will find out that being thankful is an example for us to follow, that thankfulness is a benefit for our spiritual lives, that it is, in fact, a part of God’s will for us.

Grappling With The Chronology Of The Genesis Flood

Grappling With The Chronology Of The Genesis Flood (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2014)

One of my favorite portions of the Bible are the first few chapters of Genesis. The narratives of Creation, the Fall, Noah’s Flood, and the Tower of Babel give incredible insights into the world we live in today. Everything from geology to theology can be explained through the events of these chapters.

One of the major events in this portion of Genesis is Noah’s Flood. And the questions of when it happened, and how long it lasted have been debated for ages.

Grappling With The Chronology Of The Genesis Flood seeks to resolve at least one of these questions by examining in detail the Hebrew grammar found in the Flood narrative. This looks to be a very comprehensive examination of the chronology of Noah’s Flood, and I’m excited to discover what conclusions the authors have reached.

I will post a full review when I finish the book, but in the meantime, you can pick up a copy of Grappling With The Chronology Of The Genesis Flood on Amazon.

Coffee Break – 11.24.2014

Coffee Break Banner

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.