5 Distractions to Your Preaching

By DrBillComments Off

Hey All,old style preacher

Just listened to a good podcast about preaching from The Sermonators (www.Sermonators.com), Smith and Southerland.  The name of the podcast is “Five Big Distractions in Sermon Delivery”.  They identify the following five distractions (I’ll just summarize them, and you can check out their podcast for details.):

1.  Walking Around

– Too much movement distracts from the words coming out of your mouth; pacing back and forth can make people feel like they are at a tennis match.

2.  Repetitive Words

– Can be really annoying and a big distraction

3.  Shock Words

– Just saying something just to get a reaction from people usually just ends up offending people at an emotional level, and then you have lost them for good.

4.  Loud Clothing

– Wearing clothing that is talking louder than you is not a good idea.

5.  Walking down into the audience

– You end up turning your back on some people, and they are more focused on where you are walking than what you are saying.

So, these are some good tips on sermon delivery.  Check out their podcast to hear all the details.  (Used with permission.)

For great preaching,

Dr. Bill



General, Preaching, Sermons

Sermon Symmetry

By DrBillComments Off

Symmetry is a description of how you write your Main Points.  ”Symmetry” means “balanced proportions”.  If your sermon displays symmetry, it’s main points will be balanced and proportionate.  That is, each main point will seem to have an equal and valuable relationship with all of the other main points.  No main point will dominate, either in terms of importance, impact, or the amount of time you spend on it.butterfly

The three main benefits of sermon symmetry are:

1.  Understandable

Main Points with symmetry, make your sermon easy to follow and understand.

2.  Memorable

It is easy to remember a sermon with has symmetry flow.  I’m writing this blog from memory, based on the sermon symmetry I heard last night.

3.  Beautiful

Main Points with symmetry, are a thing of beauty.  (Note how the three points of this blog also display symmetry.)

Sermon Example:  Take a look at this sermon which I just listened to last night from Dr. John Crocker at Crossroads Church in Albert Lea, MN:

He was speaking on 2 Peter 1:1-12.  His mains were:

  1. Establish Your Identity  (2 Peter 1:1-4)
  2. Exercise Your Responsibility  (2 Peter 1:5-8)
  3. Erase Your Uncertainty  (2 Peter 1:9-12)

This sermon contains symmetry.  Each main is a command verb (Establish, Exercise, Erase). Each main begins with the letter “E”.  Each main is focused on You.  Each key word at the end has a symmetry as well, with each one ending with a “-ty” ending.

This is not just word play.  This gives a sermon memorable power and greater impact in people’s lives.

Yours for better preaching,

Dr. Bill



Preaching, Sermon Tips, Sermons

Sermon Tip: Focus

By DrBillComments Off

laser beam

Laser or light bulb?

Some preachers only kind-of, sort-of, know what they want to say when they get in the pulpit.  And by that I am not saying that they don’t have a manuscript or notes.  What I mean by FOCUS is, has the message captured your heart?  Has God gripped your soul with what you want to say today to God’s people in God’s name?  Focus is when the Big Idea (the Proposition; the Sermon in a Sentence) has gripped your soul and it won’t let you go, until you let it out.

If the message has gripped your soul, you will have Focus.   When you have Focus, you have a powerful message.

What is the result of having Focus to your sermon?

1.  People will feel the power of your message upon THEIR hearts.

They will be gripped by it as well, and they will focus on you.  This is important.  I sit at the back of church when I am not preaching, and I see how the people at the back are really easily distracted.  It takes a powerful message with a strong focus to capture and keep their attention.  The further they sit from the pulpit, the more the Focus is important to maintain their attention.

2.  Your message will be delivered to their hearts like a laser, and not like a soft-white diffused fluorescent bulb.

People will feel like God is speaking to them about something specific.  God’s application is always very specific.  A focused message helps to deliver God’s truth into people’s hearts.

3.  Every point in your message will supplement your main point and sharpen the focus.

The Mains will sharpen, clarify, and strengthen what you have to say.  They will sharpen the Focus, not soften it.

How do you know if you don’t have Focus in your sermon?

1.  You will ramble!

If you don’t have anything specific to say, then, just about anything will do.  Rambling generalities never changed anyone’s life.

2.  You will try to make too many applications.

When a preacher is not sure of what s/he has to say, they often pull out the easy applications and start hitting people about the same old sins.  But Focus helps a sermon to point to one specific life change which God’s Word is calling them to do.

3.  You will lack passion.

The people will sense it, and you will feel it.  The right words may come out, but not with the same punch or power.  Focus adds passion.

How to get Focus in your sermon:

This is the tough part.  How can you make sure that week in and week out, you have clear Focus?  You need to have clearly written goals for your sermon.  I use SermonBase Message Planning Software® to help me frame up my goals for every single message.  I determine the main goal for the entire message.  (And please note, that this is NOT the same as the Big Idea or Proposition.)  Then I determine three sub-goals: Intellectual, Emotional, and Behavioral.  Asking these questions helps me to sharpen the Focus of my message.

Hope that helps!

Here’s to good preaching that grab’s people’s hearts in the name of Jesus!

Dr. Bill


HighPower Resources.com

General, Preaching, Sermon Tips

The Big Idea

By DrBillComments Off

HI All,lightbulb

The Big Idea of the sermon is technically called “the Proposition”.  It is a summary of your entire sermon in one sentence.  Some call it “the sermon in a sentence.”

Getting accurate on the Proposition is the most important step you can do as you begin work on your sermon.  Accurately capturing all you have to say in a single sentence will propel you forward to a successful sermon.  Arriving at the Proposition can be some of the hardest work you do in your sermon preparation.  It may take a couple of days to really nail it; you may have to precede it first with exegetical study of the passage, and an understanding of the culture into which the passage speaks.

But once you have the Big Idea, the Proposition, the Sermon in a Sentence, you are almost half-way there!

A finely crafted Proposition can deliver a powerful punch.

Sermon Example:  Ezekiel 18:1 – 30

This is a very long passage and argument from the Lord God to the people of Israel.  It is difficult enough to explain to adults, but what about mid-schoolers?  How would you explain this passage to teens, ages 12-14??  Nathan Miller of Brooklyn Park EFC taught this passage to just such an age group by really nailing the sermon in a sentence.  Here’s his Proposition, Big Idea, or Sermon in a Sentence for Ezekiel 18:

“Your soul is your responsibility.”

That captures it really well.

Once you have the Proposition, you are on your way to putting together a good sermon. Work hard at it, and you – but especially your people – will be rewarded.

For great preaching,

Dr. Bill



Preaching, Proposition, Sermon Preparation, Sermon Tips

Recovering the Great Commission

By Gladys Perez-NejudneComments Off

by piotr krakowczyk

Recovering the Great Commission – reflection on Matthew 28:16-20 and Matthew 10:7-8

The Great Commission can be found at the end of Mathew’s Gospel: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (28:19-20). There is, however, a less known commission of Jesus in which He tells His disciples: “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely you give” (Matthew 10:7-8). Unfortunately, this commission has practically disappeared from the missionary strategies of our Churches. A few of us dare to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, or drive out demons. We prefer to speak, to teach, and to baptize, and enjoy a quite good income out of all these activities.

The message – the kingdom of God is near

During ten years of my ministry, I have gone to many nations, preached thousands of sermons, given lectures and conferences on various topics, and baptized many people, mostly children. And I can’t complain: this work provided me with enough financial assistance to live a comfortable life. Perhaps, I could dare to say that I am fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus quite well. However, a few things puzzle me when I look closer at my missionary life: the content of my preaching and teaching; God’s hand stretching to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders; and the Gospel being preached free of charge.

“The kingdom of God is near.” The content of this message is that God comes to rule over His people. As if He has made up His mind, seeing our suffering and misery, and decided to do something about it. “I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and specious land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:7-8). God comes to claim us back for Himself. He claims us back from the forces of evil, and He decides to restore us and give us back our very lives.

Jesus and His disciples succeeded in preaching this message. They helped the people to “see” that God is concerned with a sparrow; they enable the people to realize that everyone is precious in God’s eyes; and they were able to point out that the end of life is not emptiness and nothingness, but a joyful banquet in the God’s presence. Moreover, they did not only speak about it; they made into a reality.

The power of message – signs and wonders

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.” What a fascinating passage! What a commission! Yet, what have we – Christians of the twenty first century – done with these words? Many theologians and pastors came out with a hypothesis that sees all signs and wonders recorded in the Gospel as a myth or fairy tale. There are even Churches who claim that the era of signs and wonders was confined to the Apostolic Church. Thus, the miracles ended long time ago, and now is the era of knowledge and science. Could it be true? Could this explain the lack of miracles in the midst of our Christian congregations? But then, what about those who actually were able to fulfill this commission, those who healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, and drove out demons? His name was John Sung (1901-44), born in the home of a Methodist pastor in Fujian, China. He is considered one among the greatest Chinese evangelist of 20th century. There were numerous cases of healing in his ministry. For example, instant recovery from a near fatal heart attack, the lame walking, the leprous being made clean, and the deaf and dumb being made whole. It was May 1988, Suangzang, Myanmar. Kam Cin Hau conducted a prayer meeting during which many people converted to Christianity and many were healed.

A hypothesis is a suggested explanation of a phenomenon. However, in the scientific world, any hypothesis requires testing, and one fact that contradicts a hypothesis is sufficient to disclaim it. The two above mentioned examples clearly indicate that signs and wonders are still part of Christian preaching. And there are more examples that could be cited in this matter. There seems to be no escape from concluding that if signs and wonders are missing from our proclamation, then there is something wrong. Jesus always meant what he said. If He said, “go and heal,” He meant it that way, and He promised to stretch out His hand and do the signs and wonders.

Read the rest of the article here.



How to Know the Will of God through Expository Preaching

By Gladys Perez-NejudneComments Off

How to Know the Will of God through Expository Preaching

by Carlton Pruitt

We gather together this evening brethren to lay before us the importance of understanding the will of the Lord and the way that we discover the will of God is in His word the Bible. You see the Bible reveals God’s MIND, therefore, we are to KNOW it. It reveals the WILL of God, therefore, we are to OBEY it and it reveals the HEART of God, therefore, we are to LOVE it.

Now this is not original with me brethren but it is a wise truth that I once learned among others and as all truths are wise as they are found in the word of God.

Let’s take up the topic of expository preaching. What is it? First of all expository preaching seeks to weld together the Biblical text under consideration and the contemporary world. John Stott said that it is his conviction that all Christian preaching is expository preaching. You see we can not see expository preaching as just one of many different styles such as topical or evangelistic, devotional or apologetic or prophetic.

Expository preaching is not just an accurate commentary on the Bible or a word study tied in with various lucid illustrations but it is declaring what God has said. It is explaining the meaning of the Bible which is first declaring what God has said. How can we explain the meaning? The meaning of what? The meaning of the Bible and what God has said. Therefore, we must declare the doctrine as found in the Scripture, the word of God, to announce or state
it in the plainess language possible, then we seek to explain or expound its meaning and then we show its relevance or practical application.

We apply it to the listeners heart or we seek to apply it to the listeners heart. Only the Holy Spirit, the only true teacher and third person of the Godhead, can truly bring about an understanding of the word and convict men of their sins. Perhaps one of the reasons some preaching today lacks effectiveness is because the Holy Spirit has not seen fit to enlighten our understanding and to convict of sin, righteousness and judgment.

Remember the parable of the sower? Some of the seed representing the word of God, fell on stony ground and among throns where there was either no root so the people had an emotional response, maybe made a profession and were baptized, even entered the visible church but there was no true saving faith, no priciple of grace. No root. Christ is not in them. Why? The ground is stony and hard. Hardness of heart will make the soil or soul unfit to receive the word of God which is Jesus Christ our root. Or the cares and riches of the world choked the word out. The word got crowded out as a field of weeds chokes out the good seed.

I remember once planting a garden with several rows of corn. I wasn’t diligent in tending to this garden. Oh, yes, I watered it enough and it got plenty of sunshine but I let the weeds spring up unchecked and uncontrolled. Guess what? These weeds choked out that good corn and made it unfruitful and unproductive. Never did I see weeds grow so fast and furious. They strangled the souls of many professors. These are the religious people who never completely cast off their profession of Christ, who, nevertheless, love this world and culture and philosophy. They seek their peace and security and joy in what the world offers instead of what the word commands.

1 John 2:15 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”

Some people are mindless simpletons who never ponder the word preached. After church they talk about anything and everything except the preacher’s sermon. Thus they neglect the word. They neither understand nor take pains to understand it and so Satan, the arch enemy of our souls, snatches the word before it is hid in the heart. Like birds that pick up the visible seed on the ground so Satan picks up the word that lies bare and naked on the surface of the heart.

David said, the Psalmist, “Thy word have I hid in my hear that I might not sin against three.”
Hearing is not equivalent to hiding it. We must hear and by meditation and prayer so hide the word in the heart that the Devil can not take the word from us.

Knowing therefore these truths, let us give a more earnest heed to the things which we have heard preached and which we have read in our Bibles.

Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching. See the original article here.



The Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Preaching

By Gladys Perez-NejudneNo Comments

(if you want people to listen to you)

The Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Preaching-Bill-Miller

We are going back to the basics today. We will cover the basic elements of good public speaking in the context of a Christian church. Why? It may seem surprising but unfortunately there are still many pastors out there whom have to be reminded of some classic rules for good homiletics. (I know this because I was just in a church recently in which the preacher made nearly all of these mistakes.)

Remember, the goal of teaching the Word of God is so that people are engaged and understand. (“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 23:23 ) If the preaching or teaching of God’s Word does not help people to understand or follow Jesus more closely, then it has failed.

So now let’s take a look at the Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Preaching (if you want people to listen to you.)

1. Don’t warn people that it won’t be that good.

The preacher started by saying “I really didn’t have a lot of time this week….”. What he was doing was lowering our expectations right from the start, by letting us know that what we were about to hear was not too good.

It does not matter to the person in the pew what your week was like. Because you don’t know what their week was like. When they take the time to come to church they are coming to hear from God, not excuses about why someone didn’t have time to put together a good sermon.

The best thing you can do if you have had a busy week is to keep your message short and to the point. Give whatever quality teaching you have, and then just let people go home early. They will thank you for it. There is no need to fill the time just because, if you don’t have any good content after the first ten minutes.

2. Don’t be pedantic.

That means don’t treat people like ignorant children. Your audience is probably very well educated. Don’t define words that your people probably know already. Don’t draw obvious conclusions when the results speak for themselves.

People are happy to learn new things, especially if it relates somehow to their life, so it is OK to teach. Just don’t assume that you are the only educated person in the room.

3. Don’t give us a historical lecture.

That means that people don’t come to church in order to get a history lesson. This doesn’t mean you can’t provide some good contextual clues and historical-grammatical analysis. But how much time are you going to spend on it? People come to church to hear a Word from God, not a history lecture.

So if you have the privilege of teaching God’s Word, then be sure to do it. So, apply the Word to life.

4. Don’t use King James.

I’m sorry folks, but it has to be faced that although the King James was good for its time in 1611, we are a bit beyond that point now! There have been great improvements in Biblical translation and the study of the Greek manuscripts since that time. It’s time to use a modern translation.

Like missionaries who adapt their practices in order to reach a lost people, you too must adapt your methods to speak to your audience. If your audience only spoke German, you wouldn’t try to communicate to them in Spanish. And if your audience is from the 21st century, then you also don’t want to use language from the 17th century.

5. Don’t use Thee and Thou in your prayers.

God is not impressed that you speak to Him using Elizabethan English, and neither are thy people.

6. Don’t be afraid of technology.

There are still people out there who feel it is somehow less spiritual to put God’s Word on screen. I know this is the case, because I’ve been in meetings where that is exactly what preachers have said. It’s OK to publish the Word on screen.

Good speakers who are interested in communicating will use every tool at their disposal to get the message across. And when that message is something as important as the Word of God, then it is all the more necessary to do all one can to communicate truth.

7. Don’t talk too much.

Don’t be verbose; that is using way more words than you need to to make your point. Stay within your time limit. It is surprising to me how many public speakers think they have a right to overrun the set amount of time they are given to speak. This is discourteous to everyone there and any schedules they may have to keep.

Professional speakers know how much time they have and they pace themselves so that they don’t have to skip over important points or rush it all at the end.

8. Don’t jump all over the place.

Why do I say this? Because the preacher I just listened to could not make a point. And so he tried to make many points by talking about many different things. He may have thought that they were all related to his topic, but I as a listener did not have a clue what all these things had in common.

So, if you want people to listen to you then, find a key passage and explain it. Stick to that passage of Scripture. Explain it clearly and succinctly without meandering all over the countryside.

9. Don’t forget the Proposition.

The proposition is the ‘sermon in a sentence’. If you cannot express in a single sentence what you are trying to say in your message, then you do not clearly understand what you are trying to say. You have to be able to express it simply and clearly and in one sentence. Once you have mastered the proposition, then you are ready to write the rest of your sermon.

If you want to learn more about this, then get my book, “How to Prepare a Great Sermon in Ten Easy Steps”.

10. Don’t forget the Application.

When I left the service that day, I did not know what I was supposed to do differently with my life as a result of listening to the preacher that day. I knew a lot of history about the subject of the passage, but I didn’t know how any of that history translated into my life.

If the Proposition is your entire sermon summed up in one point, then the Application is your entire sermon summed up in one action. You need to be able to answer the question of “What do I want my listeners to DO as a result of listening to me today?” Now this “Do” could be simply to Believe, or Trust, or it could be to Feel or Fear God, or feel Joy. Or it could be an actual action like, ‘love your neighbor’ or ‘do not lie’, etc.

In summary, yes, the man I listened to really did make almost all of these mistakes. This sort of thing still happens in many places. I know that if you are taking the time to read this that you want to do a good job of communicating God’s Word to people. If you make it a point to avoid these ten mistakes, you will automatically be improving the strength of your preaching. People will leave the service having understood God’s Word and having the tools they need to make the right choices for the week ahead of them.

God bless you as you seek to serve Him well.

Dr. Bill

General, Preaching

Church Family Gifts

By Gladys Perez-NejudneComments Off

by Stephen Stillman
“Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant”, (I Corinthians 12:1). In this verse and the verses following the Apostle Paul is telling us that as Christians we receive gifts from God. Paul is not referring to every day blessings, but special gifts given to the individual members of the Church family. He is referring to “Spiritual Gifts“.
Definition: A “Spiritual Gift” is a special ability given by the Holy Spirit to the Christian to be used for the benefit of the Church.
The same problem often exists in receiving “Spiritual Gifts” that exists in receiving gifts from one another. This problem is that we may try to read something into the gift or make assumptions concerning them.
1. We may make a direct relationship between our gifts and our spirituality. In example, a person who has the gift of “hospitality” may not be seen as being as spiritual as a person who has the gift of “preaching“.
2. Here are some statements that have been made that make such assumptions:
a. The more important the “Spiritual Gift”, the more mature and spiritual the person.
b. The major evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is his or her ability to speak in tongues.
c. We must ask God for the “Spiritual Gift” we want.
d. Some Christians have little to contribute to others.
e. Some people are more important than others in the Church as in every situation.
When we think of the early Church we think of a strong, growing Church that is void of many problems. When we are plagued by problems in our own congregation, or unhappy about our personal spiritual growth, we wish we could be as the New Testament Church. We feel that the Church has lost it’s power and wonder how to recapture those earlier days of constant victory. But when we study this Chapter of I Corinthians we see clearly that the early Church was not utopia! One of the problems in the early Church in Corinth focused on this very problem, relating “Spiritual Gifts” to spirituality. Paul realized the Church at Corinth was suffering because they didn’t understand one of the “Spiritual Gifts” and were making false assumptions. Paul challenged their assumptions in verse 1 stating “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethern, I would not have you ignorant”. The same applies to the Church today. If we can understand more about “Spiritual Gifts”, many of the problems within the Church would be overcome.
As stated earlier, a “Spiritual Gift” is a special ability given by the Holy Spirit to the Christian to be used for the benefit of the Church. It is a special ability that differs from a natural talent. While God uses our natural talents in ministry to others, “Spiritual Gifts” are supernatural abilities given by God. “Spiritual Gifts” exceed the limits of our own abilities to equip us for fruitful and effective ministry. Since they are gifts, they must be given. They are gifts of grace and therefore given without regard for the merit of the person receiving them. They cannot be learned, only developed and sharpened after receiving them. They are given to the Christian at the discretion of God. Non-believers do not have “Spiritual Gifts”. They may have great talents, but they are not genuine “Spiritual Gifts”. Every Christian has a “Spiritual Gift” and some Christians receive a combination of them. There are no ungifted believers, only Christians who have not discovered and developed their “Spiritual Gifts”.

Here is a list of some specific “Spiritual Gifts”. Depending upon interpretation of Scripture there are from 12 to 28 “Spiritual Gifts”.
EvangelismEphesians 4:11, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers“. This gift is a special ability to share the Gospel with unbelievers in such a way they come to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. Preaching in an evangelistic method is only one type of evangelism. Evangelism is also life-style.
ShepherdingEphesians 4:11. This gift is a special ability to minister the Word of God to individuals to bring positive spiritual growth to their lives. A good shepherd feeds his sheep or leads them to the place to feed. A good shepherd watches over his sheep. He protects them from their natural enemies. He keeps them from going astray and will go after them when they do go astray.
Teaching/PreachingEphesians 4:11. This gift is a special ability to communicate important facts and messages from God’s Word so that people are uplifted and challenged. This idea, like evangelizing and shepherding, is looked upon as a gift of the pastor only or someone who is more spiritual than most Christians. Again, this is a false assumption because a Sunday School teacher with this very special gift can communicate messages from God’s Word just as well as the pastor. This gift has specialization within it’s own specialty. Some may have the gift of teaching and challenging young people; others teen-agers; others married couples; others to the more mature (elderly); others to women; and others to men.
AdministrationI Corinthians 12:28, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” This is a special ability to understand the overall mission of the Church and to create plans and programs for accomplishing that mission. The first step in the administration of any mission is to understand the goals. There are many offices of administration: Sunday School Superintendent, Music Director, Youth Director, etc. It takes a special ability to create programs to supplement these separate ministries. As the Church grows, more ministries will be needed and each ministry needs an administrator that is creative and can develop exciting plans and programs.
LeadershipRomans 12:8, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” This is a special gift to motivate others to move in harmony toward the goals of the Church. Some may combine this gift with the gift of administration.
MusicRomans 15:9, “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for [his] mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name“. This is a special gift to offer praise to the Lord in music and to lead others in the Body to similar praise. We see and are blessed in the Church with these gifts. This gift is not just the ability to sing or play some musical instrument, but to do so in a manner that offers praise to the Lord.
MercyRomans 12:8, “Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” This is a special gift to feel genuine concern and compassion for troubled or neglected individuals and to translate that feeling into deeds that help alleviate their suffering. It is not hard to be compassionate and feel concerned for neglected and troubled people, but the specialty is to administer deeds that help alleviate their suffering. There is a great ministry here, for those who are grieving over loved ones, for the elderly in nursing homes, etc.
HospitalityHebrews 13:1,2, “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” This is a special gift to provide an open house and/or attitude of warm welcome to strangers or those who are in need. Not all Christians are hospitable; even to people they know. It is a definite gift to open your home to a stranger, but look at the warning the writer here gives. Don’t forget to entertain a stranger, for there have been some who have entertained angels unaware.
IntercessionI Timothy 2:1 & 8, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;” I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” This is a special gift to spend extended periods of time praying for the specific needs of others. It is not always hard to remember our friends and loved ones in prayer, but the specialty here is to be able to spend extended time; the time required to name each person and to talk with God about their specific need.
HelpsI Corinthians 12:28, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” This is a special gift to invest time and talents in the work of the Lord in ways that often seem small or behind the scenes. This is one of the “Spiritual Gifts” where the problem of comparing gifts to the spirituality of the person arises. Some Christians have the special ability to just be at all Church functions and invest time in helping with anything.
WritingI Timothy 3:14, “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly.” This is a special gift to formulate thoughts into organized written forms so that the reader will be instructed and inspired. This ministry could be written messages to go along with the bulletin ministry. It may be the ability to organize and put thoughts into a church newsletter or publication.
Craftsmanship (artistic)Exodus 31:3, “And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship“. This is a special gift to create artistic items for the overall ministry of the Church. This gift is used especially among children. It is the ability to tell God’s message in some artistic way.
Craftsmanship (manual)Exodus 31:4, “To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass”. This is a special gift to keep the Church moving through building, maintaining, and repairing the tools, building, and equipment of the Church.
A “Spiritual Gift” is given to the Christian to be used. Unfortunately, a large percentage of otherwise serious disciples are not using their particular gifts. Others are caught up in tasks for which they are not gifted. “Spiritual Gifts” must be used if others are to be ministered to through them. They are never to be admired or ignored, or saved for special days. They are to be used for the Glory of God.
Developing a personal ministry hinges on discovering and developing one’s “Spiritual Gifts”. A personal ministry must center on doing things God has specifically equipped a person to do.
If the Church is to succeed and grow, members must seek out their “Spiritual Gifts” and work to develop them. Some Christians may have just one gift, while others may have many. If the Church wants to correct some mistakes it must realize that “Spiritual Gifts” are not directly proportionate to a person’s spirituality.


The Importance of Transitions

By DrBillComments Off

It’s all about Flow

The difference between a sermon with “flow” and a sermon that feels chunky and disjointed is the word “transitions”. The ‘transitional statement’ is the statement which alerts your listeners that you are now moving the logic of the sermon forward in some way. It may be words like “so then”, or “therefore”, or “because of this we can see”. It could even be “in summary”. The main thing is that you give your listeners a verbal clue that something new is happening. You are letting them know that they should listen closely because something new is about to be entered into the content or logic of the sermon.

When transitions are executed effectively the sermon just feels like it is moving along nicely, with a good flow. People are moved gradually from point to point until you bring them inexorably to the conclusion and application which you have in mind for them. They may not even be aware of the progression towards and ultimate climax but they realize once they are there that they have arrived in a perfectly logical and commonsense manner. The whole sermon just “makes sense” as you have moved them from the content of the text to its ultimate conclusion upon their lives.

An Example of a Transitional Statement

If transitional statements are not well executed then the listeners will find themselves listening to a certain point, and asking, “How did we get here?” For example, you may have a three-point sermon with the proposition, “God has shown His love for you.” Then your mains would be: 1. He created you; 2. He cares for you; 3. He called you to Himself. If you just jump from point to point, when you are done with point number one, you would just say, “2. He cares for you” without any introduction. After going through all your supporting material in point #1, the listener is jerked back to the Mains without any warning.

On the other hand, a helpful transitional statement would be added to the mid-point at the end of your first Main, and just before your second Main Point:  “Not only has God shown His love for you by creating you, but He also shows His love to you, secondly, by caring for you. So my second point is that God Cares for You.” Or, just before the third Main Point, you would say something like, “Not only has God shown His love for you by creating you, and by caring for you. But third, He Called You.” See how that feels much smoother? You are taking them on a quick trackback through the Mains of the sermon, before you move onto the next Main Point.

The Power of Flow

Do not underestimate the power of a good transition to keep your sermon flowing, and to give the listener verbal warnings of “sudden turns” or new topics ahead. Transitions can help you to be a more polished presenter of the Word of God.

Yours for great preaching!

Dr. Bill Miller



General, Preaching, Sermon Preparation
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