Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fireproof Your Marriage, New Sermon by Michael Catt

I just published a new sermon by Pastor Michael Catt. Michael Catt has been the Senior Pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia since 1989. In that role, he has served as Executive Producer for all three Sherwood Pictures' films: Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof. For more information regarding Fireproof Your Life by Michael Catt, visit

You may view the sermon Fireproof Your Marriage now

You may also visit the LifeWay's Fireproof movie site here

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fireproof Movie: Free Sample from The Love Dare book

One of the central parts of the new movie, Fireproof (in theaters September 26, 2008 and available on DVD in early 2009) is The Love Dare book that Caleb's father presents him when Caleb's marriage is spinning out of control.

When Barbara (my wife) and I went to Albany, Georgia to watch part of the filming of Fireproof, and saw clips of the movie, we both began thinking of ways this amazing film could be used to impact marriages in our church family as well as marriages all over the world.

During a break from the filming, Alex Kendrick, Fireproof Producer, and co-writer with his brother Stephen (Fireproof Director) took us into a side room and asked us what we thought so far. Our questions turned to ministry impact and what resources would be available for pastors and church leaders. Alex felt the same way and shared that this was the vision of the whole team. They hoped that LifeWay would be involved.

I am so proud that B & H Publishing Group (a division of LifeWay) decided to publish The Love Dare and that LifeWay Church Resources will be publishing a small group curriculum in early 2009 that will be out the same time the Fireproof DVD will release.

While I don't have all the information about the curriculum, I want to share a little about The Love Dare book that was written by Steven and Alex Kendrick. Here are the basics ...

"The Love Dare is a 40-day guided devotional experience that will lead your heart back to truly loving your spouse while learning more about the design, nature, and source of true love. Each reading includes Scripture, a statement of principle, the day’s 'dare,' and a journaling area and check box to chart progress."

In the introduction to The Love Dare, the authors lay out the three elements of each chapter.
  1. First, a unique aspect of love will be discussed. Read each of these carefully and be open to a new understanding of what it means to genuinely love someone.
  2. Second, you will be given a specific dare to do for your spouse. Some will be easy and some very challenging. But take each dare seriously, and be creative and courageous enough to attempt it. Don’t be discouraged if outside situations prevent you from accomplishing a specific dare. Just pick back up as soon as you can and proceed with the journey.
  3. Last, you will be given journal space to log what you are learning and doing and how your spouse is responding. It is important that you take advantage of this space to capture what is happening to both you and your mate along the way. These notes will record your progress and should become priceless to you in the future.
I have posted a free 11-page sample of The Love Dare in our online catalog. I encourage you to pre-order copies of the book for every couple in your church.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

How to Celebrate a Church Anniversary

One of my favorite writers is Diana Davis. This article on How to Celebrate a Church Anniversary comes from her book Fresh Ideas: 1,000 Ways to Grow a Thriving and Energetic Church.

We have posted numerous articles/excerpts from this book with Diana's permission and they have all been hits. If you are preparing to celebrate a milestone anniversary in your church (whether it's 5, 5, or 150 years) you'll want to check out Diana's practical ideas in the article How to Celebrate a Church Anniversary

You may also want to check out her newest book, Fresh Ideas for Women's Ministry: Creative Plans and Programs that Really Work.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Google Publicly Launches Beta of Knol - a New Web Authoring Tool to Share Knowledge

I'm planning to experiment with Knols in the coming months to post information on Preaching, Pastoral Care, Leadership, Evangelism, and a Pastor's personal growth. Just like a blog, it's free and fairly easy to get started.

Read the Article Introducing Knol

I created a quick Knol on Preaching and look forward to adding content there during the next few weeks. Got any ideas for specific topics you think I should cover?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Free Online Fuel Cost Calculators

Are you thinking about getting a new car to save on fuel costs? Or, trying to see if you need to use public transit? Estimating the cost of gas for a road trip? Here are a three free calculators from ...
You may also want to check out this page from ...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Quick Poll: What is your church's worship style?

I posted a new quick poll in the pastor's area of

It will just be up until Thursday, July 24, 2008 so go to and be included in this informal survey.

I am aware that there are different definitions for each of these styles and you may not know what constitutes a "Gen X / Postmodern" style of worship, but if it's your style you probably know it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Should We Anoint the Sick with Oil Today?

I'm not sure where you stand on this issue. Anointing with oil is not part of my normal practice. Bruce Grubbs, the senior pastor at the church where I serve part-time on staff (Gladeville Baptist) does this on a regular basis and I think it's very cool.

I posted a new article on this subject by Pastor Harold Dinsmore in the Pastors Area of

Pastor Dinsmore believes we are missing a great opportunity if we don't choose to offer the anointing of oil when we pray for the sick. He offers his reasoning as well as five things to consider should you choose to do this.

Read Should We Anoint the Sick with Oil Today?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Christian & Religious Families Happier, Less Likely to Divorce

Excerpted from a article by Michael Foust

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Men who attend religious services regularly are more likely to have happy and stable marriages, more likely to be involved with their children and less likely to divorce, new research says.

Additionally, mothers who attend church weekly are half as likely to have children out of wedlock, the study says.

The research by the University of Virginia's W. Bradford Wilcox analyzed data from three national surveys: the General Social Survey, the National Survey of Families and Households, and the National Survey of Family Growth.

The research also drew partially from data in Wilcox's book, "Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands."

Read Foust's article in Baptist Press: Christian & Religious Families Happier, Less Likely to Divorce

And, read a preview of Soft Patriarchs, New Men at or buy Soft Patriarchs at

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Neo-Nazi Convict becomes Pastor after Transformation

Courtesy of MINERAL WELLS, Texas

Seventeen years of prison and a lifetime of hate, violence and racism is mapped on Steven Neill's body. Druids, swastikas, skulls and symbols of the occult circle and mesh darkly up his arms and disappear into his shirt; the letters "skinhead" are tattooed across the knuckles of both fists. Friedrich Nietzsche's famous phrase – "God is dead" – stands defiantly in black, inked into his wrist.

But God is very much alive to Neill, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Mineral Wells, Texas, and his markings weave a visible testimony of a life transformed.

"These are the roadmap of my life-story," he said unashamedly, running a rough hand up his arm. The tattoos are an easy way to share Jesus, just like Share Jesus Without Fear – the witnessing method that stopped Neill in his tracks and led to his salvation.

Read Neo-Nazi finds freedom in prison by Russ Rankin

Sunday, July 13, 2008

3 Ways to Avoid Church Conflict During Uncertain Times

Wayne Oakes, minister/church relations consultant for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, says uncertain times bring anxiety into the church. When everything around them is changing, Christians often cling to an unchanging local church for security.

So, when church leadership suggests change, the anxious member feels the last leg of security kicked out from under him.

Read this practical article excerpted from by Norman Jameson.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Webcourse: Simple Church - Next Steps

I had the chance to go through the new online webcourse: Simple Church - Next Steps and was blown away by the five practical training videos featuring Eric Geiger (co-author of Simple Church) as well as the PowerPoint training session on Managing Change and Conflict featuring LifeWay Lead Consultant, Barry Campbell.

I plan to purchase this online training for our church staff and other key leaders as we continue to pursue the Simple Church model. I encourage you to buy and complete this webcourse as well.

You will also want to view a video interview with Dan Garland, Director of Pastoral Ministries and Church Consulting here at LifeWay and Scott Kerr. Scott Kerr is pastor of Valley Creek Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. They discuss the process of a traditional church becoming a Simple Church.

How One Church Is Confronting the Danger of Moral Failure

I read an article this morning in titled, Ky. church confronts danger of moral failure and wanted to let you see the letter that Pastor Todd Brady sent to his church family. I am grateful for his leadership and example for the rest of us ...

Dear Church Family:

Churches should trust their leaders. Church leaders should live and provide leadership which is worthy of such trust.

Shivers went down my spine when I read of the minister in Plano, Texas, who was arrested recently in a sex sting after having solicited a minor online and after having driven three hours to meet with what he thought was a 13 year-old girl.

This incident is yet another contribution to the loss of trust and confidence in our society’s church authorities.

Eleven years of ministry with students on a college campus cause me to be acutely aware of the dangers of sexual temptation—particularly internet pornography.

In light of this latest story from Texas, I am thrilled that the pastoral leadership and staff of our church have spoken humbly, and yet definitively, concerning sexual temptation and accountability. It is my desire that you know of our earnestness as we seek to be faithful to God and accountable to one another with our lives and our ministries.

Thank you for your prayers for us. We love you, and it is our joy to issue the enclosed statement – for the good of First Baptist Church and beyond, and for the glory of our great God.

1 Corinthians 4:2,

Sincerely in Christ,

Todd Brady. Pastor
First Baptist Church of Paducah

You may download the resolution they adopted here ...

Here are other articles on this topic ...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Car Talk's "As The Wrench Turns" Premieres this Weekend

My family is a huge fan of the NPR program Car Talk. So, I am stoked to see that they have an animated program featuring Click & Clack, the Tappet brothers.

Here's a summary from the website: Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the didactic duo whose voices grace the NPR airwaves on the ever-popular radio show Car Talk, have moved themselves into the world of animation with the all-new primetime series Click & Clack's As the Wrench Turns.

The program takes off from the hit NPR show and follows the on- and off-air escapades of Click and Clack, the Tappet brothers (alter-egos of Tom and Ray Magliozzi) as they try to fix cars, fend off disgruntled customers and seek out increasingly creative ways to goof off. Click & Clack's As the Wrench Turns is set at Car Talk Plaza, a fictional building that houses their radio studio and their famed garage in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

You'll have to check your local station for the schedule. Nashville's WNPT Channel 8 says it will be on this Saturday at 6 p.m. central but other stations have it tonight.

Visit their fun website now ...

5-Sermon Series on Jonah Posted in Proclaim Online

I have finished posting the August 2008 Extra Sermons, "Returning to God." This is a five-sermon series from Jonah by Jerry Gifford. The series includes five sermons with the following titles and scriptures:
  1. Six Signs We Need to Return to God, Jonah 1:1-3, 5
  2. God Wants You Back, Jonah 1:4 - 2:10
  3. Returning to God: Confinement, Communion, and Confession, Jonah 2
  4. A Second Chance with God, Jonah 3
  5. A Heartless Prophet, Jonah 4
You will also be able to download the complete series. The download will include both RTF and PDF manuscripts, a PowerPoint template, and three images.

View the Returning to God series now ...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Who Runs the Church?

The final article in our series on Pastor Terminations launched this morning. "Pastor, this is our church and not yours and it is about time you realized this." If you've heard this statement, you know the potential conflict it represents.

"Who runs the church?" and the power and control issues coming from that question is the number one reason for pastor termination. You can help to avoid this by understanding the following five truths about power and control issues and by heeding the following five suggestions to neutralize these issues.

Read The Number One Issue for Pastor Termination: Control Issues Over "Who Runs the Church?"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Long Road To Forgiveness - Kim Phuc

I was listening to NPR on the way home and had my breath taken away by an audio essay that was a part of the, "This I Believe" series. Kim Phuc is best known as the girl in the famous photo of a Vietnam War napalm-bombing attack near Saigon. As I listened, I wasn't sure where she was going but was touched to the core as her story unfolded.

I encourage you to listen to her essay. The uncomfortable part of this story is that this famous photo has her running unclothed away from the napalm-bomb. But this is a powerful story of her coming to know the love of God through reading the Bible. This is how she puts it ...
In Christmas 1982, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. It was an amazing turning point in my life. God helped me to learn to forgive — the most difficult of all lessons. It didn't happen in a day and it wasn't easy. But I finally got it.
You may read or listen to her essay here, "The Long Road To Forgiveness."

Depending on your setting, this would be a powerful illustration for preaching or teaching. Of course you would avoid using the image in your worship service or class room.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

2008 Southern Baptist Convention Compensation Study

The results of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Compensation Study are now online. Anyone can access the results and run free reports. This is valuable information for churches who are evaluating how they compensation their staff. It is also valuable for pastors and church staff as they evaluate their own compensation as it relates to their age, experience, and education as well as other important factors like church attendance and the church's budget.

An electronic survey questionnaire was carefully designed by an advisory group representing Baptist state conventions, LifeWay Christian Resources, and GuideStone Financial Resources. The questionnaire was accessible via the internet from January 7 through April 15 of 2008.

Authors of the study suggest you use the “Customized Study” menu option. It “cuts through” many apparent differences in data and gives you data for churches most like your own in size and financial resources. It is also important to use all state conventions when preparing a customized report. . This gives you the broadest possible database and provides the most accurate information for your church.

In the FAQs on the site, it is reported that there are at least five advantages to this study:
  1. It is uniquely Southern Baptist. All 13,020 responses included in the survey are for ministers and employees of SBC churches.
  2. It is free. The participating state conventions LifeWay Christian Resources, and GuideStone Financial Resources pay all costs.
  3. All reports are available on the Internet.
  4. Most compensation studies provide reports based on attendance, budget, etc. The customized report option is unique to the SBC study. This makes it possible to get compensation data based on churches most like your own by combining criteria.
  5. Every survey form received is evaluated for valid, useable data and over 20 data integrity filters are used on the data before study results are compiled.
Access the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Compensation Study now ...