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MONDAY MORNING BLUES

MONDAY MORNING BLUESEaster Sunday was great. Monday morning, not so much!
 
The “Monday morning blues,” sometimes labeled the “happiness hangover,” mean something different for pastors than for others. The “Sunday night blues” turn into the “Monday morning blues” for many people because they are starting their work week. A 2015 poll conducted by Monster.com found that 76% of employees called their Sunday night emotions “really bad” (Monster. com 6/2/15). Pastors suffer from a happiness hangover not because they are starting the work week, but because they ended the work week. The emotional high of Sunday gives way to the riptide of the blues on Monday morning.

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PREACHING IN A “JESUS LITE” WORLD

PREACHING IN A "JESUS LITE" WORLD
Today’s preacher faces the twin challenges of biblical illiteracy and chronic distractability. A 2014 study showed that 40% of Christians who attend church read their Bibles once a month or less (Jared Alcantara, “Preaching Sermons: 2027 Edition, Five Challenges and Five Opportunities Facing Pastors in the Next 10 Years,” www.preachingtoday.com/state-of-preaching). Our churches are increasingly biblically illiterate, and our attentions are constantly distracted. The average American receives 54,000 words and 443 minutes of video every day on social media. Furthermore, there is a new “outrage” demanding our attention every month. The result is that churchgoers have the spiritual attention span of a minnow darting in the shallows (Matt Woodley, “Deep Preaching in a Distracted Age,” www.preachingtoday.com/state-of-preaching).

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IS THE SERMON PAGAN?

IS THE SERMON PAGAN?
Frank Viola and George Barna popularized the charge calling the sermon a “pagan” invention by the church fathers who adopted Greek rhetoric as the form of their sermons. They wrote, “the stunning reality is that today’s sermon has no root in Scripture. Rather, it was borrowed from pagan culture, nursed and adopted into the Christian faith” (Viola and Barna, Pagan Christianity? Exploring the Roots of our Christian Practices, Tyndale House, 2008, p.86).

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THE BIBLE? FOR ME?

THE BIBLE? FOR ME?Applying the Bible to people today is the toughest task I face in preaching. Listeners want to know what a book written so long ago has to say to them now. It is not hard for the preacher to be relevant. That is the easy part. All I have to do is preach what people want to hear.  No! The hard task is showing listeners that the Bible is relevant to their lives. The challenge is connecting the text with the application so that the Bible speaks, not me! The temptation for every preacher is to mishandle the text in our desire to be relevant. Sermons mislead more often in application than information making it our most significant challenge.

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A JEREMIAH MINISTRY?

A JEREMIAH MINISTRY? “Well, if your church doesn’t grow,” a former pastor’s wife said to Barbara Hughes, “Kent is going to feel like a failure.” Barbara had been talking with a woman whose husband had left the pastorate to sell life insurance. She knew that success in ministry is generally measured by growth in numbers. Kent and Barbara were struggling with a declining church, and Kent felt like a failure. They tell their story in Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome. I remember sitting in a classroom years ago listening to Kent and Barbara and thinking how helpful it was to me as a new pastor. Barbara told the woman, “I don’t know why, but you are wrong, and I’m not going to rest until I find out why!” 

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