Leadership as an Identity

bookOver the weekend I read Leadership as an Identity: The Four Traits of Those Who Wield Lasting Influence (kindle) by Crawford Loritts. To say I liked this book would be an understatement. I devoured this book. I found myself highlight almost something on every page.

If you are a Christian leader, pastor or business leader, you need to read this book. What set this book apart was that it had very little “here’s what a leader does” advice. This book is all about what influences and shapes a leader. Ultimately, what shapes a leader will eventually come out in their actions.

Here is some of what I highlighted:

  • We tend to ignore character flaws and even sin in the life of a leader because of his more worldly leadership skills.
  • Brokenness is a conscious, core awareness that you need God in all things. A broken person has come to realize that he is nothing and can do nothing apart from God’s presence and enabling power (John 15:5). A broken person has come to the end of himself—at least what he understands at that moment to be the end of himself.
  • The leader who is broken is a leader who can be used by God.
  • God delights in surrender. It is a foundational, fundamental principle of the Christian life. In fact, you can’t truly be a Christian without surrender.
  • Leaders fall when they stop following.
  • Humility is an intentional thing. It is a decision, a choice. When you fail to intentionally humble yourself, pride will overtake you. It’s just a matter of time.
  • A challenge not only for young leaders but for all leaders is that you are one decision away from losing the ability to lead.
  • God does not primarily delight in using what you bring to the table. Instead, He delights in using what you surrender to Him. His assignments will require you to operate outside of your areas of strength, out of your comfort zone. God will put you in situations where you have no choice but to rely on His miraculous power, strength, and intervention.
  • The truly great, effective leaders are not always the “best” leaders.
  • What we value the most will be the foundation upon which we build our leadership.
  • Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks.
  • God is using what He has given you to do to not only accomplish His assignments but to make you what He wants you to become.
  • Every person God will trust with influencing others will suffer.
  • It’s a dangerous thing to follow a leader who has never failed.
  • There can be no leadership apart from adversity and hard times. Your credibility to lead is in direct relationship to your ability to endure.
  • The challenges of leadership are meant to make you hungry for God.
  • God’s presence causes you to lead from rest.
  • Despite what is going on all around you, know that He not only has everything that you need, but He is also giving you all that you need to deal with whatever is before you.
  • Christian leadership is all about doing what God wants done.
  • There is a close relationship between your walk with God and the assignment He has given you.
  • We need to be careful that we are not using servant leadership language as a strategy—as a means to manipulate people to do what we want them to do.
  • Vision gives the leader the responsibility to see the big picture and determine where a ministry is going. The leader then mobilizes the people to get the job done.
  • I think one of the greatest challenges for a leader is to move people to places that many times they don’t want to go—but they are never the same once they have gone!
  • Both pride and humility have, for the most part, very little to do with your actions and choices, but they have everything to do with your motives and attitudes.
  • Humility is the intentional recognition that God is everything to you, and that you are nothing without Him. It is the acknowledgment that life is not about you, and that the needs of others are more important than your own.
  • Your approach to leadership can reveal whether it is a passion or just a diversion.
  • Biblical leadership is characterized not only by brokenness, uncommon communion, and servanthood but also by radical, immediate obedience.
  • There is no such thing as leadership apart from action.
  • God is about the business of doing through us what He wants done.
  • When God speaks, obedience is not something to be negotiated. There’s no such thing as partial obedience. We either completely do what God says or we disobey Him. God is to be taken seriously.
  • We tend to project our negative experiences with authority onto God. We either have problems trusting God, or we develop our own theology, making Him a “softer God” who demands very little of us.
  • God never calls you to do anything without also assuring you of His presence.

If you want to see some of the past books I’ve reviewed, go here.

A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

bookI have had Paul Miller’s book A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World (kindle version) on my iPad for a couple of years. I heard about how great it was from other pastors. Katie read it and it changed how she prayed and connected with God dramatically. Yet, I never got around to reading it. I felt like my prayer life wasn’t great but it wasn’t horrible, so I put it off.

Then, as I was preaching through the book of John at Revolution Church, I got to John 17 and decided that as I was preparing those sermons and looking at how Jesus prayed, I needed to up my game in a big way. So, I finally read A Praying Life. 

I’m really sad I waited this long to read it.

What I appreciated most about this book was how easy to read it was and how helpful it was. Most books on prayer simply make you feel bad because you don’t pray enough or correctly. I don’t need to be reminded of that. That’s why I’m reading a book on prayer. I never got that feeling from Miller in this book.

A big part of this book is understanding what it means to ask God for things as a child would a parent. That a child asks relentlessly, they have no filter, anything is possible and they ask til they see movement. As adults, we don’t ask God in prayer for things like this. This is one reason we miss the relationship with God we were created to have.

Miller says:

A praying life feels like our family mealtimes because prayer is all about relationship. It’s intimate and hints at eternity. We don’t think about communication or words but about whom we are talking with. Prayer is simply the medium through which we experience and connect to God. Oddly enough, many people struggle to learn how to pray because they are focusing on praying, not on God. You don’t experience God; you get to know him. You submit to him. You enjoy him. He is, after all, a person.

Almost every book on prayer is based on some kind of “system” or way of praying. This book is no different.

Miller challenges the reader to use prayer cards instead of a list.

I got some three-by-five cards, and on each one wrote the name of a family member, along with a Scripture that I could use to shape my prayers for that person. I began developing a stack of prayer cards that allowed me to pray through my life—for loved ones and friends, for non-Christians I’m building relationships with, for my church and its leaders, for missionaries, for my work and my co-workers, for character change in my own life, and for my dreams. Here are the overall guidelines I use when creating a prayer card.

  1. The card functions like a prayer snapshot of a person’s life, so I use short phrases to describe what I want.
  2. When praying, I usually don’t linger over a card for more than a few seconds. I just pick out one or two key areas and pray for them.
  3. I put the Word to work by writing a Scripture verse on the card that expresses my desire for that particular person or situation.
  4. The card doesn’t change much. Maybe once a year I will add another line. These are just the ongoing areas in a person’s life that I am praying for.
  5. I usually don’t write down answers. They are obvious to me since I see the card almost every day.
  6. I will sometimes date a prayer request by putting the month/ year as in 8/07.

Why use a card over a list? Miller answers:

A prayer card has several advantages over a list. A list is often a series of scattered prayer requests, while a prayer card focuses on one person or area of your life. It allows you to look at the person or situation from multiple perspectives. Over time, it helps you reflect on what God does in response to your prayers. You begin to see patterns, and slowly a story unfolds that you find yourself drawn into. A list tends to be more mechanical. We can get overwhelmed with the number of things to pray for. Because items on a list are so disconnected, it is hard to maintain the discipline to pray. When I pray, I have only one card in front of me at a time, which helps me concentrate on that person or need.

This may not work for everyone, but it has been working in our family and life and I found this book to be extremely helpful and winsome when it comes to prayer and connecting with God.

Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s Word & Keep People Awake


Every Saturday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s Word & Keep People Awake (kindle version) by Gary Millar & Phil Campbell.

This is a short read, coming in at 127 pages, but packs a lot of information in it.

The book looks at the story in Acts, where Paul is preaching and Eutychus falls asleep and falls out of a window and tries to help pastors keep the attention of their churches so they will hear God’s word.

Preaching is hard work. The expectations because of the internet and rise of megachurch pastors has made what people expect out of sermons higher than they used to be. This isn’t a bad thing. Preaching should be hard work because it is heart work. Keeping the attention of your church is hard because they often come in tired on a Sunday morning, staying up too late on Saturday, run down from the week they just had, beat down by life, sitting with their smart phones capable of doing anything but listen in church. It is stacked against pastors, but not impossible.

Here are a few things that jumped out in reading it:

  • Preaching should never bore people to death.
  • God doesn’t use people because they are gifted. He uses people (even preachers) because he is gracious.
  • The key to preaching, then, is to make the message of the text obvious. Help people to see it and feel it. Help people to understand the text.
  • The kind of preaching that changes people’s lives, that changes people’s hearts, is preaching that allows the text to speak.
  • Why does repetition help? Because, more than anything else, repetition regulates the information flow. Too much information, flowing too quickly, makes people feel like they’re drinking from a fire hose.
  • In illustrations, if there are no people, there’s no story.
  • No matter where you’re preaching from, it’s easy to lose sight of the gospel of what Jesus has done and replace it with a whole lot of concrete and persuasive and guilt-inducing applications about what we need to do
  • The worst thing that can happen when we finish preaching is that someone will walk out the door of the church buoyed by their own resolve to try harder.
  • it’s essential that we never bury the gospel of what Jesus has done in an avalanche of great ideas about what we need to do
  • There is a difference between doing biblical theology and preaching in a way that is shaped by biblical theology.

If you preach, this short book is one worth picking up and getting some ideas from.

Monday Morning Mind Dump… [Afternoon Edition]

mind dump

  • It has been a busy few weeks in our house
  • Today is day 9 of having Judah home
  • Still hard to believe that he is here and that our long journey is almost done
  • We’ve been blown away by how helpful everyone has been
  • Especially in bringing meals
  • If you’d like to do that, here’s a link to sign up
  • If you’re curious how things are going or how you can support and help us now that he is home, read this
  • Yesterday was a long day for me
  • Had church in the morning, which was awesome
  • Blown away by all that is in the gospel of John as we’ve preached through it
  • It is one thing reading through a book as you prepare to preach compared to preaching through it
  • Love how things line up and are relevant to my life and the rest of my church
  • If you missed yesterday as I talked about how God grows us through our pain, you can listen to it here
  • Last night, I performed a wedding for some good friends from Revolution
  • Love being a part of weddings
  • It was also Judah’s first big excursion and he did awesome
  • He loved all the lights and decorations they had up for the evening wedding
  • So much fun to sit, talk and laugh with good friends at the reception
  • I started a new workout program last week
  • I’m taking a break from the typical crossfit workouts and trying a 10 week strength program
  • Pretty excited to see how it goes as the results are supposed to be insane
  • I got through week 1 last week and needless to say, it was brutal
  • Pretty excited that this week is halloween
  • Why?
  • It’s one of the best weeks of the year to be on mission
  • For the only night of the year, your entire neighborhood will be outside, walking around and stopping at your house
  • What an opportunity
  • Here’s how you can capitalize on it
  • I’ve been working my way through Mark Driscoll’s new book
  • Tons of great content for leaders
  • Personally, I’m saddened by how he has handled himself in recent weeks, really undermines his message of unity he tries to put forth in the book
  • Look for a review soon
  • A mind dump wouldn’t be complete without mentioning my Steelers
  • Blown away how bad we are
  • Wow

15 Quotes from Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret


Every Saturday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail (kindle version) by Larry Osborne.

This book was fantastic. Instead of a full blown review, here are 15 quotes that jumped out to me:

  1. What is the dirty little secret of innovation? It’s simply this: most innovations fail.
  2. The success of people is not found in their ability to avoid failure. It’s found in their ability to minimize the impact of failure.
  3. Innovation is birthed out of answering these two questions: What frustrates me most? What’s broken most?
  4. Organizational innovation is often ignited by our deepest personal frustrations.
  5. The kind of mission statement that keeps an organization focused and accelerates innovation doesn’t just happen.
  6. A mission statement needs to be ruthlessly honest. It should reflect your organization’s passionate pursuit, not merely your wishful thinking, your marketing slogans, or a spirit of political correctness.
  7. Many leaders confuse mission with marketing.
  8. A mission statement should be aimed at insiders. Its purpose is to tell those on the inside of the organization where the bull’s-eye lies.
  9. The purpose of a mission statement is to tell everyone on the inside what we’re aiming at. It’s supposed to let them know what’s most important.
  10. To impact the daily decisions of an organization, a mission statement must be easily remembered and repeated ad nauseam – and then repeated again.
  11. When your mission statement is an honest reflection of your passion, is widely known, and is broadly accepted, it will not only help you get where you want to go; it will accelerate innovation.
  12. God’s will has three components: a what, a when, and a how. Each is equally important. Two out of three won’t cut it. Miss out on any of the three and you’ll end up in the weeds.
  13. It’s not always the best idea that succeeds. It’s the combination of a great idea, proper timing, and excellent execution that brings success.
  14. You can’t lead if you can’t live with low-level frustration.
  15. The important question is not, “Does this fail to help us fulfill our mission?” The important question is, “Does this keep us from fulfilling our mission?”

Eat Move Sleep

bookEvery Tuesday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is Eat Move Sleep: Why Small Choices Make a Big Difference (kindle version) by Tom Rath. I actually read this book back in June, but it releases today, hence the review.

I’ve been fascinated by health and fitness for some time, ever since losing 130 pounds and keeping it off. So, Rath’s book was right up my alley.

Two things that are obvious about this book from the title:

  1. Every choice we make matters. They all impact every part of our life. 
  2. Tom Rath looks at how to eat, move and sleep so that those choices make the most positive impact in our lives.

As Rath states,

What seem like small or inconsequential moments accumulate rapidly. When your good daily decisions outweigh your poor ones, you boost your chances of growing old in better health.

Now, if you’ve lived a relatively healthy life, watch what you eat, exercise and sleep well, most of what Rath says will simply be a reminder. While I’ve read a lot about weight loss and health, I still found good tidbits I have never heard before and was reminded of some things that are easy to forget.

Here are a few things that stuck out to me as helpful:

  • The types of foods you consume influence your health more than your total caloric intake.
  • The best performers sleep at least 8.6 hours a day, almost a full hour more than the national average.
  • The top performers in every field typically work/practice in focused sessions lasting no longer than 90 minutes.
  • Losing 90 minutes of sleep reduces daytime alertness by nearly one-third. If you consider all the things that demand your attention in a day, reducing alertness by one-third is consequential.
  • A study of over 80,000 people suggests total intake of fruits and vegetables is a robust predictor of overall happiness.
  • When food is served “family style” from large plates, bowls or platters placed in arms’ reach, people simply eat more.
  • Anytime someone is hungry and in a hurry, it results in a bad choice.
  • The first to order food at a restaurant is an anchor for the rest of the table and sets the tone for what others order.
  • We eat based on the size of our plates.
  • We are more likely to make a bad food choice when a healthy option is available compared with when no healthy options are available.
  • Couples in which one partner has a commute longer than 45 minutes are a whopping 40% more likely to get divorced. 
  • The dish you start with serves as an anchor food for your entire meal. Experiments show that people eat nearly 50% greater quantity of the food they eat first.
  • People consume 167 additional calories per hour while watching TV.

An overall helpful, quick read.

Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You

bookEvery Tuesday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week I asked Katie to share about a recent book she read that would be helpful for the female readers of this blog.

In Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You, Stasi Eldridge takes a very practical look at how our pasts impact our present and future, while giving advice on how to implement immediate change into lives, through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is very honest and upfront with her story throughout the book, which makes it personal and an easy read. I appreciate her reliance on the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit. Some quotes that stuck out:

  • Jesus, come. Guide me. Holy Spirit, fill me. Dream with me and in me. Help me to unlock the desires you have planted in my heart and to write them down. Help me to dream big.
  • Ask yourself:
    • What would I love to do? What would I love to experience or create or offer?
    • What do I want to be really good at?
    • What do I want with God? What does God want with me?
    • What do I want to be known for?
    • Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing is too good to be true. And besides, if you don’t have a dream, how can you have a dream come true?
As she walks through the journey of embracing God’s dream of you, here are a few more things she said that I found helpful and hope you will as well:
  • Laying down what we want to protect or are afraid of losing or are terrified we will never have is not the same thing as losing those things. It is surrendering them. It is opening up our clenched hand around them and allowing God access to them and to us. It is actually saying yes to God for them. Yes to his plan. Yes to his way. It is believing that just as his ways are higher than the heavens are above the earth, so his way for the things we fear is higher. This God of ours is a God of life, of goodness. He is the God of the Resurrection. We lay down our fear. We pick up Jesus. He is the only way we can live beyond fear. He is the Way.
  • Truth be told, a good part of our becoming takes place int eh sanctifying work of relationships. And not because friendship is always a greenhouse, either. Trees grow strong because of winds; drought forces their roots to go deeper. There isn’t anything on earth like relationships to make you holy. When our frail humanity is revealed in some way we and others don’t like, we bring it to God. We ask for forgiveness. We ask for his life to fill us and his love to flow through us. Which means “Christ in me, love through me” becomes a regular prayer. It always comes back to Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.
  • John and I learned long ago that in cases of suffering, you can have understanding or you can have Jesus. If you insist on understanding, you usually lose both. When suffering enters into your life, take a deep breath. The very first thing to do is to invite Jesus into it. Pray, Jesus, catch my heart. When painful trials come your way, by all means ask God what’s up- ask him to interpret it for you. But whether he provides understanding or not, invite Jesus in. Keep inviting Jesus into the pain. Invite Jesus into the places in your heart that are rising to the surface through the suffering, be those painful memories, unbelief, or self-contempt. Pray, Please come meet me here, Jesus. I need you. Let suffering be the door you walk through that draws you to deeper intimacy with Jesus. Suffering can do that, if we let it. And though it would never be the doorway we would choose, it is one we will never regret walking through.
This is just a smattering of the writing of Stasi, but for me it took a little different look at things that I have read and known for some time. Although there were a few times I was afraid she was about to jump off the diving board into the deep end, she didn’t. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who has ever been hurt, and struggles to live the life that God intends.

Look Before You Lead: How to Discern & Shape Your Church Culture

bookEvery Tuesday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is Look Before You Lead: How to Discern & Shape Your Church Culture (kindle version) by Aubrey Malphurs.

I can’t even begin to describe how good and helpful this book is. The appendixes alone are worth the price of the book as they essentially give you Malphurs consulting toolbox.

The struggle many pastors have when it comes to leadership, making changes, preaching, leading their staff, working with volunteers is that they don’t understand the culture they work in. They are simply trying to put ideas into place, move things forward or make a difference. Until you understand the culture you have as a leader, those you lead, the world around your church and the world inside your church, you won’t be able to move anything. This book is particularly helpful for pastors about to move to a new church as Malphurs has an entire checklist of questions to ask a church board who is interviewing you. I found that extremely helpful from the other angle as it gave me questions I need to know for Revolution and questions I would ask a leader to determine if they fit our culture.

The reality is that every church is different. Every church has a different history, different set of leaders. So what works in California doesn’t work the same way in New York. In the same way that what works in one part of a city doesn’t work in another part of a city.

But what is culture? According to Malphurs, “The church’s congregational culture as the unique expression of the interaction of the church’s shared beliefs and its values, which explain its behavior in general and display its unique identity in particular.” And, “a primary responsibility of today’s strategic church leaders is to create, implement, and re-implement an organizational culture that rewards and encourages movement toward the church’s mission and vision. Every pastor must understand that to a great degree his job is to lead and manage the congregational culture, but if he doesn’t understand that culture as well as his own, he won’t be able to do the job.”

Here are a few other things that jumped out:

  • The organization’s beliefs and values intermingle and are seen in the church’s behavior or outward expression of itself. This is the first layer that is represented by the apple’s skin. Churches express themselves through their behaviors and outward appearance.
  • The behaviors and outward expressions are what an observer, such as a visitor, would see, sense, and hear as he or she encounters a church’s culture. Some examples are the church’s physical presence (facilities), language (multi- or monolingual), clothing, symbols, rituals, ceremonies, ordinances, technology, and so forth.
  • Churches are behavior-expressed but values-driven. The inward values drive and explain the church’s outward behavior. These values explain why the church does what it does at the first behavioral level and why it doesn’t do what it should do. When a church culture acts on its beliefs, they become its actual values. Until then they are aspirational in nature and inconsistent with the church’s actual observed presence and expressed behavior.
  • Churches are behavior-expressed, values-driven, and beliefs-based.
  • These three elements of organizational culture—beliefs, values, and their expression—work together to display the church’s unique identity.
  • Congregational culture as a church’s unique expression of its shared beliefs and values.
  • “The most important single element of any corporate, congregational, or denominational culture . . . is the value system.”
  • A ministry based on clearly articulated core values drives a fixed stake in the ground that says to all, “This is what we stand for; this is what we are all about; this is who we are; this is what we can do for you.”
  • An organization’s core values signal its bottom line. They dictate what it stands for, what truly matters, what is worthwhile and desirous. They determine what is inviolate for it; they define what it believes is God’s heart for its ministry.
  • Core values are the constant, passionate shared core beliefs that drive and guide the culture.
  • The key to understanding what drives you or your ministry culture is not what you would like to value as much as what you do value.
  • To attempt change at the surface level is problematic and disruptive. People persist in their beliefs and resent the change because leaders haven’t addressed it at the beliefs level. Thus the leader or change agent must discover the basic beliefs and address them as the church works through the change process.
  • Every thriving, spiritually directed church is well fed and well led.
  • We cannot do anything we want, because God has designed us in a wonderful way to accomplish his ministry or what he wants. Only as we discover how he has wired us will we be able to understand what specifically he wants us to accomplish for him in this life, whether it’s through pastoring a church or some other important ministry.

As I said, if you are a pastor, this is an incredibly helpful book to work through.

Tuesday Morning Book Review || Start with Why


Every Tuesday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (kindle version) by Simon Sinek.

As of today, this is the best book I’ve read all year. This is a book that if you are a leader, you need to read.

The thrust of the book is what Sinek calls The Golden Circle of “Why, what, and how” (see image below).


Most pastors struggle with this concept. They can talk all day about “what” their church does. They can even tell you the inner workings of “how” their church works. Very few can tell you “why” they do anything. And, if they are seeing the results (“what”) based off of why.

In fact, this is what many churches and pastors do at conferences. They hear a speaker talk about “what” they do a their church, go home and copy it. That church grew because they preach through books of the Bible. That church grew because of video sermons. That church grew because of louder music. Yet, they never ask “why” did that church do that in the first place? What made them have to do that? That’s what the why is.

This book came at the right time for me and was a great reminder. Revolution Church is about to turn 5 years old in a couple of weeks. We are beginning plans to plant our first church in the next year. Our missional communities are growing, more leaders are getting developed. Everything is working. We are seeing results. At this point, it is easy for a church to drift and get fuzzy as Sinek calls it.

Here’s a video of Sinek talking in this topic at TED:

22 Quotes from “Prophetic Preaching”

If you preach, I’d highly recommend you pick up the series by Craig Brian Larson on preaching. Here are some quotes from Prophetic Preaching:

  1. We can avoid and deny this spiritual disease for years until someone uses God’s Word, not as a weapon to bludgeon us, but as a scalpel to cut through our layers of excuses and evasions. It takes courage and compassion, but these trustworthy pastors speak the truth, identifying our sin, calling it by name, and then gently leading us to the One who can heal our souls. That summarizes the ministry of prophetic preaching.
  2. Prophetic preachers don’t sugarcoat the truth; they don’t ignore or minimize the painful verdict; and they’ll declare what we need to hear, not necessarily what we want to hear.
  3. Prophetic preaching always begins with a high view of Scripture. There’s an assumption that God has something to say right now, in this city, to this group of people gathered for worship—young and old, rich and poor, American and Nigerian and Brazilian and Korean, believer and skeptic.
  4. Prophetic preachers also know that during each sermon human souls hang on a precipice between good and evil, God and idols, obedience and rebellion, heaven and hell. Marriages, families, and communities desperately need direction and healing. Thus the end game of preaching isn’t providing information or entertainment. People (both Christians and non-Christians) need to repent, believe the gospel, grow in Christ, and serve the world.
  5. There’s also a dark side or a danger in prophetic preaching: a lack of love for others.
  6. We’ll never break and win hearts with narrow, prudish, moralistic messages.
  7. Biblical preaching always invites people into Jesus’ grand “kingdom adventure.” In other words, if we ask people to release their idols, we had better hand them something more adventurous and satisfying.
  8. Prophetic preachers dare to proclaim that ultimately there’s nothing more heroic, attractive, and adventurous than trusting Christ.
  9. The very concept of purity is much more attractive than morality. Morality, whether this is a misunderstanding or not, seems to traffic in rules—to say, “Here are the strictures; you need to mind your p’s and q’s and behave yourself.” Purity calls us to a life of God-ward-ness and adventure; there’s something heroic about it. There’s something winsome about the life of purity.
  10. The authority for prophetic preaching doesn’t reside in the preacher. It’s not in the preacher’s personality (although God can use many different personality types) or in the preacher’s attempt to be relevant. The preacher’s authority has one basis: the authority of God’s Word.
  11. God’s Word like a lion: let it out of the cage, get out of the way, and it will take care of itself.
  12. People are hungering to hear someone preach the truth of God’s Word without reservation.
  13. There are two elements that every preacher should have: urgency and clarity.
  14. Clarity brings power and the authority of God’s Word. Urgency—or the sense that this message matters, so decide today—also brings the authority of God’s Word.
  15. The goal of a preacher’s message is that at some point people would feel convicted. Conviction implies that people are overcome with the gaps that exist between the lives they’re living and the lives God wants them to live. Conviction can happen at the entry point of the gospel or at some point in the process of progressive sanctification.
  16. Prophetic preaching derails when it starts speaking forcefully about stuff that the Scriptures don’t address forcefully.
  17. Postmodern people aren’t seeking experiences; they’re seeking God. And the point of preaching is to unveil him.
  18. In studying a passage to preach, I ask three questions: Who is God? How is he revealed in this text? What are the most natural inclinations that resist or deny that truth?
  19. If you are preaching, and your audience is learning truth, but they could never imagine being like you—responding to the world like you, thinking like you, and feeling like you—that’s not good.
  20. When you look at the New Testament and what it says about the church’s responsibility with respect to what is declared, the authority for preaching is never placed in the community.
  21. Too often people see preaching as just teaching, but if it doesn’t have a component of exhortation and challenge that calls people to change, to grow in Christ, or to take purposeful steps to build the kingdom, it’s not really preaching; it’s only teaching.
  22. Never preach a text you haven’t lived or that hasn’t lived in you.”