Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • What a weekend at Revolution Church
  • I love the first day of a series
  • And yesterday did not disappoint
  • As you can see here
  • Katie and I taught together on what it means to be made in the image of God
  • The implications of this is not just for women and how they see themselves, but also for men and how they see themselves and the world around them
  • Lots of people getting prayed for after the sermon
  • Love seeing that
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • We also celebrated baptism yesterday
  • Love hearing the stories of life change and seeing the power of the gospel
  • Nothing like it
  • We also had one of our highest attendances ever
  • Love seeing our volunteers jump into action and helping guests park and find seats
  • We are getting ready to kick off our next FPU class
  • If you want to change your finances, get out of debt, plan for the future, go here
  • Friday, I got to perform the wedding of Joey and Bernadette Morrin
  • So fun being a part of their wedding
  • The weather was incredible for an outdoor wedding in Tucson
  • I’m blown away the emails I’ve gotten about the Beautiful series so far
  • It seems like it is definitely striking a chord
  • It’s sad the bondage that many women live with
  • I’m talking this Sunday about how to be free from your past as you move forward into your future
  • So many people let their past be a compass for their future and it is heartbreaking
  • All of this makes me really excited to kick Fight off in a few weeks and talk to men
  • I’m sad that this Sunday is the last football game in a long time
  • Love football season
  • Thankfully the Olympics start soon afterward
  • My kids can’t get over how excited they are for the Olympics
  • Having lunch today with a new Revolutionary
  • Love meeting new people at our church and helping them get better connected
  • Say a prayer that this coming Sunday is even bigger than this past Sunday
  • Lots of freedom waiting to happen as we apply 2 Corinthians 5:17 in our lives
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My Notes from Preach Better Sermons

book

In case you missed them today, here are all my notes from today’s online preaching conference, Preach Better Sermons:

Steven Furtick

The whole worship service is one thing, not separate parts, it is one thing. The service is won and lost in transitions. Preaching and a worship service communicate what your values are.

Louie Giglio

Louie’s 6 rules of preaching: (1) Have something to say, (2) Be faithful to the text, (3) Lead people to Jesus, (4) Don’t be boring, (5) Prepare, (6) Be led by the Holy Spirit.

Donald Miller

You need to show up everyday because you don’t know when creativity will strike or when something will hit.

Brad Lomenick

A great communicator moves people and inspire people.

Dave Ramsey

If an audience doesn’t laugh every 7 minutes, you lose them.

Mark Batterson

Would you rather be a great preacher or a great pray-er?

Darrin Patrick

Would your sermon work if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead?

Jon Acuff

The greatest way to ruin a speech is ego.

Crawford Lorritts

You’ll never preach any better than who you are. Effective ministry always comes out of the overflow of your heart and walk with God.

Pete Wilson

When you attach your identity to the success or failure of your message, you are in for a roller coaster ride and it is dangerous.

Nancy Duarte

People should leave a sermon and feel unstuck.

Andy Stanley

The foundation of our faith is not Scripture, the foundation of our faith is Jesus.

Ed Stetzer

Maximize your study by minimize your searching.

Mark Driscoll

God’s people are on mission to see more people become God’s people.

Overall, tons of great content for preachers.

#4 of 09: Planning a Preaching Calendar

Ironically, how we plan our preaching calendar at Revolution is one of the most common questions I get from other pastors. In fact, in the last 2 weeks I’ve been asked about it almost a dozen times that I thought I would share how we decide what we preach on and how far out we plan and why we do it this way.

First off, plan ahead. I am stunned by how little planning goes into some churches. You would think that pastors don’t care what is happening in their churches. Naturally, I am a planner, so this is easier for me and actually more comforting when it is done. For example, the other day I talked to a pastor that said, “It’s Thursday and all I have is a title.” That’s like saying, “All I need is a chip and a chair.” We need better odds than that when it comes to preaching. Now, before you get on my case, God does speak at the end of the week, God does change what we are to see while we are walking up to the stage. It has happened to me and it is exciting and scary all at the same time, but this cannot be our normal practice.

At Revolution, we have decided that the best way for us to reach our mission and target is to preach through books of the Bible. This does not mean we are against topical (that’s a bad discussion in my opinion), we just like doing it this way.

We split series up into two categories:  attractional and missional. Attractional will feel more topical, felt needs, but are based on a book of the Bible. Some examples:  Song of Solomon, 30 Days to Live (which was topical, see we aren’t against it), The Sermon on the Mount. The other category is missional which tends to be more formation, doctrine, theology. Some examples:  Becoming, Jonah, and Hebrews.

We also try to alternate between Old and New Testament books of the Bible. What we are trying to do is to make sure we are giving our church a healthy balance not only of books of the Bible, but also styles and feel.

After the sermon on the mount, we are planning to kick 2010 off by preaching through Nehemiah which is a very mission/leadership focused book.

One thing that we preach on every year is marriage, dating and relationships. For our target and culture, this makes sense. You can check out the series we are starting in 2 weeks here: www.iwantanewmarriage.org.

What about length?

We haven’t bought into doing a 3 – 6 week series only. Hebrews took 18 weeks and Nehemiah will take 22 weeks. For the sermon on the mount, we decided to break it up into 4 smaller series to create more on ramps for our church and guests this fall. The length of the series is not that big of a deal as long as the speaker is up for it. Long series are draining. We try to stay away from doing long series back to back as that is draining on me, our team and our church. After the serious feel of Hebrews, we did a video teaching series with Dave Ramsey which felt completely different.

How far out do we plan?

We look about 12 months ahead when it comes to thinking through topics. This is where so many pastors do themseles a disservice. The other day I was reading a leadership book and the author was quoting and pointing to the book of Nehemiah all over the place. Without knowing that I wanted to preach through this book, I would have missed a ton of great information. Could I have remembered it and gone back to it? Sure, but that is risky.

My point is, plan ahead in some way. By planning ahead we are able to do a lot more creatively as opposed to go week to week.

Are we flexible?

Yes. Just because we are planning something does not mean it is written in stone and unchangable. Over the summer we were actually planning to preach through Habakkuk but decided about 4 weeks out to do the life of Elijah instead, which proved to be the right move. Before making the change though, our creative team let me know we had not gone far enough into the creative process for that series. It is important to not waste your team’s time.

For our creative process, we look 6 – 8 weeks out as we think through atmosphere, visuals, video clips, dramas, cover songs. As we get closer, Paul takes us through a process of honing in on what we will use and how it will flow.

How long would this take? Not very long. In fact, if you sat down right now and made a list of topics you would like to teach on in the next 6 – 12 months you would be well on your way.

When I started preaching through books of the Bible, I picked James to start out with because it was my favorite book of the Bible. Not very spiritual, I know, but it worked and I started to get used to it.

The point is, plan ahead. Way too much is at stake to go week to week.

Now I’ve told you how we do it, how do you plan your series? How do you decide what to preach on?

Budgeting to Tithe

As we are going through this series and specifically the tithing challenge, I have gotten a lot of questions about giving back to God and what that means practically. The biggest question centers around what to do if you are barely making ends meet right now, how do you give back to God?

The conversation will go like this, “After we pay all of our bills, there is not 10% left to give back to God, so do we just tithe and not pay our bills?” This is a completely valid question and one that many people have, and one that I had for awhile. The answer to this question is actually not the answer to this question.

Here’s what I mean. It is coming at it from the wrong perspective.

Tithing like anything fits into a budget. As Dave Ramsey says, “Every dollar has a name on it.” We decide whose name goes on each dollar that comes in and out of our home. Tithing for the first time means you will have to think about your budget differently and probably redo your budget. Your current budget does not have it in there.

When Katie and I first started to see our money differently, we had to budget differently.

This means creating a budget where you give back to God first, before anything else. Then you fill in your budget with the rest of your bills and family’s needs. This means, you may not have some things in your budget that you do now. You may cut cable, not eat out as much, not buy as many clothes as you used to.

This is where many people get tripped up. For me, this has created a sense of freedom from stuff as well as a contentment I didn’t know existed. Some of the stuff “I couldn’t live without” are now things I can’t imagine having.

But you may ask (as many do) “If I sell something like my car, I may take a loss or not be able to afford the same kind of car. Would God want me to take a loss?” Again, this is a valid question but it looks at God incorrectly. Here is my follow-up question, “Does God want you to honor Him with your finances?” If you believe the answer is yes (as I do and I believe the Bible teaches this) then we need to do what we can to make that happen. If that means we sell some stuff and take a loss on it, I think that can honor God. Getting more and more into debt and not giving back to God does not honor Him with our finances.

Planning a Preaching Calendar

Ironically, how we plan our preaching calendar at Revolution is one of the most common questions I get from other pastors. In fact, in the last 2 weeks I’ve been asked about it almost a dozen times that I thought I would share how we decide what we preach on and how far out we plan and why we do it this way.

First off, plan ahead. I am stunned by how little planning goes into some churches. You would think that pastors don’t care what is happening in their churches. Naturally, I am a planner, so this is easier for me and actually more comforting when it is done. For example, the other day I talked to a pastor that said, “It’s Thursday and all I have is a title.” That’s like saying, “All I need is a chip and a chair.” We need better odds than that when it comes to preaching. Now, before you get on my case, God does speak at the end of the week, God does change what we are to see while we are walking up to the stage. It has happened to me and it is exciting and scary all at the same time, but this cannot be our normal practice.

At Revolution, we have decided that the best way for us to reach our mission and target is to preach through books of the Bible. This does not mean we are against topical (that’s a bad discussion in my opinion), we just like doing it this way.

We split series up into two categories:  attractional and missional. Attractional will feel more topical, felt needs, but are based on a book of the Bible. Some examples:  Song of Solomon, 30 Days to Live (which was topical, see we aren’t against it), The Sermon on the Mount. The other category is missional which tends to be more formation, doctrine, theology. Some examples:  Becoming, Jonah, and Hebrews.

We also try to alternate between Old and New Testament books of the Bible. What we are trying to do is to make sure we are giving our church a healthy balance not only of books of the Bible, but also styles and feel.

After the sermon on the mount, we are planning to kick 2010 off by preaching through Nehemiah which is a very mission/leadership focused book.

One thing that we preach on every year is marriage, dating and relationships. For our target and culture, this makes sense. You can check out the series we are starting in 2 weeks here: www.iwantanewmarriage.org.

What about length?

We haven’t bought into doing a 3 – 6 week series only. Hebrews took 18 weeks and Nehemiah will take 22 weeks. For the sermon on the mount, we decided to break it up into 4 smaller series to create more on ramps for our church and guests this fall. The length of the series is not that big of a deal as long as the speaker is up for it. Long series are draining. We try to stay away from doing long series back to back as that is draining on me, our team and our church. After the serious feel of Hebrews, we did a video teaching series with Dave Ramsey which felt completely different.

How far out do we plan?

We look about 12 months ahead when it comes to thinking through topics. This is where so many pastors do themseles a disservice. The other day I was reading a leadership book and the author was quoting and pointing to the book of Nehemiah all over the place. Without knowing that I wanted to preach through this book, I would have missed a ton of great information. Could I have remembered it and gone back to it? Sure, but that is risky.

My point is, plan ahead in some way. By planning ahead we are able to do a lot more creatively as opposed to go week to week.

Are we flexible?

Yes. Just because we are planning something does not mean it is written in stone and unchangable. Over the summer we were actually planning to preach through Habakkuk but decided about 4 weeks out to do the life of Elijah instead, which proved to be the right move. Before making the change though, our creative team let me know we had not gone far enough into the creative process for that series. It is important to not waste your team’s time.

For our creative process, we look 6 – 8 weeks out as we think through atmosphere, visuals, video clips, dramas, cover songs. As we get closer, Paul takes us through a process of honing in on what we will use and how it will flow.

How long would this take? Not very long. In fact, if you sat down right now and made a list of topics you would like to teach on in the next 6 – 12 months you would be well on your way.

When I started preaching through books of the Bible, I picked James to start out with because it was my favorite book of the Bible. Not very spiritual, I know, but it worked and I started to get used to it.

The point is, plan ahead. Way too much is at stake to go week to week.

Now I’ve told you how we do it, how do you plan your series? How do you decide what to preach on?

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Love the first night of a new series
  • My sermon started off a little slow tonight since I was off from preaching for the last 4 weeks
  • The band picked up the slack for me in the 2nd set
  • Wow
  • Hope nailed the song “Revelation Song”
  • Challenged everyone tonight to do 10 + 10 and we had a lot of people take up the challenge, excited to see how God uses that
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to it here
  • Katie’s mom flew in to see us today, it’s always fun getting to preach to family
  • If you want to learn more about the life of Elijah, check out Chuck Swindoll’s book Elijah: A Man of Heroism and Humility
  • Had someone tell me tonight, “Every week I just expect for God to do something awesome”
  • Yep, that’s how I feel every week
  • Ava turned 4 yesterday, crazy that she is already 4
  • She got a bike, but we have to exchange it tomorrow as the handlebars didn’t go on correctly
  • The joy of stuff made in China
  • Started a new way of doing set up this week, which will enable a lot more people to be involved
  • Love seeing people step up and take the next steps with God and our church
  • That does not get old
  • Had an area pastor their tonight, love being able to serve other pastors in that way
  • Tonight I got to share where we are financially as a church
  • I am blown away every week by the generosity and faithfulness of our church
  • There is a family in our church that who is having major surgery, be sure to remember them in your prayers on Thursday
  • One of our leaders is stepping up and take on more administrative responsibilities, which will be a huge help
  • Finally finished all of the partnership class stuff this week, it is going to be a huge help for our church as we move forward
  • Going to the leadership summit this week with some of our team, really pumped about this event, I always get a truckload of thoughts out of it
  • In case you missed them, here are the top posts from the last month
  • Here are the videos from the last series of me as a TV evangelist
  • After not preaching for a month, tonight reminded me why I love my job and our church
  • I simply love what I do

Thoughts from Rev. Benjamin Formee on Money & Debt

For our last series, we made some videos of me as a TV evangelist.

We showed this one the second week of the series about debt.

We showed this one the third week of the series about the myths about money.

Go here to see the other videos we’ve made at Revolution Church.

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Awesome night tonight
  • God has been sending us people like crazy
  • Tonight was our 3rd highest attended nights ever!
  • That’s crazy for the middle of summer
  • Love the way God is moving in our church and that I get to be a part of it
  • The band nailed, I mean nailed “Revelation Song” and “Hosanna,” back to back they were 2 of the best songs we’ve sung at Revolution
  • God’s presence just hung in the room at the end of those songs
  • What a moment
  • Shared this past week some of our goals for the future of Revolution church, you can read them here
  • Since we just finished our Life. Money. Hope. series, go here to share your biggest takeaways, I would love to hear what you learned from it
  • I am so excited about our next series, you do not want to miss it
  • I’m also really excited that we’re preaching through the Sermon on the Mount this fall
  • We’re putting the finishing touches on our partnership class this week
  • That rolls out at the end of August
  • This will be a huge piece in the future of Revolution, a much needed thing
  • Got a lot of questions from friends over this last month about what a pastor does when he doesn’t preach, I’ll blog about it next week, so be on the look out
  • Starflyer 59’s new album Ghosts of the Past comes out on Tuesday, one of my favorite bands of all time
  • In case you missed it, here is a recent family pic
  • Went to see Public Enemies this past week, good flick, definitely worth seeing
  • Started watching Kings this week, so far, it’s a pretty cool show
  • Had some important meetings this week:  one was with someone about the future of starting a student ministry at Revolution, stay tuned. The other was about small groups for the fall, they are going to be awesome
  • Ava turns 4 this week, I can’t believe that she is already 4
  • We also just found out today that Katie’s mom is coming to visit next Saturday
  • What a night/week
  • Don’t miss next week, we are just at the beginning of all the amazing things God is up to in our church!

This Weekend: The #1 Myth About Money

Saturday is the last week of our series Life. Money. Hope. with Dave Ramsey.

We will wrap up looking at the #1 myth about money. It is not what you think it is. This is going to be a great way to end a series that has challenged us, created a lot of conversations around our church.

You don’t want to miss it!

If you want to invite a friend, go here to send them an e-vite.

See you Saturday at 5!

Saturday Night Mind Dump… (End of Vacation Edition)

  • Awesome night tonight @ Revolution
  • It was great to go to church, do nothing, and just be part of our church
  • Every pastor needs to do that
  • You see things you don’t normally see because you aren’t “on”
  • I got some feedback from pastors on twitter about why I would go to Revolution if I wasn’t preaching
  • When we started Revolution one of our goals was to start a church we would want to attend
  • We did that
  • Paul has done an awesome job with this series
  • The creativity has been great
  • Love the conversation this series has sparked
  • A lot of people taking serious steps to get out of debt and make right decisions when it comes to money
  • Awesome!
  • Here are some things that Katie blogged about how we save money and shop on a budget
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to it here
  • We got back from vacation yesterday
  • This is where I got to start running from all week
  • This picture shows why I love being at the beach
  • This picture shows why I love vacation
  • While in San Diego I got to have lunch with Jim Johnson and then David Fairchild
  • Both guys really challenged my thinking about church and leadership from two completely different perspectives
  • When Jim’s book comes out, it will be a must read
  • We announced our next series tonight, so excited about this series
  • I have loved my break this month, but I am ready to get back and preach
  • I am so grateful to have the elders we do who have allowed me to have this break and the team we have in place so that everything runs smoothly
  • This week is the home stretch to finishing the writing of our Partnership class
  • Be on the lookout for this in August
  • This happened while we were gone, not cool
  • Some new tunes worth checking out:  Lost Ocean, The Drawing Room, and the new Future of Forestery & The Glorious Unseen
  • If you haven’t joined Revolution’s Facebook Group yet, you can do so here
  • Ashton “sat” up today
  • We have our small group tomorrow
  • It will be great to meet since we were off last week
  • It’s amazing how when you miss a week, you miss the people and the conversations
  • It’s time for bed
  • Getting up tomorrow and taking a long run
  • I see a 10 miler in my future