Neil Todman on Psalms and Grief

This Friday we will be releasing an interview with Neil Todman, pastor of Headley Park Church in Bristol. Neil’s first wife, Elaine, died a few years ago and in the full interview Neil tells the story of those years, of God’s faithfulness, and of navigating such challenging years as a pastor. Along the way he also talks about the book of Psalms including the challenges and blessings of preaching from Psalms every year. In this post I want to give you a taste of the interview by sharing two clips with you.

The full interview will be available from Friday afternoon for everyone on the Cor Deo Online mailing list (we send typically one email per month with exclusive free resources). Here is the link to join the mailing list.

And one more clip for you. Neil talks about how to help someone who is grieving – such helpful pastoral insight:

Endurance

We all knew this would be a long and difficult winter.  The COVID-19 global crisis did not end quickly last spring, and so we knew this winter would be challenging.  The pandemic is discouraging, the various government lockdowns many of us are living under are draining, and even when we look beyond the health news, the rest of what is going on is not uplifting.  As it says in Hebrews 10:26 – “You have need of endurance.”

When I was in school, I enjoyed all of the sports except for cross-country running.  It was a miserable experience.  It was lonely, it was uncomfortable, and it was disheartening.  I could not understand anyone enjoying that weekly run around the perimeter of the school grounds.

Fast forward almost thirty years and I began to find myself enjoying the odd Park Run.  I am no runner, by any stretch of the imagination, but the Park Run event was different.  This weekly global event resulted in hundreds of people gathering together on a Saturday morning to run the standard 5km in my local park.  The community feel meant that everyone encouraged everyone else.  And at strategic locations on the course there were the Park Run marshals, smiling volunteers in high-visibility vests that would clap and encourage us to keep going.

In our church, we have said that we want this winter to feel more like a Park Run than my cross-country experience from school days.  It will be a difficult season either way, but it need not be miserable, lonely, and disheartening.  As believers we have each other, and we need each other, to encourage us to keep pressing on through a difficult season.  And as believers we also need the Park Run marshals: strategically placed personal encouragement for the race that is marked out for us.  So, each Sunday, our church has heard from a book of the Bible offering that special encouragement to keep on going, like a strategically located Park Run marshal.

Here are three quick encouragements to help us during this difficult time:

  1. God the Father understands our need for encouragement.  In Romans 15:5 he is called the God of endurance and encouragement.  Just before that, Paul refers to how God invests in our endurance through the encouragement of Scripture.  God is an active participant in the challenges we face and he wants to help us.
  1. God the Son knows exactly how we feel in tough times.  We are not asked to run a race that God has not run already.  So, in Hebrews 12:1-2 it says that we have a race marked out for us, but it also says we run it while looking to Jesus, who has already run his race and sat down at the right hand of the Father.  Our forerunner, our champion, is Jesus – the one who has first run and suffered for us.
  1. God the Spirit is given to us – exactly what we need when we are exhausted.  In John 14-16, Jesus speaks to his disciples at a time when they are discouraged, drained, fearful, and concerned for the future.  Jesus points them to knowing the Father and to their need to remain connected with the Son.  What’s more, Jesus makes it clear that they are to receive another Helper, the Holy Spirit, for their difficult days to come.  In Romans, when Paul talks about suffering and the need for hope, he then goes on to speak of the help and empowerment of the Spirit (see Romans 5:5; 8:26ff, 15:13, etc.)

The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are all active participants in our lives this winter.  The world will tell us to look within and to find in ourselves the resolute fortitude to keep pressing on.  This is simply not enough.  Maybe the world can give a taste of the mutual support that a community can offer in tough times.  But what the world cannot give is the unique reality of fellowship with the Trinity. 

Yes, in Romans 5, we are called to persevere in the midst of suffering, knowing that our suffering produces endurance, and character, and hope.  But this is not just a passage telling us to dig deeper and hang in there.  Immediately, in verse 5, Paul reinforces this endurance by referencing the active participation of the Spirit inside us.

In that upper room, in John 14-16, Jesus urges his disciples to obey him and live for him in the difficult days ahead.  But Jesus does not give a team talk that is full of enthusiasm and motivation, but with no practical help.  Jesus points them to the participation of the Trinity in their experience, and at the beginning, middle, and end of that section he urges them to do the most logical thing of all in turbulent times: to ask.  Ask God for help.  Ask God according to his will.  Ask God when the world hates you.  Ask.

We cannot get through 2021 alone, but God does not ask us to get through it alone.  Instead, we are encouraged to get through it together: together with other believers, and together with God. 

Maybe 2021 will be a year that stretches some of us in ways we have never been stretched before.  Let’s pray that the challenges of 2021 will push us up close against God.  May this be a year when we learn to lean on God as never before.  May this be a year when we learn to pray to God as never before.  And may this be a year when our strength to endure obviously comes not from within us, but from someone who is at work in and through us.

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Here is a clip from an interview with Neil Todman, pastor of Headley Park Church in Bristol. See video description for information on how to access the full interview.

Strange Authority Speakers: 12 Concerns

Some time ago I heard someone speaking that I had never heard of before. I watched with a growing sense of dismay. What bothered me so much? I have pondered this speaker as well as others I have heard in the past, and have concluded that the unifying thread in my concerns was this: the strange authority with which this person spoke.

I am thinking out loud in this post, trying to help myself figure it out. Here are some concerning features of that strange authority that may be helpful to ponder. If any of these are true of your ministry, I would urge you to honestly talk through this post with a church leader or two. If several of these are true of someone you listen to, maybe you shouldn’t be listening to them?

1. Having to declare their authority generally means they are not an authority. If you speak your subject well, then people will recognize your authority. But speak of your authority on a subject and people may feel that you are trying to make it so.

2. Factual errors do not belong in the pulpit. I scratched my head as one speaker declared something about my country that is simply not true. A factual error may be just a single sentence in passing, but it undermines credibility for every other statement that is made.

3. Poor handling of Scripture is an indication of immaturity at best. You may not know the technical hermeneutical or exegetical label for the error, but when statements about the Bible seem curiously unusual, unique, or novel, you do well to be suspicious. “Let me show you something you have never seen before…” or “God showed me a deeper meaning in this verse…” or “this doesn’t mean what it has always been understood to mean…” – all red flag statements that I have heard from “strange authority” speakers. A slight interpretation misfire here and there is probably true of us all (especially in our early days). Blatant lack of exegetical accuracy, however, should always fire a warning flare!

4. The Bible is stunningly relevant, but don’t make it sensationally so. When the Bible is used, out of context, to point to something so current and contemporary that people are supposed to gasp in appreciation, the discerning will raise an eyebrow of concern. When the Bible is carefully handled and presented appropriately, the relevance to the lives of even the most mature and discerning of listeners will be deeply felt and lastingly appreciated. Sadly, the undiscerning will praise sensational speakers enough to fan the flames of their ministry.

5. A speaker can’t assume knowledge, but please don’t assume ignorance. “If you study this subject like I have…” or “If you study the whole Bible you will see…” or “If you read John’s Gospel through 200 times you will start to notice…” (Again, three statements I have heard from “strange authority” speakers over the years.) We cannot assume knowledge in our listeners, or we will speak over their heads. But if we assume ignorance, we may sound patronizing or condescending.

6. Being condescending in tone does not mean the speaker is above their listeners. Tone is subjective and so someone who is confident may seem arrogant to someone else, or condescending to someone else. But if the listeners (plural) are feeling talked down to as a collective group, then something is not right. It indicates that a strange feeling of authority may be present in the mind of the speaker.

7. Ignorance is invisible in the mirror, but we all need to find out how much we don’t know. In one particular case I joined the message several minutes in, but within a minute it was evident that the speaker was not biblically educated. Another time I bought a book at a retreat, before returning it because it was filled with errors and typos. A seminary education is not a requirement for all. I have known some “self-taught” people that I respect very highly. But I have also heard some stunning ignorance and errors from speakers. Strangely, these people often have the greatest confidence in what they are saying. It isn’t easy, but it is helpful to try to find out what we don’t know.

8. Differentiate helpful and unhelpful credibility indicators. There is a credibility that comes from a position in a church or in a respected ministry, as well as degrees from respected institutions, or publications from respected publishers. But beware of echo chamber credibility. Years ago I heard a speaker who had a couple of travelling “fans” who came to our church retreat just to hear him speak. They were convinced he was the greatest Bible teacher around. After hearing him, many of us, including the church leadership, were not convinced. His ministry had a following. His ministry self-published his books. He was well known. But, something wasn’t right. Having a group of followers at conferences, or on social media, is not the same as having credibility and a genuine platform.

9. A strange authority speaker may try to sell their subject, instead of actually saying something. The best way to sell your bakery is to give people a taste of a perfect croissant, not a presentation on why baked goods are the most important food of all. In the same way, even if you are asked to motivate listeners for a specific subject, that doesn’t mean you have to just enthuse about the subject. Give them a taste of something good. Biblical teaching on family relations? On origins? On end-times? On spiritual gifts? On church growth? Whatever the subject, don’t just enthuse about the subject. Actually show what the Bible says on a particular aspect of the subject and how that makes a difference. Once people enjoy a croissant, they are likely to try the baguette or the custard slice.

10. Whatever the subject, evaluate the direction of gaze. At the end of the presentation, are listeners thinking about the speaker, about their ministry, about signing up for their mailing list? Are they thinking about themselves and how they need to learn more or try harder? Or do listeners have the gaze of their hearts fixed on Christ in a genuinely helpful and transformative way?

11. Where is the accountability? Strange authority speakers will tend to make much of God’s influence on their ministry. However, their human accountability will tend to be difficult to pin down. A handful of less informed fans forming a token board is not sufficient. Are there church leaders and people of real standing caring pastorally for this speaker? If someone had a concern, who would they go to? Would they be confident of being heard?

12. Does their ministry stir concerned prayer? God really uses some specialist speakers, and even some quite quirky speakers. Pray for people who have a speaking ministry. And when something doesn’t feel right, pray then too. Pray before you raise concerns with them, or their ministry. Pray before you talk about them to a church leader or responsible person. Pray for God to help them grow, or to help them go. In some cases God’s people would be better served without that person doing their ministry. God is more than able to answer that prayer. It may not be clear what you can do, or if you should do anything at all, but you can pray.

What would you add to this list?

5 Aspects of Natural Delivery

What makes for effective delivery in preaching? Gone are the days of appreciating the diction and power of a voice fit for the radio, or the grand gesturing and stage presence of yesteryear. Today effective delivery has to be natural.

People want to listen to preachers that are genuine, honest and real. People resist the polished sales patter of a car salesperson, the reading of a script in a phone conversation, or the phony demeanor of an average stage performer. People definitely do not appreciate the ranting and pontificating of old school preaching.

So how can a preacher be natural in delivery? A deep breath and determination to relax doesn’t cut it. Here are five aspects of natural delivery that might take some work:

1. Natural eye contact feels unnatural. It is almost impossible to overstate the value of eye contact in spoken communications. You would not buy from someone who wouldn’t look you in the eye. Our natural tendency will be to find security in our notes and when we dare to lift our heads out of our notes we will naturally look anywhere but the eyes of those who are judging us. It feels unnatural to learn to linger long enough to make meaningful eye contact with someone in the congregation, and then move on to make meaningful eye contact with someone else. It may only take a second or two, or sometimes it takes a few more, but it is worth it. (And the opportunity will only increase when our note-reliance decreases!)

2. Natural sized gestures feel unnatural: size of gesture. If you plan your gestures you will probably look like a puppet. I am not advocating for planned gestures at all. But it does take some work to make gestures appear natural to our congregation. Generally speaking, the bigger the congregation, the bigger the gesture. A little gesture in a conversation (or preaching to a camera) will look ridiculous from seven rows back in a large crowd.

3. Natural gestures feel unnatural: direction of progression. Logically we think from left to right (in our culture). So the past is logically to our left, and time moves towards the right. Gesture with that logic to a congregation and it just won’t feel natural to them. They will interpret, maybe subconsciously, but there is a slight jarring effect. Learn to present from right to left as your reference moves from past to future, or from your first point to your later points, and your listeners won’t skip a beat.

4. Natural explanation can feel unnatural. In a conversation you can often say something once and assume it has been heard, registered and even imagined. Not so with a group. It is not about their individual capacity to comprehend, it is about the distracting effect of being in a group setting. For concepts to formulate in their consciousness, a group of people typically will need more repetition and restatement. Don’t fire off a concept and march on. Make sure you give it the words, and the time, needed for the concept to be heard, registered and grasped. Don’t hurl an illustration past your listeners. Do what it takes for the image to project on their internal screens with clarity.

5. Natural delivery takes unnatural attention. If you just do what you naturally do, how do you know how you come across? It takes effort to pray about your life and your delivery co-existing in a natural and spiritually healthy congruence. It takes effort to ask for specific feedback from a variety of listeners, prompting them to be really honest, so that you can actually know how effective your delivery is. It takes effort to get yourself preaching on video and take stock of your presentation.

I am not saying we should perform. I am saying that it takes some effort to communicate naturally and effectively. There is probably something for every one of us to improve. Just taking a deep breath and trying to relax will not make you communicate well (although it may help a bit).

Some comedians are hilarious on stage and then angry drunks in the dressing room. Are you the same you in conversation after church? Are you the same you when you close the front door at home? Performance is unsustainable. At the same time, effective communication is worth some conscious and prayerful attention.

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Here is a resource you might enjoy:

Use Appropriate Force

Tapping a nail into a wall with a sledgehammer, or pulling out a tooth with a tractor, would probably be considered an excessive use of force. I remember hearing about someone trying to loosen a wheel-nut on his car with a blast from a shotgun (he did get injured!) When we preach, we should aim to use appropriate force for each goal we are trying to achieve. Excessive force can really backfire in the pulpit. Here are some examples:

1. Overstated introduction. Your message is unlikely to solve every problem on the planet, so don’t over-egg the introduction. One of my teachers used to say that you shouldn’t roll out a cannon, only to fire a pea. This doesn’t mean that your introduction should be weak or full of supposedly humble disclaimers. Whatever you are preaching, create a thirst for the message and the passage, a thirst that the message can then quench. Promising too much can really backfire when what you do give feels like a disappointment.

2. Overpowered illustration. It is good to include content that will help to engage your listeners and enlighten them during your message. But if your personal story or powerful anecdote is too much, then it will backfire. Make sure your illustrations drive the main idea forwards, not overtake it and bury it in their dust. Even if the story is all true, and it happened to you, and it is relevant . . . it may be worth holding it back rather than letting it bury your message.

3. Over-the-top wording. We live in an age of extreme claims. Social media is full of absolute and total statements, as well as increasingly shocking headlines serving as clickbait. Be careful not to bring that tendency into your preaching. You have 20, 30 or even 40 minutes, not just 280 characters. Shocking a congregation, or describing something or someone in extreme terms, will be tempting. Don’t do it. Speak carefully and precisely so that people can sense that you are trustworthy with your words.

4. Over-relevant application. If you are a visiting speaker you can often hide behind your lack of personal knowledge of the local situation. But if this is your church, and these are your flock, then you need to be careful. A passage may sit up nicely for an application about divorce, financial integrity, or whatever. Yet if your congregation has a known marital breakdown, or a director under review for embezzlement, or whatever, then it may be better not to be quite so relevant with what you say on Sunday.

5. Overblown humor. It is not a sin to say something funny while preaching. But if you have to try too hard to get a response, then you are trying too hard. Don’t do it.

6. Over-pressured persuasion. There is a place for persuasion in the pulpit. But there are ways of pressuring people to respond to the Gospel, or to an application, that are excessive and unhelpful. Trust God to do the life changing as you seek to faithfully and effectively herald God’s Word. When their response becomes contingent on your pressure techniques – in wording, in tone, in manipulative practices – then your force is excessive and it will backfire.

Where else in a sermon can you apply too much force to get the job done?

10 Sermons to Eliminate

I came across a list of surrogate sermons by a Dwight Stevenson. This is a list worth reviewing. I used his titles and added my own descriptions. If you spot any of these in your ministry, maybe it is time for a spring clean!

1. Aesthetic artifact – an overly ornate work of art that is aiming to be a blessing to behold for generations to come, but not particularly targeted towards these listeners today.

2. Moralistic harangue – a sermon intended to merely exhort or punish our people because of their failure to live a certain way. People do appreciate this kind of sermon as a form of surrogate suffering. Like medicine, “it is a fine way of paying for sin without repenting of it.”

3. Museum lecture – a sermon that aims to be interesting and informative, tends to be dull and boring and is usually quite irrelevant.

4. Palliative prescription – a pendulum swing away from the moralistic harangue is the trap of cheap grace, easy assurance, repentance free pardon and most of all, superficial pain-relief.

5. Palace propaganda – a sermon that caters exclusively to the whims and preferences of the given church. Their ears itch and the preacher loves to scratch. Another church down the road may be hearing the exact opposite message (different socio-economic class, race, political leaning, etc.)

6. Theological lecture – a sermon that promotes a system of theology more than the message of the biblical text, and that elevates transformation by education in a surrogate seminary classroom. Of course our theology matters and preaching should be shaping it, but when preaching becomes a hand maid to our promotion of dogma, something has gone awry.

7. Argumentation and debate – a sermon that would fit in the courtroom is not necessarily helpful in the church. It is always tempting to set our sights on a theological position (or person, or book!), or a moral concern (or political issue, current event, etc.), and to go on the attack in a way that is not actually helpful for the people listening. If our preaching never challenges anything, we have a problem, because the Bible certainly does. But if our preaching breeds only counterattack, controversy and division, we have become Christ’s lawyers rather than his witnesses.

8. Eulogy – this is a platitude-ridden sugar festival of non-answers to real life realities. It may sound very spiritual, but is it more syrup than substance? Does it actually come from the text? Does it actually land in real life?

9. Ecclesiastical commercial – a sermon that feels like a message from the sponsor, and the sponsor happens to be the churches other programs. Promote them outside the sermon as a general practice.

10. Monologue and soliloquy – a sermon motivated by the preacher’s delight in hearing his own voice. There is no real concern for the reaction or the impact in the lives of the listeners. The motivation is self-concerned.

The Bible does not merely give a starting point, or illustrative material, or a stamp of approval.  The Bible has to be in charge of the message – its main idea, its flow of thought, its relevance, its goals.

4 Questions for Your Sermon Outline

You have worked in the text, and worked on the message. You have a main idea, and an outline. Now take the opportunity to evaluate the outline.

Remember, the outline is for you, not for the listeners. You are not an educator seeking to transmit an outline to their notes or their memory. You are a preacher and the outline is an overview of your strategy for communicating the biblical idea relevantly to the hearts of your listeners.

Here are four questions to interrogate your outline and strengthen your sermon:

1. Does this message have unity? Considering all the elements – the points or movements – is the whole idea covered, supported and developed? Is the whole biblical text sufficiently covered in the message? Do the points of your message cohere? Is anything missing, or is anything present that doesn’t seem to fit?

2. Does the message order make sense? The elements of your outline should advance in a logical order. Typically, although not always, this will be the order of the text.

3. Do the sections of the outline feel proportional? It is tempting to just look for a rough balance in the number of verses covered by each point, but that is a bit lazy. You really need to know the passage well to answer this question. Do the points of the sermon carry the freight proportional to their relative weight in the passage? And from the listener perspective, will each point feel like an achievable step in the progression of the sermon?

4. Does the sermon progress? Each point should generate forward movement. Listeners don’t feel comfortable circling forever, or going backwards, or standing still. The order has to make sense. The progress has to be felt.

The outline is an important overview of your sermon. Personally I wouldn’t generally suggest it is helpful to give the outline to your listeners, or even to take it with you into the pulpit. However, it is important in your preparation to be able to evaluate the message before you progress to preaching it through.

6 Questions About Illustrations – part 2

Yesterday I gave four questions to get us thinking purposefully about what we are doing with an illustration and where we are getting it from.

Here are two more questions that we need to consider:

5. Even if it is a good illustration, is it self-destructive? You might have a great idea for an illustration, but beware of some that self-destruct. Here are some to watch out for:

  • The Overpowering Illustration. If the emotional impact is too great, then people won’t hear the point, or even the sermon. (Details of your car crash, your surgery, your pet dog’s death, etc.)
  • The Morally Questionable Illustration. If the morality of your illustration raises concerns, then people won’t hear your point, or even the sermon. (It doesn’t have to be sinful to trigger this outcome – referencing some movies, or hobbies, etc., might trigger a “sin!” reflex in some of your listeners.)
  • The Complicated to Explain Illustration. If the backstory or complexity is such that it takes too much effort, then people might forget your actual point. (Many movie illustrations trigger this outcome – unless literally everyone knows the film, or the set-up can be really swift, it may be worth looking for something else.)
  • The Tribal Illustration. If the story elevates a sports team where the listeners may be tribal (some don’t like that team), or where some listeners are tired of sports illustrations, or if you push a political perspective or person (and some aren’t onboard with your perspective), then people will likely remember their reaction to this rather than the point you were making.

6. Are you missing the value of the non-illustration? Sometimes we can be so in the habit of finding illustrations for our preaching that we forget the value of the non-illustration. I don’t mean speaking in a monotonous complicated and academic lecture. I mean recognizing that sometimes the explanation of the context of a passage, or the presentation of the passage itself, can be so vivid and engaging that it feels like you are illustrating when actually you are not. Narratives tend to offer us the potential for powerful storytelling. Poetry tends to offer vivid imagery. Even the epistles sometimes offer illustrations built into the passage. Don’t rush to your illustration file before checking if the text can engage the listeners with a vivid presentation and a sense of resonating relevance.

Illustrating a sermon is not easy, but hopefully these questions might help. What else would you add?

6 Questions About Illustrations

Good preachers make illustration look effortless, but for most of us it can be a real struggle. Here are a few questions that I find helpful:

1. What’s the purpose of your illustration? Too many preachers default to simply adding in illustrations because there hasn’t been one for a few paragraphs, or because they think they should. It works much better to define your purpose. At this point in the message will your listeners be needing explanation to clarify the point you are making? Or will they need support to prove the point? Or perhaps application to picture themselves applying the point? Generally it is better to identify what you are trying to achieve and you will probably achieve it more successfully. Explain, prove, apply . . . or perhaps give a break in the intensity to allow them to re-group. Decide what is needed and then you are more likely to find it.

2. Are you relying on their knowledge, or does it touch their experience? People will always connect more with what they have experienced than what they know. People are more likely to remember cross-country running at school than have experience of running in the Olympics. They know what it feels like to get stuck in traffic, but probably not what it feels like to step out of a spacecraft. Instead of going for the more exotic, consider if more mundane might connect better.

3.  Have they experienced it, or are they simply having to hear about yours? The best illustrative material tends to be experienced by both speaker and listener. It is easy for you to describe and easy for them to imagine. If this isn’t possible, then consider whether you can do the learning and speak of what they know personally, rather than always asking them to imagine what you have experienced personally. It won’t always be possible, but worth the effort when you can.

4. Are you falling into the laziest and weakest forms of illustration? There are plenty of illustrations that fall outside your experience and knowledge, and their experience and knowledge. The illustration anthologies are full of them. Obscure anecdotes and clever quotes from yesteryear. Wartime speeches, heroic moments, distant pithy quotes. Generally speaking these will seem far more effective on paper than they do in actual preaching. At the very least, can I suggest that if you love this kind of illustration then at least try to balance these with something more immediate and normal? (You may love your 1950’s football stories, or WWI trench poetry, but your listeners may not be so enthused.)

It takes work to illustrate well. Sometimes we have to go with something weaker than we’d prefer. That is preaching. But let’s try to do the best we can. (And tomorrow I will share the final two questions…)

Discernment Danger

You have probably heard the old adage: “bank staff learn to identify counterfeit money by handling the real thing.”

I suspect we have a growing problem today. Actually, several.

1. Too many of us don’t think counterfeit money exists. Actually, I am not thinking about money. I am referring to ideas and agendas. Too many of us are shockingly naive. We have a vague notion that there is sin in the world, but still we assume that nobody could have ulterior motives as they deal in words (at least, not ones that are not immediately obvious to me). If you question the standard media or cultural narrative on any issue then you run the risk of being dismissed for believing conspiracy theories or being classified as a bigot or nutcase. Hold on, assuming the media or culture has no motivation to push anti-God, anti-Christian, or anti-truth agendas is about as crazy as suggesting nobody has any motivation to make or use counterfeit money! This world is full of lies and it cannot be the job of Facebook or Twitter to guide us into all truth.

2. Too many of us spend too much time handling “funny money.” Again, I am not thinking about money. I am referring to social media, mainstream media, Hollywood/entertainment media, news, etc. If we believe it is all neutral and trustworthy, we will become eerily unaware when our values are molded into the shape of this world, rather than being transformed by the renewing of our minds. How easily we can give hours each day, tens of hours each week, to a cultural indoctrination program that we don’t really believe exists. Is it time to take stock and stop feeling so impervious and maybe even being so arrogant?

3. Too many of us spend too little time handling the real thing. You might prefer this post to be about handling money, but that is not at all what I am writing about! I suspect that one of the big problems in our world today is that too many of us who know God and the truth of His Word are too distracted by the communications of this world to really soak in God’s Word. What this world needs is not primarily for us to be constantly active on social media, thoroughly conversant with every news story or knowledgeable about every movie (all of these may have some value, of course). What this world needs is men and women who are strangely soaked in God’s Word, “divines” if you will.

I know which of these three points has convicted me. Which is on target for you? If you aren’t sure, start with number 1.