5 Reasons Why Your Sermon is Boring (and 5 Ways to Fix It)

wzOd8BWOf course, God can still use a boring sermon to bless His people.  However that’s not an excuse not to improve and use God given resources available to the pastor. I would like to share (based on my experience) five reasons why sermons are boring and tips to tweak it.

You use the same old illustrations over and over again – We understand that you use the same jokes or illustrations to make us easily grasp what you want us to understand. You want what is already familiar to us. At first we like those stories. However in time those illustrations breeds contempt. We became tired of listening to that part. We already know what part of the sermons were you will insert that. Some of us maybe rolling our eyes and saying in our mind “Goodness that worn out joke is coming…”.  Some of us might even joke about those same old illustrations. And some might feel embarrassed.

Fix it: Its time to find some great stories that will explain points in your sermon. Try reading books (Christian and non Christian), watching TED-talks videos on Youtube, check out Christian blogs or listen to sermons from other preachers. Another tip is what Dr. Nathan Busenitz had suggested is to use Church History. It’s gives informative and timeless  touch to your message. Another thing is, if its possible why not go straight to the point.

You preach the same old topic over and over again- We understand that when you emphasize a certain topic and repeat it over and over, you want to church to really get it.  Of course we want to be constantly reminded of something from the Word of God. However, if that’s often and there is no other topic to be preach, then we have a problem. It might be also that you stick to your forte and scared to try other topics. Whatever the reasons are you need to grasp the heart of church.

Fix it: Ask your preaching team or key laymen on what to preach. Let your other preachers in your church preach. In that way it might reveal what are the spiritual needs of the church.  Consult other pastors about what message matters to your church. Brainstorm in a place other than the church. And one last thing, don’t forget that the Holy Spirit will work even if you preached the topic once.

You talk too much of yourself- It’s one thing to put your personal anecdotes as a good illustration for the message, but when you become the sermon itself, eyes will roll and boredom will strike. In some cases, pulpits can be use to elevate self, academic achievements, virtue signalling and even solicit sympathy.

Fixt it: Let us remind ourselves that preaching is all about God and not you. You are responsible to point us to God through your message. If you’re trying to lift up your name in the pulpit, your glorifying yourself and not God. God didn’t called you to do that. He gave you that privilege to be His mouth piece.

Your sermon is too long – I’m not against long sermons. What I’m against are the unnecessary things included in the message that made it long. Beating around the bush, too much illustrations, personal stories that drift to a rabbit hole, random announcements etc., are some of the reasons the sermon had an unwarranted length.

Fix it:  Why not go straight to the point? Why preach 1-2 hours that will leave your listeners dire of boredom when you can preach a 30-45 minute sermon that will bless them? Maybe its time to sharpen the saw. Sometimes we as preachers should learn to adjust to the listeners not the other way around. Flexibility is the key. Of course, this is not a small step to compromising your message but by learning to be flexible were becoming good preachers in the process. Listen what Spurgeon has to say about shortening your long message:

“Brevity is a virtue within the reach of all of us; do not let us lose the opportunity of gaining the credit which it brings. If you ask me how you may shorten your sermons, I should say, study them better. Spend more time in the study that you may need less in the pulpit. We are generally longest when we have least to say.”

Your listener already heard enough talk even before the sermon begin –  Sometimes the one thing that drives boredom is not in the sermon itself but the talk you had before you start the preaching. You already consumed the listeners time and attention. What is left is disinterested folks who just wants you to get over your message. You already filled their ears with announcements, updates and adventures of your recent trips. Sad, sensitive and discouraging talks will leave them in the slump. Little did you know you long talk stole your sermon’s thunder.

Fix it: Place those important announcements and updates at the end of the service. Set a meeting specially if the issue are for members only. Print out some flyers containing those announcements so your member can read it at home. If its not that serious or demanding you can share it through Facebook group chat.

Pastors, we love and support you. We love you enough to say that their is something wrong with your sermon. We want to be biblically saturated and nothing else. And we know you want it also. However, their something that hinders that goal and that is your sermon is boring. So with all due respect listen to your flock. They want to bring out the best from you.

 

The Quotable Round-Up #102

t4jqaugFresh from a recent seminar about biblical counseling, me and my wife got copies of two books, Excelling in Relationships and Climbing Out of Depression, each in English and Tagalog version. So my wife reads the English and mine is the Tagalog. Hope we finish and further enhance what we have learned in the seminary. But for now I’ll be posting some quotes from the Tagalog translation of David Meengs book Climbing Out of Depression. 

“Mahalagang maunawaan natin na kung paano tayo mag-isip, magsalita o kumilos ay may koneksyon sa ating kalagayang espirituwal. Ang mga espirituwal na mga alalahanin ay nangangailangan ng espirituwal na solusyon! Ang katotohanan lamang ng Diyos ang magpapalaya sa atin sapagkat ipapakita nito ang tunay na kondisyon ng ating isipan at puso. Ito lamang ang makapagbibigay ng tahasang tugon sa pinaka ugat ng problema, nang walang tinatago.”

“Sang-ayon ang Diyos na tayo nga ay nasasaktan ng ibang tao! Ngunit ang ating maling tugon o reaksyon sa pananakit sa atin ang pinakaproblema, at depende iyan kung ano ang kalagayan ng puso natin. Ang karunungan mula sa Diyos ay nagtuturo na kailangang higit nating alamin kung paano ang tamang tugon sa mga nanakit sa atin. Ang karunungang ito ay taliwas sa itinuturo ng sikolohiya!”

“Ang pag-asa ayon sa Biblia ay naiiba talaga sa pag-asa sa paningin ng mundo bilang isang” kahilingan” lamang. Ang pag-asa ayon sa Biblia ay ang pananampalataya na may lakas ng loob na nag-aabang sa Diyos na tuparin Niya ang kanyang mga pangako na nakasandig sa katangian Niya; hindi nakadepende sa tao, sa mga bagay na pag-aari o sa mataas o mahirap na kalagayan sa buhay.”

“Ang mga taong mayroon Kristo sa kanilang mga puso, ang tanging may pag-asa at maaring magbago at mabuhay sa paraan ng Diyos! Bakit? Sapagkat ang kapangyarihan lamang ni Kristo ang may kakayahang sirain ang kapangyarihan ni Satanas sa puso ng mananampalataya.”

“Ang taong na kay Kristo na ay nailigtas mula sa kapangyarihan at sa parusa ng kasalanan! Iyon ang pag-asa! Matapos ang pagbabago ng puso, ang saloobin, mga salita at mga gawa ay magkakaroon din ng pagbabago pati na ang mga damdamin o nararamdaman ng isang tao ay magkakaroon na rin ng pagbabago.”

“Kapag nakatago sa ating mga puso ang pag-asa ng Diyos, magagawa nating sariwain sa ala-ala ang mga ito sa oras ng ating pangangailangan. Ang Banal na Espiritu bilang ating pinakamahusay na Tagapayo at Gabay ay nagpatotoo sa ating espiritu upang tulungan tayo. Kasabay ng pag-asa sa ating mga puso, ay magiging handa tayo sa pagbibigay rin ng pag-asa sa iba!”

“Ang katapatan ng Diyos ay labis na kahanga-hanga. Ang banal na katapatan ng Diyos ay ganap na nangangalaga sa isang mananampalataya. Ang ating Diyos ay lubos na nakatuon sa mga minamahal Niya.”

5 Questions A ‘Bible Only’ Proponent Should Ask

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Like my previous post titled 5 Questions A Biblicist Should Ponder which I defined what is a Biblicist, we need to clarify what is a Bible only folks for this article. “Bible only” proponents believes that they only need the Bible in the Christian life. This is not espousing the position of Sola Scriptura but Solo Scriptura. Of course they believe in the Bible alone as authority however other sources specially books are not needed. Some (but not all) fundamental or Bible Baptist folks hold on this. I don’t consider this as a major teaching but primary an argument against using resources other than the Scriptures.

Also I want to clarify that this article doesn’t set aside Sola Scriptura in favor of other resources. I uphold Sola Scriptura and reject Solo Scriptura.  Though not as equal as the Bible on authority, I believe God uses books and other resources to help Christians in understanding God. However to have a biased view on these materials is advocating anti-intellectualism and unbiblical.

And with that lets jump in to the 5 questions a “Bible only” folks should ask:

Do I use hymnal books, Sunday school hand outs, church by laws, VBS curriculum, dictionaries or seminary textbooks at church? 

Why use those resources when you have already a Bible?  After all its “Bible only” right? You might response that you don’t view these resources  at par with the authority of the Bible. Then again, this and the following two points are influential in your perspective and you shouldn’t deny it.

Am I benefiting on the Bible’s built in features like cross reference, introduction to the books of the Bible, maps, appendixes, indexes, and also the divisions and numberings of chapters and verses? 

Let’s push it further. One should also consider if he is a “Bible only” Christians, are those built in tools found in his Bible. They’re found in the Bible however they are not part of the Bible.  The text itself is the Bible. You might find it too much but if you want to be a purist in the “Bible only” sense, you should consider this question. Nevertheless, you are succumbing to a man made tool place in your Bible.

Are my educational background (theological or secular), denominational tradition or church culture and values;  in any way influence my being ‘Bible only’?

I think we should not limit the “Bible only” position on tangible resources mentioned above.  How about the things that shaped us as a Christian either from a Christian or secular influence. This is an inescapable truth that we are formed by these elements, wont you agree? still believe in your position is impossible. The reality is, the mere fact you believe in “Bible only” position is a compelling evidence that these influence are truly “controlling” you to sway to such belief.

Now for something personal…. 

Am I intimidated by individuals who reads lots of books? 

We should also look at this angle which can be a  bit personal. After all this maybe a valid reason why you hold on this so called position. Do you feel intimidated by believers who enjoy reading  Christian books, talking about it and sharing it? Lets tweak the question a bit more: Do you feel left out in the conversation when people starts talking about the books or author they follow?

Another question I want to ask (and I’m risking to be too personal): Are you threaten by smart individuals at church?  Do you feel you might lose authority or relevance to these people who are smarter than you? In this case, this not an issue of whether you stand on this impossible position, its a matter pride.

Am I just plain lazy to study?

Maybe this is another reason why you say you’re “Bible only”.  Rather than be honest that you don’t know or don’t want to learn something you settle for this excuse.  If you’re a pastor or preacher you should know better. You owe your church or ministry that you should be equip first by rooting on Scriptures and then getting excellent resources. Times are changing, culture is shifting and people need answers. It wont hurt to learn something that will eventually benefit the church. Not all of what you need to know has been taught to you in seminary. You might need to update, expand and level up.

 

5 Questions A Biblicist Should Ponder

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The term Biblicist has a broad definition. However in this article, I’ll address the Biblicist as a Christian who claims to be neither Calvinist or Arminian and believes that the Bible alone is the only and final authority. You can find them in some fundamental, independent or Bible Baptist circles . They encourage us to be one rather than choose the two, because for them, the Biblicist stand is the biblical one. While it might look noble and virtuous, however by testing the Biblicist position with these five questions, you’ll be surprise that it won’t hold water.

Are you just ignoring the issue?

Some believers just don’t want to be caught in this controversial topic, so they use the position as a trump card to dismiss it. Rather than look at it as an opportunity to have a meaningful discussion and to hear both sides of the issue, they resort it by saying that they are a Biblicist. Well this is not merely an exercise of choosing which side. It’s a question on who or what is biblically sound.

Are you just ignorant of the issue?

Yet some doesn’t have any clue of the matter.  So they jump on the bandwagon to fellow Christians who holds the Biblicist position without thinking it over.  However, the first question and this one doesn’t solve the issue, rather it leads to further anti intellectualism that is so prevalent in this group.

How do you define the Biblicist view?

Whenever I hear someone explain what a Biblicist is, some automatically quote 1 Timothy 3: 16-17, then declare that their belief is on the Bible alone in matters of Christian living, ministries and doctrine.   If by defining Biblicist meant that you adhere to  Scripture alone as the final authority, then a Calvinist can also be called Biblicist (Remember the 5 Solas include Sola Scriptura). In fact,  looking at their theological richness biblically and historically, Calvinism fits in that category. And please don’t appeal on the catechisms or confessions and view it as equal to Scriptures. You’ll end up misrepresenting the Reformed view.  I cant speak for the Arminian but I believe they will also appeal and say that the Bible is their final authority. So by that they are also Biblicist.

What are the basic doctrines a Biblicist adherent to?

As a Calvinist I can point out the doctrine of grace through the TULIP acrostics. As for the Arminians, well I’m not sure but as I check out the web, some might sum it up with the acrostic DAISY (Diminished Depravity, Abrogated Election, Impersonal Atonement, Sedentary grace and Yieldable Justification) although our Arminian friends might disagree. So how about our Biblicist friends? What doctrinal points can they show that is neither Calvinistic or Arminianistic? If they claim to be neural from both and scriptural at the same time, then they have to present something distinct  from the two.

Which brings us to the last question….

Are you just a closet Arminian? 

When push becomes a shove, a Biblicist will try to defend their position against a Calvinist. As they defend their position, you’ll notice that their counter arguments are similar with what an Arminian. Sure, they might not believe in losing ones salvation (neither some Arminians), however by looking on what doctrines they stand you can easily say that their defending Arminianism. They might say they don’t but in reality they are.

As we question the so called Biblicist position, we can see that rather untangling themselves from the issue they further thrown into confusion.  Rather side stepping the issue why not confront it. Try studying it, checking the Scriptures and praying for it. By then we will really understand and know the issue.

The Quotable Round-Up #99

jza5tccHeads up guys! Time for some 7 awesome quotes from a Christian book. This time we shall enjoy quotes from “Advance!” by Tim Challies. If you were blessed by this booklet, please consider getting it on Amazon or at your nearest bookstore! Grace and Peace!

“The Jesus of the three years of public ministry was formed during the 30 years of private obscurity. The 10 percent of his life that was carefully recorded cannot be separated from the 90 percent of his life that was not.”

“The number one priority for young Christians is to advance in character. Life is not over at 30 but just beginning. The teens and 20s are not the time to live a whole life but to prepare for a whole life. In these years, young Christians need to prepare themselves for the rest of life by laying a foundation of godly character that will sustain them for the many years to come.”

“Today, we hear of the importance of following our hearts, of being true to ourselves, of living according to our own standards. The Bible calls us to the exact opposite, to follow God’s heart, to be true to him, and to live according to his standards. Self-approval is meaningless and deadly if it comes at the expense of God’s approval.”

“As a young Christian, you will have many opportunities to serve God by serving his people. Take them! Enjoy them! Make the most of them! Begin even now to use your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.”

“The best use of these years is not to stack up accomplishments for God but to joyfully pursue God through godly character. Yet as I call for young Christians to focus more on character than accomplishment, I certainly do not wish to advocate apathy. This is not a call for low expectations, but for expectations that are rightly focused and properly prioritized.”

“You can prepare by learning Scripture and theology, listening carefully to every sermon every Sunday, being consistent in your personal devotions, and reading good books. God can use every bit of wisdom you have. The fact is, God cannot work with what you do not have, and these years are ideal for preparing yourself to be used by him. Make this a time of preparation.”

“Your teens and 20s will be put to the best and highest use if you make them a time of sanctification. Even when you are a teen or young adult, you can make bold steps in identifying and overcoming sin and equally bold steps in embracing righteousness.”

 

 

The Quotable Round-Up #98

uq7p3leHeads up guys! Time for some 7 awesome quotes from a Christian book. This time we shall enjoy quotes from “Always Ready” by Greg Bahnsen. If you were blessed by this book, please consider getting it on Amazon or at your nearest bookstore! Grace and Peace!

“The culpable agnosticism of the world’s intellectuals must not be reproduced in Christians as alleged neutrality; this outlook, this approach to truth, this intellectual method evidences a darkened understanding and hardened heart. It refuses to bow to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over every area of life, including scholarship and the world of thought.”

“The facts must be presented without wavering: reasoning which is not built upon the presupposed word of Christ is geared toward intellectual foolishness and spiritual death. The correction and reproof of Scripture cannot be watered down.”

“To turn away from intellectual dependence upon the light of God, the truth about and from God, is to turn away from knowledge to the darkness of ignorance. Thus if a Christian wishes to begin his scholarly endeavors from a position of neutrality he would, in actuality, be willing to begin his thinking in the dark.”

“Those who wish to gain dignity in the eyes of the world’s intellectuals by wearing the badge of “neutrality” only do so at the expense of refusing to be set apart by God’s truth. In the intellectual realm they are absorbed into the world so that no one could tell the difference between their thinking and assumptions and apostate thinking and assumptions. The line between believer and unbeliever is obscured.”

“All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are to be found in Christ; thus if one were to try and arrive at the truth apart from commitment to the epistemic authority of Jesus Christ he would be robbed through vain philosophy and deluded by crafty deceit (see Col. 2:3-8).”

“One must be presuppositionally committed to Christ in the world of thought (rather than neutral) and firmly tied down to the faith which he has been taught, or else the persuasive argumentation of secular thought will delude him. Hence the Christian is obligated to presuppose the word of Christ in every area of knowledge; the alternative is delusion.”
“To make God’s word your presupposition, your standard, your instructor and guide, however, calls for renouncing intellectual self-sufficiency—the attitude that you are autonomous, able to attain unto genuine knowledge independent of God’s direction and standards.”

 

The Quotable Round-Up #97

mov8lgvHeads up guys! time for some 7 awesome quotes from a Christian book. This time we shall enjoy quotes from “10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health” by Don Whitney. If you were blessed by this book, please consider getting it on Amazon or at your nearest bookstore! Grace and Peace!

“Do you thirst for God? Thirst is a God-planned part of the growth of a soul toward its heavenly home.”

“The reason a person thirsts for God is because the Holy Spirit is at work within him. If you are a Christian, two people live in your body-you and the Holy Spirit. As the apostle Paul explained, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). And the Holy Spirit is not passive within you.”

“Wherever we go, whatever decisions are before us, the way of life should be illuminated by God’s Word. To live otherwise is to walk in darkness.”

“Read the Bible daily and do not close it until you know at least one thing God would have you do in response to your reading. This response might involve something new to believe, a habit to begin or break, a prayer to offer, a conversation to initiate, a letter or E-mail to send, a phone call to make, a spiritual discipline to practice, or something else. Read the Bible for application, not merely for information.”

“Love is the badge and character of Christianity.”

“Jesus came primarily to save sinners forever, not merely to heal their short-lived bodies. His greatest display of love for us was in His death, for through it we experience the love of God unto eternal life. And the most loving thing we can ever do for anyone is give them the words that can lead to immortality in a radiantly glorious body.”

“Delight in imitating God. This is not a mystical platitude or a new ager’s aspiration. The Bible speaks plainly about imitating God by showing love: “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us” (Ephesians 5:1-2).”

The Quotable Round-Up #96

npjl5idHeads up guys! time for some 7 awesome quotes from a Christian book. This time we shall enjoy quotes from “Rebels Rescued: A Student’s  If you were blessed by this book, please consider getting it on Amazon or at your nearest bookstore! Grace and Peace!

“Without God’s grace performing a divine heart transplant, everything in us seeks to rebel against God.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

“The consequence of sin, therefore, is death. But what about the little sins? Do those deserve death too? This is important. All sin—as the Bible teaches—is rebellion against God.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

“Reformed theology teaches from Scripture that, before God created the heavens and the earth, he has chosen—or “predestined”—his people to be saved for eternity.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

“One of the common objections to predestination is: “If God has already elected those who will be saved, then why evangelize?” It’s a good question and there are at least two primary reasons. First, we share the gospel because Jesus commands us to (Matthew 28:19). Second, we share the gospel because it is the means by which God saves his elect—through the hearing of the preached word (Romans 10:17).” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

 “Apart from God’s grace in giving us new hearts to love him, we remain chained and imprisoned by sin and unbelief. There is no freedom apart from God’s work of grace and it’s grace precisely because his salvation is something we don’t deserve.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

“As a physically dead person cannot do anything that is physically productive, a spiritually dead person cannot do anything that is spiritually good. Being spiritually dead means that we are unable to respond to anything good. The issue is not freedom to do something, but ability.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

“Our hearts deceive us into thinking that the things of this world will bring great joy, only to be duped. Enjoying the pleasures of this world offer small joy—and oftentimes fake joy—compared to the enjoyment and satisfaction found in God.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

The Quotable Round-Up #95

f11jjqtHeads up guys! time for some 7 awesome quotes from a Christian book. This time we shall enjoy quotes from “The Day of Worship” by Ryan M. McGraw. If you were blessed by this book, please consider getting it on Amazon or at your nearest bookstore! Grace and Peace!

“The Sabbath is God’s holy day, not ours. It is not a day on which we determine what activities please us on our “day off.” We must always ask the question, “What pleases God on a day set apart to worship Him?” It is not sufficient to ask, “What is pleasing to God in general?” but rather “What is pleasing to God on this day?

“Nothing kills worldliness, pride, and formality in religion like devoting one whole day of every week to worship and communion with God.”

“Worship was the primary activity attached to the Sabbath in the law, and Isaiah pointed to attendance at corporate worship as evidence of faithful Sabbath-keeping. Worship is not treated as a duty to be performed on the Sabbath, but worship is treated as integral to the concept of Sabbath-keeping.”

“When you disregard the Sabbath by bending your conscience to the will of employers or to the lusts of the flesh rather than to the Word of God, do you realize you are actually despising the privilege of worship? You are not simply disobeying a commandment of God; you are spurning one of His greatest gifts to mankind.”

“If Sabbath-breaking is cited as a cause for sending Israel into exile, how long will God patiently observe our disregard for His day before severely chastening our sins? Sabbath-breaking is one of the best ways to ensure the devastation of our churches and of our nation, just as it was for Israel.”

“When we see a rainbow in the sky, we should be mindful of the promises of grace that God gave to Noah; when the Sabbath comes every week, we should be mindful of the redemption from Egypt and the manner in which it pointed to the greater redemption in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“The Sabbath is a part of the world God has created. To trample it underfoot is to declare that we would overturn the weekly order that God has woven into the very fiber of creation. Sabbath-keeping is as integral to man’s life as marriage and labor. To violate ordinances that predate and stand apart from the Fall, and even from redemption in Christ, is to attack the authority of God as our creator in the most fundamental sense.”

The Digital Round-Up # 23

myptv2kHey folks! Prepare for another round of the “The Digital Round-Up” as we serve you interesting articles, freebies and videos. And if you’re enjoying this stuff, please do tell us on the comment section. So buckle up and enjoy the thrill.

FREE “CHANGED: #oncegay stories” – is an ebook  compilation of 40 people who left homosexuality and found happiness and fulfillment outside LGBTQ circle.

Wigs and Wisdom – Its not just a fashion statement by men in the 18th century but a sign of something we ought to be. Are we willing to “wear” it again in this 21st century?

Let their books raise the questions – an excellent article that lets the secular book  raise important inquires on eternal matters.

Double the Trouble if You Ignore the Context – in interpreting the Bible, we need to remember the importance of context.

How to Remember What You Read – David Qaoud gives us 4 ways to ensure we get the most out of reading.

18 most recognizable book covers and fun facts about them – iconic books that has memorable covers.

3 Reasons you’re more productive in coffee shops – some of my blog post are done in Figaro , and in some ways this article is true.