Formational vs. Informational Bible Reading

I just finished reading Scot McKnight’s The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others (a book I highly recommend), and I want to share some very helpful insights he shares in chapter 20, “Abiding in Jesus,” about reading the Bible in a life-changing way.

image1He says, “One of the most common disciplines that shapes our lives according to the Jesus Creed [Loving God & Loving people] is to spend regular time in the presence of Jesus by reading the Bible and listening to his teachings.”[1]

McKnight references M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.’s book Shaped by the Word [2]. “He calls attention to the distinction between ‘informational’ and ‘formational’ reading of the Bible. The difference has to do with how we read the Bible and why we read the Bible. Either we read the Bible informally (to learn more) or we read the Bible formationally (to be changed).”[3]

Here are some comparisons between informational and formational reading of the Bible.

In Informational reading, we: In Formational reading we:
Cover as much as possible Cover what we need to
Read line after line Read for depth, perhaps only a word
Have a goal of mastering the text Have a goal of being mastered by the text
Treat the text as an “object” Treat ourselves as the object of the text
Read analytically Read receptively
Solve problems Are open to mystery

[4]

512uotQXkRL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_As a former undergraduate religious studies major and current seminary student, I have been (as McKnight suggests) trained as an “informational” reader. I recognize the importance of reading the Bible informally, But I am convicted that we should primarily read the Bible formationally.

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

McKnight also adds, “Those who are devoted to the formational…attend to Jesus because when they read the Bible they both learn and listen.”[5]

God is not a subject we study. He is someone we love.

You can receive more Scot McKnight resources at his blog, The Jesus Creed.


[1] Scot Mcknight, The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2004), 195.

[2] M. Robert Mulholland, Jr., Shaped by the Word (Nashville, TN: The Upper Room, 1985).

[3] McKnight, The Jesus Creed, 195.

[4] Ibid., 195-196.

[5] Ibid., 196.

The Gospel is Good News

I am going to make a statement that, especially for those who grew up in church, is so obvious, so simple, so elementary, so assumed, that it might be ignored altogether. The Gospel is Good News.

Yes, the word gospel literally means “good news.” In fact, many newer translations, like the NIV, has translated euangelion as “good news.”

The reality that the Gospel is Good News hit me hard a while back when thinking about some people who regularly come to the campus of Western Kentucky University to “preach the gospel.”

I’m not exactly sure which church or organization these folks are with, but I do know that most people do not like them. I would consider these people street preachers. These are the people who come to the free-speech zone on campus, and with a megaphone yell Scriptures at people as they walk by. They yell anti-abortion and anti-homosexuality rhetoric. They will verbally fight with whoever dares to challenge them. They often draw big crowds and tick everyone off who walks by. These folks are comparable to the people of Westboro Baptist Church.

As a Christian, when I see these street preachers I am bothered. I get mad. I hate that they’re so judgmental. I hate that they’re giving Christians such a bad name. And I especially hate that they give our Lord a bad name. But this is what bothered me more than anything…I agreed with them. Yes, I agreed with them. This killed me. I agreed with them, yet disliked them. How could this be? I agreed that abortion was a sin. I agreed that the practice of homosexuality was a sin. I agreed that living a promiscuous lifestyle was not the way God designed relationships. I agreed with them. This made me ask myself hard questions. Were we on the same team? Was I one of them? This kept me perplexed.

It just so happened that as I was talking to a student in my campus ministry about the street preachers, we had just discussed Mark 1:14-15: “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,  and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'” Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. The Gospel is Good News. I always knew that the word Gospel means good news. But I finally understood that the Gospel is Good News.

Good News

Here’s the problem with the street preachers. They preach preach true things, but do not preach the Gospel. They might preach things that are true, but they do not preach Good News. Hear me out–I am not saying we should not to call sin sin. And I’m not saying we should not confront people with the reality of their sin. What I am saying is that if you only preach against sin and judgment and leave out the hope that Jesus brings through the Good News of the Gospel, you’re doing it wrong. You can preach true things, but if there is no hope of Good News presented to the one you’re preaching to, you’re doing it wrong. Jesus died for our sins. We have hope. The Apostle Paul says, “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21). Because of what Jesus did we can be righteous. That’s good news. That’s the Best News.

Greeting Cards and the Prayers of Scripture

rembrandt_apostle_paul217x275

indexIn my early teens, I was a huge Adam Sandler fan. I loved Big Daddy, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, and Billy Madison. But my all-time favorite Adam Sandler film was Mr. Deeds. It tells to story of the average, small town, yet heroic, Longfellow Deeds (Adam Sandler’s character) who inherits millions of dollars from his deceased uncle. Before he inherits all of that money he served as a volunteer firefighter and pizzeria owner. But Deeds’ real passion was GREETING CARDS. (I don’t want to ruin the movie for you, so I won’t explain the rest of the plot. Mr. Deeds is on Netflix now, in case you were wondering).

Greeting Cards. When I was younger I loved getting cards for my birthday. Obviously not for the cards, but for what was in them. I was only interested in the check or cash, but my parents still made me read them. Even though the greeting cards were not in their own words, the people who gave me those cards really meant what the cards said. In other words, my grandparents or friends who bought me cards, they made the greeting cards’ words their own words to express themselves.

No matter what most of us believe, we are not as original as we believe we are. We make other people’s words our words all the time.

You’ve also probably seen several Taylor Swift lyrics underneath a #SelfieSunday pic or two. It’s because people hear a TS lyric, and think, “This fits so well with my selfie and mood today.” They make her words their words to express themselves.

There’s a reason the most popular dances at weddings are “The Cha-Cha Slide” and “Cupid Shuffle.” People make the dance that already exists their own. That’s why couples have “their song.” We all make other people’s expressions our own to express ourselves.

Concerning prayer, sometimes we need other people’s words to express ourselves.

Let’s be honest. Sometimes it’s hard to pray. Sometimes I want to pray, but I have no idea what to say. In this post I hope to share some tools, ideas, and suggestions to express yourself when it’s hard to pray.

rembrandt_apostle_paul217x275The Prayers of Scripture

There are so many great prayers in scripture. From King David, to the Apostle Paul, to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to Jesus himself.

When it comes to praying scripture, the Psalms are a great place to start. Paul even tells the church to address one another with psalms (see Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16). Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in Life Together, said, “The Psalter occupies a unique place in the Holy Scriptures. It is God’s Word, and with few exceptions, the prayer of men as well. How are we to understand this? How can God’s Word be at the same time prayer to God?” Praying the scripture is a mysterious experience. The scripture is the Word of God, but at the same time a word for you, but then again it’s a word for God from us! What a great gift God has given us in the prayers of scripture! In case you are wanting to dig deeper into the Psalms, especially in the lament psalms I highly, highly recommend Glenn Pemberton‘s Hurting With God: Learning to Lament With the Psalms.

image1Here are a few Psalms that have blessed me:
Psalm 13
Psalm 42
Psalm 51
Psalm 100

There are also some great prayers in Paul’s letters. One of my favorite Pauline prayers is found in Ephesians 3:14-21:

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Pray this prayer for your church or yourself when you need more love and power.

And one of the most important prayers of scripture is Jesus’ words in the Lord’s Prayer. If you have never memorized scripture, the Lord’s Prayer is a great place to start.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:9-13

The Prayers of Other Christians

Matthew Westerholm, a blogger for Desiring God, wrote a very insightful article, “Your Prayer Life Is Better Than You Think.” In this blog post he expresses many of our struggles with our prayer lives, but, as you can tell from the title, it might be as bad as you think. He quotes and explains some of John Calvin’s thoughts on songs of prayer. He said, “Calvin would say, if you love singing to God, you love to pray. Now that is encouraging.” So many of our songs are prayers to God–“As the Deer,” “How Great Thou Art,” “Glorify Thy Name,” “Oceans,” “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and many more! If you’re struggling to pray, try listening to and singing along to a song on your iPhone. That might put you in a worshipful, prayerful posture.

There are also some great prayers people have prayed repeatedly throughout Christian history. For example, people have been praying the Jesus Prayer for over a thousand years:

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.”

Another great prayer, a prayer that I’ve prayed a lot, and have written about is the Wesley Covenant Prayer. Click HERE to access that post.

Praying Together

It is a powerful thought that when we pray old prayers, we never pray alone. When we pray the prayers of the Psalms and other scriptures, we’re joining in arms in prayer with thousands of years of Christians who have poured out their hearts to God.

When you can’t find the words to pray, I hope these suggestions are beneficial.

Tim Keller’s #AskTK (May 26, 2015)

Tim Keller is one of my favorite preachers and authors. Every few months he does a Q&A on Twitter using the #AskTK hashtag. In this particular #AskTK, he answers a lot of preaching questions. He also talks about his new book Preaching: Communicating in an Age of Skepticism. In this post I have a list of the tweets from last Tuesday’s (5/26/15) #AskTK. I also attached a downloadable #AskTK PDF list of the tweets.

Click here for Tim Keller’s bio.
Click here for Tim Keller’s blog.
Click here for Tim Keller’s new book Preaching: Communicating in an Age of Skepticism.
Click here for the 5/26/15 #AskTK PDF

jbyXG8Nd@mfreyd: How important is it to accommodate differences in generations as it relates to preaching (e.g. between Boomers and Millenials)? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @mfreyd I take into consideration race and culture, age, education, gender-all of them are important. I do it instinctively as I see them.

@rdmcclenagan: @timkellernyc #asktk Is there ‘one’ big idea in a given text? is that a helpful or not helpful way to preach?
@timkellernyc: @rdmcclenagan You should look for the main theme and focus on that if you can. Not all texts reveal a single main theme.

@Justin_T_Cook: @timkellernyc Roughly how much time should young pastors budget for sermon prep/week? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @Justin_T_Cook roughly six hours-but not all at once. Spend time pastoring and reading widely and your preaching will improve.

@MattDampier: Hey @timkellernyc how do you keep your passion for the gospel so white-hot and energy so high when you preach as often as you do? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@MattDampier 1) reflection/meditation on the Scriptures, particularly the Psalms-taste the beauty of Christ. 2) Exercise (treadmill).

@michaelscason: @timkellernyc what are the best ways for a young ministry student to keep developing their skills and talents for their future ministry?
@timkellernyc: .@michaelscason Never turn down a speaking or preaching or pastoring opportunity. i.e., practice.

@bpatton10: What books are on your nightstand? #AskTK
@timkellernyc: .@bpatton10 Bible, LOTR, John Newton letters.

@_courtneyyyH11: #asktk @timkellernyc Any advice for young Christians who are going off to college?
@timkellernyc: .@_courtneyyyH11 Join a community-ask hard questions of your faith and get answers-don’t shrink for forgiving/repenting (real relationships)timothy-keller

@DougSteffy6: @timkellernyc How can we best reach the growing number of people who believe that truth is relative? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@DougSteffy116 This is important-and I have a section in the Preaching book on it. You have to show the assumptions they have in a nutshell

@jessejosephic: #asktk best way to memorize a sermon? @timkellernyc
@timkellernyc: .@jessejosephic Repetition.

@jessejosephic: #asktk Use big words and teach them or stick to words your context will know? @timkellernyc
@timkellernyc: .@jessejosephic Yes.

@lukemiddleton: @timkellernyc #asktk Is there a typical shell or template that you work from when preparing a sermon?
@timkellernyc: .@lukemiddleton I don’t have templates, but I do like to show how the text is showing us a problem and then ultimately a gospel solution.

@JustinDean: .@timkellernyc what’s your thoughts on live streaming sermons to different congregations of a multi-site church? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@JustinDean I think you lose not just the personal touch, but the ability to read your audience. The audience/speaker dynamic is complex.61F3sKEghPL._SL150_

@lukemiddleton: @timkellernyc #asktk You use a manuscript, correct? How do you not stay tied to it (eyes down)? Rehearse?
@timkellernyc: .@lukemiddleton I use a detailed outline, and a memorize it-particularly transitions. When preaching be thinking how to say, not what to say

@echppll: #asktk honestly though, unbiased ranking of Harry Potter, LOTR, and Narnia? @timkellernyc
@timkellernyc: .@echppll LOTR, Narnia, HP. Though I like all three–I read LOTR constantly.

@curtis_jt21: @timkellernyc what advice would you give to a 22 year old guy who is pastoring a church plant in an inner city??? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@curtis_jt21 Learn your congregation’s narratives, don’t burnout, ask others who have been there longer, pastoring is more than preaching.

.@Warrior4Jesus: @timkellernyc I am an 18-year-old boy, who has never had a girlfriend. Any advice on singleness and relationships? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@Warrior4Jesus Read Paige’s article on singleness. It’s a good start. “Singled Out for Good”

@eugpark101: @timkellernyc what’s the important thing for college ministers to focus on? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@eugpark101 Help students use conflict to bring forgiveness and repentance–which makes the gospel real. Most don’t get in conflict.

@SlamDuncle: #asktk @timkellernyc why do we have denominations? Do you believe they prevent the body of Christ from working at full potential for Him?
@timkellernyc: .@SlamDuncle Denoms are the product of our need for purity in the church. Unity and purity are in tension-denoms are the result.

timkeller@CSFchris: #asktk @timkellernyc Compared to the Lord’s supper, singing, and other elements in a worship service, how important is preaching?
@timkellernyc: .@CSFchris You’re asking a Presbyterian this? I would say it is a very important element in the worship service. You can’t do without it.

@Chadwickforfree: #asktk @timkellernyc when preaching Christ how do we not just lecture but show his beauty for the hearers heart to worship on the spot
@timkellernyc: .@Chadwickforfree Great point-have to show Christ’s beauty and not tell. Engage the imagination. see Edwards on this.

@AmberStamperPhD: @timkellernyc I have 1 yr old twin boys. I know you have sons too.🙂 Any tips for raising them up in the way they should go?🙂 #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@AmberStamperPhD Forgive and repent, practice grace, show them not perfection, but humility found primarily in the cross.

@JasonRomano: @timkellernyc #asktk – I’m preaching my first ever sermon this weekend. Any advice?
@timkellernyc: .@JasonRomano Don’t put too much weight on it. You’re not the Holy Spirit.

.@Justin_T_Cook: @timkellernyc What are your thoughts on manuscripting sermons, especially for younger pastors? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@Justin_T_Cook If it works, fine. Just make sure you memorize and don’t read your manuscript.

@jedwalker: @timkellernyc What do you think is the biggest cultural challenge the church is currently facing? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@jedwalker In the West, it is critiquing the unspoken assumptions of Secularism, and fixing hypocrisy in the Church.

@griffingulledge: @timkellernyc Should millennial lay-people care more about the denomination they’re in? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@griffingulledge Yes, generally speaking denominations matter.

@TomlinMedia: #asktk What’s your view on showing film clips, playing songs, and using other visual/audio from pop culture to help prove a point?
@timkellernyc: .@TomlinMedia I don’t do that. I think good preaching creates the images in the mind and pricks the imagination a la Jonathan Edwards.

@PopcornTheology: @timkellernyc #asktk Favorite television show? Should Christians engage entertainment which contains sin/sinful plot devices?
@timkellernyc: .@PopcornTheology I’m liking Elementary and Broad Church right now.

@loudmouthpastor: Dr.Keller are you a naturally organized person? Or did u learn it? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@loudmouthpastor I’m naturally organized, but talk to organized people for pointers.

@robertgall: @timkellernyc After you’d prepared your sermon, and were standing in the pulpit, have you ever significantly changed direction? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@robertgall Yes, but not usually.

@awulff: @timkellernyc what 2 non-preaching books books have helped u become a better communicator? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@awulff Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

@jasonlee81: @timkellernyc is the practice of meditation such as transcendental meditation inconsistent with Christianity? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@jasonlee81 Yes. Biblical mediation is filling your mind with Scripture, not emptying it.

@lukemiddleton: @timkellernyc #asktk What’s the role of the individual preacher’s personality in the pulpit? Does it have a place?
@timkellernyc: .@lukemiddleton If you are not too nervous or affective, your personality will come out and will naturally have a place.

@EricTGuthrie: @timkellernyc how do you guard against despair after preaching? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @EricTGuthrie By not getting your identity from your reputation as a preacher. That sounds simple, but it is so important.

@gradywsmith: @timkellernyc How do we balance staying informed through news and media with living/caring about our immediate surroundings? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@gradywsmith Read hard copy newspapers that way you stay informed, but you don’t spend too much time “elsewhere.”

@loudmouthpastor: Hey Tim what is your favorite movie? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@loudmouthpastor Black Stallion, The Iron Giant, Babette’s Feast.

@abrahaMichael: What lead you to start @TGC with Dr. Carson? #AskTk
@timkellernyc: .@abrahaMichael @TGC Don and I thought it would be a good idea. You could say our friendship is what lead us to start it.

@chughes_: @timkellernyc How do you promote your own work (books etc) in humility and in light of Pro 27:2 ? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@chughes_ Proverbs is right, you should tell people about your book, but not praise yourself.

@jacobasaf27: @timkellernyc it is possible to stop sinning now? In this world? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@jacobasaf27 No, not at all.

@m91villegas: @timkellernyc is it possible to love Jesus but be afraid of the father? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@m91villegas Not if you understand the doctrine of the Trinity. What one does they all do.

@Kevin_D_Sprague: @timkellernyc How do you determine which details of a passage you will not go into? How do you safe-guard from rabbit trials #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@Kevin_D_Sprague You should only have one or two main points. Details that get you elsewhere should be avoided even if they are interesting

@TheSlambert: @timkellernyc I got feedback that my sermons are good but too long at 45 min. I want to be humble. I want to preach well. Thoughts?#asktk
@timkellernyc: .@TheSlambert 45min is way to long for most audiences and for most preachers. I shoot for 28min. #alwaysleavethemwantingmore

@KateSchaff: @timkellernyc Have wondered if you’ve been influenced/read much of Scottish preachers of the last century? e.g. William Still. #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@KateSchaff William Still, James Philp, Sinclair Ferguson have all been helpful.

@trevorcox: @timkellernyc You have a group of five new believers in front of you. What do you say first? What do you say next? Next? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@trevorcox Hello Why is it hard for you to believe in Christianity? Tell me what the very best answer to your own objection would be.

@RealOwenHarris: @timkellernyc what is the message of The Gospel? What is Jesus’ mission statement? Isaiah 61:1? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@RealOwenHarris Jonah 2:9–Salvation is from the Lord.

@CMEman: @timkellernyc – What r da best scholarly resources one can consult with a limited knowledge of Greek/Hebrew? Best Bible commentaries? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @CMEman @Logos is the best way to interact with the text in the original with limited knowledge of languages.

@DZRishmawy: .@timkellernyc #asktk which preacher of a prior generation had the biggest influence on you? & what’s the biggest change since their time?
@timkellernyc: .@DZRishmawy Answered the first half already. London listeners in their day still accepted more basic Christian assumptions than now.

@jdbautista: @timkellernyc full manuscript or outline when preaching? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@jdbautista Detailed outline, but that is just me. Everyone is different.

@CharloGillaspie: When you were a young pastor…what did you find most difficult about preaching? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@CharloGillaspie Having to preach every seven days whether you were ready or not.

.@Troy_Cook: @timkellernyc What advice do you give to young preachers who tend to imitate their favorite preachers? #AskTK
@timkellernyc: .@Troy_Cook The more favorite preachers you have, the more you will develop your own voice, though it will take a while. Get more voices.

@DavidJosephNoe: @timkellernyc In what ways, if any, would you preach differently if serving in the Bible Belt? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@DavidJosephNoe For nine years I was. Unbelief is not as conscience or overt there.

@MarcSims: Should pastors have a group of people offer him critique after he preaches? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@MarcSims You should have people that you trust critique you.

@greenpun: @timkellernyc #asktk should a pastor try and reach unbelievers, young Christians and mature believers in every sermon?
@timkellernyc: .@greenpun Absolutely unless you have a very unbalanced church because they are all out there.

@joshyboyrules: @timkellernyc how do you balance looking at commentary for help on interpreting bible text versus coming up with your own thought? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@joshyboyrules Don’t go to commentaries first and write down the things that strike you first. Then go to others.

@THECHANNINATOR: @timkellernyc do you experience the post-preaching crash? how do you deal with it? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @THECHANNINATOR I preach four times on a Sunday. Afterwards I do no work and go to bed early.

@BretNicholson: @timkellernyc #asktk. What’s the most significant change you’ve made to your preaching over the years / why?
@timkellernyc: .@BretNicholson I have become more Christ-centered than in my first 10-15 years of preaching, and I see how the whole Scriptures speak of J.

@CharloGillaspie: Who are a few of the preachers who you listen to? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@CharloGillaspie Dick Lucus, Lloyd-Jones, and John Stott.

@WillRiddle92: @timkellernyc at what point does topical preaching become more harmful than helpful? #AskTK
@timkellernyc: .@WillRiddle92 Expository preaching should be the main diet for your congregation. It topical sermons are not the main diet it’s fine.

@mph___ : @timkellernyc what ideal % of a sermon should be for Christians vs. unbelievers? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@mph___ It depends on the text (whether it has a strong message to non-believers) and the audience before you.

@djchuang: #asktk @timkellernyc in the digital age, communication is no longer just in the pulpit, it’s 24/7; how much time daily/wkly do you tweet?
@timkellernyc: .@djchuang Not a lot DJ. I look at it every once in a while and answer accordingly.

@johndpham: #asktk Why is it important to contrast the gospel with irreligion AND religion?
@timkellernyc: .@johndpham a) So non-Christians know you aren’t just calling them to morality b) So Christians don’t think the law is not important.

@DavidQaoud :@timkellernyc Curious . . . Even though you’ve done it for a while, do you ever get nervous before you preach? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@DavidQaoud Interestingly, yes, but like most preachers, not in my home church.6a00d8341ccf1853ef01310f598b0c970c

@ahester45: @timkellernyc heard lecrae talk about reading your books in a song. What is a good book for a young reader to start? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@ahester45 A good short book is Prodigal God.

@MichaelMcAfee: @timkellernyc #asktk how do you preach Jesus from historical books besides “true and better ______” is this the only/best way?
@timkellernyc: .@MichaelMcAfee I hate to say this again, but I have chapter in my book on this. Briefly, there are other ways besides typology–i.e., images.

@chrisborah: @timkellernyc @Justin_T_Cook define “widely?” Examples? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@chrisborah @Justin_T_Cook People you don’t agree with, people you do agree with and not just theology.

.@The__Ox: @timkellernyc Do you still outline your sermon before writing (exp/illust/app) or has that become more instinctual for you now? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@The__Ox I outline it, then I write it, then I redo the outline, then I preach it.

@rlangehennig: What are some tips for effective communication for young pastors? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@rlangehennig In my book on preaching there are other books listed inside that I think are the best. Link here: http://amzn.to/1AsiajH

@brielleocot: @timkellernyc your thoughts on women preaching? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@brielleocot See my wife’s short book on this issue: Jesus, Justice and Gender Roles. It will be better than a tweet

@mbrunjes: @timkellernyc #asktk What is the best way to make sermon applications with out moralizing or giving a “new law”.
@timkellernyc: .@mbrunjes Make sure the application always connects to faith in Jesus.

@robertgall: @timkellernyc Has pastoring in NYC taught you anything that would change how you would preach to the rural VA church you pastored? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @robertgall This sounds funny, but no.

@timkellernyc If you were a new pastor trying to communicate the gospel clearly, would you choose to preach from the NIV? or ESV? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@robertgall Communicating the gospel clearly does not primarily depend on the translation…but on the pastor’s own understanding of gospel

The Wesley Covenant Prayer

I am not the best pray-er. Over the past several months I’ve been trying to be more disciplined in prayer. One of the prayers that has helped me, especially when I couldn’t find the right words to pray, is The Wesley Covenant Prayer.

I first heard of The Wesley Covenant Prayer when I listened to a lecture given by Randy Harris at Abilene Christian University. He recommended Surrendering to God: Living the Covenant Prayer by Keith Beasley-Topliffe, a book that dives deep into The Wesley Covenant Prayer. I read the book, and instantly fell in love with this great prayer. Every line of the prayer challenges Christians to give everything to God, and to depend upon God in everything.

In the same way people buy greeting cards to communicate their feelings and love to someone they love, this prayer has given me the words, at times, to lovingly communicate to our great God.

The Wesley Covenant Prayer is a great resource for Christians. I hope this prayer is as much of a blessing for you as it is for me.

The Wesley Covenant Prayer
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

First Entry

This is my first entry.

I have never had a blog before, but I think I can benefit from having one.

I have three goals for this blog.

Improve my writing

I do not like to write, nor do I think I can write well.  As a college student and one who aspires to enter a career in ministry, I have to write a lot.  I think that by writing down my thoughts and ideas, I will eventually improve my writing skills and make what I write actually interesting.  Also, the more I write, (hopefully) the more I will enjoy it.

Express my ideas and thoughts

I am an intern at a campus ministry at Western Kentucky University.  I read a lot of commentaries and books on theology, ministry, and the Bible.  I have a lot of ideas concerning these topics, and by writing down those ideas in an organized manner, I will have a clearer understanding of those topics and will be able to communicate those ideas more clearly and easier.

Share my ideas and thoughts

Instead of this blog benefiting only me, I hope the ones who read my posts will get something out of it too.  I humbly admit that I have absolutely no authority on any issue and have a ton to learn about everything, but I do hope that someone may read one of my posts and see that topic a little differently and gain some insight on that particular topic.

I am really looking forward to this blog.