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God, Help Us to Grow Deeper Roots!

I'm overwhelmed with anticipation about what God is going to do in the life of Grace Hills Church in the next nine weeks. This coming Sunday, we're starting a new series of messages called ROOTS: It's Time to Grow Deeper. It's based on the New Testament book of Colossians, and as I waded into the study of this ancient text, I was pretty moved by the similarities between the church at Colosse and our own church family. Paul writes the letter, but he didn't plant or pastor …

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This Coming Weekend: How to Have Hope Every Day

Easter offers us hope for the forgiveness of sin and for eternal life. But there is more! God offers us some huge reasons to have hope every single day! In part two of Why We Hope, coming up this Sunday at Grace Hills, we'll look at the three big gifts Jesus gives today to help us live with hope every day no matter what: His Word (the Bible) His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) His People (the Church) We'll define and discover how to take full advantage of each. You can …

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Two False Assumptions to Leave Behind When You Preach

I realize that we pastors are going way beyond motivational speaking in our sermons. We are sharing the gospel and leading people to the cross. But we are still speakers and communicators nonetheless, and our effectiveness and influence depend on our understanding something about the nature of speaking. Seth Godin, a marketing guru with much to teach the church, wrote about speaking and had this to say: Speaking in public: two errors that lead to fear... 1. You believe …

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One More Way to Outline a Sermon

Adrian Rogers outlined sermons using four phrases: Hey You! (Get the audience's attention) Look! (Examine the Scriptures) See! (Explain the passage) Do! (Make application) Andy Stanley is famous for one-point preaching, but really breaks his messages into five movements: Me (How do I struggle with this?) We (How do we all struggle with this?) God (What does the Bible say about this?) You (What should you do about this?) We (How can we all live this …

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5 Ways to Preach Like a Pharisee

Many of the Pharisees were probably great teachers and skilled speakers. I'm sure many were charismatic, skilled communicators. But by the time Jesus arrived on the scene, the Pharisees, on the whole, were killing the culture around them spiritually. Jesus had a lot of work to do just to unwire people from the performance-driven, legalistic trap of pharisaism. I've been guilty of preaching like a Pharisee before, and as I review my sermons from the past, I cringe a bit as …

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The Three Key Components of a Solid Sermon

There are certain elements that must be included in every single sermon that we ever preach. They are non-negotiable. To put it another way, every sermon you preach has three key components... The God Component The "God component" is what sets preaching apart from other kinds of public speaking. We are God's spokespeople. We preach His word, not ours. And as we consider the role of God in the sermon, we have to ask some pretty pertinent questions: Have I recognized that …

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Approaching Easter Sunday As a Pastor

Easter Sunday is special. In spite of the competition from little furry bunnies who deliver colored eggs and sugar-induced hyperactive episodes among children, it's still a holiday that is fairly "religious." That is to say, Jesus still gets a fair amount of attention, possibly because it's always on Sunday and churches draw such attention to the resurrection. This is good. As a Pastor, I know that Easter Sunday excites me because I'll see new and unfamiliar faces in our …

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The Savior-Sensitive, Seeker-Sensitive Church

In 1975, Bill Hybels assumed the leadership of a fledgling church plant that would grow into the rather influential Willow Creek Community Church. Under Bill's leadership, the church pioneered many concepts in the seeker-sensitive strain of worship and ministry. In 1997, Bill and his wife, Lynne, co-wrote Rediscovering Church, an inside look at how the church grew from 100 to 15,000 in weekend attendance. In 1980, Rick and Kay Warren relocated to Orange County, California …

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The Role of Preaching In Church Planting

There various viewpoints on the best church planting model. Some launch fast and large to attract the masses. Others launch slowly and intentionally with more of a one-on-one disciple-making mentality. There are probably cautions with any approach to planting, and one of the cautions I would raise is simply don't neglect the power of preaching, even in a brand new church plant. When we began the work of planting Grace Hills, I was reading everything I could and consulting …

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8 Ways to Hook Your Congregation Into Your Message

The biblical text should be the grand centerpiece of every sermon. But we often take what should be the centerpiece, and move it to the front of what we have to say. In most cases, reading the text should come first in importance, but not first in the order of a message. Whether you're looking back at Plato or Jesus, virtually every culture has had great communicators who realized the power of attention-grabbing hooks. 1. Start with a deep, human need instead of jumping …

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