“How to re-use, repurpose, or recycle a lesson”

Tuesday Teaching Tips: Episode 126

How to revise a sermon or lesson to be used on another occasion. Is it even legitimate to do this?

Stage One – reflection
  1. Will it meet genuine needs?
  2. Do you still believe it? Still living it?
  3. What would make it better?
Stage Two – rewriting
  1. Check introduction
  2. Relevant illustrations / applications
  3. Check slides

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here.

PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Yertle the Turtle and King Jesus”

Sermon for the Thames Valley churches of Christ

What do you think it would be like to be king or queen?

Questions
What was the King Turtle’s problem?
What did he get wrong?
What did he forget? How did the others feel?
Was Jesus a king?
What kind of king was he?
What was he like as a king?

What did Jesus say about being “in charge”?

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,” (Matthew 20:26 NIV11)

How did Jesus become a king?

“They twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.” (Matthew 27:29 NIV11)

We love Jesus because he is a king who died so we could live.
We follow him because he is a king who serves us.
His example inspires us to serve one another, to die to ourselves for the sake of others.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions.

Thanks again for watching. Have a super day.

God bless,

Malcolm

“How to be lifted up by God”

The Sunday Sample: Episode 52

Would you like to be “lifted” by God as you lead others in worship? There’s a key to such an experience. I was reminded of that key at a recent Sunday service where I was preaching for the North West Region of the London International church of Christ.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6 NIV11)

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here.
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool“, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“An arrow prayer for every day of the week”

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 55

We lead busy lives. Sometimes we forget God’s presence, and we do not have opportunity for lengthy prayer. What to do?

Arrow prayers, pp319-323:
  • These can be a simple word, or a short phrase that is repeated throughout the day bringing remembrance to us that God is with us in all circumstances.
  • “Speak them inwardly and they will speak back to you all through the day’s changing circumstances. Because the words are so few and so simple, they help us to soar beyond language into the mystery of silence.
  • “One single grateful thought, raised to heaven, is a perfect prayer.“ Lessing, Minna Von Barnhelm, ii, 7.
  • “The simpler the prayer style, the easier it will be to bring the spirit of prayer into daily life.”
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matthew 6:7 NIV11)
I’ve come up with a different arrow prayer for each day of the week.
  • Monday: “Marvellous are your deeds, Lord” (Revelation 15:3 NIV11)
  • Tuesday: “I choose you, Lord”
  • Wednesday: “I worship you, Lord”
  • Thursday: “Thank you, Lord”
  • Friday: “Feed me, Lord”
  • Saturday: “Save me, Lord”
  • Sunday: “Sustain me, Lord”
Why not make up your own?
Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.
Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.
God bless, Malcolm
PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Three tips for training the next generation of teachers”

Tuesday teaching tips: Episode 125

My friend Katie asked me a question about mentoring the next generation of teachers and preachers. She asked if it was hard for me to let go? In truth, it is. Is it for you too?
“The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”” (John 3:29–30 NIV11)
Keep an eye on the future by:
  1. Are you willing to work with people for  the long-term? “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:11 NIV11)
  2. Are you taking risks? “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.” (Titus 1:5 NIV11)
  3. Do you have a bond? “For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” (1 Corinthians 4:17 NIV11)
Who are you mentoring?
Please leave a comment, pass the link on, and subscribe to the podcast.
God bless,
Malcolm

“The source of joy” Acts 8.1-8

Sermon for the Watford church of Christ

Do you have a joy-filled life, or a joy-less life? Joy is vital in a healthy marriage, family and friendship. Why is it so elusive? We learn in this lesson how to find joy – via courage.

Question: what examples of courage do you see in Acts 8.1-8?

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (Luke 2:10 NIV1)

“So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” (Matthew 28:8 NIV11)
God is joyful; Jesus is full of joy; Holy Spirit provides joy…

“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said…” (Luke 10:21 NIV11)

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” (Romans 14:17 NIV11)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” (Galatians 5:22 NIV11)

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 1:6 NIV11)

Therefore makes sense to pursue joy…
How?
Through courageous acts inspired by the love of God.

Summary:

  • Jesus provides access to God’s joy.
  • He designed us for joy.
  • We need courage.
  • When we live courageously people notice and listen – then they, too, have access to the joy

Where does courage come from?
Not knowledge Jesus rose from dead; God exists; going to be with God forever when die etc.
Instead, it comes from knowing Jesus is alive, walking with us, accompanying us; keeping his promises; Matt 28 – “I am with you”.
Jesus is with me now, present, involved, immanent, attentive, listening, available for me now, interceding for me now, hearing my prayers now, sustaining me, strengthening me.
This gives us courage.
Joy comes partly from courage expressed, but partly because of knowing I have lived something fundamental to being a Christian – living by faith, trusting in Jesus.

Where do you need more joy?
That’s the same place you need more courage.
Courage first – then joy will follow.
Three steps to faith-fuelled courage and joyful living:

1. Jesus: trust he is with you
2. Open: to new ideas
3. “Yes”: say “yes” to new opportunities for courage

People who have joy attract others
Who would you rather be with?
Cannot fix some situations, but can fix courage.
If have courage, will have joy, will not mind situations so much!
And…others benefit

A church which filled with joy attracts others.

You can find more videos on our YouTube channel. Our web site is www.watfordchurchofchrist.org.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send us your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: thewatfordchurch@gmail.com.

Thanks again for watching. Have a super day.

God bless,

Malcolm

“Don’t get tired of reminders”

The Sunday Sample: Episode 51

Do you realise the importance of your role in reminding other people of God’s attributes and what he has done?

We mine a couple of pithy sayings from Erickson’s book, “Participating in worship” and reflect on our opportunity to remind people of vital truths on which they can base their faith.

Thank you for listening to and watching this recording. You can find more Sunday Samples here and on the YouTube playlist.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” Ps 100:2

God bless,

Malcolm

“A meditation on the Lord’s prayer” by Balthasar Hubmaier

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 54

Balthasar Hubmaier was an Anabaptist leader who wrote this short meditation in 1526. Soon afterwards he was arrested, tortured and executed for his faith.

Our Father. Gracious Father, I am not worthy to be called a child of yours or that I should be able to call you my Father. I have not always done your will. I have often done the will of the Father of Lies. Forgive me, merciful Father, and make me a child of yours in the faith.

Who Art In Heaven. Father of goodness, look upon us, we who live in this miserable state of woe. We know that children cannot find a better condition than to be with their loving father, who feeds them, gives them drink, clothes them, protects them and shields them from all needs. Gracious Father, take us, your miserable children, to be with you in heaven.

Holy Is Your Name. Merciful Father, we know that we are guilty of continually dishonoring your name with our words and actions. The suffering of Christ, which for us is medicament for eternal life, we make into an eternal reproach by our cursing and rebuking. Forgive us, Father, and give us grace so that your name will never come from our mouths unprofitably. Help us to cease all blasphemy and swearing so that your holy name will eternally be glorified, enhanced and praised.

Your Kingdom Come. Gracious Father, we know that we are captives to sin, the devil, hell and eternal death. But Father, we cry out and call to you as our loving Father to come quickly with your kingdom of grace, peace, joy and eternal salvation. Come to our aid, gracious Father, for without you we are totally miserable, afflicted and lost.

Your Will Be Done On Earth As In Heaven. Good Father, we confess publicly that your fatherly will does not suit us earthly people. Our will is completely and totally hostile to your divine will. We ask you to send your Holy Spirit to work in us authentic faith, steadfast hope and ardent love, so that our will is conformed to your divine will in all things.

Give Us Today Our Daily Bread. Compassionate Father, we live not by bread alone, but by every word that comes from your holy mouth. Therefore, we humbly pray that you will feed us with the bread of your holy word. This is the bread of heaven, and whoever eats it will be eternally filled. Make it a living presence in our souls. Make it grow and bring forth fruits of eternal life. Give us diligent Christian workers who will spread this bread among us in pure, clear and untarnished manner so that your Fatherly will, which is known only from your word, will be fulfilled.

Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors. Kind Father, we know that we are guilty of having sinned in words, deeds and evil thoughts. We do not even know the number, portion or extent of our sins. Father, forgive us and give us power to better our way of living, even as we forgive those who have caused our suffering. Father, forgive them too, for they do not know what they are doing. Enlighten all those who misunderstand your holy word, who abuse and persecute us, so that they might come to the true way that leads to eternal life.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation. Heavenly Father! Look on the fear, barrenness, misery, persecution and hardship which we must endure here on earth, and ponder also our human weakness. For this reason, sweet Father, we ask of you, through your Fatherly love, that you do not forsake us in our anguish and suffering, that we not be defeated nor fall away from your holy word. Do not allow us to be tempted beyond that which we can endure. We are weak and frail, while our enemies are strong, powerful and heartless. You know these things, merciful Father.

Deliver Us From Evil. Deliver us from evil, from sin, from the devil, from our own lust, which is our greatest enemy. Deliver us from all that keeps us far from you. Moreover, give us all that brings us closer to you. For dominion, power and glory are yours forever in eternity.

Eternal Father, as we have prayed to you here, bring it to fulfilment according to your Fatherly good will. These things we pray through your mercy and through your gracious promises which you have given to us consistently through Moses, the prophets and the apostles. But we pray this especially, pleading with you, through your most beloved son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He has surely promised us, and proved it through his bitter death, that whatever we pray for in your name you will give us. Father, we place our bodies, lives, honour, possessions, soul and spirit into your hands. All that we have received from you we offer back to you, for you give and you take away. Praise be to your name. Amen and amen.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.
Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here.
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“How to conduct a healthy preaching post-mortem”

Tuesday Teaching Tip: Episode 124

If you are a preacher, you know the scene all-too-well. It’s Sunday afternoon/evening, or Monday morning, and you’re thinking about how your sermon went. Perhaps it was a cracker, or perhaps it was simply cracked!

My most recent one went too long! We need to process our frustrations, but how do we do this in a healthy way?

  1. Accept. Your weakness is God’s opportunity to demonstrate his glory through a cracked vessel. If you preached perfectly, no one would dare aspire to be a preacher.
  2. Analyse. Do at least one of two things. Either listen to a recording of your lesson, or go through your notes. Be as objective as possible, and make it a point to remember the things you did well, as well as the things that could have been better. Write down up to only three things which could have been improved. Then, decide to forgive yourself for all three (God does, after all), and to settle on the one which, if improved, would make the biggest impact on the effectiveness of your next message.
  3. Act. Now that you have picked one lesson to learn, decide how to implement it in your next sermon. Don’t try and change everything at once.

What helps you to conduct a healthy post-mortem of your most recent lesson? How do you handle your frustrations, or even, sometimes, your shame? What do you do when you receive less than kind feedback? Or, perhaps even worse, none at all?

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the on the YouTube teaching tips playlist. Pass the link to anyone who might benefit.

Subscribe to the podcast so as not to miss a beat, and leave a review if you could.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website.

Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.

God bless,

Malcolm

The connection between courage and joy, Acts 8.1-8

I’m preaching soon on Acts 8.1-8, and noticing a connection between courage and joy. Could you help me in my sermon preparation by sending me your reflections on the connection between courage and joy? I’d be very grateful.

“And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralysed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.” (Acts 8:1–8 NIV11)

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here

PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John