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This is the second sermon in a new series called “Put God First”

In this series, we are taking a look at the importance and value of God’s law, and God’s love that fulfills the law through His sacrrifice for us on Calvary.


This message was preached at Mt. Olive Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 12, 2015

Over the next 13 weeks, starting Monday, July 6, 2015, DeKnumi blogger, Phillip Swindall, will be reading a book to help him lead in his pastorate.

This book is full of insights and assistance for pastors serving in churches many deem as “lost causes.”

The fact is, even in this time of struggle and disillusionment, our churches have much to offer to our society, to our culture, and, specifically, to our communities. There are many great years left in the Church… until Christ calls us home. And, whether you believe it’s tomorrow or the next millennia, or somewhere in between, we still have a responsibility to “give our best to the Master.”

This mastermind will be conducted using a combination of Google Hangouts and a private Facebook group. Anyone interested in participating in this group, please send Phillip an email, or complete the form below, and indicate you’re interested in the “There’s Hope For Your Church” mastermind.

DeKnumi blogger, Phillip Swindall, is conducting an informal survey to find out what advice pastors will offer a less-experienced person in the ministry. The survey (below) has already produced nuggets of wisdom from well over three centuries of experience, but, your voice will be greatly appreciated!

The survey form will be at the bottom of this post. But, first, here’s a taste of some of the quotes received so far, in wallpaper sized images. Enjoy (and share if you wish).

Infographics. Businesses use them regularly to communicate facts and stats.

But, you and your ministry can use infographics as well. Consider two infographics I created based off of a blog post and a podcast from Dr. Thom Rainer’s website.

ThomRainerInfoGraphicThe aim is to visualize the content presented into a graphical presentation. The first infographic I produced is based on a blog post, 8 Reasons Pastors and Church Staff Should Consider Bi-Vocational Work. In that article, Rainer presented 8 reasons that I thought could be represented iconographically – using icons. A visual learner will benefit from your content because the visual representation speaks in their language.

The Visual Learner Will Benefit Because the Infographic Speaks in Their Language

If you present your blog post, your newsletter article solely as text, you’re losing so many members of your audience. According to an article in Prime Infographics65% of all Americans are visual learners. More than half of the people in your congregation are visual learners. Your words are falling on eyes that are not capable of adequately absorbing the words you’ve written as well as if they had some imagery that helps them learn, because you’re speaking their language.

Another advantage of the use of infographics is that your writing will benefit because you’ll start writing with visual descriptions.

Your Writing Will Become More Visually Descriptive

As you start and continue having attractive visuals developed from your writing, your brain will start becoming more visually descriptive. This will improve your writing skills and help improve your speaking presentation as well. You will become a master at speaking visually and writing visually as you continue using visual communication tools to benefit that 65% of your audience.

This is the greatest reason you should use infographics. Your entire communications process: preaching, writing, presenting, etc., will improve because you’re becoming a visual communicator.

Your Communications Process Will Improve as You Become a Visual Communicator

Remember that statistic? 65% of all American adults are visual learners. You need to learn how to write, how to speak and how to think like a visual learner — you need to become a visual communicator.

When you’re talking about David and Goliath, describe the helmet and sword Saul offered David. Describe the five smooth stones and the stream. Describe the height and size of Goliath compared to the height and size of David. Describe the way Goliath taunted David. Describe the way his eyes opened wide with surprise as the stone hit him in his forehead and he began to fall to his knees, and then face first into the ground.

You’ll learn how to communicate visually — to tell the story — in such a way that your audience will be able to place themselves into the scene… because you’re describing the way those things looked, they’re able to insert themselves into the scene. When they do that — the story becomes vividly clear to them. It becomes real.

So, there are three great beneficial reasons you should be using infographics in your communications arsenal when you communicate with your audience.

  • The visual learner will benefit because the infographic speaks their language
  • Your writing will become more visually descriptive
  • Your communications process will improve as you become a visual communicator

ThomRainerLeadership-8KeystoStaffMtgBy the way, I mentioned that I created two infographics based on an article and a podcast by Dr. Thom Rainer of Lifeway Christian Resources. The second infographic is based on the Rainer On Leadership podcast, episode 091. In the podcast, he presented 8 Keys to Effectively Leading a Staff Meeting. I decided to use the image of the keys of a piano to produce an infographic that communicates the 8 keys in a way to visually remind you about the different ways to lead your staff meeting.

I encourage you to go to the two posts on my site and download the two graphics. And, if you would like to have some infographics developed, contact me.

8 Reasons Pastors and Church Staff Should Consider Bi-Vo Work
8 Keys to Effectively Leading a Staff Meeting


Oh, be careful little lips, what you say! Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops. ~ Proverbs 26:20


VOTD: Oh, Be Careful Little Lips, What You Say – Proverbs 26:20


Have you ever seen the movie Apollo 13?

Do you remember the problems they had in the spacecraft on the way to the moon?

An onboard explosion requires shutting oxygen off inside the capsule for a time to extinguish the fire. Among many other issues on that ill-fated, but eventually successful flight.

Or, maybe you remember the horrible bon-fire incident at Texas A&M that forced the end of such a long-standing tradition at that storied school.

Fire disasters, or near-disasters, whether they be bonfires, space craft explosions, or wildfires, require fuel. It could be a cigarette and stuffing in furniture, or gas and wood, or high concentrations of oxygen and faulty wiring.

Or, it could be your tongue.


Maybe you’ve been a part of, or you’ve observed, a “bar-room brawl.” Or, you’ve seen some stupid “girl fight” on YouTube.

Or, maybe, you’ve been a part of a Facebook tete a tete that went far more public than it should have ever gone?

Have you ever known a fight, of any sort, that did not first start with words?


King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, collected this wise saying, “quarrels disappear when gossip stops.”

Many a war in the history of mankind began because of words someone used to tear down another person, or nation, or peoples.

That’s really what gossip is: words used to tear someone else down; to verbally damage another’s reputation.

It could be the Hatfields and McCoys, or the Democrats and Republicans, or the Russians and who ever Vladimir Putin decides to pick on today.


I’m guilty of many of the things I’m speaking of. This verse speaks directly to me.

So, with the wise words of Solomon, we are challenged today to stop the words of destruction. Bring about a peace treaty of sorts with your own mouth. Don’t drop words of destruction.

God is the god of peace and creation. He is a God of love. (Yes, he is also a God who punishes and is jealous, but he instructs us to love, and to show concern for our fellow mankind – let’s let God do his job, and we can just focus on doing ours, ok?)

So, what is it about your tongue that needs to be bridled?

I can tell you that I am seeking a huge bit to place in my mouth to tame my tongue. God has one just for me. I thank Him for giving me my wife, who does her dead-level best to try to keep my words more on the positive side than the negative. But, there are times, that old man in me rears up his ugly head and speaks words of destruction.

God, please help me, and others, learn the truths of that old children’s song: “Oh, be careful little tongue what you say, for the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little tongue what you say.”











Psalm 37:7 (NLT) Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.

Wait Patiently.

Have you ever been in a waiting room of a hospital? As one who has served in ministry and hospice chaplaincy, I have been in my fair share of waiting rooms.

They’re extremely uncomfortable – even for the most experienced visitor. None of us like to sit and wait for anything these days.

Even our culture is sometimes called the “microwave society.” What once took us an entire day to prepare and cook takes only a matter of minutes from freezer to coming out of the microwave.

Let me ask you a question or two about that meal, if I may. Compared to an identical meal cooked by the best grandmother-cook in the community, which tastes best?

Evaluating those two identical dishes, home-cooked or microwaved, which has better nutritional value?

What about quality of the products used? Microwaved or grandma’s?

So, why is it was can’t seem to get this instruction from the psalmist?

When we think about it, it makes perfect sense… God is not confined by the bounds of time. He doesn’t have to worry about a clock… he is eternal. Time has no concern with God, and God has no concern with time.

Then, again, if we are true followers of the One True God, then, we, too, have no real concern with time. Everything is in His time!

Waiting then becomes an act of worship. We wait because we trust. We know He will accomplish those things. We know he will do immeasurably more than we could ever ask for, hope or dream. We know these things, because He has done them already, and He continues to do them to this day.

Wait Patiently.

What are you waiting on today? Are you patient? Are you willing to wait longer for it? If not, what does that say about you, your faith in yourself and your faith in God Almighty?
Be still. Don’t get so caught up in the hurry-scurry, busy, rat race of this world.
Be still in the presence of the Lord. Understand that in God’s presence, you must first honor Him, give him glory. Respect Him for his power, and ability to accomplish all things, compared to our ability to accomplish nothing without Him.
Be still in the presence of the lord, and wait patently for Him to act. He will act. Let Him do it in His time.

Believe me – a bit of testimony from experience. If you try to rush things, if you try to take them into your own hands and create your dream without waiting on Him to act, things have a way of going terribly bad.

God knows what is best for you, so just be still. Let him wrap his arms around you. And know that He is God, and that He has already accomplished those things in advance for your good.