Recovering from a Bad Sermon

If you have been in a ministry position where you preach or teach on a weekly basis, you know how it feels to preach a few terrible sermons. I had one of those experiences last night in our student ministry. Honestly, it was one of those sermons that I was just ready to be done with. Don’t get me wrong, the Lord spoke through His Word in spite of my terrible preaching and many students talked to me after the service about the topic. So what do we do after our preaching and teaching doesn’t go as well as planned? Here are a few things I have been reminding myself of since last night:

1. Trust in God’s sovereignty. At the end of the day, God doesn’t need us to preach or teach the world’s best sermon. Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” God’s Word is powerful and able to change the heart of those who you are preaching to. You don’t have to read the Bible very long to see that God uses things that look “terrible” to us to accomplish His will. God still spoke through your terrible sermon. However, this shouldn’t push us to not prepare well and not strive to communicate God’s Word the most creative way we can, but it should give us comfort when our preaching doesn’t come out the way we intended it to.

2. Don’t dwell on it. I have a tendency to dwell on a terrible sermon. I will usually ask my fiancée over and over what she thought about it, and sometimes I even catch myself trying to “explain” to her why it was so terrible. The best thing you can do after preaching a terrible sermon is simply move on and focus on preparing your next sermon. Remind yourself of number one, trust in God’s sovereignty, and move on.

3. Learn from it. Another thing you can do after preaching a terrible sermon is to simply learn from the experience. Last night when I had my “terrible sermon” experience, I knew it wasn’t because I didn’t prepare the sermon right or study the Scriptures; it was because I stayed up way too late the night before. I was mentally and physically exhausted which resulted in not being able to communicate God’s Word well. Learning from a terrible sermon is a good way to stay humble as a preacher of God’s Word. Admit it was not your best sermon, and move on by learning from the experience. See what you need to change or do better so you can avoid it next time you preach. As people who are preaching and teaching God’s Word, we must continue to learn and grow from our mistakes.

I hope these simple thoughts will help you when you face your next “terrible sermon.” Even though God’s Word is powerful and can change hearts, we as preachers and teachers will struggle to share it well every time. If you preach God’s Word often, you will have some sermons that are not your best, but rest assured, you will have a few sermons and lessons that you knock out of the park!

Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church, wrote a great article on this same subject. I ran across it after I wrote this post and believe it would be a great article to check out. Click here to view that article.

2 Reasons You Need Check Out Code Orange Revival

The past two nights, Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC has been seeing God move in their Code Orange Revival. Code Orange Revival is a twelve night revival put on by Steven Furtick and his church Elevation. It is simply amazing at what is happening there! They are streaming the services live for anyone to watch. People are watching from all over the world and with just two night in the stories that are coming out of this revival are breathtaking.

I personally believe that this could be the start of the next great revival. With the technology we have today and the ability to stream a revival that is taking place in one area to the rest of the world, joining millions of people together in prayer and sitting under sound preaching, this could be the way the next great revival takes place. I am sure there are people out there that don’t like Elevation or Furtick because of silly “preferences” they can’t let go, but when God is on the move like He is in this revival it’s time to drop our preferences and get in on what God is doing! Here are two reasons you need to be a part of Code Orange Revival either live in Charlotte or online from wherever you are.

1. It’s a real move of God. Honestly, as believers, shouldn’t we want to get in on anything that is a real move of God? I have committed to be  a part of this revival online because I believe God is in it and if He is in it, I need it! I desperately need God to move in my life and I am excited about being part of something like this. If you don’t believe me or believe the magnitude of this revival, here are some amazing facts.

The hash tag #codeorangerevival was the number one trending topic on Twitter the first day and has been a top trending topic since.

People are tuning in from all over the world via live stream and TV stations that are showing it. 

People of flying and driving into Charlotte from all over the world just to be a part of this revival live. Last night two men flew from Seattle because they wanted to be a part of it!

People are camping out and getting to the Elevation campus throughout the day just to get a seat inside.

This is not your typical revival. This is a move of God! Wherever you are, tune in on TV or watch the live stream, do whatever you need to do to be a part of this move of God. I have already been blessed, challenged, convicted, and changed by the first two nights!

2. Good Biblical Preaching. This is the part that makes this revival so amazing. Furtick managed to bring in some of the best speakers from around the country to share God’s Word. Here is the line up: Craig Groeschel, Jentezen Franklin, Matt Chandler, Christine Caine, Ed YoungIsrael Houghton, Perry Noble, Stovall Weems, Kevin Gerald, T.D. Jakes, and James MacDonald. The moment some people read this list they will write off this revival because they don’t agree with some of the speakers. I personally do not agree with all of them, but that is not a reason to not be a part of this move of God. There comes a time when we need to drop our preferences and opinions so we can hear God speak. So far the preaching has been the focus and center of this revival. I believe that is Furtick’s heart and I am encouraged by his passion to make God’s Word the center of this revival.

Here are all the links you need to be a part of the Code Orange Revival:
Elevation Network-This is where the live stream can be found as well as the rebroadcasting of each service if you mis the live stream.
Code Orange Revival-This is the main website for the revival. On this site you can find all the info, schedule, and speaker bio’s.
Elevation Church-The main website for the church.
Steven Furtick-This is his personal website and blog.

Recommended Ministry Apps

The other day my good friend Josh Evans posted a blog with some great ministry apps he recommends. I would encourage you to go over to his blog and check out the recommended apps, he recommended some great stuff! I always love when people share resources as Josh did so I figured I would share some ministry related apps I am currently using as well. I have an iPad so these apps will be for that, but all of them are iPhone apps as well. Enjoy!

The Gospel Coalition-If you are keeping up with whats going on in ministry than you know the voices that come through the Gospel Coalition-Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Tim Keller, DA Carson, Mark Dever, and many more! The blogs, articles, and videos on this app are amazing! So much good ministry-related stuff!

Reformed Theological Seminary-One of the top seminaries now have all their course lectures for you for free through this app! Yes, you heard me right, every lecture, from every class, is on this app for you to listen to for free! A lot of people cannot go to seminary for different reasons so if you’re looking for some seminary level lectures and education, here you go! Listen and learn!

Elevation Church-I am a big fan of Steven Furticks’s preaching and listen to him via podcasts a lot. Elevation now has an app where you can listen, and watch, every sermon from every series Furtick has every done! Also, his blog is part of the app so you can keep up with his blog as well as his preaching.

Dropbox-You have to use Dropbox! I recent wrote an entire post on how you can use Dropbox in ministry. Click here to read that full article.

YouVersion-This is by far the best Bible app out there. It has every translation you can imagine and it lets you keep your own notes that will be saved to your account so you can access them from the app or on the website. The downside of this app is you have to be connected to internet most of the time to use it. I would also recommend the ESV Bible app that works offline.

Vyrso-If you like to by e-books and do reading on your iPhone or iPad this app is for you. You can purchase books through this app and it will save them in a library for you. If you use Logos Bible Software this is a must have app for you! This app is made by the same people and if you have Logos your whole library will be saved in Vyrso for quick, easy reading. This is nice because when you use the Logos app it sometimes take too long to load and is complex because its such a huge program. But with Vyrso, its easy to read a book from your library.

Grace to You-I am very big fan of John MacArthur. I use his study Bible frequently and enjoy his preaching as well as writing. Grace to You is his ministry and they now have an app where they keep all the resources. You can listen to almost every sermon he has ever preached as well as watch him teach the Bible. His blog is also on this app so you can keep up with that as well.

Now for some less ministry related apps that might be of interest to you who are in ministry or not in ministry.

Amazon-I do most of my shopping through Amazon. I always buy books through Amazon and recently have been buying others things from them as well. They have this handy app that lets you quickly browse items and purchase them from your iPhone or iPad.

WordPress-If you are a blogger and use WordPress as your platform you have to get this app! I love it! It allows you to keep up with your blog on your mobile device like a charm! It basically is your dashboard where you can see your comments, views, and even edit posts.

Twitter, Facebook, and Google-There is no need to explain these apps, everyone loves social media and google is the number one search engine. Get these apps and use them!

I hope you have found these recommended apps helpful. They all are free and work on both your iPhone or iPad. I would love to hear of the apps you are using in ministry and outside of ministry!

Canada Baptisms

This summer I had the opportunity to do a youth ministry internship at Church of the Open Door in York, PA. You can read more about my summer by going to the “Youth Internship in PA” category here on my blog and see all the posts I wrote this summer. During my time there, I was able to help lead a trip to Canada. I posted a blog about the trip and you can read it here. While in Canada, we were able to baptize a few of the students. I was able to help the student pastor, Brett Ayers, baptize a few of the students. I already posted a few pictures of the baptisms on another blog, but I just got my hands on a few more I wanted to post.

Baptisms are becoming less and less “popular” it seems in our culture. The importance, and teaching, of baptism is not a priority in many churches. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality. If Christ is in you, you should identity with Him publicly through water baptism. I posted a blog about Elevation Church doing “spontaneous baptisms” awhile back and you can read it here. It was encouraging to see Elevation correctly teaching and making baptism a big deal, because it is a big deal!

Elevation Church “Spontaneous Baptisms”

This past week Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC  started a series called “Follow.” Before I get into this post I just want to say I have benefited from the ministries of Elevation Church via Elevation Worship and the preaching/teaching of their lead pastor Steven Furtick. The more I listen to Steven Furticks preaching the more I see a man who has a passion for God’s Word and a passion to see people come to Jesus. He truly is a role model and a Christian leader I look up to. His church is doing awesome things in the city of Charlotte and this past week as they started their new series they did “spontaneous baptisms.” Basically, the challenge is to follow Christ and Steven Furtick asked people to decided to follow Jesus and on the spot get baptized. I absolutely love this! Before I go on watch this video that was on Steven Furticks blog showing what took place this past week. Be encouraged as you see people decided to follow Jesus!

There are two things I love about this video and about the “spontaneous baptisms” they are doing at Elevation Church. First, it is sad that baptism has fallen on hard times in our culture. Baptism is sadly not preached and taught as much as it should be. If you read in the Bible you will see that baptism is an outward act displaying an inward reality. It is a way to show others Christ has saved you and you are now identifying with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection and will follow Him the rest of your life. I am encouraged to see Elevation Church clearly teaching baptism Biblically and making it a huge deal because it should be! Secondly, I like the fact they are doing “spontaneous” baptisms. It seems that most churches today have baptism classes and things you have to go through before you get baptized. I am not against that, but is that really following the model the Bible gives us. In the book of Acts we see that when someone accepted Christ they were immediately baptized. In Acts 8:35-38 we see that Phillip shared the Gospel with Ethiopian eunuch and the man asked “what prevents me from being baptized?” Phillip responded and said that he had to be saved first. Then the next verse records Phillip baptizing the man. We do not see a class or a few sessions taking place here, we see someone getting baptized as soon as they accept Jesus. I am not against baptism classes, honestly I would probably do them, but I do think we need to remember all that needs to be done before someone is baptized is them accepting Jesus.

My goal in this blog is not to stir up controversy about baptism. It is an important doctrine that needs to be protected and uplifted in our church today. I regret that I waited so long after my salvation to get baptized, but we need to encourage people to take the “first step of obedience” as soon as they are saved. I hope you are encouraged by the video and what Elevation Church is doing for God’s kingdom. You can read more about the baptisms and series on Steven Furticks blog here.

Steven Furtick and Elevation have put together a kit that gives your church everything they need to do “spontaneous baptisms.” You can find that here.