Good Service Last Night

The first night of the meeting at New Buffalo Baptist Church is Grover, NC went very well. The church is an excited, vibrant congregation of redeemed people who love the Lord Jesus Christ. Their Pastor, Brother Adam Green is exuberant and charismatic (No not that kind!). He has an infectious passion for the Lord and for the church. To say the least, it was an exciting evening. The capstone of the service came at the end when a woman, probably around the age of 70, was gloriously saved by the grace of God. Hallelujah! Please keep praying for the rest of the meeting. I am looking for the Lord to do great things among us this week.

Alan

Meeting in Grover, NC

Lord willing, I will be preaching today through Friday at New Buffalo Baptist Church in Grover, NC. The Pastor is brother Adam Green. Please pray for the meeting at New Buffalo Baptist Church. The services begin at 7:00 PM each evening.

I was with these folks last June and the Lord gave us a good week. I trust He will meet with us as we seek Him for revival this year. If you are in the area, please drop to visit. For more information about New Buffalo Baptist Church, you can visit their web page here.

Alan

The Sermon Notebook Released As A Wordsearch Module

The Sermon Notebook has been published by Wordseach as an add on module for both Wordsearch and Quickverse Bible study software packages. This project has been in the works for about two years. My contact at Wordsearch, brother Mike Cooper, and his team have worked very hard to format and index my sermons and to make them available to Wordsearch and Quickverse users who would like to utilize those sermons as part of their Bible study and sermon preparation workflow.

If you would like to read more about The Sermon Notebook on Wordsearch and Quickverse, or if you would like to order a copy for your own use, here is the link to the product information page. The folk at Wordsearch have also produced a video that describes the The Sermon Notebook module and shows it in action. Take a moment to check it out.

I am grateful to the team at Wordsearch, which is a division of Lifeway, for their interest in making The Sermon Notebook available in this new format. Thank you to all the regular users of The Sermon Notebook over these past 16 years. The web site has enjoyed more success than I ever imagined, and I thank the Lord for that. I am looking forward to seeing how the Lord will continue to use the web site in the future. Pray for us and for the ministry here.

If you are not a Wordsearch or Quickverse user, please take the time to look at all the exciting Bible study products they offer. The people at Wordsearch have a heart for preachers and others who regularly study the Bible and share the fruits of their study with others. They are continually searching for, and developing new content designed to aid preachers and teachers of the Word of God in their respective ministries to the body of Christ.

Those who visit The Sermon Notebook on a regular basis should know all of our content will continue to remain here at sermonnotebook.org. The software being released by Wordsearch is designed to simplify and facilitate your ability to utilize the sermons on The Sermon Notebook through the Wordsearch interface. The product sold by Wordsearch is not the same as the DVD or flash drive I make available here. In other words, what I make available will not work with Wordsearch. Check out the video above for more information.

Thanks again for your prayers and support over all these years. God bless!

Alan

Glorious Service Last Night

We started our meeting at Pleasant Hill Baptist in Conway, SC. The Lord showed up in a powerful way. I preached from 2 Samuel 9 about the grace of God in salvation, using the story of David and Mephibosheth as the canvas. The Lord honored His Word. It was such a blessing to be in a service where the power of God was in such evidence. Please pray for the rest of the meeting. When you begin on such a high note, sometimes it is hard to get there again. Of course, that is in the Lord’s hand and I trust He will continue to meet with us as we seek Him for revival.

Alan

Let’s Try This Again

I’ve been away from the blog for a long time. My absence was intentional. For some reason, I seemed to have lost my passion for writing blog posts. I think I would like to try it again.

I am preaching this week, actually last night and tonight at White Plains First Baptist Church just outside of Anniston, AL. The Pastor is Brother Eric Snider. White Plains is a church God has blessed. They have experienced phenomenal growth over the past several years. There is a good spirit there, and it is easy to worship and preach at White Plains Baptist. Their Pastor is a tremendous preacher, and the Lord has honored his years of faithful ministry to this church. If you ever preach there, beware! They know their Bibles! That is a such a rare treat in these days of rampant biblical illiteracy.

We had a great service last night. A few hundred people came out to worship, and the Lord greatly helped us. I bless His name for that. Please pray for the service tonight.

Next week, March 7-9, Living Waters Baptist Church in LaGrange, GA will host a Bible conference. Many great preachers will be preaching in the meeting, along with one not so great preacher, yours truly. This is a good meeting. If you are in the area, please drop by for worship. The Pastor if Brother Richard Clinard. Brother Richard is a true man of God, and a powerful preacher in his own right.

Hope someone still stops by these parts. I will be posting some thoughts related to the iPad and about some of the apps I find helpful.

God bless!

Alan

Bitterness

I have been preaching through the book of Ephesians for about three years, on and off. I am currently at the end of chapter four right now and am to preach on bitterness tonight. Since this is an affliction that affects so many people, and by extension, so many churches, I thought I would share the portion of my sermon tonight that deals with bitterness. God bless!

Alan

In verse 31, Paul lists seven sins that are to abandoned by the children of God. Let’s take a little time to look at these sins, because they present an escalating attitude of resentment that can destroy our relationships with others.

a.  Bitterness – This word refers to a “smoldering resentment; a grudge-filled attitude.” Bitterness in the heart will fill a person with perpetual animosity. The bitter person will usually be sour and often filled with resentment and spite. Bitterness is mentioned first because the other attitudes that are mentioned in this verse flow out of bitterness.

Bitterness is dangerous, because the Bible says that it can become rooted in our lives, Heb. 12:15, and it will poison all the relationships we have in our lives. Bitterness comes from a heart that is not right with God, Acts 8:21-23. It is one of the major characteristics of a person who is not saved, Rom. 3:10-14. And it often leads to destruction of faith and relationships, Heb. 12:15.

A clear example of the danger of bitterness is a man named Ahithophel. Ahithophel was David’s counselor. When Absalom rebelled against his father, Ahithophel joined the rebellion. When it became clear that David would prevail, Ahithophel went to his house and committed suicide, 2 Sam. 17:23.

The reason Ahithophel committed suicide was because he was bitter about something David had done to a member of his family many years before. Ahithophel had a son named Eliam, 2 Sam. 23:34. Eliam had a daughter named Bathsheba, 2 Sam. 11:3. David committed adultery with Ahithophel’s granddaughter, and Ahithophel could not forgive and get past the sin of David. His resentment turned into bitterness and it poisoned Ahithophel to the point where it caused him to turn on a friend, and to eventually commit suicide.

Bitterness, if allowed to exist in our hearts, will produce a root system that will grow until it has infiltrated and undermined every area of your life. The root of bitterness will send its tendrils into every area of your life, and eventually,  it will destroy you.

  • Bitterness will make you sick physically. As you fret and worry over what you think persons or institutions have done to you, your body will respond in sickness.
  • Bitterness will harm you emotionally. The root of bitterness will entangle itself around your peace. your joy and your happiness and choke the life right out of them. It will leave you a sad, empty shell.
  • Bitterness will destroy your relationship with others. As bitterness grows, you will become a negative, critical person. Others will not want to be around you and you will eventually be left all alone.
  • Bitterness will demolish you spiritually. As you fixate on the person, persons or institutions that you feel wronged you, you will lose your focus on the Lord. The object of your worship becomes yourself and your feelings. In essence, you become your own god. There is a sense that the object of your bitterness also becomes a god in your life, because they, and not the Lord, have your attention. Bitter people destroy churches, ministries and other people’s influence.

 

Don’t let that happen in your life. Deal with your hurts and refute to allow them to grow into a “root of bitterness” that will choke the joy and peace out of your life. If it allowed to flourish, that “root of bitterness” will destroy you and all the relationships in your life. Bitter people are sad, hard to get along with, and ultimately, they are selfish, because they care for nothing but their own feelings. Bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit, v. 30.

Great Day At Church

We had a good morning at church today. No, the service was not given over to testimonies. A few testified, but the feature that made the service so great, for me any way, was the the Gospel was preached. I praise the Lord for His grace in allowing me to preach the Gospel, and for my congregation to hear it preached. Not that I am a great preacher, but our Lord has a great Gospel, and it must be declared. After all, it is the means God uses to save sinners, 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 10:1. So preacher, preach the Gospel. God will use it to bring His elect to Himself! When you have preached the Gospel, it has been a great day at your church.

By the way, we have seen the Gospel do its work at Calvary. I baptized four of the people who were recently converted at our church last Sunday evening, and I am to baptize two more tonight. Praise His name.

Alan

Preaching With The iPad

A while back, I mentioned that I was going to write about using the iPad in preaching. After that post, I received several inquiries from preachers who were curious about how I used the iPad in the place of paper for my sermon notes.

I have been using the iPad in place of paper note for about a year and a half. I would not go back to paper notes unless I was forced to. I love using the iPad! When you first take it to the pulpit you do feel a bit strange having that piece of shiny technology lying there on the pulpit, but you actually forget about it and just use it like you would a paper outline. It has been my experience that most of the people in the congregation have no idea that you are using an iPad. They may see a strange glow on your face, or a little reflection in your glasses, but if you preach the Word of God, they really don’t care that you are using the iPad for your notes.

I still carry my Bible with me, and I do not intend to stop using it, because I would find it awkward to change back and forth between my notes and a Bible app while I was preaching. If you do decide to go the iPad route, here are a few suggestions I would take to heart.

1. Turn off the sound
2. Lock the screen orientation
3. Turn off the wifi, or at least disable push notification so things don’t pop up while you preach.
4. Be sure you have a good charge on the device before you leave for church.
5. Turn down the brightness on the screen.

Here are the apps and the process I utilize as part of my sermon preparation workflow.

I prepare all my sermons in a program called Scrivener. I use the Mac version, but a Windows version is also available.  The reason I use this program is that it allows me to keep all my writing, my research and my finished sermon in one place. Also, if I am preaching a series, I can prepare the entire series in one location, thus keeping all my material in one file. It’s pretty handy, if I do say so myself.

After the sermon is prepared in Scrivener, I export it to a .rtf file for final editing. In my case, I use Pages, but Word or any other word processor will work fine. In Pages I use a 12 point font for editing on the screen, and I save the file using this font size. When the sermon is finished, I will change the font size to 20 point and export it (or save it if using Word) as a .pdf. Both Pages and Word have this feature built in. The reason I change the font to 20 point is because of the size of the iPad screen. 20 point on the iPad is about the equivalent of 13 point in print, so it works for my older eyes. I prepare all my sermons in portrait orientation with .5″ margins. I also put the entire text of most Bible quotations into the sermon note.

Now that I have the sermon .pdf ready, it is time to upload it to the Internet so that I can access it on the iPad. I use a free service called Dropbox to store the files and to access them from the iPad. On the iPad, I use an app called Goodreader, there are several others available, but this one has all the features I am looking for. I open Goodreader, link it to by Dropbox account, and open the .pdf sermon file. It downloads to the iPad, where it can be accessed and edited as if it was a set of paper notes. I can write on it, highlight it, cross out word, sentences and paragraphs, etc. Changing pages is as simple as roughing the right side of the screen. Here are a couple of files, entitled Groaning Here, Glory There, The Ministry Of Intercessory Prayer, and When Shepherds Meet, that were edited on the iPad. This will give you some idea of the capabilities of Goodreader. Be sure to right click the .pdfs and download them prior to viewing them, if you want to see them in all their glory. For some reason, some browsers will not display all the formatting.

When I download the files onto the iPad, I place them in folders named for the book of the Bible from which the sermon came. Thus, all my sermons are arranged by books of the Bible. I have also arranged the books by Old and New Testament. I also have folders for Sunday School lesson, lectures I use in the Bible Institute, etc.

It sounds like this is a long and difficult process. However, it is really quite easy and fast. Once the preliminary apps are installed and the folders created, getting the files on the iPad is as easy as saving the in Dropbox and opening them in Goodreader. It literally takes just a few seconds. The hardest part of the whole is doing the difficult work of exegesis, exposition and sermon preparation, and that is as it should be.

Once the sermons have been prepared and uploaded to Dropbox, it is possible to carry all your sermons in your hand. I have every some I have preached since 1990 in my Dropbox folder. They have not all been converted to .pdf, but they can be accessed, opened and edited by a good number of iPad apps. So, when I go preach a meeting, I have instant access to thousands of my sermons. Of course, you must have an wifi connection to access the material in Dropbox, but everything that has already been downloaded into Goodreader, or whatever app you might use, will be there until you delete it.

So, there you go. I hope that little introduction proves helpful to you. If you have anymore questions, please feel free to comment on this post and I will be glad the answer right here. That way, the questions, answers and other comments will be available to everyone who comes here looking for this information. If you can give me some guidance on using he iPad in an more efficient manner, I would love to hear about how you do it.

Some may also be curious about the new Kindle Fire. After all, it is a lot less expensive than the iPad. I have been playing around with one for the past two weeks, and I really like it. It will serve me well as a reading device, but due to the small size of its screen, I do not think I will preaching from it. I may tinker around with a few files and see what comes of it. If anything does, I will let you know.

Later on, I will tell you about some other apps I use, if anyone is interested.

Alan