Monthly Archives: July 2008

It takes a thick skin to be a preacher

Some time ago I preached a Sunday morning sermon that seemed to be especially well received. I found out later, and second handed, that one lady went out and did some things in direct response to that sermon. Stuff like that is what keeps preachers going.

Recently, I experienced the other side of that coin. I had a sermon I really felt good about – and in all the right ways. I had sensed the leadership of the Lord as I prepared it. In fact, as do all a preachers best sermons, it had already ministered to me as I prepared it in my study through the week.

Many years ago the Lord taught me the valuable lesson of never preaching “at” anyone. Since I almost always preach expository sermons through books of the Bible, I just preach my way through books trying my best to honestly deal with the passage before me without any agenda concerning anyone.

Still, it isn’t unusual for me to identify people who I think a point will especially help. The very opposite of aiming a statement “at” someone is to be aware that a point is especially suited to help someone. An example from early in my ministry: a young lady asked me exactly why it was that Jesus had to die to be our Savior. As I prepared my sermon for that next Sunday, which happened to be Easter, her question came to mind. That Sunday, I didn’t preach “at” her but I preached with her question in mind.

Recently, as I prepared to preach the next sermon in a series, the passage spoke to my heart and I thought to myself, “I know some folks who will be especially helped by this sermon.”

Sunday morning came and I noted more empty seats than usual. Some were out of town, some were actually in the church building but for one reason or another didn’t make it into the sanctuary, others were, well, I don’t know where they were.

There’s almost no way a preacher can express disappointment about stuff like this without coming off sounding vain or petty. If the preacher does say anything, it is almost sure to be taken the wrong way.

So, what does the preacher do? All I know to do is grin and bear it, even as I grin and bear people telling me I only work an hour a week or that the special speaker the church had a few weeks ago “really knows how to preach” (yeah, I get my place in the comparison).

When you pour your heart into a sermon, giving it all you have, and when you know in all the right ways that some of your folks will truly be helped by it, and when those same folks decide to skip church for some reason…well, that’s when it takes a thick skin to be a preacher.

Firefox apostrophe bug – solution!

I had never heard of the Firefox apostrophe bug until I upgraded to Firefox 3. Here’s how it’s supposed to work: if you are browsing a web page and want to find a word on the page you hit the apostrophe and a quick find box appears at the bottom of the screen. If you are typing into a message box the apostrophe is supposed to work as usual. However, for some unknown reason (that’s why it’s a bug!) on some computers on some websites some of the time even when you are typing a message in the apostrophe kicks open the quick find box instead of typing. The only solution is to not use contractions – or to use the IE tab extension when visiting the web sites that bring the bug out.

This bug has been around forever and you’ll find tons of reports of it.

After searching all over the internet I found a website offering an extension called “searchkey” that provides a workaround by changing the hot key to something else. I was disappointed to find that there was not yet a Firefox 3 version. I emailed the author, Paolo, and asked if an updated version was in the works. I was pleasantly surprised when he wrote right back and in a few days he had a Firefox 3 version posted to his website. That first version didn’t work for me and I emailed him the details. He went back to work and, today, he released a real fix.

I sure appreciate his quick response and his excellent fix! Here’s the link to the searchkey download.

Update: Somewhere around 3.01 the bug disappeared for me. I am now running 3.02 and it is fine too.

Book Review: Lamb Among the Stars Series by Chris Walley

The Lamb Among the Stars is a three book Christian sci-fi series that takes place in the distant future.

For ten thousand years the human race has expanded and lived in peace. It started with a great revival that ushered in a golden age of Christianity, and the symbolic millennium has proven to be at least 10 times longer than a mere thousand years.

On the most distant human planet Farholme, though, subtle changes are taking place. Even though it is known from history how evil influences people, they are ill prepared for a spiritual shadow that has fallen over them.

Book 1, Shadow and Night tells this story.

In Book 2, The Dark Foundations the storm clouds gather as both physical and spiritual enemies prepare an attack on the isolated Farholme. Not only are there physical battles to be fought, there are spiritual conflicts as well. The unseen is revealed as battles rage.

The final book of the series is The Infinite Day. The battle of the ages is drawing near and there is failure from unexpected sources. Humanity hangs in the balance.

Lamb among the Stars series

Edit to add: As Chris Walley pointed out to me, I neglected to include one important thing: my recommendation! I give this series two thumbs up.