March 2015
Church Press Newsletter
Attention to Detail Pays

The birth of a baby is an extremely important event. There are two things your church can do to mark the event.

(1) Send the parents the card entitled:  "A Gift from God to See, to Hold, and to Love." It's #408, $12.95 a dozen. Ask for a free sample, and we'll mail it to you. Email us now. 

(2) On the first Sunday after the birth place a rose on the altar to remind everyone what has happened. After church have someone deliver the rose and the card to the parents.

Attention to detail pays, and this one pays big.

A Gift for Easter Worshipers 

Here is an inexpensive, on-the-go ministry tool for Easter: What On Earth Am I Here For? mini book by Rick Warren. Price: 25 for $24.99. Give one to each family Easter Sunday. Your worshipers will appreciate it. Order now. 

Church Signs of the Week

Here are three church signs that are sure winners. You have to see them to believe it. Very good.

Order Heaven
for Easter 

Yes, you can order heaven for Easter! Just invite Easter worshipers to attend the best selling Bible study course, The Many Wonders of Heaven. 

Church Press will provide you with colorful bulletin inserts for your Easter service free of charge. Start the following Sunday. Email us today for your free bulletin inserts, #149F. Tell us how many you want.

For Pastor's Eyes  Only

2 Sermon books by Dr. Arthur Graf (LCMS): 20 Sermons for Special Occasions and Walking and Talking with God which includes 11 sermons on O.T. characters and 9 sermons on the Lord's Prayer. $19.90 value. Free (including shipping) to the first pastor who emails us.

For Church Secretary's
Eyes Only

Legacy of a Pack Rat by Ruth Bell Graham (married to Billy). This book is precious beyond words. A lifetime of poems, memories, meditations, and Scripture that will bring you tears and joy. New. Hard cover. Retails for $18.99. Free (including shipping) to the first secretary (or office administrator) who emails us.

11 Signs of a Monster Pastor
By Scott Attebery, Rick Warren's Toolbox, 2/15/15

In a previous post, I wrote about "monster churches" in reference to congregations that chew up and spit out pastors on a regular basis. Monster churches are highly dysfunctional and rarely fruitful.


The congregation, however, is not always the problem. Just as monster churches are a factory of discord, monster pastors take trouble with them wherever they go. Nicknames for monster pastors include: dictator, authoritarian, and control freak. [read more for the 11 signs]] 

Why Failing at Lent - May be Succeeding at Lent? 
By Ann Voskamp

I can't seem to follow through in giving up for Lent. Which makes me want to just give up Lent. Which makes me question Who I am following. Which may precisely be the point of Lent.

Last week, I'm standing on a table, snapping the shutter on a bouquet of roses when my brother calls. [read more]

A Good Church

First Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Helena, MT, has an attractive website. Rev. Larry Miller is lead pastor assisted by Rev. Jason Toombs.

The special welcome on their home page is warm and inviting. It presents important subjects neatly arranged. Very informative. Click First to start your study. Jot down ideas for your website.
From Atheist to Believer  
By Alister McGrath
Christianity Today 2/9/15

On a May morning in 1973, my Christian life took a decisive turn. I had converted to Christianity 18 months before. I had been an aggressive atheist, utterly convinced of the godless worldview. [read more]
You're Not Too Busy for the Bible
It doesn't take a special kind of person to read the Scriptures daily.
By Jen Pollock Michel, Christianity Today, 1/14/15

Along with everyone else, I made typical resolutions for the New Year. I've committed to eat better and exercise more . . . And like most, I regularly fail at such resolutions. I ditch the gym and over eat, always promising to do better tomorrow.

But there's one habit that has stuck with me for more than twenty years: I read the Scriptures every day. [read more]

Welcome! Please come in. "And Can It Be That I Should Gain?" is one of the best-loved hymns written by Charles Wesley (he wrote 6,000) in 1738 to celebrate his conversion to Jesus Christ. View the video, listen to or sing the words of this stirring hymn. Go full screen.

And Can It Be That I Should Gain?
And Can It Be That I Should Gain?

No Condemnation Now I Dread
By Pastor Don Ginkel

John 8:30-32, "Even as He spoke, many put their faith in Him. To the Jews who had believed Him (and to us today), Jesus said, 'If you hold to My teaching (not to a thousand religious gimmicks), you are really (good church members? No! What then?) My disciples. Then you will know the truth (actual divine reality), and the truth will set you free (to liberate or emancipate, and we have many things to be freed from starting with our sins).'"

Mary had a little lamb, whose fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb (you know the words). Mary really had a little Lamb (Luke 2:5-7). He was whiter than new fallen snow. The Lamb said: "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (John 10:11). Now I am as white as snow: "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)!'" My Shepherd became a Lamb. Now I can sing -


Who so happy as I am, Even now the Shepherd's lamb?

And when my short life is ended, By His angel host attended,

He shall fold me to His breast, There within His arms to rest.

                                               - Henrietta L. von Hayn

How to Create Stronger Sermon Points
By Pastor Rick Warren

It has been my experience that books on preaching lift up the wrong kind of sermons as examples. They tend to teach you to prepare academic outlines so vague and general that they are robbed of power. For instance, here's an outline for a sermon based on 1 Corinthians 12, "The Corinthians and Spiritual Gifts:" (Does that title make you want to sit up and listen?)

Point #1 - The source of the Corinthians' gifts.
Point #2 - The function of the Corinthians' gifts.
Point #3 - The purpose of the Corinthians' gifts.

Now, here's what I think is wrong with this outline: (He then explains that and makes suggestions for solid sermon preparation. Hey, pastor, you need to read this. It's worth it.) [read more]

To Saudi Arabia: Whip Me Instead of Raif Badawi
Christianity Today, 1/23/15

Following Saudi Arabia's decision to flog a dissident blogger 50 times on a weekly basis for the next five months, seven of the nine members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom have asked the Muslim nation to whip them instead.

Saudi Arabia  sentenced Muslim blogger Raif Badawi, 31, to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for operating Free Saudi Liberals, a website which sought to encourage debate on religious and political matters. Offering to take 100 lashes each, 7 of the 9 USCIRF commissioners "would rather share in" the bloggers punishment than "watch him being cruelly tortured." [read more]

What Do I Get If  I'm Good?
Raising moral kids in a culture of rewards
By Valerie Dunham, Christianity Today, 1/29/15

Several weeks ago, as I wrestled my two-year-old into clothes, the weight of my charge as a parent hit me - somewhere between the second time putting his shirt on and the third time putting his pants on. As he ripped off his socks and threw them at the dog, I told him, "You need to listen to Mommy," to which he replied "M&M?"

I told myself it was the potty training - that could be the only possible explanation for my toddler leveraging good behavior for candy. I gently explained that we do not behave well to be rewarded; we behave well because we should, because it's right to do so. He nodded and whispered back "M&M please," because he's two, for the most part, incentivized morality is the only sort of morality he understands. How will we as parents facilitate the divorce of incentive and morality in the minds of our kids? [read more]

Why You Can't Seem to Manage Your Time
By Brandon Cox, Rick Warren's Toolbox, 2/20/15

Time management. Of all the people I know who ever focus on this concept, only a small handful are confident that they're doing it well. Most of us feel out of control. We feel that our specialty is time mis-management. Why is this so? 


I believe it's because we fail to see the bigger picture. Time management isn't enough. It's one small piece. Typically, when we think about managing time, we're visualizing our to-do list, as if everything on it occupies an equal priority in our lives. When we can't get it all done, we assume we've managed our time poorly. [read more]

10 Pointers for Young Preachers
By Peter Mead, LifeWay 1/26/15

I am way too young to be called a sage, but I don't get called young any more either. So while there is better advice to be found, here are some pointers from me for young preachers:
  1. Get to know God. Never settle for knowing about God. Make it your life's greatest ambition to really know and love the God who loves you. [read more]
Stack of Stuff

Good Morning.
This is God. I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not need your help. So have a good day! 

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." The acidulous wisdom of Mark Twain speaks to us today as some members of congress seek to save Americans from the tentacles of living their lives and running their businesses.

How valuable?
Care for your soul as you would your most valuable possession, because it is (Matthew 16:26).

Two big questions that beg answers: 
(1) What are two things that you'd coach a young pastor on today that you would have done ten years ago? (Email)  (2) If you are trying to counsel a 40-year-old pastor in a church that's stuck, what are two things you would encourage that pastor to do? (Email) If you are not clergy, we would like your thoughts, too. (Email)

Rejoice with Lois
I'm happy today. Lois, 90 years old, attended a small Bible study group I lead on Wednesdays. Lately she's been saying, "I want to go Home, but the Lord doesn't want me yet!" She was frustrated. Last Wednesday she wasn't present. Reason: she had a massive stroke. The next day would have been her 91st birthday, and she celebrated it with her Lord. Thank You, Lord Jesus! - Don

Easter Children's Talk
On 1 Corinthians 15:52, "The dead will be raised imperishable," by Pastor Don. Click children.

A good time
to plan (that's most important) your next successful adult membership class is now. Date? How about the first Sunday after Easter?

If you love dogs
watch the big dog who just loves the little dog in the Budweiser Super Bowl commercial.

Dog LOVES Budweiser 2015 Super Bowl commercial
Dog LOVES Budweiser 2015 Super Bowl commercial
James Madison, 1788
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

Dare to stop
the work of your hands and give God your knees because you believe God can do more than you. - Ann Voskamp

Free Good News
I HAVE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU has sold half a million copies world wide. We'll send you a free copy including shipping. Just email us.

Pay attention to this one
"No one can rob your God-given dignity or dream without your permission. Just ignore them and stay focused on Jesus." - Rick Warren

To remember names do three things:
  1. When meeting someone new, say their name aloud.
  2. Write the person's name down on a "name log."
  3. Review the names on your name log frequently.
Ideas for Easter Sunday 
  • Encourage members to bring their Easter lilies to church before worship to adorn the chancel area. They can tuck a piece of paper inside with their name on it.
  • For congregations that feel comfortable with it, have a traditional egg hunt. Plastic ones work just fine with some candy inside. Last year a a church in California had 700 children in their egg hunt. Many of them came to Sunday School that Sunday. What would you do if your Sunday School doubled or tripled Easter Sunday morning? It can happen with a little bit of work. Then expect it.
  • Invite your community to a free pancake breakfast Easter Sunday morning put on by the men. Serve pancakes, sausage, milk, juice, coffee and tea. Put an ad in your local paper on the above. Encourage each family to bring an unchurched family to breakfast and then worship. The above two points are non-threatening ways for people to invite their friends to your church.
  • Be sure the Easter message clearly tells how those without saving faith may come to faith then and there. "I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). "Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near" (Is. 55:6). For some worshipers this will be the last Easter service they will attend. Pretty sobering. So, preach accordingly.
  • Develop a plan to contact all Easter Sunday visitors in person or by phone. They must know how important they are to your church and to the Kingdom of the Lord. 
"White As Snow"

How many times after Holy Communion have you "felt" like you still were not forgiven. Suggestion: Sing "White As Snow" by Leon Olquin, a newer hymn, based on Isaiah 1:18, that will comfort you. Sing it before, during, or after the Lord's Supper.

We've attended a church that sang it at every Communion Service. It is permissible to print the words when you use the CCLI program. Church Press carries The Best of the Best (compiled by Rev. Mike Zhender, LCMS) which contains this song. Check our website for purchase. The first verse:

White as snow, white as snow, Though my sins were as scarlet
Lord, I know, Lord, I know that I'm clean and forgiven...

Now take just 30 seconds to listen to the melody. 

"Lord, I Need You"

Feel like you need the Lord right now? Let's take care of it. Here's a well-done video by Chris Tomlin.

Chris Tomlin - Lord I Need You
Chris Tomlin - Lord I Need You

Special blessings to you as you prepare 
more residents for the Father's House
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