13 Lessons I’m Bringing Home from Sabbatical

This summer, our elders graciously gave me (and my family) ten weeks off to enjoy a sabbatical. It was a life-changing experience that I’m deeply thankful for. I’ve been back now for just under a month and continue to process all that we experienced and learned.

On my first Sunday back in the pulpit, I shared eight lessons from the sabbatical. All of these remain important, lasting lessons. Nonetheless, after more reflection — and especially after returning to ministry work — more lessons have emerged.

So, below are the eight lessons I shared that Sunday, followed by five additional lessons. (I’ll be brief with the first eight, since I shared a whole sermon about it that you can watch for more thorough explanation).

1. We are amazingly loved. Our church family was remarkable and generous in both sending us away and welcoming us home. Wow.

2. Information overload is self-inflicted. When you live without social media, you’re really not missing much. Perhaps a future post will address this more.

3. It is impossible to “do it all.” We often think, I have to, It’s all important, and I can do it all. But those lies should be replaced with the truths, I choose to, Only a few things really matter, and I can do anything but not everything.

4. Great people focus on eulogy virtues, not résumé virtues. This idea comes from David Brooks and–even though we all know it’s true–it’s awfully hard to live out.

5. I’m far less important to the church and far more important to my family than I thought. Our staff and volunteers led the church amazingly well in my absence. But I realized that my family needs me more than ever.

6. The moral revolution is underway. A lot changed this summer in our culture. Are Christians ready?

7. You and I need the church. We saw how much we need the church to help us experience community, transcendence, and — most of all — Jesus.

8. The nations rage and God laughs. In our fallen world, we rage against God. He laughs and is not worried.

— 5 More —

9. “The most important gift I can give is my transformed and transforming presence.” This phrase came to me repeatedly through our time with Jim Cofield from Crosspoint Ministry as he coached and counseled us throughout the summer. It’s not something I’d never thought of, but it landed with significant impact. I can design great ministry, organize helpful sermons, and empower a strong team — but the very best thing I can give in leadership or life is my own transformed and transforming into the image of Christ presence. This requires time and space to prioritize the care of my soul and nobody will prioritize this for me.

10. Emotions are real, important, and complex. The animated film, Inside Out, was big for our family this summer. It highlighted the importance of emotions and how all the emotions work together and matter for the thriving of a person. Because of how busy, driven, and practical both me and Molly are, we have not appropriately valued our emotions or given space to identify and understand them. The movie woke us up to this reality and gave us a new dinnertime conversation game with the family where we ask everyone, “What was a time today that you felt (anger, disgust, joy, sadness, fear)?”

11. Going to church may not feel worth it if you don’t know people or have something to contribute. This summer was the first time in my life that I repeatedly went to church with my family in the same vehicle. We went to five or six different churches and — more often than not — it felt like an ordeal. The services were OK (not great), the preaching was OK (not great) and we didn’t really know anyone who wasn’t already in our family. Add that up, and it showed me why even more Christians are attending church less regularly. This strengthened my convictions to (a) work hard to create excellent worship services that help people experience the majesty of God, (b) help people at our church make meaningful connections and contributions.

12. Strong preaching takes significant preparation. I was particularly mindful not to be in “evaluation” mode as we visited churches (didn’t bring my evaluation form). Nonetheless, I was struck at how “meh” the preaching was across the board. In every case it was true information, but in many cases it felt like the preacher hadn’t prepared enough. How can I tell? Well, as a preacher, I know the preparation difference between when I have worked the content into my soul and when I have just worked it into my mind. I’ve too often only done the latter. I’ve returned with a commitment to more thoroughly preparing both myself and my sermons for preaching.

13. I function much better with a meaningful routine. While I have loved the flexibility of vocational ministry, this summer showed me how much better I function with routine. When I have a solid routine, I’m more likely to prioritize what’s important over what’s urgent and I’m more likely to make good choices in the moment. Additionally, I’m learning how an easily repeatable morning routine is crucial for avoiding decision fatigue. As I’ve returned from sabbatical, I’ve formed a consistent morning routine and have also put much more firm boundaries in place for when I start and stop work every day (more on that in a future post).

Thanks for your prayers and for reading. Hope some of this serves you. If you have questions or would hope for a future post based on one of these topics, let me know by commenting below.

Reflections on the Glorious & Terrifying Lordship of Jesus

This past Sunday was Easter and I preached a message called “The History of Redemption.” The sermon was 25 minutes of only Scripture, telling the story of the Bible from beginning to end. It was a powerful day for our church, but for me it was a powerful few months of memorizing and internalizing the Scriptures.

I’ve been reflecting on all of this and want to share some truths that keep gripping me.

1. Jesus claims to be Lord of all.

Though the culture and world would have us believe that faith and religion are merely private matters, Jesus claims to be Lord over all things. Some verses from the sermon:

  • All things came into being through him. (John 1:3)
  • God…has in these last days spoken to us through his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of his glory and the exact representation of his image and he upholds all things by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:2-3)
  • I am the way and the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except through me. (John 1:14)
  • And the government shall be upon his shoulder. And he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
  • On his robe and on his thigh a name was written, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:16)

These are staggering claims. They do not represent a Jesus who merely takes the wheel of your private life and infuses it with a bit more meaning or hope. Rather, they represent the one who rules over the universe that he spoke into existence with absolute power.

2. Without Christ, people are evil and hostile to God.

Since our first parents plunged the world into sin, we are all sick with the disease of sin. We sin by nature and we sin by choice. Two illustrations that accompanied the sermon (from Chris Koelle) depict this masterfully.

First, we see the idea that our very DNA is tainted by sin, broken and covered in thorns. This means that we are all “born this way” and it is no excuse.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope. And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Romans 8:20; Genesis 6:5)
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope. And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Romans 8:20; Genesis 6:5)

Then, while depicting the downward spiral of Israel away from God, we see an image of people sacrificing their children to the gods of Canaan. But look closely into the fire. Do you see how this practice continues today?

They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons. They poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. (Psalm 106:37-38)
They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons. They poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. (Psalm 106:37-38)

This kind of evil demands a response and, amazingly, God patiently offers kindness to sinners who deserve only wrath.

3. Jesus offers scandalous grace to people who repeatedly dishonor him.

I often say that there aren’t good guys and bad guys, there are bad guys and Jesus. This is evident throughout the story of Scripture. We do wicked, dishonorable things, continually exchanging the truth about God for a lie and worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25). Despite this, Jesus offers amazing grace:

  • But he was wounded for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned aside–every one–to his own way and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)
  • But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even while we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
  • For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
  • All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18)
  • And he said… “I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things and I will be his God and he shall be my son.” (Revelation 21:6-7)

This grace is real and powerful. It can change lives and bless communities. But it is a limited-time offer. You get one life to accept this grace and joyfully bow the knee to King Jesus. Either he took the sword for you or you will take the sword.

4. The Bible threatens terrifying things to those who will not acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus.

Because we think about faith in mostly private terms, when people reject it we often think something like, “Oh well. Too bad. They’re not going to be very fulfilled until they find Jesus.” Which is true. But much more is at stake. Consider these verses from the sermon:

  • But if that wicked servant thinks to himself, “My master is delayed,” and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, then the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know and will cut him into pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:48-51)
  • From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. (Revelation 19:15)
  • They will make war on the Lamb and the Lamb will conquer them… (Revelation 17:14)
  • And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

Get the picture? This is not little Jesus, meek and mild, passively sitting on the sidelines. Rather, this is the Lord of all history who has poured himself out for sinners–who continue to reject his authority or his grace–promising to rule the world of evil by destroying all who will not joyfully come under his Lordship.

You don’t have to like it. You don’t even have to believe it.

But it’s the way the world really is.

5. Christians will suffer greatly and be disliked by the world.

Somehow it continues to shock Christians that we are hated, mistreated, and misrepresented. But this sermon reminds me of these powerful words of Jesus:

  • You will be hated by all because of me but the one who endures to the end will be saved. A disciple is not greater than his teacher nor a slave than his master. And do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:22, 24, 28)
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on account of me. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven. (Matthew 5:10-12)

I desperately want to connect with a culture that is far from God and needs his grace. I want to communicate in ways that are understandable. But I also must realize that many simply will not receive the message. They will hate it and belittle it. They will mock it. The days are coming (and are now here around the world) when they will arrest and fine those who will not capitulate to the winds of cultural “progress.” Buckle up. It’s going to be a tough ride.

Want proof? The man who put “The History of Redemption” together, Ronnie Smith, was murdered as a missionary in Libya in December 2013. I think God was preparing him and his family for the suffering they would face, and his widow boldly shared the gospel to the world as a result.

6. Jesus is on the right side of history.

We repeatedly hear that Christians are “on the wrong side of history.” The Bible is regressive and backwards, not appropriately adapting to fit our enlightened, scientific, modern culture.

I walk away from this sermon thinking, “No. Jesus is on the right side of history. He made the world. He sustains the world. And he is coming to renew the world. He will conquer evil, make war on those who oppose him, and make all things new. By his undeserved grace, he has brought me to himself. If I’m with him, I’m on the right side of history because history belongs to him.”

You can view the sermon, with the illustrations, here.

You’ll Never Guess Who Advocates Expository Preaching

I’m excited to participate as a panelist this Thursday for The Gospel Coalition Arizona’s one-day event focused on expository preaching. If you’re available, you should consider joining me.expp-tgcaz-slide2

I have valued expository preaching for many years. As a college student I grew immensely under faithful expository preaching. It was not only authoritative but also a helpful model for how to engage with the Scriptures on my own. So, when I became a preacher, I eagerly practiced expository preaching.

Over the years, I’ve read numerous books and heard many conference messages on the value of expository preaching. While these resources have been valuable, they often seem to be preaching to the choir. People who attend conferences put on by Desiring God, Together for the Gospel, The Gospel Coalition, Ligonier or 9 Marks tend to be people who already agree with these ministries’ approach to preaching.

So, when I read a book written by leaders from Willow Creek — the church that pioneered and popularized seeker-sensitive ministry — and heard them advocate for expository preaching, I was amazed.

The book was Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal About Spiritual Growth. In it, Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson share their most significant insights about how people grow, based on research across five years, 1,000 churches and over 200,000 church attendees across all kinds of denominations and traditions. Move was filled with insightful lessons and is a must-read for anybody in pastoral ministry.

Hawkins and Parkinson identify five best-practices that were evident in all the churches that demonstrated the highest degree of spiritual growth. One of these best practices is “Embed the Bible in Everything.” The authors argue that while many churches believe the Bible is important, not all of them really make the Bible part of everything they do.

This diagnosis didn’t surprise me, but the prescription shocked me. According to Hawkins and Parkinson, what is a key strategy for churches to help people love the Scriptures?

“Make the Bible the main course of the message. While there is great debate over the most effective way to teach God’s Word, a number of best-practice churches lean toward the expository-teaching style… The most important takeaway about teaching from best-practice pastors is that they all start the preparation of their messages with Scripture… Their starting point is the Word, followed by application to the world.”

There it is. Leaders from Willow Creek advocating for expository preaching. How could this be? I kept reading and it made more sense.

After hundreds of thousands of surveys, do you know what was the #1 factor in spiritual growth was for people across the spectrum of spiritual experience?

Engaging personally with the Bible.

Furthermore, do you know what was the #1 thing people said they wanted from their church?

“Help me understand the Bible in depth.”

Of course, expository preaching isn’t the only way to help people engage personally with the Bible or understand it in depth. But it is a proven way that, perhaps, you should consider.

Sermon Notes & Preparing to Preach

I’ve been teaching a Preaching Lab this summer, where a bunch of men and women are learning the basics of preaching and then preaching a practice sermon. This week one of the participants asked me a good question about the sermon prep process and sermon notes, and I thought I’d share my answer.

Q: When you prepare your sermon, do you rehearse it, if so, how many times, and what does that look like? Is it a “full dress rehearsal”? Do you record or time yourself to make sure you hit all points in allotted time? Or is it more like a rough rehearsal and run through of your outline with guesstimations and or experienced gauging of each point? I think I struggle with this most, because if I just use outline as a backbone, I tend to go over time, but if I stick to notes, I feel stifled and like I’m reading cue cards. Just wondering what your prep looks like.

A: What I do now is very different from where I started and I don’t think I could do what I do now without starting how I started.

When I first got into preaching, I was expected by those who trained me to write out a full manuscript of the message. I didn’t necessarily have to preach from the manuscript, but I had to write it out. This was helpful because it forced me to organize my thoughts, see if they were clear, and think through smooth transitions. It was also helpful because I could read it out loud and gauge how long the sermon would be.

The challenge, however, was that I would often read big chunks from the manuscript during the sermon itself, which is disengaging.

I’ve always admired guys who can preach without notes (Robert Gelinas is one of my favorites). I think it’s more engaging and feels more authoritative, like you really know what you’re talking about.

So one time, about 7-8 years ago, I decided I wanted to try giving a message with zero notes. I figured I would either bomb or it would go well. The fear of bombing and freezing on stage with nothing to say drove me to really get to know the message. So I read the manuscript out loud multiple times, with an almost preaching voice. I created a simple, memorable outline and spent a lot of time learning it. Not memorizing words (I didn’t want to just recite it), but getting so familiar with the content that I could just talk about it.

Thankfully, I didn’t bomb and a number of close friends said it was the best sermon I had given to that point. The lessons were (a) the fewer notes the better and (b) I needed to get to know the content better if I was going to be effective.

When I started preaching weekly in 2009, I tried to do this same basic approach. However, I found that with the other time demands of church planting, getting to zero notes was really hard. So I would write out a manuscript and then turn it into a short, 1 page preaching outline. Over time, I stopped writing out the manuscript and just develop a preaching outline, typically anywhere between 1-3 pages (see an example here). I still work to know the big points and illustrations well so that I don’t have to be too tied to notes. Some messages are better than others.

As far as time and rehearsal, this also has adapted over time. I’ve had times when I’ve “preached to the empty seats” as a way to run things through ahead of time. Nelson Searcy says this “doubles the effectiveness of your preaching.” I still do this sometimes, but usually only if it’s a message that I don’t feel as comfortable with either because I think it’s going to be too long and I need to gauge what to cut or if it’s a particularly tricky message that I want to be sure to get right. For instance, when I preached on homosexuality last year I did a full run-through on stage with the staff in the room to practice and get feedback.

Time is one of those things that I have a feel for from lots of repetition. I can usually gauge about how long it will be from my notes. For somebody without as much experience, the best way to gauge time is to either read the manuscript or practice the sermon.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that I do still struggle to stay within the time (our worship leader could tell you, since we sometimes have to cut a song). Also, I tend to go longer on the second sermon than the first, partly because I think of more things to say and also because there’s a little more flexibility without another service coming. That said, I think around 35-40 minutes is a sweeter spot for me. My favorite preachers usually go about 35 minutes and I’m not as good as them. As Justin Anderson has said, “Sermons are not measured in minutes. They are measured in minutes beyond interest.” I’d rather go shorter and really pack a punch than ramble on. But sometimes I like to hear myself talk.

Hope this helps.

[Click here for other posts on preaching]

What I Learned From Teaching VBS

Last week our church hosted 150 kids from 5-10 years old for Vacation Bible School. This was our third year of VBS and I volunteered to teach. I was assigned to a group of 8 year-olds and it was a fun, tiring week.


Here’s what I learned:

1. Leaders must bring energy. It’s not a secret that kids have energy. Lots of it. So if you want to connect with them relationally, you better bring some energy. Additionally, they respond to and feed off your excitement. This is true in all leadership. Followers feed off the leaders’ energy. It’s why leaders must manage their energy as much as they manage their time. (Here’s a great book on this)

2. Teachers must be engaging. One of the reasons I volunteered was to stretch myself as a communicator. You may ask, “How is teaching kids stretching yourself?” Well, adults are at least polite and self-controlled enough to pretend to listen even when they’re not. But with kids, you can tell instantly whether they’re following you or in la-la land.

Therefore, it’s not enough to teach the material. You have to teach it in an engaging way. You have to ask good questions. You have to use examples they understand and get excited about. You have to adjust your voice inflection to draw them in. You have to tell interesting stories. Otherwise, you might as well not teach it because they won’t get it. Again, this is true in all teaching, just more obvious with kids.

3. Everything’s better with fun. Almost everyone I know likes to have fun, especially kids. When experiences are fun, it makes for better learning and stronger relationships. Sometimes leaders avoid fun because we are so focused on the task at hand or because it feels like a waste of time or money. But I’m leaving this VBS even more committed to making fun part of our leadership culture.

4. Kids know their stuff. It was encouraging to see the kids in my class engage with the story of the gospel. On our last day, we were talking about the crown of righteousness that the Lord will award to those who have loved his appearing (2 Tim 4:8). I asked the kids, “What are some things you would want to do if you thought there was a decent chance Jesus was coming back this afternoon?” Below are their answers.

Honestly, I’m pretty wiped after last week. It was a great experience. Not sure yet whether I’ll do it again next year, but if you’re a leader it’s worth having some experience teaching kids. You’ll grow from it and so will they.

4 Keys to Faithful Preaching

I recently met with our Pastoral Residents to discuss preaching. Faithful preaching is a crucial part of a healthy church, and we are trying to help these guys develop into faithful preachers. This raises the question, “What makes up faithful preaching?”

faithful preaching

I think there are at least four marks of faithful preaching and, conveniently, they begin with “P.” Additionally, failure to be faithful to each of these things leads in some disastrous directions.

1. Faithful to the Passage.

Faithful preaching accurately interprets the text of Scripture. This means that the author’s intended meaning for the passage is understood and proclaimed. Additionally, faithfulness to the passage means that the tone of the sermon is consistent with the passage (i.e. a sermon on a threatening passage doesn’t feel lighthearted) and the confidence of the sermon is in line with the clarity of the passage (i.e. dogmatic where the text is clear). Sometimes preachers emphasize ideas that are biblical but are not coming from the passage under consideration. This is not faithfulness to the passage.

Faithful to the passage also means understanding God’s missional purpose for the text. Scripture is not there just to proclaim truth or record history, but to shape a missional people who represent God to the world through their deeds and words.

Without this, preaching lacks authority. It’s powerless and relying on the preacher’s ingenuity rather than the authority of God.

2. Faithful to the People.

Faithful preaching lovingly understands the people in the audience. The context that people live in matters. A faithful preacher would not preach the same way with the same illustrations and emphasis to Jr. High students as he would to a group of young moms. One way I seek to address this in my weekly preparation is by creating a half-sheet with photos of people from our congregation. I look at this throughout the preparation process asking, “How would this sermon connect with him, her, etc?”

Without this, preaching is irrelevant. Not that the message is irrelevant, but it is perceived that way by people who don’t feel the preacher understands them.

3. Faithful to the Preparation.

Faithful preaching takes preparation seriously. Preachers vary in terms of how much time they want and need to faithfully prepare. The more experienced you are, the less time it often takes. On the other hand, Tim Keller suggests that preaching in a post-Christian society takes more preparation. Each preacher will have to decide what it looks like for him to create consistently strong sermons and then work to be faithful to that process.

Interestingly, I’ve heard a number of interviews lately with Peyton Manning and Mike Krzyzewski where people have asked them about how much time they have left before retiring. Both said that they “still enjoyed the preparation,” and that when that wasn’t enjoyable, they would stop.

Without this, preaching is shallow. It takes time and work to create sermons that apply the gospel to the heart.

4. Faithful to your Personality.

Faithful preaching is consistent with your personality. Each preacher is different and has a different personality. Justin Anderson argues that your sermon voice should be a notch or two above your regular voice but not so different that your kids can’t recognize you. One of the big mistakes young preachers make is imitating (often unintentionally) the preachers they listen to. Finding your voice takes time, but faithful preaching requires that you are faithful to who God has made you to be.

Without this, preaching is inauthentic. It feels forced and awkward if it is out of sync with your personality.

Every preacher I know wants to be faithful, and I’ve found this grid helpful for analyzing both individual sermons and the course of my preaching ministry over time.

Preaching the Bible vs. Using the Bible

On a regular basis I will hear a shocking phrase from somebody who is new to our church.

It’s great how you guys actually teach the Bible.”

What a bizarre idea. A person experiences our ministry and is refreshed because we actually teach the Bible. What is everyone else doing?

This used to strike me as odd because any time I would visit an evangelical church, the preacher had a Bible in his hand. He wasn’t preaching from the newspaper or Sports Illustrated. So, you have two pastors, and they both hold Bibles. They both read from Bibles. They both talk about things in the Bible. But one is actually teaching the Bible. What’s the difference?

The difference — and it’s a big one — is that one pastor preaches the Bible and the other just uses the Bible.

What are some marks of preaching the Bible that make it different from just using it?

1. The preacher gives the sense that he and the congregation are joyfully under the authority of the Bible. I say “sense” because this is often more felt than explicitly stated. Men who preach the Bible feel excited about the Bible and feel like it’s really important. These feelings spill onto the congregation.

2. There is a biblical text being considered. I’m not against thematic or topical preaching. But it’s best done when considering a primary text that informs our understanding of the topic. When a preacher pulls many proof-texts together around a topic (especially using multiple translations), it feels like he is using the Bible, not preaching it.

3. The point of the sermon is consistent with the author’s intended meaning. Preaching the Bible means that the preacher works hard to understand what the biblical author was saying to his intended audience. Rather than the preacher just using the Bible to say what he really wants to say or to prove his clever point, preaching the Bible happens when the preacher is directed by the biblical text itself.

4. The truths emphasized in the sermon come from the text under consideration. I know this sounds like I’m repeating what I just said, but I’m really just drilling down further. Many times I hear sermons where a preacher says something that is biblically true, but it doesn’t actually come from the passage under consideration. An example: A preacher considering Romans 5:1-11 (Peace with God Through Faith) makes a big deal about how Jesus is the only way to have peace with God. That’s a true point. Jesus is the only way to peace with God. But it’s not a Romans 5:1-11 point. Romans 5 is not about the exclusivity of Christ, it’s about all the incredible riches that come to Christians who trust Christ by faith.

5. The tone of the sermon is consistent with the tone of the text. Preaching the Bible means that the attitude and level of urgency of the sermon is also dictated by the text. Texts that challenge should lead to sermons that challenge. Texts that comfort should lead to sermons that comfort. Texts that celebrate should lead to sermons that celebrate.

I don’t have anything to say if I’m not preaching the Bible. Without the authoritative power of God’s word, I’m not wise, creative, clever or powerful enough to say things that will takeover of the heart of sinners.

Additionally, I might argue that the ultimate goal isn’t really to preach the Bible as much as it is to preach Christ. But you’ll never preach Christ with authority if you don’t start with a commitment to preach the Bible.

What are some other ways you’d distinguish between preaching the Bible and using the Bible?