Sermon Preparation Time

Thom Rainer:

These numbers represent total sermon preparation time per week, and the increase from a decade ago is dramatic. Of the pastors we surveyed, nearly seven out of ten spend eight or more hours in sermon preparation. More than four out of ten spend eleven or more hours; and more than one out of five spend 15 hours or more preparing sermons each week.

I am encouraged. In past studies, I have found a correlative relationship between time in sermon preparation and church health metrics. The greater the time in sermon preparation, the more likely the church is to be evangelistically effective, have a higher retention rate of members, and have a higher weekly per capita giving.

Simply stated, when the pastor spends more time in the Word, the church tends to be healthier.

Jason Snell on David Letterman

In anticipation of David Letterman's final show this week, Jason Snell gives his take (an interviews others about theirs) on Letterman's significance and legacy on The Incomparable podcast.

I didn't get a chance to listen until after Wednesday, but I found it to be really interesting. If you're a fan of David Letterman, Johnny Carson, or late night talk shows in general, I'd recommend giving this a listen.

A Story of Redemption

Tim Burge, a member of the 2 Pillars Church community, shared a before-and-after snapshot of his new life in Christ on the 2PC blog today:

He willingly paid the horrible penalty necessary for humanity to be redeemed and reunited with Him in eternity, and in paying that price and rising again, He defeated the hold that sin and death had had over us. Despite my horrible brokenness (and my tendency to revert to seeing Him as a scowling, disappointed patrol cop), I know that He loves me perfectly and fully. It paints a sharp contrast for a journey I know I’ve only just begun.

Praise God.

Battling Sexual Sin

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield:

Today, I now stand in a long line of godly women — the Mary Magdalene line. The gospel came with grace, but demanded irreconcilable war. Somewhere on this bloody battlefield, God gave me an uncanny desire to become a godly woman, covered by God, hedged in by his word and his will. This desire bled into another one: to become, if the Lord willed, the godly wife of a godly husband.

And then I noticed it.

Union with the risen Christ meant that everything else was nailed to the cross. I couldn’t get my former life back if I wanted it. At first, this was terrifying, but when I peered deep into the abyss of my terror, I found peace.

Butterfield provides a strong testimony about the power of the gospel over sin as well as a helpful introduction to John Owen's writings on sin, temptation, and repentance:

Indeed, John Owen’s understanding of indwelling sin is the missing link in our current cultural confusion about what sexual sin is — and what to do about it.

The Missional Legacy of Saint Patrick

Bob Thune:

It’s no accident that St. Patrick’s Day is identified with all things Irish. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was a Christian nation. One man gave his life to see a nation reached with the gospel – and today that nation still celebrates his influence.

Thune's post honoring "one of the greatest Christian missionaries in history" is a must-read this St. Patrick's Day.

About Ash Wednesday and Lent

On today's episide of The Wednesday Conversation, a great podcast produced by Coram Deo Church Community in Omaha, Mike Kresnik discusses Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent with Pastor Bob Thune and Pastor Dusty White.

Before you blow off Lent as irrelevant or legalistic, invest 25 minutes and give this a listen.

Then subscribe to The Wednesday Conversation.

Parenting and the Glory of God

My wife and I are currently reading through Tedd Tripp's Shepherding a Child's Heart together. Here are a couple of choice gems from chapter six:

If you faithfully hold out God’s standard, you are keeping before [your children] the Law of God that is a schoolmaster to take them to Christ.

And:

Teaching your children to live for the glory of God must be your overarching objective. You must teach your children that for them, as for all of mankind, life is found in knowing and serving the true and living God. The only worthy goal for life is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

 

IKEA Norberg Standing Desk

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I made our first-ever trip to IKEA. Our shopping list included the parts needed to build a Standest 2200. I've been wanting to hop on the standing desk train for some time now and $22 seemed like a reasonable price for a trial run.

Right before the trip I ran across this post from Ben Brooks about his Norberg standing desk. His conclusion:

Overall: cheap, ugly, but perfectly useable.

I was intrigued.

As it turned out, the wall-mounted drop-leaf table checked all of my standing desk boxes:

  • Inexpensive. At $39, it's more expensive that the Standesk 2200, but only slightly.
  • Compact. I don't have a ton of room to work with in my office and my sitting desk isn't going anywhere in the foreseeable future. A standing desk must either sit on my existing desk or be small enough to fit in my current office setup.
  • Convertable. Here's where the Norberg shined. I need to be able to sit and stand in my office. Sure, I'll stand while I'm working on my computer, but I won't be holding standing counseling appointments. The Standesk 2200 satisfies this requirement, but just barely. The process of transitioning between a standing and sitting setup wouldn't exactly be smooth and seamless. The wall-mounted option, on the other hand, promised a quick transition from standing to sitting without any work at all.
  • Tasteful. I'm game for "hacking" together a standing desk solution, but let's keep this reasonable. The less tacky, the better.

So, after much thought and deliberation, we left IKEA with a Norberg.

Size

I've since installed the desk and I'm really liking it. The size is sufficient, especially since it isn't the only desk in my office. If it served as my only workspace then it would probably feel a bit cramped. It also folds down and stays out of my way when I'm not using it. Bonus.

It's worth mentioning that IKEA has two additional wall-mounted drop-leaf tables: Norbo ($39) and Bjursta ($39.99). They are wider and have better color options but they didn't offer quite as much depth.

Sturdiness

I had concerns about sturdiness and stability, but so far it's holding up just fine. Instead of trying to hit studs, I have it attached to a whiteboard which has a wood backing that provides extra strength.

I'd sleep better at night if it came with beefier hardware, but this'll have to do.

Conclusion

If I had it to do all over again, I would make the same decision to go with the Norberg. If you're looking for an inexpensive standing desk solution and have some wall space to spare, then it might be a good fit for you as well.

Wading into the Standing Desk Kiddie Pool

You’ve probably heard by now that sitting is killing you, right? "Sitting is the new smoking."

“This is a Sitting Free Zone."

"Friends don’t let friends work sitting."

“Think before sitting."

“This is your brain. This is your brain on sitting.”

Well, I’m convinced and ready to start standing with the cool kids. In addition to the health benefits, I also find that I’m much more focused and productive while standing. Sitting less will likely be just as good for my work as it will be for my body.

Unfortunately, we’re talking about a fairly cost-prohibitive endeavor here. Have you priced standing desks lately? An entry-level standing desk can easily set you back several hundred dollars. Want an adjustable desk that offers a sitting position too? That’ll cost you even more.

So before taking the plunge, I’m going to get my feet wet and wade into the standing desk kiddie pool for a while. I’m planning to make my first-ever IKEA visit this week and while I’m there I’ll be picking up supplies to build my very own Standesk 2200.

Twenty two bucks seems reasonable for a standing desk experiement and, assuming it goes well, I’ll consider making another trip to IKEA in the future.



© 2015 Adam Stahr