Idea + $20 + Effort = Priceless Illustration

Rather than subjecting my audience to a Death by PowerPoint presentation about Church finance issues, I chose a different path. The result enabled me to communicate the necessities while leaving them with the singular challenge: “Will I carry a cup?”


In this illustration the water in the tub equals the money required to fund the five pipelines of ministry at Grace Bible Church. In order to keep all five valves fully open then everyone must carry a cup as there exists no magic money water hose.

Comment or contact me for the plans should you wish to build an illustration of your own.


No Such Thing as Poison

The following thoughts were taken in their entirety from the Blog of Doug Wilson at

Let me begin with the modest observation that there is no such thing as a poison. By this I mean that nothing is harmful to the human body in small enough amounts, and everything is harmful in large enough amounts. Different substances vary in potency, to be sure, so that some things will reach dangerous levels of toxicity sooner than others, but nothing is harmful in itself. Everything depends on frequency and amount. Use your head, and don’t panic just because you read a scientific name for something on the label.

I am given to understand that apple seeds have cyanide in them. If you eat apples as I sometimes do, core and all, you are ingesting cyanide. If you grind the whole thing up in a cider mill to be organic and healthy-like, you are feeding your family cyanide. And all this is no problem whatever. Yay for cyanide. But if you saved the seeds from a bushel of apples, and then ate them all at once, then you would have a pretty big problem. Now, are apple seeds “poison” or not? Do apples have a poisonous center?

But to think about amounts, frequency, ratios and so forth is far too complicated for those who want the world of food and health to be simple. This is the mentality that wants to know if any “chemicals” are in the food or not. Well, what’s the alternative?

And lest this be taken as a mistake made only by health nut rubes, it should be added that whenever an agency like the FDA pronounces a particular substance suspect, the chances are good that this mistake is lurking in the background. You see, what they did was take the substance in question (something found, for example, in diet cola), and they fed it to lab rats in such amounts that the cases had to be brought into their testing center with fork lifts. Well, if I drank 52 cases of Dr. Pepper a day for three months running, I would be astonished if I didn’t get cancer.

But getting this point across can be pretty difficult. Ronald Deutsch stated the problem well — he referred to “the perennial complication that everyone believes himself an expert on the relationship between foods and health.”

No Wonder They Struggle

Pictured here is the 2007 Master Contract between the UAW and Ford. Perhaps this is a problem?

Passion is Infectious

Persons seeking theological training at a seminary of any worth are required to study the languages, Hebrew and Greek. Neither is easy.

Professors tasked with training theological students make choices. The actions of some demonstrate their choice to simply issue assignments and proctor exams. Thus, the students essentially teach themselves the languages. This would never be admitted, but can be observed. Others, and they are few, are in love with their subject to a degree that is infectious. They sell the subject. They show the value of learning the languages. They truly teach.

Great professors are not all good public speakers. They don’t have to be. Great professors have an ability to surface within the student the need to learn. Need isn’t surfaced by whining, brow beating or blogging about miniscule or major theological issues.

Jim Hamilton, a great professor, surfaces the need to learn by consistently showing personal habits that feed a crazed devotion to his subject. He speaks well and often about his life being changed by the continued study of Hebrew and Greek. That’s infectious. That, my friend, makes students want to learn.

It is your job as a speaker/professor/preacher to create an environment that makes people want to learn. If you can’t or won’t do that, please find employment elsewhere. You would best serve seminaries, schools or churches as a financial donor.

Making Your Audience Happy


Regardless of your well intended efforts to bring joy and genuine help to the lives of your audience; some of them will never be happy. Unfortunately, I tend to focus too much on the unhappy ones and forget that the majority are stinking thrilled…  …at least they act like it.

Wrong Audience


The audience for this sign is women. Why is the sign located in the Men’s restroom?

A great speech/sermon is a combination of several things. Two of those are, solid message and correct audience. I try to ask myself if I have the correct audience in mind every time I speak.

Truth is Objective

Abraham Lincoln once asked how many legs a sheep would have if we called the tail a leg. “Five,” came the answer. No, Lincoln replied, it doesn’t matter what we call it, a sheep will have four legs regardless of what we say. Quote taken from here.