His Name is Jesus

TEACHING NOTES (PDF) OUTLINE (PDF) My wife and I have had five children, all boys. Before each one was born, we had lengthy discussions about their name. For every child, I made an argument to name him MAGNUS. It’s unique. It’s Latin for magnificent. His nickname could be Gnus (pronounced, Guh-nus) and everything would be awesome. Needless to say, I …

How to find Significance This Season

The Christmas season is in full gear! The decorations are out, houses lit up, eggs are being nogged, and the fruitcakes are in the mail. For me, over the years, I’ve discovered that I can get so busy WITH Christmas that I loose sight of the reason FOR Christmas. I have to be intentional with slowing down to make sure …

three teachings: pain, prayer, conflict resolution

Everyone on staff had a vote to choose the meeting’s topic.  You can download the notes to all three options below. CS Lewis On Prayer (PDF-for phone, tablet, or printing) (.zip file for editing)   Conflict Resolution (PDF-for phone, tablet, or printing) (.zip file for editing)   The Problem of Pain (PDF-for phone, tablet, or printing) (.zip file for editing) …

A short biography of David

I’m preaching on David in a couple weeks so I put together a short biography to give our people an overview of David’s life. How could this be better, more useful tool? Post a comment below or email me at matt@mcgill.email a-short-biography-of-david

A great question about interpreting the Bible

A friend wrote a fantastic question on a Facebook post, what follows is my response: THE SCRIPTURE: The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:7-8) THE QUESTION: What does the psalmist mean when they say all harm? At surface level, …

Baptism Class Notes [updated]

Just finished the first draft of Baptism Class Notes, what’s missing? baptism-class-notes-draft-ver-2 (PDF) baptism-class-notes-draft (PDF)

How do you remember what’s important?

This post isn’t about time management! “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15) Practically speaking, what could it look like to stand firm and hold fast to the things God has taught you? My nature is to be impulsive–this …

Three roadblocks to hearing God Speak, a reflection from Psalm 19

Relationships suffer when there is a breakdown in communication. If you feel far from God, when was the last time you heard him speak? Maybe you need to push through one of the following roadblocks that keep a person from hearing God speak: Roadblock #1: Lack of attention to God’s Work The Psalmist begins with a grand picture: “The heavens …

The Psalms: a personal Bible Study

It’s finally finished: Click here to download: PSALMS-personal Bible Study (PDF) If you want an additional lesson on Psalm 23, you can get that here: http://hokma.com/2017/01/bible-study-psalm-23/

Living Well In the Wake of Loss

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about loss and grief. I’ve also spent a lot of time in the Psalms. What follows are some of the salient points from my personal journey as I attempt to live well in the wake of loss: Express it. When one of his friends died, Jesus wept. As …

The Infinite Value of the Psalms

I LOVE the Psalms, but…I didn’t always love them. To be honest: when I was a younger Christian, I thought the Psalms were a waste of space. Harsh And horrible thinking, I know. How could a person claim to love scripture (which I did), but not like the largest book in the Bible? Theologically, this amounts to believing that God …

Leadership Principles of Jesus, part 1: Matthew

A survey of the book of Matthew yielded the following reflections. But first, a few notes. (a) Reading Matthew’s gospel in two sittings showed me things I wouldn’t have seen if I was reading smaller sections. Both kinds of readings–small parts and large parts– are needed for a healthy spiritual life. (b) I read with the intention of discerning the …

The Power of a Parent’s Words

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 Words are powerful! Whoever said, “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” was a liar! Or stupid. Words can build up …

How To Build Fear and Trust as a Leader

Exodus 14:31 paints a wonderful picture of what leadership in God’s kingdom ought to look like: “And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.” God calls us to obedience, and it’s not always easy. Sometimes it’s soul staggeringly …

Successful Transformation: a reflection from Ephesians 4

Change is painful. There is no change without loss. There is no loss without pain. It is not difficult to understand that all change is painful. Intentional change – the changes we choose– has an added layer of difficulty because we don’t like it. For many of us, this explains why it’s been so long since we’ve experienced any meaningful …

Personal Bible Study: Hebrews 5:11-6:12

Here is a simple Bible study on Hebrews 5:11-6:12: BibleStudy (PDF). It just contains the text and a few questions for reflection. Three lists to better understand this passage: Elementary teachings foundation of repentance (from acts that lead to death) faith in God cleansing rights laying on of hands eternal judgment “Beyond elementary teachings” teaching about righteousness distinguish between good from evil …

leadership training: servanthood

Quick training I created for our team: servant leadership ANSWERS servant leadership OUTLINE   I also dusted off an old quite time journal and made this available: acts.of.humility4.0.journal acts of humility COVER

How to Find the Time to Spend Time with God

Advice from The Imitation of Christ: “SEEK a suitable time for leisure and meditate often on the favors of God. Leave curiosities alone. Read such matters as bring sorrow to the heart rather than occupation to the mind. If you withdraw yourself from unnecessary talking and idle running about, from listening to gossip and rumors, you will find enough time …

One Way that Time with God Impacts our Relationships

Below is one way that the time we spend with God in his Word and in prayer impacts our relationships with others. No doubt there are many connections! This is not exhasutive! Loving people requires forgiving them (and grace) Forgiving others requires receiving forvigeness (and grace) Receiving forvigeness requires confession (and grace) Confession requires conviction (and grace) Conviction requires knowledge …