Bible Study: Psalm 23

One of our small groups recently used the Psalms Bible study (download here for free) and decided to also study Psalm 23. I wrote the following to help guide their personal reflection and group discussion.   Psalm 23 The twenty-third Psalm is a classic! The imagery is simple, yet powerful and profound. It is easy to read for the first …

Elements of Effective Evaluation

It’s hard to look back and learn from the past, especially when we’re looking forward to the next thing. Here are a few habits that I believe are essential for an effective debrief: HONESTY: Evaluation isn’t helpful if it’s not true. It’s great to be an optimist, but not at the expense of facing the hard truths. Actually, that’s not …

SERMON: how to go deeper with your words

Most of the time, we talk to make conversation. Instead, what if we talked to make a difference? This sermon highlights what the Bible says about going deeper with our words. DOWNLOAD FILES (PDF and Word files with notes, blanks, teaching notes)

Three Warnings From Jesus

Jesus taught the crowd: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” (Luke 12:1) A little yeast, when worked through the entire dough, radically transforms the bread. The yeast of the Pharisees was hypocrisy. Some of the things they said weren’t true, they lacked a consistency believers ought to have. Presumably they had a “Do …

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 …