Education: I have a B.A. from Moody Bible Institute and did some graduate work with San Diego Bible College and Seminary. My personal course of study his taken me deep into the Jewish Roots of Biblical Christianity, a specialized pursuit for over 20 years.
Comment to those looking at my sermons: Thanks! I hope you will benefit from my frequent connection to Jewish backgrounds and how texts are inter-related. Every congregation is different, but if you are ministering to people who are willing to think, there is nothing quite like increasing the context through Jewish root insights.
Sermon or series that made a difference: Sermons delving into the Jewish Roots of our faith are my favorites, such as the Levitical Feasts (Lev. 23). I love to couple originating texts in the Old Testament with their midrash (exposition) in the New Testament.
I emphasize the importance of the wisdom books, esp. Proverbs. I think this is good for what ails the evangelical world.
One of my favorite illustrations: Illustrate the atonement by referring to the fact that the OT term for "laying on hands" upon an animal sacrifice meant to "press with one’s whole weight, lean up" thus signifying two things: (1) a transfer of sin, and (2) the creation of a substitute (I am pressing myself into the sacrifice). This is what happened on the cross...my sins were transferred to Christ and He became my substitute...
It also illustrates saving faith: I believe He took my sins and I am leaning upon him in faith.
Family: I consider my wife my reward in this life. We have been blessed with two married adult children who are walking with the Lord, as are their spouses. We recently became grandparents.
What my parents think of my sermons: My parents are deceased. My mom loved my sermons (she was saved shortly after I began in the ministry). My dad was not a believer, but he would often come to hear my preaching and seemed to enjoy it.
What my spouse (really) thinks of my sermons: She generally likes them. Her rating system is, "very good," "great," and "OK." When I hear "OK," that isn’t good. She takes extensive notes and will sometimes ask me follow-up questions. I am blessed to have a wife who loves the Scriptures and appreciates digging deeply into them. That is not for everyone, so we are well-matched in many ways, including this.
Best advice given to me about preaching: Christians need the whole counsel of God. Expository preaching should be the norm with occasional topical sermons/series to add variety. Howard Hendricks impressed me with the idea of maintaining a "reservoir," studying to study, not just for a current series. Then you will be able to draw from this reservoir as you keep pouring into it.
Books that have had an impact: "Margin" by Richard Swenson
"New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus" by David Bivin
"Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel" by David Stern
The secular book, "Bowling Alone" by Robert Putnam
Hobbies: Besides writing, I enjoy remakes of 1920’s and early 30’s music, Old Time Radio, collecting clean jokes, stamp collecting, walks, bike riding, international cooking, and card games.
If I could Preach one more time, I would say...: We need the Word, not fads. A few deep disciples can accomplish more than a scad of shallow ones. A smaller congregation at peace and growing in the Lord is better than a massive one withe strife, dissension, agendas, and shallow glitz. If you don't like your church, find one you do; don't try to change the church you are in. That's self-centered and not fair to all those who love that church as it is.
Something funny that happened while preaching: One day, I inadvertently made this statement:
"We see John Mark as the young man who had nothing on but a sheet. When they arrested Jesus, a soldier grabbed hold of John Mark’s sheet, and he fled away naked. This is our first exposure to John Mark in the Gospels." The place went wild. I turned red with embarrassment. Not intended.
What I want on my tombstone: Drop-ins Welcome but I Prefer Appointments