Some preaching, is like wine; it has color and sparkle, but does no permanent good; some is like coffee; it stimulates, but does not nourish; some is like carbonated water, a fuss over nothing; some is like spring water, good , but hard to get.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

– George Bernard Shaw

Spring water
George Bernard Shaw

David and Goliath: Malcom Gladwell

dgI just fished listening to the book,  David and Goliath:  Underdogs Misfits, and the art of Battling Giants  by Malcolm Gladwell.  I saw the his TED talk on the theme of  the book and was intrigued by the unique look at a familiar story.  So I downloaded the book from Audible and began to listen to and from work, commuting.  It captured my imagination.  I have read several of Gladwell’s books so I knew it would be good, but this one was surprising in the way I personality connected with the book.  Gladwell has a way of telling stories that connect.  He shares so many details and turns the angle on a story to show you something from a different perspective.  He has a way to open your mind to new understanding and inspire you in some way.

I was struck by one of the final chapters as he explained a clear contrast of law, justice, and payback verses the idea of grace and forgiveness.  Gladwell contrasted two riveting stories of parents who’s daughters were murdered and the different approach to dealing with grief and continuing in live.  The different perspectives each family took and how that effected healing was fascinating.

This book is a must read and has provoked and challenged my thinking.  It pushes the reader to rethink the notions that one has and begin to look at life and situations from a different angle.  Gladwell will compel you to look at a situation in a clearer more focused way.

Check out David and Goliath:  Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants today you won’t be disappointed!

  • Have you read the book or seen the TED Talk?
  • What did you think about them?
  • What was your favorite story or idea that was raised?


Chaplains Past and Present

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For God and Country.  Take a look at the history of the Chaplain Corps and the men and women who have answered the call.

As we pause this weekend to remember our Veterans.  I am reminded of those men and women who have taken up a double calling for God and Country.  The Chaplain Corps has a Glorious Past, a Powerful Present and a Challenging Future.

Say a special prayer for those past and present, who care for the souls of our Veterans.

Also pray for those men and women who will take up this call and care for the future of our Military.

Pro Deo et Patria!

If you are interested in being a part of this great calling click here for more info.

Preaching in a Military Context

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Strength of America is a video produced by the Army about the strength and spirit of the Men and Women who have answered our nations call.

As a Chaplain we minister to many outstanding individuals and families. We are called to “Nurture, Care, and Honor” our nations greatest treasure, those who are called to serve.  We have a unique calling and we speak into a unique context.  Think about the unique situations and the diversity of listeners that a chaplain is called to speak.

One of my favorite quotes by Douglas Macarthur in his farewell address to WestPoint sums up the virtues of the Soldier.

 The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training – sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country, is the noblest development of mankind.

As we prepare to preach, Are we aware of the context to whom we preach?

Ask a few clarifying questions to understand context:  

  • What is the occasion I am speaking?  Sunday Service or Special event
  • What is the purpose of the event? Religious Worship, Study, Fellowship
  • Who am I speaking to?  Diverse Rank, Age, Gender, Families, Religious Background, Are they known or unknown to me?, Military or Civilian.
  • How many are expected?  How would my message be different if it were 5 or 5000?
  • What is the facility?  Chapel, Gym, Conference Room, Outside, Sound System, Technology
  • What do I wear?  Dress Uniform, Duty Uniform, Civilian Clothes Casual or Dress

Coaching Tips to Help Others

  • What has helped you become aware of the situational, cultural, and individual contexts in which you preach?
  • Does to whom you are preaching effect your preparation, illustrations, and style of delivery?
  • How does context matter in our preaching?

Intro To Social Media & The U.S. Army Social Media Handbook

Do you have a message that you want to bring to Soldiers and families.  Here is a video introduction and the United States Army Social Media Handbook.  Check them out and let me know what you think.

This video debuted in 2010 so the figures are a lot higher now.  However, I think it is a good intro to Social Media and how  the Army is trying to integrate and engage the conversation.

  • As a Chaplain how will you engage your audience online?
  • Are there sites and resources that have helped you to engage in the world of Social Media and provide Religious Support?
  • What areas do you use regularly? (Facebook, Twitter, linked in, Flicker or others)
  • What questions or advice so you have?

Download and read the United States Army Social Media Handbook (Here)

or check it out on slideshare

Custom Banners for Chapel Services

100_0550Often Chaplains have various places to hold and host services.  Over the years I have used custom banners for my chapel services both deployed and in garrison chapels.  The company I used to create various banners is Group Imaging.  They are able to create portable, professional, custom banners for any situation.  You can create themes for children’s ministry, coffee houses, chapel back drops.  They have been great to work with and I have been very satisfied with the product that I received.

I have made a Chapel in a box kit that I use for deployment and special occasion services.  I have deployed this kit twice to Iraq and several training exercises across the country.

Also they designed 6 large banners for use at Chapel Next, Ft. Campbell.  Proofs for the designs (Click Here)

There are various sign and banner companies that can create products for you so look around.

Things to look for are:

  • Quality
  • Material
  • Portability
  • Customizable or stock graphics

Another company that offers various stock designs is Outreach.  They have a large selection of predesigned products that could enhance your ministry.

Ancient City of UR (Iraq 2007) Pictures

The Great Ziggurat of UR was built as a place of worship, dedicated to the moon god Nanna in the Sumerian city of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia.  The temple was constructed in approximately the 21st century BC by King Ur-Nammu.  UR is the traditional birthplace of Abraham the father of the three Monotheistic faiths.  Today, after more than 4000 years the ziggurat is still well preserved in large part as the only major reminder of Ur in present-day southern Iraq.  I visited this location May 24, 2007.  It is located near Tallil Air base, Iraq.

Frame your idea worth spreading as an action-outcome response to a question worth asking.

Call listeners to action in such a way that makes the world a better place.

-Jeremey Donovan