One Year to Better Preaching by Daniel Overdorf @KregelBooks

Official Description:

One Year to Better Preaching provides preachers with fifty-two hands-on exercises that sharpen their homiletical skills. The book is designed particularly for those who preach each week—and have been, perhaps, for some time—to help them get out of the rut of the routine and infuse their preaching with new sparks of creativity, fresh approaches to sermon preparation and design, and sharpened verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Novice preachers, also, will find the exercises useful in developing their preaching abilities. Each chapter includes instructions for an exercise, tools and suggestions needed for the exercise, comments from preachers who completed it, and recommended resources for further study. The exercises address eight categories of homiletics:

“One Year to Better Preaching will help preachers improve their preaching not just in one year but in every year, month, or week they seek to follow Daniel Overdorf’s insightful advice.” – Scott Gibson, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

• Prayer and Preaching

• Bible Interpretation

• Understanding Listeners

• Sermon Construction

• Illustrations and Applications

• Word Crafting

• The Preaching Event

• Sermon Evaluation

“Even preachers who make a conscientious effort to keep up with new developments in preaching are not always able to find the newest insights or do not have the time to keep up with approaches to preaching that promise renewal. Overdorf puts into one volume many of the most exciting themes to emerge in the preaching ministry in the last generation.” – Ronald Allen, Christian Theological Seminary

Readers can complete the exercises in the order presented, which address different categories week to week, or they can sharpen their skills in a particular category over a period of weeks by using the chart provided. They might also work through the exercises in collaboration with other preachers. One Year to Better Preaching will leave a preacher reinvigorated and better equipped to proclaim the Word of God skillfully, passionately, and effectively.

Learn more at Kregel or

Publication Information

One Year to Better Preaching: 52 Exercises to Hone Your Skills by Daniel Overdorf from Kregel Ministry (September, 2013).


The book layout is pretty straight forward. Yes, this is a book’s insides that you can judge by the cover. Just as the title reads, this is 52 weeks worth of exercises that are designed to hone your preaching skills.

The 52 weeks are not laid out in an organized fashion, most likely so to keep you from getting settled into some sort of lazy pattern. The eight categories that were mentioned above are sporadic throughout the text and Overdorf encourages you to take a look at your own practice and, if need be, jump to the topics that speak loudest to you.

But back to the subject at hand – the book is laid out pretty straightforward with 52 exercises. Each exercise has a brief explanation and very specific steps to put that exercise into practice. One of the best pieces to each exercise is that Overdorf leaves the reader with a list of resources to dig even more into that particular piece of preaching. Take a look at an example entry for the exercise entitled Speaking to Three Listening Styles:

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Learn more at Kregel or

My Thoughts

How often do you reflect on that thing you do week after week, you know, the delivery of your message? In a way that was both humbling and encouraging, I recently had the opportunity to receive some pretty critical feedback on my weekly preaching duties. We tend to think that we’re doing a pretty good job. Like most areas in our lives that we fall short or miss the mark, we have a habit of justifying our actions and sheepishly saying that we’re doing just fine. The honest-to-goodness truth though is that we all need more work. That is where a book like this enters the scene; After we toss out our pride and admit that we need some improvement in that routine act that we call preaching, then we can pick up a book like this.

“Daniel Overdorf is creative, thorough, and practical—a great combination! These insightful exercises, combined with the books, articles, and websites he mentions, will hugely impact anyone’s preaching. Fascinating reading!” -Donald Sunukjian, Talbot School of Theology

If you are new to preaching, like myself, I’d encourage you to develop healthy habits right now. If you have been practicing for some time, decades even, I would encourage you to reevaluate your methods and purpose. Overdorf’s One Year to Better Preaching is a systematic and disciplined approach to the art of preaching and is a great place to nestle into if you are in need of developing your preaching skills. Learn more at Kregel or

As always, be sure to take a moment and enter our monthly giveaway!

*This text was provided free from Kregel Publications with our promise to post an unbiased review.


Plastic Donuts by Jeff Anderson

Once you see your gifts from God’s perspective, your giving will never be the same.

“The Plastic Donut illustration helped me focus for the first time on my Father’s reaction to my giving. This understanding is transformational.” – Howard Dayton, Found and CEO of Compass-finances God’s way.

When she was a toddler, Jeff Anderson’s daughter opened his eyes to how delighted God is with our gifts. She brought him a plastic donut from her play kitchen, and he was surprised by the intensity of his reaction. His delight in receiving this simple gift—and his daughter’s joy in giving it—led him to dig deeper. Anderson would not rest until he found the scriptural connection between our gifts and God’s heart.

Plastic Donuts removes the awkwardness and uncertainty that often accompany discussions about giving. Now you can think differently-and biblically-about what and how you give.

Your gifts can capture God’s attention and connect you more intimately with His heart. Plastic Donuts brings everyone—leaders and followers, teachers and learners—onto the same page. **Official Description

“A fresh perspective of what it means to please God through our giving” – Chuck Bentley, CEO of Crown Financial Ministries

Learn more at Here.

Money is a hot topic – where we get our money from and where we as individuals give it to. If you are knee deep in a ministry, you undoubtedly have an influx of requests exhorting you to contribute some funds here and some more of your funds there. This has caused people to cowardly run the opposite direction (especially in an era where we do not feel absolutely positively financially stable). We have run so far in the opposite direction that we only give when the guilt piles up enough that the weight causes our billfold to buckle open. When to give what amount to whom … these are the types of questions that Jeff Anderson addresses, but not so fast.

Anderson does not address financial matters before discussing that which is most important, spiritual matters. We are to give joyfully and sacrificially – as our King did. This is the King who doesn’t tower over you judgmentally, but the King who has always and still does want to take care of you and bless you. If you, like so many others, want released of the guilty burden that entangles tithing than I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this book. It was published so to get the word out and the team kept it rather inexpensive. The dialogue is down to earth and written for lay people and pastors alike.

Learn more at or Waterbrook Multnomah.

BibleSavvy Series by Pastor J. Nicodem

Made up of four individual volumes (Epic, Foundation, Context, and Walk), Bible Savvy is a foundational resource for those wanting to better understand the Bible. From the whole storyline of the Bible to personal application and how to live it, this set of four accessible books is an ideal resource for small groups, Sunday school classes, youth groups, and individuals seeking to increase their breadth of knowledge about God’s word.

Epic: The Storyline of the Bible unveils the single theme that ties all the various parts of scripture together: redemption.

Foundation: The Trustworthiness of the Bible explains that the Bible is God’s book, not merely man made, and why it can be wholly trusted.

Context: How to Understand the Bible shows readers how to read the different parts of the Bible as they were meant to be read and how they fit together.

Walk: How to Apply the Bible helps readers put their greater understanding of the text into practice and how to draw real-life applications from it.


View the set as a whole or try a copy of EPIC, FOUNDATION, CONTEXT, or WALK before you commit to the entire collection.


Series: Bible Savvy Series

Paperback: 576 pages

Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition (March 15, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0802494048

ISBN-13: 978-0802494047

“Jim Nicodem has taken on a monumental task — putting the Bible in a thimble-sized summary that gives the reader tremendous insight into…the greatest story ever told.”         -Franklin Graham

“Jim wants churches to be filled with men and women who will become better Bible readers.”
-D.A. Carson, PhD. Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Author of New Testament Commentary Survey.

“Jim Nicodem’s Bible Savvy series is the kind of resource needed to reengage our hearts and minds with God’s Word, and renew our hunger for God’s truth on par with our persecuted brothers and sisters.” -James E. Dau. President, The Voice of the Martyrs

“Like a master storyteller, Jim Nicodem takes us beyond the details and exposes the grand plot of Scripture.” -Joseph Stowell

About the Author:

JIM NICODEM has been the senior pastor of Christ Community Church since its start in 1984. Beginning with a group of six families, the church has grown to over five thousand people at four campuses. A significant focus on reaching spiritual seekers has resulted in scores of new believers being baptized each year. Born and raised in the Midwest, Jim did his schooling in Biblical studies (BA/Wheaton College; MDiv, DMin/Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). In keeping with Christ Community Church’s mission to make passionate disciples of Jesus Christ, Jim loves to mentor others in prayer and the study of God’s Word. With that goal in mind, he has authored Prayer Coach: For All Who Want to Get Off the Bench and Onto the Praying Field (2008) and the four-book Bible Savvy series (2013). Jim and his wife, Sue, have been married for more than thirty years and have three grown children. Jim enjoys biking, hiking and kayaking for recreation. He loves to hang out in Chicago, where he can watch the Cubs play (no better park than Wrigley) or listen to the world-class Symphony Orchestra. The local Starbucks also sees a lot of Jim, accompanied by books (mostly biographies) or friends.

View the set as a whole or try a copy of EPICFOUNDATIONCONTEXT, or WALK before you commit to the entire collection.


Not unlike the official description and endorsements have alluded to, I’ll make mention of the layout of this short series.

I. EPIC: The Storyline of the Bible

II. FOUNDATION: The Reliability of the Bible

III. CONTEXT: How to Understand the Bible

IV. WALK: How to Apply the Bible

I. EPIC: The Storyline of the Bible

*Trying to make sense of it all is a tall task. There are so many different people and places and events comprising so many different stories, it makes one’s head spin. In this helpful book, pastor James Nicodem helps you make sense of the Bible with one simple revelation: It is not dozens of separate stories but rather one single story. Nicodem guides the reader across the high points of the story so it becomes easy to see how it all fits together. All those stories and poems and lessons make up the greatest epic tale in history, a story with a single theme: redemption.

II. FOUNDATION: The Reliability of the Bible

*Do we even know where it came from or how it got to us? What makes this book so special? People wonder about questions like these, and there are answers to be found.

Nicodem provides the concise and concrete answers we need to these questions about the trustworthiness of the Bible. He explains foundational doctrines, such as inspiration and revelation, and offers a clear account of the history of our modern Bible.

III. CONTEXT: How to Understand the Bible

*History, instructions, poetry, prophecy, apocalypse, sermons, and all of it written thousands of years ago. In this uncomplicated, clarifying book, pastor James Nicodem explains four different aspects of the Bible that readers need to understand in order to grasp it as a whole: history, literature, theology, and how we should see this ancient book through modern eyes. In short, he gives the context needed to read the Bible well.

IV. WALK: How to Apply the Bible

*“The Bible says…” is a common enough refrain for Christians deciding how to live or what to do. But even if we know what the Bible says, that doesn’t make it easy to follow – especially in an age that often disparages the Bible.

With pointed teaching and motivation from the Bible itself, pastor Nicodem encourages us in this difficult but vitally important challenge. Using the COMA (Context, Observation, Message, Application) structure, he offers helpful and understandable teaching on how a Christian can learn to walk out what the Bible teaches.

*Section summaries found in the back of each section of BibleSavvy.

If you cannot tell from the description and summaries up to this point, this resource is a powerhouse miniature library. As was mentioned above, it does not matter the age of the person traveling through the material because everybody will be encouraged by what lies within the pages of this text. What has not been mentioned up to this point is that there is much more to the book than front to back pages full of wordy information. If you visit, the small library grows to include videos from the author, study guides as well as additional easy-to-use resources.

The short series from Nicodem gets at the heart of what our generation needs, well-guided discussions on the text of the Bible, where it came from, how to interpret it, and how to apply it. I strongly endorse this series for anybody to travel through on their own, but most especially to travel through with a small group of people that desire to grasp the over-arching story of Scripture and how we are to interpret and live it out ourselves.

View the set as a whole or try a copy of EPIC, FOUNDATION, CONTEXT, or WALK before you commit to the entire collection.

*This product was provided free from Moody Publishers with my promise to post an unbiased review.

Who Do You Think You Are? by @PastorMark Driscoll

Who do you think you are? This question sounds like you are going to start a fight. But who are you wrestling with? “Who Do You Think You Are?” by Mark Driscoll is trying to answer just that. Who are you? Are you a Dad? A son? A hard worker? A winner? A loser? Who are you? How do you define yourself? You are wrestling with yourself and wrestling with God. In this book Mark Driscoll uses the Bible to give believers a picture of who they really are and why they matter. Driscoll goes head first into the book of Ephesians. And takes an in depth look at what you are made of and for what purpose…

Read the rest of Jeff’s review at BattleBorn NV.

Pub. Date: Jan 8, 2013

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

256 Pages

*This short teaser was contributed by J. Panko at Visit his site for the rest.

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