How to Read a Blog

How to read a blog

You might read a great article on the internet today. You really enjoyed the author and found their blog. The only problem is the issue of remembering the url and going back to it frequently to see if anything new is up. This is a drag.

Blogs changed the way we read online and gave us an easier way to take in content.

Blogs became such a hit because of content organization. They are different from any other type of journalism and changed much of how we learn things and get our news. That means we want to be able to find our favorites time and time again. I remember having a bookmark system in my internet browser to organize the blogs I read. I would check them several times a day to see if a new post was up. Over 10 years ago when blogs first came on the scene, people had to find ways to read certain blogs as often as they posted.

The beauty of blogs was having access to the same person sharing information over many different posts. It was a journalistic game changer. Think of what the internet would be like without blogs. But how do we read blogs?*

Times have changed. The nearest thing to compare blogs to is a daily newspaper, which many of us subscribe to. We want our paper delivered to us daily. You can do the same things with blogs. While many people know how to stay up to date on their favorite sites, others might not. Following blog is easier now than every before. Whenever I read a great blog post I want to come back to the author over and over for more of their content. I’m sure you do as well!

Here are the easiest ways to read a blog.

Use an RSS reader.
RSS stands for real simple syndication. It is the tiny bit of code in blogs that allows them to be subscribed to. This means you can read blog posts in secondary locations (not the original blog). This software constantly updates the sites you subscribe to, saving you for traipsing around the internet looking to see if that pizza blog has a new post.

For years Google Reader ruled the roost of RSS readers. Sadly, in just a few days Google Reader will shut down. Have no fear! There are plenty of other options if you want to stay with a basic RSS reader. Feedly appears to have the most support and if Michael Hyatt likes it…I’m in.

Use an app on your phone/tablet.
RSS changed the game and allows for other methods of blog subscription. Whenever mobile computing (phones/tablets) became a legitimate method of content consumption we started to see specialized apps developed for reading blogs.

Imagine reading a magazine you edit yourself. Updated multiple times a day, you always have fresh things to read. Amazing!

I use Flipboard on my iPad daily. Prismatic seems to be another really great option. I can send multiple RSS feeds into the app as well as my twitter, Facebook and other social feeds into Flipboard. All of this is done through RSS. It’s as simple as putting in the website url.

Sign up for emails subscription
Back in the early days of blogging an email subscription was the only way besides bookmarks to read your favorite blogs. It fell out of favor for years, but has started to make a comeback. They can be as simple as a text document delivered into your inbox or an elaborate html based email which looks just like a mini-website.

I subscribe to a handful of blogs via email. They have to be great to get inbox real estate.

Follow the writer in a special list on twitter
People reading blogs differently put the nails in the coffin of Google Reader. Before Twitter and Facebook you either link chased or used Google Reader.

Once people realized the potential Twitter and Facebook had for their writing everything changed. I have a few twitter lists of certain people (less than 20) I follow. I don’t subscribe to their blog through another service. I just look for updates that look particularly interesting. They are collected by subject; Methodist Pastors, social media writers and food writers.

What is your favorite way to read a blog?
Let me know in the comments

*Tiny soapbox here. You own a blog and your write a post.  A blog is a website inside which an author or authors make independently (but hopefully related) standing posts.  Whenever I see people referring to single posts as “blogs” it gets confusing and slightly aggravating. The beauty of a blog is how it creates a new communication medium…and the language of “posts” are part of the new medium. Remember, you own a blog and you write a post. (Chad steps off soapbox)

Something is wrong with any concept of justification that does not result in holiness of life. I must take exception to those who insist that justification may be completely hidden with no evidence of personal transformation and outgoing concern for others. Such a view would be in contradiction to God’s redemptive purpose and creative power. Wesleyans, as the pietists and Puritans before them, rose as a protest to this kind of scholastic maneuvering. To use Wesley’s words, “We know no Gospel without salvation from sin.”

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The Easiest Way to Preach Better Sermons

The Easiest Way to Preach Better Sermons


During my seminary education I was able to learn the theology of preaching from great professors. I studied under wonderful scholars who could keep a congregation at attention when they preached. I worked with several excellent pastors and learned the craft preaching from them as well. I appreciate their example and education. I wanted to do better for myself and for the places God had placed me in. I wanted to preach better sermons.

2 years ago I moved back into the local church and begun preaching weekly for the first time. While I had always been a good “single shot” preacher, stepping in for a specific sermon or weekend, I had to learn what it meant to routinely preach to the same group of people.

In my search to get better I discovered The Rocket Company and one of their coaching products Preaching Rocket. I have been part of it for 3 months now and I love it.

If you want to learn, get better or begin preaching to modern crowds there is no better way than to invest in Preaching Rocket.

Here are 3 things I have benefited the most from:

1. Discerning 1 clear idea for my teachings:
Like many other folks growing up in church I was used to a 3 part sermon. The issue is the 3 part sermon gives to much information for people to process. As I was growing towards my understanding of the theology of preaching I begun to move away from an information based approach.

I think one of the major movements of the Church in the last 50 years or so has been giving people more information about God rather than talking about the character and works of God. The problem is our modern culture has shifted from a head based focus to a heart based focus. People want their emotions to be tugged and challenged. Information is just one tool you have in your toolbox.

Preaching Rocket and their idea of “the bottom line” promotes the idea of one very clear point. It is done with purpose and for clear communication. Everything is focused around supporting the bottom line.

2. Preaching towards response.
Jumping off from the first point, if we are presenting the message of Christ, we should always be calling people towards a distinct response. De-cluttering sermons helps best promote the intended response. What to do isn’t up in the air anymore. When you understand your response from the beginning you have yet another focus as you are preparing your messages.

3. It revolutionized preparation and study.
I have always been pretty disciplined when it came to preparation. I had my list of things I would always do. The issue was how to bring them all together at the middle of the week. Part of Preaching Rocket coaching is a daily method to help you always be organizing your messages towards the bottom line and intended response.

What was once threatening is now pretty simple. It isn’t me trying to collect tons of information and cram it all into 20 minutes. Now my week looks like intentional work, specific gathering and crafting. I can have multiple messages in the cooker at the same time. I simply put my most beneficial practices into the rhythm Preaching Rocket teaches and have a much more organized and efficient writing and preparing process.

If you speak in any sort of manner, not just preaching, this coaching will be super beneficial for you.



Productivity: A Good Sunday will set you up for a great Monday

Productivity: A Good Sunday will set you up for a great Monday

Do you struggle with productivity? I have battled it my whole life. A few years ago,  I started a short time of focus on Sunday evening. Throughout the weekend I would jot down things I knew needed to happen the next week. When things had settled down on Sunday, usually after dinner, I take an hour to get ready for the next week.

Do you want to have a great Monday? Or maybe even have a great week?

We all do. Let me let you in on a secret. I really think the key to an incredible week all starts with Sunday. Just a few minutes can change many hours.

Here are my tips for the things you need to make time for on Sunday. It will make your week go better. For anyone who has a pretty hectic vocation, requiring frequent scheduling shifts, the better you plan the better you will be able to jump back on track when things get wild. Remember, if you don’t plan your life…someone else will.

I focus on two main productivity areas to set my week up best. Phase 1 is about collection and phase 2 is  for focus.

Productivity on Sunday will set you up for a great Monday.

1. Collect all of your to-do’s.
I try to organize mine by day to put similar tasks together. I try to respond and ask on Mondays, organize things on Tuesdays and plan on Wednesdays. Thursdays are used for teaching prep. I do my best to not make Thursday a big task day.

2. Note your must do’s.
What task(s) absolutely need your attention this next week? What are the things only you can do? What tasks do you need to accomplish in order for others to get their work done?

I try to make lists of these items and get them written down. Sometimes these big tasks will end up generating some more “to-do’s”. Add them in the appropriate place. I usually only have 2 of these must do’s a week. These are the tasks I want to devote 30% of my weekly energy towards. Besides preparing for sermons, my must do’s are the most important thing of my week.

I spend some time on Monday morning really getting my intended schedule for the week down. Sunday is when I get everything collected and ready to go. It isn’t in my brain any longer. Find the best way for you to permanently note all this down and do it.

This is the time where I like to go over the goals I have and do some long range examination and planning. I highly recommend Michael Hyatt’s book “Creating Your Personal Life Plan“. You can get it for free from his website by signing up for his email list. Do it. It will be life changing.

I now take around 20 minutes to go over my long term goals and focuses. I grade how well I was able to keep pushing forward the previous week. I amend and adapt my goals and personal expectations. I pray through my own goals and ask the Holy Spirit for clarity.

I want to give you some Lagniappe as well.
The best way to finish all this is a time of prayer. Round your time up to an hour and pray for those around you. Pray for those you are doing work for and with. Pray for a better sense of the personal ministry and vision God has given you. Seek holiness and humility. Take the time to center yourself around Christ for the week.

Are you ready for a great Monday? You will be.

Do you want more information like this? You need to check out my podcast The Productive Pastor.