If my bullet fits your gun, shoot it!



Rick Warren said this years ago.

What was he referring to? He was talking about all truth being God’s truth. Actually, it was a little bit more than that, but that was the idea. Rick just has a really memorable way of saying things. Here’s another way he addressed this entire subject when asked about “stuff” he uses in his messages—”

1st Time — “I once heard so and so say—”

2nd Time — “I’ve heard it said—”

3rd Time —– “I’ve always said.”

I’ll never forget that for several reasons. First of all, I remember that I was not entirely comfortable with it but wasn’t sure why. It felt a little bit like the first time my parents let me wear jeans to church (I’m originally from California, the great ‘casual clothes, church revolution’ started there ). Was that permission I was feeling or guilt? After having to wear white polyester suits and matching white shoes to church (at the age of 11 and in the era of disco) I might just have been too psychologically damaged to know the difference. I like the way another pastor put it here;

When it comes to using stuff from other people in sermon preparation, there are 3 kinds of preachers:

1. Those who rip off sermon material from other guys and admit it
2. Those who rip off sermon material from other guys and lie about it
3. Those who rip off sermon material from other guys and are so delusional they don’t even realize they are doing it

And, in keeping with the spirit of ripping things off, I’m not going to tell you who it was who said that — besides, he steals my stuff all the time!

But, by far the most liberating experience and final decision making prodder for me was when I began to hear other pastors both, tell me they had used my stuff and ask me for permission to use it. Since this first happened about 6 or 7 years ago, I’ve heard some of my original stuff online, read it in books others published, and even, in one case, saw one of my sermons used as the premise for an entire book at Barnes and Nobles (they never asked, but I don’t care. The title didn’t originate with me. Ha! ).

It’s all God’s truth! — Every bit of it!

Truth? My very best sermons come right out of my quiet times with the Lord—just me and Him. They develop from there through prayer and Bible study. Finally, towards the last leg of the preparation process, I will seek out between 10 and sometimes as many as 50 other pastors and teachers for further input. The degree to which I use stuff after seeking the Lord often boils down to them saying it better than me or having insight I completely missed.


But not really, b/c I’ve been on the receiving end as well as the giving end and can honestly say, if my bullet fits your gun, shoot it!

I’d be honored.

Just don’t aim it at me!


P.S. Don’t forget to share your most bone-headed financial decision (story) with me. Just leave it in the comments section after yesterday’s post. You can access it here. By Friday I will pick the winner (or loser, depending upon how you view it :) ). Thanks everyone for the stories so far. They’re great!