I should: read the whole passage from beginning to end to get the context
I do: get so fired up as I start reading I want to start capturing ideas before I forget them.
I should: develop the questions first, then look for answers.
I do: find answers first, then develop the question.
I should: read all the commentaries on verse 1, then read all the commentaries on verse 2 and so forth.
I do: read one commentary until I find something the writer says that is brilliant. I am only really interested in brilliant comments. I am looking for things that are insightful, deep, moving, shocking, unusual and interesting. Too many Sunday School lessons are boring. I want to find stuff that is interesting to share. Then, I copy and paste that one. I keep reading till I find a second thing he says that is brilliant. Then I copy and paste that. Then I move on to another commentary.
I should: stay on task and do one thing at a time.
I do: flit back and forth. Right now I am supposed to be writing a lesson. I often flit back and forth between lessons, the Internet, tinkering with my web page, Facebook, email, etc.
I should: write a lesson in a very linear way—question 1 on verse 1, then question 2, etc.
I do: flit around quite a bit. If I find something brilliant for verse 25 I will write that question in. Then I go back to question 1. Then, if I happen onto something that relates to verse 15 I go there. The whole thing is to find stuff that is brilliant.
I should: write lessons slowly over time. This is what I teach in the Disciplemaking Teachers seminar. Let the lessons percolate in your soul.
I do: take a break somewhere in the middle of the writing process. It would be a better lesson if I could write it more slowly, over time so the mind has time to meditate on the lesson. Writing four lessons a week, I don’t have time to do that. I do write my sermons that way—starting early in the week and working on them a little each day.
I should: be content with the number of books I have. I have gazillion commentaries in WordSearch and Logos and hundreds of Kindle books.
I do: keep buying more. I want to provide new, fresh content. I buy about a book per lesson I write. I love that saying, “I want people to drink from a moving stream.” I want people to hear some things they have never heard before, so I keep buying new books. I relate to the man who said, “Help, I started buying books and I can’t stop!”