Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: Adding and subtracting, Plagiarizing pastors, being workers in our homes, developing children’s work ethic, Proverbs series, and more

By Elizabeth Prata

What an interesting week at work! A tornado touched down a few miles from school. We spent a good while in the hallways ducking and covering while that nearby event happened. Then as the storms swept through, lightning zapped the school transformer to our adjacent building housing 4th & 5th grade. The next morning, early arriving teachers found no lights to half the building and no air conditioning! So that meant the 5th grade that was scheduled to take the State End of Year Assessment had to be moved to our building housing the K-3rd grades, and some of the K-3 classrooms reshuffled. Since they had to use the Library and other Activity rooms for the test, the K-3 Activity time had to be shuffled, and then that change announced to everyone. Plus there was more stuff that happened…and in between all the emergencies and contingencies, our Principal still managed to provide the Staff & Teacher appreciation week gifts…including Popcorn Bar on Monday, Charcuterie Box lunch on Wednesday, and Ice Cream Sundae bar on Friday. Phew!

The kids are getting antsy for the end of the school year and summer to start. I am too. We have 11 1/2 days of school left. I was pretty tired when I got home on Friday. I was nodding off at the table at 5:30 so I went for “a little lie-down” as my British grandma used to say. So… 11 hours later I woke up!

And here I am preparing another Prata Potpourri for you. I’m ‘Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport … the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat … the human drama of athletic competition, This is “ABC’s Wide World of Sports!” I’m showing my age here…that was the opening spiel of Jim McKay’s long-running Wide World of Sports. In the late 1960s when the show began, it was a magazine format showing viewers the history, culture, and of course the sports in countries where new jet travel and satellite linkage was just beginning to provide to audiences. Capitalizing on the people’s curiosity about the wide world now opening up to them in ways previous generations hadn’t seen, the montage showed lots of different kinds of sports, and then went on to cover these once-exotic competitions.

It’s the same with Prata Potpourri. I like to scan the globe to find edifying material that readers may not come across, and present them to you in case you have time to read, listen, or watch. There is a lot of bad out there, which is more easily found. I like to find the good, and show that despite where you may be living may have a dearth of accessible Christian material in real life, the world is not a Christian desert. The globe is full of Christians writing, speaking, offering good and solid biblical material to the saints. We are blessed to be living in a time when the internet affords us this availability.

So without further ado, here are some links for your perusal.


Paul Twiss at The Master’s Seminary advises recent graduates to write, write, write. He said that “Writing Clarifies, and Writing Influences”. That second part is aimed at future pastors, who want their congregation to think like him (he presents biblical concepts and soon they will begin to think biblically too). I concur on both aspects of writing. I write to clarify my thoughts, and though my goal isn’t to influence, by default my presentation of essays and podcasts does end up influencing in some ways. My goal then, is that hopefully the material here influences to the good; solid, credible, and biblical.

At Media Gratiae they say, “This week, we’re sharing Part II of one of the most unusual and beneficial messages we have had the privilege of hearing. It was preached by a man named Paris Reidhead, and it has the strange title “10 Shekels and a Shirt.” It’s based on the account of a young priest, an idolatrous Jewish family, and the tribe of Dan, from the 17th chapter in Judges.” You can listen here, or read the sermon here.

Pastor Gabe Hughes (the WWUTT guy) writes an excellent essay dissecting the errors of A Typical Beth Moore Study. It’s clearly written and I believe an important essay to read, since it covers so much of what we see today as errors in many ladies’ ministries.

Tom Buck writes, Preachers, Don’t Add or Subtract. I thought this one also was important, for the men who are pastors and their congregants. We see so much adding to scripture these days with claims of direct revelation, and so many subtractions with timid preachers neglecting to preach the hard concepts, or make the bold, biblical claims that we must declare to the world. (For example, homosexuality is a sin. A woman should strive to be a submissive wife. There are only two genders, He made them man and woman. Hell is real. And so on). Buck writes, “He must handle God’s word in a way that makes it clear that he is not the authority, but is one under authority. The preacher’s words are only authoritative in so far as they are evidenced to come from the biblical text, and not simply his own ideas.” As laypeople, ladies, we need to be discerning so that if the preacher adds or subtracts, we will know it.

Pastors who plagiarize is a bigger problem than we know. I sat under such a one who not only plagiarized every sermon he delivered for at least 4 years, he even stole the original pastor’s personal life anecdotes and passed them off as if he’d lived them. Did it start out that way? No. Plagiarizing is incremental. It starts out with a preacher failing to go to scripture first, but going to another pastor’s material first. He says “I’m adapting another pastor’s outline”. Soon enough, he then uses the entire outline’s points and subpoints. After a while, he just copies the other pastor’s sermon. This “adaptation” creeps bigger and bigger and inevitably the pastor is just ripping off other pastors’ material wholesale. As a congregant, I want to know what the Holy Spirit says to THIS pastor for OUR church. The 7 letters of Revelation aren’t “adaptations of another pastor’s outline” swapped around and around, they are unique messages tailored to each church’s successes and failures, inspired by the Holy Spirit saying what Jesus wanted them to know. Using other pastor’s outlines, examples, or even whole sermons denies the preacher’s congregants from hearing from the Holy Spirit and cheats them by giving them another guy’s words instead. Here is Jared C. Wilson at For The Church with 4 Reasons Pastors Plagiarize.

Darrell B. Harrison writes “The Old Testament provides an excellent, though rather disturbing, example of the distinction between equity and equality.” It’s a good rumination based on the two prostitutes vying for the same child in front of King Solomon. It’s called Equity or Equality?

Rick Holland at asks a timeless question, are you gaining information about God? Or are you gaining knowledge of Him? “It is easy to think that because we’ve heard and appreciated the information presented in a sermon, our responsibility is complete. However, unless that information takes root in our hearts as something we really know (knowledge), we’ve merely been amused by divine truth. It’s interesting that the Bible writers do not speak much about gaining information about God; instead, they emphasize gaining knowledge of Him.” Here we read about Turning Information into Knowledge.

Mary Beeke at Reformation Heritage Blog has an essay Four Ways to Teach Children to Work. I applaud this. As a former teacher and now a teacher’s aide, I’ve been in education on and off since 1984. I see a severe decline in children’s work ethic. Mary Beeke says, “How do we build a positive work ethic in them? At what age should children begin to work? What does it take to train them to be responsible adults? From conversations with families who have successfully made this journey, I have observed four common traits.” Read to find out!


In episode 416 of Relatable, Allie Beth Stuckey examines “Once Saved, Always Saved?” and also answers some questions about the differences between Mormons and Christians in this Q&A episode.

Dr. Shelbi Cullen and Kimberly Cummings bring hope and encouragement through 25 years of combined experience in biblical discipleship and counseling as ACBC counselors. At their Women’s Hope podcast, the latest lesson is Ep. 119: Teaching What is Good – Being Workers in Our Homes (With Special Guest Marci Ferrell). Take a listen 🙂

This is timely from Founders Ministry: on The Sword and The Trowel, Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore talk about our current season of political instability, civil unrest, governmental overreach, godless ideologies in our churches and the question that many Christians are facing of “to move or not to move”? When is it right to leave a church, job or city? What are biblical principles to apply when navigating these decisions? Building your life around the church: To Move or Not to Move? (also in video).


I’m very excited to have found this series from Paul Washer at HeartCry going through Proverbs. It’s aimed at the young adult but the adult can learn from it too. I am fascinated by Proverbs, but find it my most difficult book to understand, because I’m so literal. It’s hard for me to understand examples, parables, allusions, and, well, proverbs. These short lessons at 15-20 minutes each are just right. Start here- Studies in Proverbs, Lesson 1

Justin Peters presents a video of Franke Preston, a friend of both Kathy and himself, was saved out of homosexuality. Justin would like you to hear her testimony. The video is 13 minutes. Saved From Homosexuality

Speaking of that, Polite Leader (Alan Hunter) presents information on “What is the G*y Christian Movement?” part of an ongoing series looking at Progressive Christianity. Video is 8 minutes.

Open Hearts in a Closed World Justin and Brooke Bartz ask, “How can Paul say that our afflictions are light and momentary? Join them on the LIT podcast as they look at how we as Christians, endure affliction faithfully knowing that an eternal weight of glory awaits us. Seeing Affliction as Light“. 20 minutes.

I snapped this photo this morning of a cardinal enjoying the seeds in the seed ball I’d hung, only to be disturbed and fly to a higher branch because of the yard cat stalking him. I’m not going to hang any more seed balls, three yard cats are now aroused to the hunt. I do not want the seed balls to lure unsuspecting birdies to their death! Yard cats do a good job clearing the yard of mice and snakes :), but also are a menace to other cats, birds, and similar friendlies. 😦

Have a good day everyone!


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.