Get to Know Donald Cantrell

donald cantrellDonald Cantrell has been a preacher of the gospel since 1980. His goal in writing books is to be helpful to ministers who may need a simple thought to prompt them in developing a mighty message. His hope is to be practical, preachable, and accessible to the busy and pressured pastor.

In addition to preaching and writing, Donald has been active in personal sermon consulting and research, offering help with individual sermon development, subject research, Bible character studies, and sermon series. He has also helped various pastorates with the leading of revivals.

With the new release of his Bible Commentary Snapshots on WORDsearch today, we talked with the Florida Gators fan about his alliteration style, preaching, and his writing process.

WORDsearch: Where did you get the idea for this series?

Donald Cantrell: I have people contact me all the time from around the world, asking for advice. I like mentoring and helping people, that’s the primary goal. In the SBC in Georgia, the high majority of people are bivocational, and me doing this can help save them time.

I’ve always developed sermons and done alliteration, but then I started thinking what I wanted to do was come up with something catchy that would give a pastor or preacher something they could take straight to the puplit or develop into a full sermon on their own. I really liked the term “sermon snapshots.” I thought about it for a few days and really think it describes the material I create for a preacher.

 WS: What would you say is different in this work from your other works?

DC: This one I will try to do every verse in the New Testament and make sure every verse has an outline, or part of an outline, and that it’s alliterated. So far I’ve got Matthew- Acts, and I  just got done with 50 Christmas snapshots.

WS: What is your process in creating content? How do you get started?

DC: My main process is to first read the Scripture and then I like to think about it. Then I do my three or four main points, alliterate them, but very simply. Then I try to develop my main thoughts. Here’s how I look at it: I look at it like at first minimum alliteration, then once I have my main thoughts I go back and change and adapt it, then when it’s all said and done, my whole outline is all done, and I have what I call maximum alliteration. Alliteration is my thing, I’ve always been able to do it once I’ve started.

WS: How do you choose the verses or topics you cover?

DC: Well, I’m a pastor and I design sermons for my church also. If I get into something I really like at my church, I might just make a whole series out of it and offer it to pastors.

WS: How do you come up with your sermons?

DC: I like to do expository preaching, going through a book verse-by-verse, so that helps me a lot. That way I’m not just trying to come up with sermons, because if I know I’m preaching through a certain book, I know I’m going to have to have a sermon on that book on Sunday. Exposition with alliertaion is my style.

WS: How often or long do you write each day?

DC: I write every day, and I have a process that I use. I read Scripture and if I want to develop a sermon, I use my computer now. I used to use a big ink pen with four colors, and I’ve got boxes of sermons with colored sermon outlines with a different color for each point. Then I adapted to the computer and now I’ve got all of that on the computer and have embraced it. I use Strong’s, my Bible, and a tool for alliteration.

WS: What’s your favorite Bible commentary?

In my ministry, I’ve had a lot of preachers ask this, and what I tell all of them is J. Vernon McGee’s Commentaries. What I like about him is that he covers every chapter, and they are simple and practical. I’m just simple and I just like simple stuff. But if I had to get rid of all my books in my library and keep one set it would be his.

WS: What is your favorite Bible translation?

I’m old school, I love the KJV just because I like the terminology and poetry, but I read a lot of different versions. I like the ESV, I don’t preach from it, but I study from it a lot. The reason I stick with the KJV is because it’s what I read when I was younger and what I memorized, so I’m familiar with it and just stuck with it over the years. 

Donald resides in Georgia with Denise, his wife of 33 years, and spends a lot of time with his grandbaby Kinsley.

Don’t miss our introductory sale on Cantrell’s new Bible Commentary Snapshots, along with 50 percent off all of his other works.

-Katie Cornett

5 Ways Bible Software Can Improve Your Ministry

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Even in this digital age of ebooks, many preachers still prepare sermons and lessons by researching dozens of paper books and Bibles in their library. Pastors often ask, “What are the main advantages of using Bible software?” The advantages are many, but here are 5 that stand out:

1. Bible software saves you time. With the fast topical and cross-reference searching features in Bible software, you can search your entire library for a single topic or verse in seconds. Instead of having to search through all of your books individually, imagine how powerful it is to search everything for exactly what you’re looking for by just typing and hitting “enter.” You can also quickly identify words linked to the original Greek and Hebrew using resources like Strong’s, leading to deeper understanding of each word.

2. Bible software saves you space. This might seem obvious, but with Bible software all you need is a computer or a mobile device. You can carry a seminary library on your laptop or device and access your content anywhere. This way, anywhere you are, if you need to access your library or look something up, it is as simple as grabbing your phone, tablet, or computer.

3. Bible software saves you money. With most Bible software, you can build a huge library of resources for a fraction of the cost of hard copies. More resources give you more content from prominent authors and pastors to help you improve your ministry to others.

4. Bible software gives you a new perspective in seconds. Quickly seeing the opinion of another pastor or scholar on the topic you’re studying can nudge you out of writer’s block. Scripture syncing features in Bible software can help you more quickly navigate to sermon content based on the Scripture you’re analyzing. This helps you see how others have outlined this Scripture, and how they have preached on that verse.

5. Bible software allows you to see things you’d miss otherwise. Bible software does cool things you can’t do any other way. For example, imagine clicking a button and seeing how the word “love” appears throughout all of Scripture, neatly displayed in a colorful bar graph. Imagine comparing 10 different Bible translations side by side, in perfect sync with one another.

With the help of powerful searching tools and access to more resources, including Bible dictionaries, surveys, commentaries, maps, and more, you can become a better student of God’s Word, which in turn helps you become a better teacher of God’s Word.

Originally posted on Pastors Today.

Quick Tip – Parallel Bibles

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The Parallel Bible window is the best way to compare multiple Bible translations. Comparing different translations can help you understand word and verse meanings, see the differences in the Hebrew and Greek interpretations, and get a better understanding of the Bible.

In WORDsearch you can:

  • Select any number of translations in the order you prefer
  • Display the translations in rows or columns
  • Reopen the window after closing back to your same translations
  • Search the Bibles directly from within the Parallel Window itself.

Needless to say, the Parallel Bible window is a powerful research tool.

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First, here’s a rundown of what each icon on the Parallel Bible window will do.

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parallel bibleBook/Chapter/Verse Navigation box

Using the Book/Chapter/Verse Navigation box, you can change the book, chapter, or verse displayed in your Parallel Bible window

parallel biblePrevious and Next Chapter buttons

Click to go to the beginning of the previous chapter in the Bible or the beginning of the next chapter in the Bible.

parallel bibleAdd Translation button

Click to add a new translation.

parallel bibleRow/Column button

Click to toggle between displaying the verses in rows and columns.

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Search box

Use this to search all Bibles in the Parallel window. Results will be shown with matches in red.

parallel bibleColumn width buttons

Use these buttons to control minimum column width.

parallel bibleSearch Results display mode buttons

Use these buttons to swap between displaying normal Bible text, search result verses only, and search results in context (result rows with additional scripture before and after).

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Link with other Scripture-Based Books button

The Link with other Scripture-Based Books button will synchronize one book to another.

parallel bibleTarget button

Clicking this button will make the Parallel window the recipient of all scripture hyperlinks.

Now that we’ve got the buttons down, how do we arrange the translations?

You can control the order that translations appear in two ways. The first method is to use the Add Translation dialog box:

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Select a Bible in the list on the right side of the window and click the Up or Down buttons to change its position in the list. The translation at the start of the list will be the first shown in the window.

The second way to reorder translations is by using drag-drop. Click in the header area to the right of any translation abbreviation, hold down the mouse button, and drag it to the new desired position, and release the mouse.

parallel bibleWith this Quick Tip, you are ready to go compare your favorite Bible translations. Have you learned anything from using parallel Bibles recently? Share with us in the comments below!

Related Posts:

Quick Tip – The Resource Window

Quick Tip – Finding a Book in Your Library

Quick Tip – Using Strong’s Numbers

Quick Tip – Searching

Quick Tip – 6 Tips for Highlighting

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When you highlight something in a hard copy of a book, it’s permanent. You have to be careful to make sure you highlight only what’s extremely important to you so you don’t ruin the book. That’s what so awesome about the highlighting feature in WORDsearch. With twelve different pen colors and two underline styles, you can highlight to your heart’s content – and remove at any time. You can also assign a legend to each color to create different meanings when you are reading. This can be especially helpful in precept type studying, or if in the long term you want to always mark mentions of the Holy Spirit as “blue underline.”

To get started, here’s the buttons we mention in this post.

wsbasichighlightHighlight Selected Text button

wsbasicdownThe Down Arrow button, next to the Highlight Selected Text button, allows you to select the style and color of the highlighter.

highlightcolorsThere are 12 different colors to select from. You can change the color of your highlighter to any one of these colors at any time.

Now, here are some simple tips to help you take advantage of this feature.

To choose between normal highlighting and underline highlighting:

1. Click the down arrow to show the highlighting menu and click on your desired style.

To highlight text
1. Use the cursor to select the text that you want to highlight; click and drag so that the text’s background indicates it is selected.
2. Click on the Highlight button (see below for what it looks like) on the toolbar.

To assign legend text
Click the down arrow to show the highlighting menu and click on “Edit Legends…” or click on the Options menu, select Settings, then select Highlighting.

To remove the highlight
1. Select the text you want to un-highlight.
2. Click on the Highlight button.

To extend the highlighted area
1. Click inside the highlighted area; hold down the left mouse button as you drag the mouse arrow outside the highlighted area.
2. Click on the Highlight button on the toolbar.

To change the text’s highlight color
1. Change the Highlight Pen color by clicking on the Down Arrow (see below)
2. Select the highlighted text.
3. Click on the Highlight button.

Have you set up a highlighting legend? Let us know in the comments below!

Quick Tip – The Resource Window

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The Resource Window is used to open any book or document in your WORDsearch library. By default it is pinned open, but it can also be set to auto-hide to give you more room for books on screen. Even when hidden, it is always partially visible on the left side of the WORDsearch program as a tall thin strip.

Opening the Resource Window

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The area outlined in red shows the Resource window in its closed state. Hover your mouse over or click in this area to open the Resource window. The Resource window will stay open until you move your mouse cursor to the right. Once your cursor is no longer over the Resource window it will hide itself.

Tip: If you find yourself accidentally opening the Resource window by moving your mouse over it when you don’t intend to, you can change its behavior so that it will only open when you click on it.

Pinning Open the Window

pinopenIf you want the Resource window to stay open, you can pin it open by using the thumbtack button in the upper right. In the picture to the left, the thumbtack has been outlined in red. Click once to “pin” the window open, click again to put the window into the mode in which it will hide itself once you move your cursor off the window.

Resource Toolbar

At the top of the window is a toolbar. You can use this toolbar to change the behavior of the Resource window.

filter

Use this button to access options.

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Use this Sections button to show or hide sections.

resourcesections

Use this to filter books so that you can quickly find a book by title or author. To exit “filter mode” clear the text.

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Opening and Minimizing Sections

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To open or close a section you can click on the section header, or click the buttons outlined in red.

Clicking the “X” button removes a section from the Resource window entirely. If you change your mind and want to restore a section, click the Sections button in the Resource window toolbar (see above).


Expanding and Collapsing Folders

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Most sections in the Resource window have folders that are used to organize their contents. To open or close all folders in a section, use the plus and minus buttons in the section header.

There’s this week’s quick tip! Do you usually have your Resource window pinned open or hidden? Let us know in the comments below!

Quick Tip – Sort Through Thousands of Cross-References in Seconds

Depending on the size of your library, your WORDsearch books can contain thousands of references to Bible verses. If you want to study a specific verse of Scripture, it can seem overwhelming to even know where to begin.

The Cross-Reference Explorer shows you every single time a certain verse is found in every single one of your books. This is one of the most time-saving features of WORDsearch.

Let’s say you are doing a study on John 3:16. The Cross-Reference Explorer will search your entire library to show you every time John 3:16 is referenced. The best part? It only takes a few seconds.

First, click on the Cross-Reference Explorer icon to open up the tool. A few notes about the window that opens up:

  • The first bar at the top is where you choose the verse you want to search. Here we’ll use John 3:16. You can either type in the verse or use the drop-down to select, just like when you are navigating a Bible.
  • The little icon next to the verse chooser lets you arrange your windows either side-by-side or over/under. The usefulness of this icon depends on how many books you have open or what you determine to be more readable.
  • Just like in Bibles and commentaries, there is a sync icon. This comes in handy when you have a Bible or commentary open and want the Cross-Reference Explorer to follow your Bible navigation. If synced, the Cross-Reference Explorer will automatically update and find cross-references for whatever verse you are currently on. Pretty cool.
  • By default, the Cross-Reference Explorer will use all of your books, but you can also use a collection.

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Once we type John 3:16 into the verse chooser and hit enter, the results will display organized by book category. We can expand the categories in our results to see which books reference the verse, and we can expand individual books to see the different places within the book that reference the verse and how many times.

The results show us that John 3:16 is mentioned 31 times in the Bible Knowledge Commentary and in five devotionals in Daily Light on the Daily Path.

The red parentheses show how many references are in that section of the book. From there, you can click on any of the results to read more, or open the book in a new window for further study.

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Can you imagine trying to do this in your printed books? It would take a long time. With the Cross-Reference Explorer, it takes a few seconds. The Cross-Reference Explorer is a powerful and easy tool to find critical notes, historical and cultural information, and insights from others on God’s Word. Whether you want to see where the verse appears in your different texts or you want to build out your sermon, it can help you find any Bible verse, anywhere in your WORDsearch library.

Let us know how the Cross-Reference Explorer has helped you in your study in the comments below!