A number of ethical difficulties keep rearing their ugly little heads in preaching. For example, when is it appropriate to cite a reference, and when should you try to pass off material as your own?

I am ruthless about the need for honesty here. I have always said, "Integrity is who you are when nobody's looking." "Grow strong in the seasons of life," is the way I put it. Plagiarism will not restore your spiritual passion, nor will it order your private world. I always remind people, "Friday's here, but Sunday's a-comin'."

Another delicate issue in this day of heightened authenticity is, How do you disguise the identity of people you use for illustrations?

Say, for instance, you have a terrific conversation about eschatology with your wife late one night when you're both in bed. But you've been mentioning your wife too often in messages lately, so you decide to disguise her identity and say this is a conversation you had with a cranky old neighbor who lives across the street.

However, if you ...

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