Monday, December 10, 2007

Blogging God’s promises (2)

Ripples have spread from my first blog (Dec, 1st) on my projected sermon series in 2008, with excitement and warnings. Excitement - because in a little way this preacher wants to involve his hearers! But warnings - because some may feel left out, be upset that their thoughts and stories aren’t used, or disappointed by lack of follow-up. Yes there are risks, and the process calls for real maturity, but let’s go on trusting God in this venture.

My sermon prep involves identifying a “main impact” sentence for each sermon. What does this mean? Well, Scripture not only conveys a message, says something, but it also does something – elicits a response. God’s word may do 101 things by the power of His Spirit including: rebuke, encourage, evangelize, praise, call to mission. Each sermon should therefore say and do the same thing that the Scripture text says and does!

So, I need prayer and continuing input on the first two sermons on God’s promises:

January 6, 2008 VISION – This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pout out my Spirit in those days and they will prophecy. Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:14-21.

My main impact: By God’s grace this sermon says that God’s promises have founded the church, that now we can see God, ourselves and our world in new ways; and what this sermon does is challenge us to live by his promises today.

January 13, 2008 HAPPINESS – Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stands in the way of sinners, not sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3

Main impact: By God’s grace this sermon says that God’s happiness works differently because we must say no to some things in order to live in his ways and to prosper; and what this sermon does is encourage us to be planted for happiness.


I continue to need your help. Please pray for the process, and share stories, insights, concerns with me along the way. You can comment here for others to see, or use my seminary email: Your input really matters.


Anonymous said...

Know that while you are off enjoying the comfort of being "home" for Christmas, there are many back here in the States praying for you and Carol and your sermon series. We look forward to your return.

Anonymous said...

First, I think it is interesting that in many churches I have been a part of over the years, it is the older, more "mature" believers who are many times the most inflexible, hyper-sensitive, and resistant to change, of the entire church body. This makes me very sad. I believe it is my responsibility, as I grow older and hopefully more mature, to be more flexible, to understand what is important what is not, and to allow others who may not be as experienced as me, to have things "their way."

Second, I also wonder what the church is for? Is it primarily for me and the way I like things to be? Is it really about my comfort and preferences? Or, is it outward focused, more on what the people in my community need? If I have the outward focused, "missional" motivation, why wouldn't I want to be where my community is? Why wouldn't I want to "speak their language?" What did Jesus do? We know that most people in our community now get their news, network with friends, communicate with family, and do their business via the Internet. This involves websites, email, blogs, news feeds, videos, and many other forms of online media. Calvary Memorial Church itself reflects this demographic with the vast majority of our attenders using Internet related technology on a daily basis. So, why would there be ANY resistance or questions to a Pastor (even if he is interim) using this media to be where the vast majority of people - both in and outside the church - already are? This is the new "marketplace of ideas." It is where Paul went when he visited Athens. I would think we would all be rejoicing that someone has the vision to use this tool for God's glory and the further strengthening of the church.

Personally I say, "Go full speed ahead Michael!" I am 100% behind you in your quest to involve more people in the process of discovering what God is calling you to teach to us about his promises.

Finally, I want to say that I have personally felt "burned by God" and that he fell down on keeping his promises to me. As a result, I went into a terrible depression for a number of years that almost ended my life. It is only by God's grace that I am alive today, in my right mind, and with a mature knowledge of what his promises actually are what they mean.

I look forward with personal anticipation to what God will have you teach to us.

Anonymous said...

Since my post of December 11th, it came to my attention that my comments may lead some to think that I had specific people in mind when I wrote about “older, more “mature” believers. I assured the person who kindly brought this to my attention (thank you!) that I had no such intention or any specific persons in mind when I wrote.

Rather, my intensity stems from a growing frustration with "the church" in general (I really mean that!) based upon my perception of its slowness and timidity in moving forward with a fresh new vision and strategy for the 21st century. I also include myself in this group.

I fear that we are increasingly irrelevant to the community and culture around us, who perceive us as unwilling to engage in their “language” (culture) and community. I don’t think we have time to spare. I don’t think we need certain things to be in place before we can and should be moving ahead.

A series like the one Michael is planning, with the level of involvement and input from the body he seeks is more in line with what I think needs to happen, which is why I am enthusiastic about it. We need more of this kind of willingness to engage with each other and take risks. As we learn to do this with each other, we then need to turn it outward to those around us.