Archive for November, 2014

For many, Thanksgiving is an awesome time of family, food and fun. For others, not so much.

In this podcast, we go deeper into what we have to be thankful for when all else fails. When we are struggling, the bills aren’t paid, and we feel we have fallen far short of what God wants us to be. There is an underlining truth that leads to thanksgiving outside of these temporary but looming factors.

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I’ve had a couple conversations with pastor buddies of mine lately about sermon writing and sharing. I thought I would babble about it here a little in case it would benefit other church leaders and to solicit your ideas if you have thoughts as well.

There are many books and blogs about sermon structures and many have helped me at different times but the following are some of the key components to most of the sermons I share.

The Gospel – Every time I share, the gospel is there. It might go in depth or it might be simple but it’s always there. Any one who acknowledges Jesus is the Son of God with their mouth, believes in their heart that He died and rose for them, and follow Him are saved (Romans 10). If that is not a constant in our teachings, we are missing the foundational point. May no one ever hear me speak and not walk out knowing that.

Biblical Context – It amazes me how many visitors at our church say “I really like how you preached out of the Bible”. Often times this is followed up by talking about how they had not experienced that in this church or that. If we are not preaching from the Bible, what are we doing? Being motivational speakers? Hearing ourselves talk? (Sorry, mini rant…)

Personally, I love expository preaching (preaching verse by verse through a book of the Bible). However, I don’t think that’s the only way to go. I don’t mind topical at all but like to come out of a section of Scripture if I can. I have done some sermons where I am teaching on a topic with bullet points that are tied to this verse or that but it’s not my passion. Again, not against it. Jesus taught like that sometimes. Paul taught like that sometimes.

The main thing is this; bring the Word and bring it in context. Let your bullet points come from the Word… not looking for Scripture to back up your bullet points.

Bring a challenge – There’s enough fluff preaching out so don’t be afraid to bring a challenge. Honestly, if you are preaching the Word, you won’t have to create a challenge, it’s there. We come together to address the things we need to grow in, submit in, or kill in us. Conviction is not a bad thing. Don’t forget to bring 100% truth.

Bring mercy – That said about truth, also bring 100% love. Again, if you are preaching the fullness of the Word and you truly love the people God has entrusted you with, this will not be hard either. In your examples and illustrations, throw some of your past mistakes in there and how God grew you. Let them know you are human.

After the challenge, think about what those sitting in the crowd who are feeling convicted need to hear in their brokenness. Do they need some grace? Do they need some encouragement? Do they need to know they are not alone? What needs said or done to minister there?

Response time – Now, how do you get out of the way and let them respond to God? This may look different each time so it takes prayer and reflection.

We have wasted a bunch of time if we just teach and don’t let people meet with God on His message. The Spirit has used the Word to toil the soil, expose some things, tend to some things, and now He desires to meet with them face to face. Let them.

Maybe this is through music. Maybe this is through prayer. Maybe this praying over them. Maybe it’s inviting them to the front of the room. Maybe it’s letting them know it’s OK to leave now before the end of service to go ask forgiveness from another. Maybe it’s allowing people to move around and love on one another during a song because you just taught on church unity. (Be mindful on the introverts on this one). Maybe it’s communion. Let the Spirit lead you on this but never forget a response time.

Those are the ones to come to mind right now on my end…. What’s your thoughts?

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It comes down to one key truth that allows us to escape from the drudge of the world and the struggles of the muck and mire. How do you get it? How do you keep it? How do you enjoy freedom in your life?

These are the questions we will be studying as we look at the final chapter of 1 John and the testimony of a man who the world lost just last year, Brennan Manning.

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As we continue our walk through the letter of 1 John, we explore the life that comes through “Greater Love” and what things cheat us from it.

Most of us experience seasons in our lives where things are not turning out the way we thought they would. We have invested blood, sweat, and tears into paths that led us to dead ends or worse yet, cliffs.

John has practical teaching for us on avoiding these life crashes and how to move to higher ground than we ever have before. We pray you can join us as we explore these truths together, no matter what dead end or cliff you face today is.

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