You are UP to the task!
I know that we are living in very discouraging times. We’re dealing with a pandemic and a political mess, cultural upheaval and a wave of people stepping away from the local church. It’s hard!
But if you lead the church, you have within you everything you need to do this well!
I wrote a post and wanted to pass it along about how you ARE up to this!
Lectionary Sermon Starters
Year C – First Sunday After Pentecost
First Reading and Psalm
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Working Title: The Timeless Gift of Wisdom
The eighth chapter of Proverbs is all about what it looks like to seek guidance from all that God has revealed. (While a case can be made that wisdom here is symbolic of Christ pre-incarnation, I believe it’s stretching the original author’s intent to make that the basis of a sermon on the text.)
Working Title: God Made You to Be Pretty Amazing
An entire generation of western culture has remained obsessed with self as the center of all things. While self-help, self-development, self-growth, self-esteem, etc. are terms with merit, the side effect is that we’ve placed ourselves on the throne of all existence.
At the same time, many of us grew up under a theological mindset that so overemphasized sin and depravity that we’ve felt ourselves worthless in the eyes of God. This, combined with our focus on individual conversion and who is in and who is out has given us a false impression that those who have followed Jesus are priceless because of their redemption from sin alone.
The truth is in the middle, and that’s what the psalmist teaches us.
Working Title: How to Walk in Real Confidence
The beauty of being a follower of Jesus is that we have the inside track on a completely different way of thinking. We get to choose the middle way in which each of us is infinitely valuable because we are made in the image of God, but we were created to rely on the presence and power of God at work within us so that we could rise with confidence as redeemed people.
Our creed is not that we are amazing on our own or that we are sufficient without any connection to our Creator. Neither is it that we are worthless lumps of clay with no value to God or to his world. There is another way and Paul lays it out for us.
Paul, in this passage, tells us that a past event changed everything – the work of Christ – and that our faith in that finished work prepares us and equips us to walk through life differently. We get to walk as those who are justified.
Working Title: How the Holy Spirit Magnifies Jesus
The primary role of the Holy Spirit, as the third member of the Trinity, is to direct our attention to Christ, the second member of the Trinity. Yes, the Spirit of God is fully God, but his active ministry today is one of showing us, reminding us, and revealing to us the finished work of Christ that saved the world.
I love that the Spirit is given this title – “the Spirit of Truth.” If anything at all is true about God, about the world, or about us, then the Spirit of God certainly knows it and seeks to offer to us a right understanding of it all.
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Creative Sermon Series Ideas from MinistryPass
My favorite resource for sermon series and message ideas, complete series graphics, and video bumpers (but NOT full notes or sermon outlines) to get you started is MinistryPass! Each week, I’ll feature a series I would recommend checking out for the upcoming season of the church year. This week:
From the Description:
This four-part sermon series explores what it means to be made in the image of God.
After working through the Lectionary passages for June 12, I’m convinced people desperately need to hear that God made them for a mission, and shaped them for service. Each person possesses inherent worth and dignity and serves a grand, divine purpose by God’s initiative.
But most people don’t believe in themselves in the sense of believing that God placed within them the ability to do life in a holy, healthy, and purposeful way.
Books, Links, and Resources for Pastors and Church Leaders
I also want to share helpful and encouraging resources each week including articles I’ve read, books I love, and practical tools for leadership. This week:
- Grab the Ultimate Writer’s Toolkit Free Ebook.
- Michael Hyatt on Eight Leadership Lessons from Martin Luther King, Jr.
- From The Daily Upside, an article about how More Than a Third of 250k Earners Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck.
- Ron Edmondson writes about 5 Legitimate Fears of Church Planters.
- Carey Nieuwhof on 9 Warning Signs You’re Suffering From Toxic Productivity.
- Mark MacDonald on 8 Church Communication Mistakes You’re Probably Making.
- Rick Warren on 6 Truths to Keep in Mind When Tempted to People-Please.
- I just updated my list of 6 of the Best Commentaries on the Bible, and the top one is my personal favorite – the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary.
- There aren’t enough great books on marriage out there. One of my favorites is John M. Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.
About the Cover Art: Each week, Vanderbilt Divinity School shares dozens of pieces of art that align with the lectionary readings. This piece, title Holy Trinity with Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist and Tobias and the Angel, was painted between 1491-1493 by Sandro Botticelli. (More information.)