In our modern, post-Enlightenment world, we use the word “know” to describe something we affirm without doubting. I know that the earth revolves around the sun because it’s established science. I know that things fall because gravity is an unquestionable reality.
In ancient cultures, to know meant to have personally experienced something. Unfortunately for us, we often work in theology in a purely modern way. We try to arrive at truthful conclusions while eliminating doubt. We often forget to experience God along the way. It’s the difference between knowing what is true about God and actually knowing God in a deeply personal way.
I’ve found that over the last couple of years, I’ve loosened my grip on my demand for absolute certainty about facts because they don’t tend to be a lot of comfort when things fall apart. But my personal experiences with my living Redeemer? That kind of knowing is what I find I desperately need more of.
If you can identify with that, you may appreciate this week’s featured message idea from Job 19.
Also, Advent is right around the corner and I’m hoping to release a couple of four-week sermon series ideas that utilize the Lectionary readings while giving local churches an opportunity to invite people into an ongoing experience. More on that later.
In the meantime, keep growing!
PS – There wasn’t a Reflectionary last week and there was barely one this week because of some projects that took a lot of extra hours. I’m finally caught back up and will be making some improvements to Preaching for Change and catching up on unfinished content.
This Week’s Big Sermon Idea
This One Thing I Know – My Redeemer Lives
Based on Job 19:23-27a
Life leaves us with far more questions than answers, but there is tremendous power in deciding to believe in and declaring our trust in a living, redeeming God. If you’ve struggled with your faith lately because it seems like you just can’t be certain about what you used to take for granted, that’s okay. Let go of the need to know everything for sure. Realize, instead, that you get to choose, by faith, to believe the very best about God – that he is a living and redeeming God who can be trusted for all eternity.
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) 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 three-week Thanksgiving series addresses how we can develop the practice of gratitude and thanksgiving to God, which in turn leads to a life of generosity. Thankfulness is not an occasional act but a lifestyle of intentional and spontaneous appreciation that leads us into the presence of God, empowers us to be grateful in all circumstances, and generates an overflow of generosity.
National Preaching Conference
November 15 – November 17
Truett Seminary’s National Preaching Conference echoes the best of yesterday’s traditions and resounds with the needs of tomorrow’s church. The conference features noted national proclaimers along with choral worship and inspirational breakout sessions.
Exiles in Babylon: Theology in the Raw Conference
March 23-25, 2022 (Boise, ID)
To be a Christian is to be an exile. The Bible has a name for the country we’ve been exiled to: Babylon. As exiles living in Babylon, we need to think biblically, Christianly, indeed exilically—not partisanly—through cultural and political issues. This year, our topics include: The Future of the Church, Disability and the Church, Multiethnic Perspectives of American Christianity, a conversational debate on the Problem of Evil, and a pre-conference symposium on Women in Leadership!
Links and Resources for Pastors and Church Leaders
Links to resources I have found helpful, inspiring, thought-provoking, and sometimes entertaining.
- INTERVIEW: With Chuck Swindoll on Preaching Biographically
Via Preaching Magazine
- BOOK: The Mountain is You (Leadership and Self-Development)
By Brianna West
- ARTICLE & VIDEO: Evaluating and Improving Your Preaching
From Ministry Pass
- BLOG POST: Where Are All the Great Pastors?
By Jim Edmiston
- ARTICLE: Six Principles for Getting People to Work Together
By Rick Warren
- ARTICLE: The Seasons of Leadership and Church
By Josh Reich
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About the Cover Art: Repin, Ilʹi︠a︡ Efimovich, 1844-1930. Job and His Friends, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.