The Reflectionary – The Dangerous Teachings of Jesus

by | Aug 19, 2022 | The Reflectionary

When I was a Pastor on staff at Saddleback Church, one of my favorite spots to hang out on the weekends was the green room, backstage. It’s not just that some kind volunteers stock it with breakfast burritos on Sunday mornings or hot Thai food in the evenings, it was really about the conversations that happened there. (And maybe a little about the Thai food.)

During the workweek, everyone in the offices was focused on various regular and routine tasks, but in the green room on the weekends, there were always conversations about vision, fresh ideas, and leadership. Often, tapping into my introvert super-strength, I simply sat in the corner and listened.

One particular Sunday, David Chrzan (who hired me), Dave Greene, and Todd Olthoff were in a deep conversation, and Dave shared a vital leadership principle…

You can lead by fear, or you can lead by love.

I unpacked that in a post over on my leadership blog…

READ: You Can Lead by Fear or Lead by Love »


Sermon Ideas Based on the Lectionary

Note: The notes in the Reflectionary each week are based on Lectionary texts ten days out (so, the next Sunday, not the coming Sunday). If you need to see notes for this Sunday’s texts, visit last week’s Reflectionary.


For August 28, 2022
Year C – Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost


First Reading and Psalm


Jeremiah 2:4-13

WORKING TITLE: From Broken Buckets to God’s Best Blessings

God freely offers the best of himself to us in the form of his presence and blessing, but we must choose him over other empty pursuits. Turn toward God and openly receive him into your life on a daily basis to discover that nothing else satisfies the needs and longings of your soul the way his overflowing presence does.

READ: From Broken Buckets to God’s Best Blessings


Psalm 81:1, 10-16

WORKING TITLE: The Sweetest Life Possible

God, himself, is the true source of the sweetest life possible. Don’t just define the sweet life in terms of health, wealth, and happiness. Look deep within and explore all that God has for you to discover about himself.

READ: The Sweetest Life Possible


Alternate First Reading and Psalm


Proverbs 25:6-7

WORKING TITLE: The Wisdom of Waiting for the Invitation

Instead of kicking your way into doors where you aren’t yet invited, position yourself for promotion by the right people at the right time. Slow down and grow where you’re planted. Stop clamoring for a higher position. Instead, grow from the inside out and help everyone else you can along the way.

READ: The Wisdom of Waiting for the Invitation


Psalm 112:1-10

Working Title: The Real Pathway to a Happy Life

Happiness isn’t about what we consume, but what we contribute. Look at your life and find ways in which you could live more generously – with your time, your resources, and your friendship. And examine your ethics to do all that you do with justice and equity for all in mind.

READ: The Real Pathway to a Happy Life


Second Reading


Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

Working Title: Be Good for God’s Sake

Because God is good, he enables us to be good and to do good and to give him glory along the way. Challenge your heart to make room for those who most need to experience God’s love from God’s people. This is how we bring the kingdom life to the world around us, and this is how we lead others into God’s kingdom.

READ: Be Good for God’s Sake


Gospel Reading


Luke 14:1, 7-14

WORKING TITLE: The Dangerous Calling to Challenge Power and Privilege

Jesus challenges privilege head-on and calls us to get over ourselves and actively love the people who are least likely to repay us for our kindness. Challenge yourself when it comes to the privilege and power you enjoy and decide that you’ll look outwardly toward those who might never repay you because they’ve been victimized and marginalized, and put your love into action on their behalf.

READ: The Dangerous Calling to Challenge Power and Privilege


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-week series considers the rhythms and ordinary liturgies of life that connect us to God. Learning to be attentive to the routines and tangible realities of our existence, including our weaknesses and needs, helps reveal the sacredness of all daily life and connects us to Jesus. Creating touchpoints within our everyday life practices helps us be intentional in meeting with him and seeing his presence in all of daily life.

Check Out This Sermon Series »


Upcoming Events


A Conference for Church Communications Leaders
August 22-23, 2022 (Online)
October 18-19, 2022 (Charlotte, NC)

The Church Communicator Conference is specially designed for the accidental church communicator, the one that wears many hats and may have stumbled upon this role without a plan. Lead pastors and executive pastors will also benefit from this conference as it will introduce principles and concepts that will assist with creating a unified communication strategy that aligns with the vision and mission of the church.

Register for The Church Communicator Conference »


Books, Links, and Resources for Pastors and Church Leaders

Early Fall, when families are finding their routines, is one of the best times to preach in a way that casts a vision for the direction of the body. That’s the topic of the post, Preaching Through a Vision Sermon Series, from the Ministry Pass blog.

Do you alliterate your sermon points? It’s not always a bad idea, but it often compromises the strength of your message. Lane Sebring offers more on why that’s true in his Youtube video, Alliterations Are Almost Always Absolutely Atrocious.

Scot McKnight offered up a book summary of Love Sechrest’s book, Race and Rhyme: Rereading the New Testament. It’s a book about liberation theology and historical-grammatical interpretation. But more importantly, according to Dr. McKnight, it’s about the need to read the Bible with fresh eyes from a cultural standpoint.

Can success be a bad thing? Sort of. Seth Muse wrote a post in which he talks about the curse of success, and I think he makes some excellent points about how we can get tripped up when things are going particularly well.

The greatest leaders can’t always be spotted on the basis of charisma and talent alone, as Ron Edmonson points out in his post about 7 unseen traits of great leaders. This is a good one to share with other leaders in your church or network of peers.

I read a really helpful post from Lifehack this week about the power of reframing. My wife often talks about this concept and I think Lynn Owens does a great job here of offering 5 tips for reframing negative thoughts into positive ones.

I sense that a lot of leaders are challenging their own eschatological views in these last couple of years. LifeWay Research just shared the results of some recent research that gives a good picture of what various churches are currently teaching about the end times.



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About the Cover Art: Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash.


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