The Reflectionary – Messages About Depression, the Changes Made by the Cross, and More

by | Jun 9, 2022 | The Reflectionary

WELCOME to Preaching for Change!

This has been a vision on my heart for months now – a website dedicated to those who serve “in the trenches” of ministry today, during one of the hardest eras of ministry since probably World War II.

So welcome to Preaching for Change!

This week, the Lectionary readings primarily revolve around depression and discouragement, so I collected a few articles together that I’ve written in the past about this sensitive subject:

AND, one of the most shared articles I’ve ever written, demonstrating just how much this subject probably needs to be addressed:

Please know that if YOU battle depression and discouragement, you are NOT alone! You’re in good company.

For this week for preachers, pastors, and ministry leaders…


Lectionary Sermon Starters

Year C – Second Sunday After Pentecost

First Reading and Psalm

1 Kings 19:1-4, (5-7), 8-15a

Working Title: Living with Hope in the Valley of Depression

Depression isn’t a sin. It’s a state. It’s a condition and many, many people who have a close walk with God struggle with it.

Depression can also be the result of unusually hard circumstances or trauma. In either case, it’s not a sin. It’s a struggle.

Elijah, one of God’s great heroes of the Bible, suffered from depression and his story is one of the most powerful in history for guiding us through the long, dark valleys of life.

Keep Reading »

Psalm 42 and 43

Working Title: Hope, When Your Soul Feels Low

God is consistent. He’s our Rock and our Refuge. He’s faithful. He’s the one who can and often does show up when we need deliverance. And even when he doesn’t, there’s something about praising God that reminds us about who he is.

Keep Reading »

Alternate First Readings

Isaiah 65:1-9

Working Title: God Promises Both Justice and Mercy

What God promises, starting with the reading in Isaiah 65:1-9, is that some kind of judgment must occur because so many people have wandered away from him and have gone their own way. In particular, he brings an indictment against those who have pursued ritual, cultic practices, indicating they have their own idea of who god is and how he is to be served and worshipped.

God’s response, which extends through Isaiah 66, refers to the faithful disciples of Zion as those who “tremble at his word.” And to the faithful, he promises mercy and restoration.

Keep Reading »

Psalm 22:19-28

Our sin
has created so much suffering
even for the Son of God.
But his suffering
will result in
redemption for ALL.

Keep Reading »

Second Reading

Galatians 3:23-29

Working Title: Before the Cross, and After

If keeping the Law was really a prerequisite to being in the family of God, then Jews had an advantage. If circumcision was required, then men, in particular, enjoyed a patriarchal and sexist advantage. And free people, as opposed to slaves, were more privileged than others when it came to the freedom to obey all that was necessary to keep God happy.

But Paul’s letter to the Galatians offered a stinging rebuke of this kind of in-and-out binary division.

And the basis for the eradication of these walls of division was, according to Paul, the fulfillment of everything the Law ever pointed toward – Jesus’ sacrificial, redemptive death on the cross.

This passage is like a before-and-after contrast of what life looks like before Jesus’ death on the cross and what life looks like after that historic moment.

Keep Reading »

Gospel Reading

Luke 8:26-39

Working Title: Are You Afraid of Real Change?

First, this guys’s life was radically changed by Jesus and he was unapologetic about it. He couldn’t stop talking about how things were different before and after he met Jesus.

Second, the entire community was so blown away by the supernatural occurrences that they couldn’t help but be afraid of what had happened in his life.

Here’s the bottom line, and the message many congregations need to hear…

Keep Reading »


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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:

Rise and Fall Sermon Series

From the Description:

This single-week message looks at the rise and fall of the Tower of Babel. This story is full of themes relevant to our day, showing us the futile end of humanities best efforts to claim independence from God.

Check Out This Sermon Series »


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:






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.)


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