Posts filed under Sermon Follow Up

Sermon Follow Up: Why Read the Bible

What are some things you might do every day or nearly every day in the coming year? Eat? Brush your teeth? Exercise? Listen to music? Watch TV (youtube, netflix)? Read (books, blogs, email, facebook, twitter)?

This past Sunday I preached on 2 Timothy 3:14-17, “Why Read the Bible?”, encouraging all Proclamation members to develop (or continue) the habit of daily reading the Bible in 2016 using the same Bible reading plan: the discipleship journal through the Bible in a year plan.

The Bible is worth reading. It is worthy of your time.

In 2 Timothy 3 we learn that we can benefit from reading the Bible in at least three ways:

1. The Bible is God’s appointed means of saving us and making us more like Jesus.

…and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. -2 Timothy 3:15

2. The Bible is God’s appointed means of speaking to his people.

All Scripture is breathed out by God…-2 Timothy 3:16

3. The Bible is God’s appointed means of equipping us for every good work.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3:16-17

I would encourage all of you to join us in using the same plan to read the Bible in 2016.

WHY USE THIS PLAN? 

1. Community
It will enable us all to read from the same passages in the Bible at the same time and we can learn together and ask our questions together and share with one another what we are learning. We can also incorporate passages into our gathered worship services on Sundays.

2. Variety
This plan has you reading from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Gospels every day throughout the year.

3. Flexibility
This plan is easy to customize. You can use anywhere from 1 to 4 of the bookmarks and take from 1 to 4 years to read through the Bible. This allows everyone, even the smallest child, to participate.
If you can read, you can begin this plan (the Gospels bookmark is the shortest). You can also read to your children, perhaps using a bookmark as part of your family worship.

4. Buffer Days
Each month has only 25 readings, so you can miss days and not fall behind.

5. Don’t use this plan if you already have a plan that you are using and that has worked well for you.

HOW TO USE THIS PLAN

1. Make a plan: having a time and place to read each day will help.

2. Dig: Read the passages for each day

3. Digest: Think and pray about what you are reading
    It may help to journal or write down a verse or thought each day.Write down any questions           you have of the text (anything you don’t understand).                                                                         Ask/answer these questions:

    What does it teach about God (Father, Son, Spirit)?

    What does it each about me/people?

    How should I respond (repent, believe, praise, thanks, worship, etc)?

    Who can I tell?

4. Declare: (begin talking with others about what you are learning)

5. Delight:

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. -Psalm 19:10

WHY READ THE BIBLE?

Our aim is not to be successful in a new year’s resolution or simply complete a plan or check of a box. It is not to simply finish.

Our aim is to feed our faith as we seek God in his word. It is to be made more like Jesus and hear God speak and be equipped for every good work. I hope you will join us!

 

Posted on December 30, 2015 and filed under Sermon Follow Up.

Sermon Follow Up

I closed the sermon this past Sunday by quoting (with some minor edits) from a sermon by Dr. S. M. Lockridge (1913-2000) entitled “That’s My King”:

Transcript of the original below (HT: David Reimer):

“My King” – Dr. S.M. Lockridge

My King was born King.

The Bible says He’s a Seven Way King.
He’s the King of the Jews — that’s a racial King.
He’s the King of Israel — that’s a national King.
He’s the King of righteousness.
He’s the King of the ages.
He’s the King of Heaven.
He’s the King of glory.
He’s the King of kings
and He is the Lord of lords.

Now that’s my King. Well I wonder if you know Him.
Do you know Him?

Don’t try to mislead me.
Do you know my King?

David said the Heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament showeth His handiwork.
My King is the only one whom there are no means of measure can define His limitless love.
No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supplies.
No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing.

Well, well,
He’s enduringly strong.
He’s entirely sincere.
He’s eternally steadfast.
He’s immortally graceful.
He’s imperially powerful.
He’s impartially merciful.
That’s my King.

He’s God’s Son.
He’s the sinner’s savior.
He’s the centerpiece of civilization.
He stands alone in Himself.
He’s august.
He’s unique.
He’s unparalleled.
He’s unprecedented.
He’s supreme.
He’s pre-eminent.

Well, He’s the loftiest idea in literature.
He’s the highest personality in philosophy.
He’s the supreme problem in higher criticism.
He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology.
He’s the cardinal necessity of spiritual religion.
That’s my King.

He’s the miracle of the age.
He’s the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him.

Well, He’s the only one able to supply all of our needs simultaneously.
He supplies strength for the weak.
He’s available for the tempted and the tried.
He sympathizes and He saves.
He’s strong God and He guides.
He heals the sick.
He cleanses the lepers.
He forgives sinners.
He discharges debtors.
He delivers the captives.
He defends the feeble.
He blesses the young.
He serves the unfortunate.
He regards the aged.
He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek.
Do you know Him?

Well, my King is a King of knowledge.
He’s the wellspring of wisdom.
He’s the doorway of deliverance.
He’s the pathway of peace.
He’s the roadway of righteousness.
He’s the highway of holiness.
He’s the gateway of glory.
He’s the Master of the mighty.
He’s the Captain of the conquerors.
He’s the Head of the heroes.
He’s the Leader of the legislators.
He’s the Overseer of the overcomers.
He’s the Governor of governors.
He’s the Prince of princes.
He’s the King of kings and He’s the Lord of lords.

That’s my King. Yeah. Yeah.
That’s my King. My King, yeah.

His office is manifold.
His promise is sure.
His light is matchless.
His goodness is limitless.
His mercy is everlasting.
His love never changes.
His word is enough.
His grace is sufficient.
His reign is righteous.
His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Well. I wish I could describe Him to you,
but He’s indescribable.
He’s indescribable. Yeah!

He’s incomprehensible.
He’s invincible.
He’s irresistible.

I’m trying to tell you,
the heavens of heavens cannot contain Him,
let alone a man explain Him.
You can’t get Him out of your mind.
You can’t get Him off of your hand.
You can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him.

Well, Pharisees couldn’t stand Him,
but they found out they couldn’t stop Him.
Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him.
The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree.
Herod couldn’t kill Him.
Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him.

That’s my King. Yeah!

He always has been and He always will be.
I’m talking about He had no predecessor
and He’ll have no successor.
There was nobody before Him
and there’ll be nobody after Him.
You can’t impeach Him
and He’s not gonna resign.
That’s my King! That’s my King!

Thine, Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.
Well, all the power belongs to my King.
We’re around here talking about black power and white power and green power,
but it’s God’s power. Thine is the power.

Yeah.
And the glory.
We try to get prestige and honor and glory for ourselves,
but the glory is all His. Yes.
Thine is the Kingdom
and the power and the glory,
forever and ever
and ever
and ever.

How long is that?
And ever and ever and ever and ever.
And when you get through with all of the forevers,
then, Amen.

 

Posted on October 27, 2015 and filed under Sermon Follow Up.

Sermon Follow Up

Nathan Lino has an interesting post over at For the Church which fits in nicely with Troy's last couple of sermons from the book of Mark:

It is curious that we as believers take no time to think about how to listen to a sermon. In fact, it makes no sense.

One would think we’d be naturally motivated to learn how to develop the spiritual discipline of listening to a sermon. Even just for a very practical, utilitarian reason–to not waste our time. Get this: If you attend Sunday morning worship 45 out of the next 52 Sundays, that is 45 x 40 minute sermons. That is 1,800 minutes or 30 hours of sermons; a significant amount of your time. If you are an adult that has been in church for many years you have spent hundreds of hours of your life sitting through sermons. Just the sheer amount of time we spend listening to sermons should at least spark curiosity in us about how to listen to a sermon effectively.

But of course, there is a far greater motivation for a believer to want to listen to a sermon well: the fact that we know preaching is God’s design and a great gift of His to us. We find it in passages like 1 Corinthians 1:20-25, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Ephesians 4:7-16, and 2 Timothy 4:1-5: Christ’s appointed shepherd, delivering a message from God’s Word to God’s gathered people, all under the anointing and power of God. Natural or unnatural, easy or difficult, we know at a basic Christian level that regularly sitting under the preaching ministry in our Sunday morning services is God’s plan and a great gift from Him.

Listening to a sermon is a learned discipline that can be developed in you.

So listen: if we know this is God’s plan for us and we are going to spend countless hours doing it, why wouldn’t we want to get really good at it? What if I told you listening to a sermon is a learned discipline that can be developed in you and will maximize the effect of preaching upon your life?

Here are some pointers to get you going:

First, just knowing that listening to a sermon is a spiritual discipline that must be developed is a game changer. This tells you it’s ok if you struggle to concentrate listening to a monologue for forty minutes; it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It also tells you that it is possible for you to develop the ability to listen to a sermon well. But, this also tells you that if you don’t put forth effort to work at it, you won’t ever develop the ability to concentrate through a sermon.

Second, I preach through books of the bible. So, most Sundays, you know in advance what passage I’ll be preaching from. Take a few moments during the week to read the text and familiarize yourself with it so you aren’t starting from scratch when the sermon starts. The more ambitious could even do a little research and bone up on some background information on the passage.

Third, pray in advance for the sermon time. Preaching is a very spiritual phenomenon: God revealed through Christ revealed through the Scriptures revealing a particular message through His appointed, earthly messenger to a particular audience on a particular Sunday. It is a highly spiritual phenomenon and if you don’t approach it spiritually, you won’t experience its full effect upon your life. So, in advance, pray for the Holy Spirit to give me His message for NEHBC and to help me deliver it. Pray for the congregation and yourself to hear and understand it. We need the message delivered effectively and we need the message received effectively. Both require the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

Fourth, know your learning style and prepare for the sermon time accordingly. Here are some examples of how I do it: I am easily distracted by people around me. So, my solution is to sit in the very front and center of the room. Even when Nicole and I were 22 year old newlyweds without children, we sat in the exact same seats as lay people in the church to which we belonged in North Carolina that we sit in as lead pastor couple now: second row, front and center. If my pastor has a message for me from God, I want to be able to concentrate, which for me means sitting up front. I also know my mind wanders; a laser like focus I do not have. My mind resembles the attention span of a Labrador puppy more than a King Cobra. So, my solution is to take notes when I listen to a sermon. By taking notes, it forces me to concentrate more, and it keeps my mind on message.

Finally, here is a basic technical aspect of a sermon that can help you focus: a sermon has a “big idea;” a main, central truth or principle. Everything the preacher says is going to be about that principle: he will show it to you in the text and then flesh it out, argue for it, defend it, apply it, etc. Different preachers use different approaches to showcasing the big idea of the sermon. Some build up to it as the sermon unfolds so it doesn’t come out until later in the sermon, or some announce it at the beginning of the sermon and then unpack it as the sermon goes along–you know, the whole “tell them what you are going to say, say it, then tell them what you told them” approach to teaching. Here’s a tip for finding the central truth of the sermon: generally, it is a sentence that the preacher keeps saying repeatedly for emphasis. Once you find it, write it down, and lock it down in your mind. Everything the preacher says in the sermon is about this one main, central truth or principle. Knowing this, go into the sermon seeking the big idea–this will really help you concentrate and understand Christ’s message to you.

Posted on May 20, 2015 and filed under Sermon Follow Up.