Behind the Scenes: Preparing Sermons

From time to time, I will do what I’m going to call “Behind the Scenes” blog posts where I’ll share a process or piece of information that is more “how” we do things or what goes into them. While the practitioner may find this more valuable than others, I do hope there is some appeal, especially if you’re a curious “how do they do that?” kind of person.

So I had a few ask about the process I go through to prepare sermons/ messages and where I come up with the angles/ applications in messages. If that is of interest to you, well then, read on!

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Relationships are worth it

I am surprised by how many of us settle for relationships that are broken, strained or absent. While I know that every situation is unique and the pain is very real, it’s hard to see years and years go by with the phrase, “it is what it is” as our mantra. Sin and sinful choices bring brokenness to relationships. But God’s plan and design for health is still possible as we turn to Him. I also find great hope in simple steps taken in the right direction bringing about significant change.

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A Christian family has greater potential

Ok so my view is somewhat limited and influenced by where I am. I am a pastor, I have spent a good deal of my life around churches and church people. I have lots of friendships with Christians. And since this month we are teaching through some passages on the family, I thought I would share an observation. While I believe many people have good intentions, I am surprised how infrequently we invite Christ into our Christian families. What I mean, and to be fair I mostly see this when conflict arises, is that our “go-to” when things get tough is to try harder, find a friend, find a book or get counseling. Now before I go any further, let me clarify something: I love Christian community and Godly friends, I have been radically impacted by some amazing books and I’ve benefitted quite well by Godly counselors who steered me in the right direction. So I am not saying those things aren’t helpful and part of God’s redemptive workers, but do we go to Jesus first? Do we open the Bible and seek counsel? Do we review what we already know about God and His Word and check if we’ve wandered or become lax on some of it? Are we on our faces in prayer, pleading with God to step in and work? Family was God’s idea and He desires to bring about good things.

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Misunderstanding Freedom

In our culture today there is great misunderstanding of freedom, particularly when it comes to the Bible and God’s commands/ call. Many will look at the Bible and say, “how constricting! you don’t own me! how dare you or that was written thousands of years ago, it doesn’t count today!” Many of these comments are based on a flawed assumption — the assumption is that freedom is the absence of rules. For one to be truly free, some would say, means that they aren’t held back by anything. This belief is further fueled by the assumption that all commands and rules are meant to keep us from something good. Now as I write that sentence, many might push back because logically, we know that’s not true. The rule to not murder is there to protect others from harm, but the murder could say, you’re holding me back from something I want to do. Now that’s an extreme example, but the point is that not all rules/ commands are meant to hold us back from something good. And logically most people (if they’re not crazy) could agree with that. However, emotionally, irrationally we forget that when it seems to matter most. Whether because we don’t understand the command or we don’t understand the command giver. This is a critical thing to grasp particularly in our culture today and I believe if we could understand the truth it would, as Jesus said, set us free.

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