Why did we end up talking about grief in our Sunday sermon?

Last Sunday morning, I was preaching on 2 Samuel 1. One of the key themes that came through during the sermon was “grief and mourning.” How and why did we end up talking about grief?  For me, this highlights the beauty of sequential, expository preaching. Would I have chosen to preach this passage if I was just choosing my own passage each week or selecting a series of topics to look at? Probably not, and we would have missed so much. However, we were constrained by an expository approach to look at a passage together and that’s how the application came out.  So, here are three things we might have missed if we didn’t have expository preaching. Continue reading

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Reflections on grief

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

In our sermon notes on 2 Samuel 1, we started with a few examples of “fallen heroes.” This got me thinking about the different ways that we grieve.  I want to highlight 4 ways here. Continue reading

Why Marriage is Permanent

In Matthew 19, some people ask Jesus about the circumstances in which divorce is possible. Jesus basically tells them that they’ve got it all wrong. Marriage is not a contract which you can choose to end at a given point and so they shouldn’t be looking for the get out clauses. The only reason when a divorce can come into play is when one party has committed sexual immorality.  In other words, it is only when the person has been unfaithful. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul gives us a bit more expansion on that when he describes circumstances where an unbelieving partner deserts the marriage. Continue reading

Pastors, Megachurches and Eugene Peterson

Buried in the middle of Eugene Peterson’s recent interview and lost amongst the controversy about his position on same-sex marriages is an equally important little quote when he talks about mega-churches

“I think the thing that’s most disturbing is the megachurch because megachurches are not churches. My feeling is that when you’re a pastor, you know the people’s names. When 5,000 people come into the church, you don’t know anybody’s name.

I don’t think you can be a pastor with just a bunch of anonymous people out there. In the megachurch, well, there’s no relationship with anybody. I think the nature of the church is relational. If you don’t know these people that you’re praying with and talking with and listening to, what do you have? I feel pretty strongly about that.

Now, there’s a lot of innovation in the church, and overall, I can’t say I’m disheartened. I’m just upset by the fad-ism of the megachurch, but I just don’t think they’re churches. They’re entertainment places.”[1] Continue reading

The Lies we believe about Creation

What we believe affects how we live. This includes what we believe about four key things:

  • God
  • Creation
  • Us
  • New Creation

We are now going to take some time to look at what we believe about Creation. We’re going to do this in four parts: Continue reading

Culprits, Victims and Faithful Believers: Exegeting the Congregation

I’ve used this phrase a couple of times on faithroots.net so I want to take a little bit of time to talk about what I mean by it. I think it is so important for those of us who want to teach God’s Word faithfully. We want to get the content and the tone of our application right. Continue reading

Singing in the midst of suffering – the reality for urban churches

On Sunday, we looked at Revelation 15-16 and we saw that God’s people are seen here singing, even though they have been suffering terrible persecution and living in a world under judgement. Our main application was that we could “sing even when suffering.”  By this we did not merely mean the ability to join in on a Sunday but singing as representing an expression of joy, trust and hope in the Lord throughout the work demonstrated by how we act and what we say, particularly about the gospel.

We noted two challenges to this:

1.       It may seem easier for those who have already come through the other side to “sing” than for those of us still in the midst of life’s troubles

2.       It is hard to have that sense of joy and hope when what we want to do is seek vengeance for what others have done.

Now, let’s be blunt, the second item is not trivial or light. I realise that when I preach a message of this kind there are people who will have experienced deep and painful suffering and abuse. A congregation may include: Continue reading