[It’s only fair that I submit my own sermon for critique. This is the silent sermon that introduces my personal study on the Sermon on the Mount.] Matthew 5:1-12 The Sermon on the Mount. The Magna Carta of Christianity. Matthew 5, 6 and 7. I call it the Sermon of Sermons, for a sermon is a declaration of the gospel pointing to Jesus. And Jesus’ words in these three chapters are, in my observation, the greatest sermon pointing to Himself: the Sermon of Sermons.
HE HIMSELF IS OUR PEACE
Based on Ephesians 2:11-22
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians makes me feel like an ant. Here I am, walking around on the earth, dealing with the countless pressures of my everyday life. Projects at work that are running late. Debts that need to be paid. Things around the house that need to be fixed. Paying attention to how my wife and children are doing. Worries about our aging parents. Worries about this church, managing the building and wanting this congregation to prosper. I’m like an ant in rainstorm, getting pelted with huge raindrops. My little ant-world is flooding; I’m up to my neck in water, and I’m about to get swept away. When I try to pray, the only words that come to mind are:
God, what am I supposed to do?
My Jonah moment. I am reviewing Prophet on the Run for Cross Focused Reviews. It is a short, thorough and excellent practical commentary on Jonah by Baruch Maoz. I am enamored by it and highly recommend it. I am reminded of my first Jonah moment which occurred in the 1980s when I felt upset about two young men I was mentoring for several years. They were getting married with the blessing of our senior pastor. I thought, “These two young Christians need to prove themselves first, before enjoying matrimonial bliss!” Though I felt it was wrong to feel this way, I could not shake how I felt. I knew I was a Christian like Jonah who was unhappy when “certain people” were given grace, mercy, forgiveness and a godly wife (when I thought they needed to squirm a little more)! Continue reading →
Getting insightful and irenic feedback for my first two sermons in Deuternonmy (on Sin and Leadership) has been so much fun for me. Thanks! I learned a lot and I think your comments helped improve my sermon. Please feel free to critique my third sermon entitled Faith (Dt 2:1-3:29). My theme is that as sin brings consequences (chap. 1), faith pleases God (chap. 2-3). As disobedience brings discipline and God’s severity, faith expressed by obedience brings blessing. I am still in the process of formulating a conclusion, which often does not happen until Sun morning!
In my last article, I shared how Allen Clare introduced the Shepherding Movement of the 1970s and connected it to John Bevere’s 2001 book “Under Cover.” The foundational teaching in both the Shepherding Movement and Bevere’s book “Under Cover,” is the idea of delegated authority. As I introduce some main points presented in chapter three of Clare’s essay, I would ask you to ponder whether this style of ministry is common in UBF, and try to give your perspective in the comments section.
I have very good news. One of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, rediscovered his faith in Christ. He wrote What the Dog Saw, Outliers, Blink, Tipping Point and David and Goliath. I love this author because he is a true journalist and looks at the phenomena of the world without bias and prejudice. He looks for patterns and is not afraid to apply his findings from the beginning to the end. Many of his discoveries go against the ideas of society. For example, his book Outliers undermines the American definition of success. He claims it is not simply about hard work day in and day out; it is also about being born in the right place and right time. He is a superb writer and has refreshing perspectives on many subjects. Really everything and anything can be any interesting with a good writer/critical thinking. Continue reading →
This is a record third post in a day! After learning much from critiques of my sermon on Sin, here is my next sermon on Leadership (Dt 1:9-18) for this Sun. Do also evaluate my laissez faire leadership at West Loop (WL) UBF: Since our inception in 2008, all things WL have been delegated to our 11 WL families. Because of countless stewards and leaders, God has allowed me to spend my time with my head in the clouds! Basically, everyone does everything at WL, and I do whatever I want!! By God’s mercy, what I want may be reading, studying, thinking, praying, contemplating, preparing, problem solving, writing, blogging, emailing, planning, teaching, preaching, and finally……annoying others from time to time unintentionally!
Sorry to post this the same day as your movie post Ben, but I’m a late-night TV sinner not a movie sinner like you :) I couldn’t resist sharing this Top 10 List after our discussions this week. So drum roll please…
This is for fun, since the 2014 Oscar nominations were announced today. But rest assured I am seriously engaged in the present discussions about The Shepherding Movement and UBF. I look forward to reading Big Bear’s book, The Year The World Ended. And I learned much from Joe and Brian critiquing my Deuteronomy 1 sermon on Sin. Here are my predictions, though I have not seen all the movies: Continue reading →
There is a book making rounds among many churches by John Bevere called “Under Cover: The Promise of Protection Under His Authority.” It’s been some time since I left UBF, but I certainly do have heart for the many individuals that remain in this ministry, not to mention the many new believers whose first Bible study takes place in UBF. In this series I am simply going to present several short articles going through Allan Clare’s review of the “Shepherding Movement” from the 1970’s and its connection with John Bevere’s 2001 book “Under Cover.”
Continue reading →