Alive and active

I have been asked to preach in a few weeks on a particular passage from Ephesians. It is a passage that I spoke on a few years ago at my previous church.

The easiest thing to do would be to use my previous sermon and preach that again. But in reading the sermon and reading the passage again, different sections jumped out at me this time. This is not the first time this has happend to me.

My starting place with sermons is always prayer and asking God what He wants me to share. As a result of this certain words or ideas usually stand out over others. These make their way in to the final sermon.

Because I will be preaching at a different church to the one I Pastored, they have different needs and God might want to say something different to them. So I always try to be open to both the passage and the Holy Spirit.

As Pastors and preachers we need to remember the Word is God is alive and active. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

God’s Word never changes. It is eternal. But the focus that God wants us to bring to a particular church on a particular day may change due to where the church is at.

This is why I love preaching. It is always fresh and new each time and God always has something to say from His eternal Word to us.

Blessings,
Dave

Sermons page update

Hello all, I have just made an update to my sermons page. Previously I had a list of sermons by title and the most recent ones were at the top of the page.

I updated it just now to group them in to sermon series. Generally when I preach I like to preach in a series by working my way through a book of the Bible or in a series of messages with a series title.

With this change I think this will make it easier if you are looking for a sermon on a particular idea or book of the Bible.

Many of the sermons have the full text and audio. If you are interested you can find them here on my sermons page.

Blessings,
Dave

Who you are in Christ

One key foundation for us as Disciples of Christ is to know who you are and what you have in Christ. I mentioned this is previous posts earlier in the week.

Back in 1989 when I came to Christ, I had a very low, almost non-existent, self-esteem. I really thought I was a waste of space and not worth much at all.

Over time this changed to seeing myself through the lens of Scripture. I am now more interested in who God says I am, rather than the world or those around me say.

Every year that goes by I find my mind is being renewed more and more in this area. As a result I did a sermon for my church titled, “10 things God says about you in the Bible”. The summary points and verses are below.

  1. You are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27)
  2. You were chosen before the world was made (Ephesians 1:4-5)
  3. You were created and equipped for good works (Ephesians 2:10)
  4. You are adopted into His family (John 1:12)
  5. You have the Holy Spirit living inside you (Romans 8:11)
  6. You are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1)
  7. You are seated with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7)
  8. You were knit together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)
  9. You are truly loved by God (1 John 4:9-10)
  10. You are free in Christ (John 8:36)

To read the full message with text, audio and powerpoint you can find it here https://www.passionaustralia.org/whoyouare.html

Today I just want to remind you that God made you wonderful. You are amazing. You are special. You are loved. You are priceless in God’s eyes.

Blessings,

Dave

Sermon: Four lessons from Psalm 139

preaching

Hello all,

I recorded a sermon for podcast today. It was one I did several years ago for the church I was Pastor of. On the day we had a problem with our sound recording software. As a result I have been meaning to re-record it for my website.

The title is “Four lessons from Psalm 139”. If you are interested you can listen here, or read the full text here.

Blessings,
Dave

Preaching focuses for me

I have been thinking about some keys to preaching lately. Especially preaching to your audience and context. 

In my most recent church the congregation was a wide range of ages and most were mature Christians, but they did not have a Pastor for four years before I came. So I kept that in mind when preparing my sermons.

Here are some keys I tried to focus on.

1. Biblical – 95% of my messages were based on Bible passages. I aimed to do an introduction, read a passage, share 3-5 points from the text with cross references, summarise the main points and close in prayer. 

2. Brief – I found that 20 minutes was about right in my context. By the time I did the things above and prayed, most sermons were 20 minutes or 2000 words for me. Any longer than that I found that some people started to lose focus.

3. Powerpoint – I always used Powerpoint with the title of the message, the passage, the key points and verses and then the closing summary points. This seemed to help people with their notes and remembering.

4. Series – Preaching in a series or working your way through a Bible book was another key. Generally I would focus on one chapter a week. People knew if I did James 1 one week, then the next it would be James 2.

5. Website – One thing I did each week was to include the sermon text and audio on the church’s website. As I wrote full transcript the congregation could listen to or read the sermon again or catch up if they were away.

6. Fun – I tried to make the sermons fun. Sometimes I told a clean joke beforehand. Sometimes I threw out treats if people could remember my first point or a key fact. This got everyone involved.

7. Practical – my final key was to make it practical. Application points that we could reflect on and put into practice were key. I wanted to give people things that would help them follow Jesus in the church and in the community.

8. Communication – the heart of preaching is communicating. So sermons need to be sent by the preacher and received by the listeners. You can preach the best sermon in the world, but if the people are not getting something to take home, then you have missed the mark.

Preaching for me is a real blessing. It is hard work in the prayer-peration, but it is so good to be able to share God’s eternal Word with people and see their lives change.

Blessings,

Dave

For unto us

In today’s Christmas message I want to look at one verse from the Old Testament section of the Bible in the book of Isaiah. The verse comes from Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6.

It says, “For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

In this verse the baby Jesus is given four amazing titles. Today, I want to look briefly at these titles.

1. Wonderful Counselor

Wonderful Counselor – what a great title. I don’t know about you, but sometimes in this life I need a wonderful counselor. Like most of us, sometimes I just don’t know what to do and I need help.

It is great to know that I can pray to Jesus and ask for His wisdom and His guidance. When I do I find that before long the right path to take opens up. Not only is prayer a great way to find guidance, but also are Jesus’ words in the Bible. In His famous sermon on the mount we see there are so many great truths contained for everyday life. Timeless truth for how to live, how to relate to each other and how to relate to God.

So not only can we pray and receive direction from our wonderful counselor Jesus, but we can also read His words in the Bible.

2. Mighty God

The second amazing title in this passage is mighty God. In His time on earth Jesus showed His power and glory in the way He lived and interacted with those around Him. Shortly after the sermon on the mount, Jesus moved out into the world and did a number of amazing miracles.

In performing these miracles Jesus showed that mighty God is a title that sits well on Him. He healed the sick, drove out demons, calmed the storm and He even raised the dead. Jesus showed that He had power that is not of this world. He did things that no mortal man could do. He did things that only God could do.

At times in life when we feel weak and we don’t think we can do the things we need to do, it is great to know that we have Jesus we can call on for help and strength. The Bible tells is we can do all things through Christ who is our strength (Philippians 4:13). Mighty God is just a prayer away.

3. Everlasting Father

The third title is “Everlasting Father”. This title shows that Jesus is eternal. When I first got interested in reading the Bible in my early 20s, I thought that Jesus came into existence when He was born at Christmas time to Mary.

Before long I realised that Jesus was there at the creation of the world. He was around when Adam and Eve were created. He was around when Noah build his ark, He was around when Moses led the people of Egypt to freedom, He was around the great kings and prophets walked the earth. Then 2000 years ago He walked the earth to show us what God is like, to show us how to live, and ultimately to show us how much He loves us by dying on the cross for our sin. Now He has returned to heaven and He promises to come back for us one day.

Again, everlasting father is a wonderful title. It helps us to know that when we put our faith and trust in Jesus, we are not just trusting in a baby who grew into a man who walked the earth some 2000 years ago, but we are putting our faith in someone who is eternal and everlasting.

4. Prince of Peace

The final title in this verse is “Prince of peace”. Another great title that was given to Jesus. It doesn’t take much to see that the world desperately needs a prince of peace. When we read the newspaper in the morning or watch the nightly news we see peace is needed. At times it is easy to get overwhelmed by it all.

However, when I get troubled by world events like terrorism, wars, floods, earthquakes, famine and the like, I close my eyes and think about the prince of peace. The one who came from eternity, was born in a manger at Christmas, lived amongst us and gives us His peace.

In John 14:27 Jesus said these words to His troubled followers when they were afraid, “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.”

And in Philippians 4:7, the Apostle Paul who was one of the leaders in the early church said, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

If you want to experience true and lasting peace this Christmas, it is found in the prince of peace.

Closing

I want to wish you all a wonderfully happy, safe and blessed Christmas. It is my hope and prayer that this Christmas you will experience the love of the child with four amazing titles – the wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father and the prince of peace. Merry Christ everyone.