Of course, moving to being an experienced Pastor, this has both been Spirit-led and directed, along with premeditation on my part. This past week we had a Mid-Year Tune Up 2-night revival. One of my old preaching mentors, Rev. James R. Miller, shared with us last Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Monday night. Our congregation was tremendously blessed. More than this, God sent us just what we needed, both in terms of encouragement (as we seek to move forward for the rest of the year) and instruction. Rev. Miller has blessed me and us in more ways than I am sure he even knows, as Pastor and people.
I began a series yesterday in First Peter. I've been flirting with the idea of going through this great Petrine epistle for over a year; and I just decided to finally 'jump'. Typically, I don't start a new series like this in the Summer; but it started off great. I pray that it grows our congregation, as it has and is growing me personally and devotionally.
My greatest challenge has been to grow in the area of my study of the Word of God, as well as my private devotion. In my sermonic preparation, I am trying to glean from what I've learned several weeks ago at the E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference, and trying to have the bulk of my sermon done by Tuesday, and written out in manuscript form by Wednesday. While this has been only a slight change (last year I've tried to complete my sermon manuscript by Friday morning, 8am), it has been a challenge because my preaching has moved entirely to working harder to frame and construct as much of my own sermon skeleton and content, with utilizing a plethora of resources, documenting my sources. Over the years, I became 'lazy', and utilized some 'sources' that really gave me time to simply deal with the surface elements of textual study, without digging deep in the wells of the Word, FOR MYSELF. With this change, and wanting to publish, much of my preparation and manuscript writing is now being re-framed and re-formed.
Here is my outline:
Subject/Title: When Following Jesus Seems to Wreck Your World
Scripture: 1 Peter 1:1-2
The Big Idea: How God's people stay on course when following Christ brings pain and calamity, conflict in this world.
I. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE IN THIS WORLD OF CONFLICT
1. You are Special to God – “elect”
a. Israel, the chosen people of God (Isa. 43:20-21)
b. Church, the chosen community (Gal. 6:16)
2. You are Strangers to the World – “strangers” or “exiles”
a. The example of Abraham (Heb. 11:8-13)
b. The experience of Christians (Heb. 13:13-14)
3. You are Scattered to Serve – “Diaspora” or “Dispersion”
II. LEARN HOW TO HOLD YOUR HOPE IN A HOSTILE WORLD
1. The Word of the Father
a. Choosing to reveal Himself as Father
b. Choosing to redeem His people as Children
2. The Work of the Son
a. The shedding of His blood
b. The sprinkling of His blood (Exod. 24:3-8)
3. The Work of the Spirit
a. Sanctification—an accomplished fact (1 Cor. 6:11)
b. Sanctification—a progressive necessity (2 Cor. 3:16-18)
III. KEEP STANDING RIGHT SIDE UP EVEN WHEN YOUR WORLD IS UPSIDE DOWN
Thankful for the souls who came forward. And I am looking forward to continuing on with 1st Peter 1:3 this coming Sunday.