Tag Archives: sermons

So, there’s no point in listening to sermons?

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Stay in bed on Sunday mornings, folks. Just read the Bible and whatever you make of it is cool.

Sunday morning sermon prep

Sermon prep for the congregation:

Pastor Matt Chandler demonstrates healthy leadership and genuine wisdom

Pastor Matt Chandler has done evangelical and Reformed leaders a huge service, if they’ll pay attention to what he recently said.

In a recent sermon, Chandler admitted that church discipline had not been handled properly, and he asked forgiveness. As you read the list of things for which he asked forgiveness, consider the implications of each one:

  • Will you forgive us where our counsel turned into control?
  • Will you forgive us where we failed to recognize the limits and scope of our authority?
  • Will you forgive us where we allowed our policies and process to blind us to your pain, confusion and fears?
  • Will you forgive us where we acted transactionally rather than tenderly?
  • Will you forgive us where we failed to recognize you as the victim and didn’t empathize with your situation?

I haven’t been this encouraged by the words of evangelical and/or Reformed teachers in a long, long time.

Chandler gets it. Even if he and his elders really messed up, Chandler is admitting it, apparently making it right, and showing the way forward.

That is leadership.

I’m sure some people could accuse me of consistently negative comments about Christian leaders.

But I don’t want people to pay for their sins. I want people to make real changes that will prevent many bad situations from happening.

I want good leaders instead of bad leaders. I want humane leaders instead of ideological leaders.

I want leaders who know how to leave bad ideas, policies, and practices behind.

If leaders are too frozen in their dogmatic perspectives or too in love with their reputations to remain humble and open to concerns and warnings, then the second best thing I can do is point out their contradictions, failings, and secrecy in hopes of keeping others away from their ministries.

All humans have failings, and all wolves have fangs.

Sure, I’m just a tiny bit of plankton in the Internet Ocean, but I have to yell when I see people being misled and manipulated.

Matt Chandler’s recent sermon encourages me. He shows us all that he’s willing to place his flock above his ego.

Isn’t that Christ-like? To lay down oneself for others?

Matt Chandler also startles me into realizing that real leadership and insight still exist in some evangelical/Reformed churches.

Fraternity Rebuts Claims from Rolling Stone Rape Story

Here’s what happens when you make too quick an interpretation and appropriation of facts. Political and religious movements of all stripes could learn from this:

If you believe something to be true or believe something to be a trend, you’re at risk of accepting any and all accounts that fit your beliefs.

You could be generally right — but you need to consider the possibility that not every account is accurate or true.

A former newsroom colleague of mine used to say she was concerned that some article ideas were “commit[ting] sociology.” In other words, being too sweeping in their perspectives.

And in many sermons and many news reports, I hear sweeping sociological statements that capture sentiments and anxieties rather than realities.

In sermons, watch out for the royal “we.”

In news reports, watch out for lead-ins that include “some experts say” or “has some leaders saying.”

TIME

A University of Virginia fraternity issued a broad denial Friday of a Rolling Stone story that depicted a gang rape occurring at its house, just as the magazine itself cast doubt on the story’s credibility.

Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity where a woman called “Jackie” said she was raped, pointed to what it called a number of factual errors with the story. It said it didn’t host a party the night of the alleged rape and that none of its members at the time were employed at the campus pool, where Jackie said her fraternity date that night worked.

MORE: The sexual assault crisis on American campuses

“We have no knowledge of these alleged acts being committed at our house or by our members,” the fraternity said in a statement. “Anyone who commits any form of sexual assault, where or whenever, should be identified and brought to justice.”

Rolling…

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Mark Driscoll past rebukes Mark Driscoll future, gives grounds for his own dismissal from Mars Hill Church ministry

On March 27, 2011, Pastor Mark Driscoll preached a sermon at the Mars Hill Church Ballard campus in Seattle.

I had searched “Mark Driscoll” and the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 17, after thinking about Jesus’ warning in the first two verses: And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. It’s also worth noting the slightly different wording in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 18, verse 6, which adds a shade of meaning, essentially implying that “little ones” are any believers in Jesus.

The following excerpt of the sermon, which on its own merits is quite good, is striking in light of the recent formal complaint filed by 21 former pastors in Driscoll’s organization.

Number Two, how are you leading others into temptation? This may even be, in light of the context, of controversy and conflict, you compelling them toward raging, anger, escalation. You could do this through gossip, through antagonizing, through goading them on, leading them toward temptation. Now, they are responsible for their sin, but you are responsible for your participation in the temptation…. Sin should not come through you. Don’t be an agent of the devil, leading others toward temptation to sin.

Compare some of what Driscoll said there with the list of offenses in the formal charges. I mean, if Driscoll-past isn’t rebuking Driscoll-future, then maybe I can’t understand plain old American English.

For broader context, watch a 7-minute video excerpt of the sermon here:

Dealing With Your Sin Luke 17:1-10 from jway242003 on GodTube.

Also see:
“When your pastor is worse than ‘worldly’ — what’s Mars Hill Church to do?”
“Is the Mars Hill Church board lying for Pastor Mark Driscoll? Or just using weasel words”
“Pastor Mark Driscoll teaches you how to slander!”

Two outstanding recent sermons

I especially appreciated these two sermons:

Iain Boyd on “The Discipline of Hope.”

Rob Sturdy on “The Humiliation of the Son of God.”

Click the links to watch.