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Interactive Preaching & More Sermons

posted Jul 29, 2011, 6:26 AM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Sep 24, 2014, 7:28 AM ]
Tim Isbell, July 2011 

Here are several sermons from Genesis, Exodus, Matthew and 1 Peter that fit anywhere in the Christian calendar.  If  you are a lectionary preacher, you'll notice that they fit Year A Propers 13-16.   You can find the details at the Sermon Chart (just scan down the first column for Lection Week #s A33 through A38).  If you look through these, I'm sure you'll find some things to use in upcoming messages.  One of these is an Interactive Sermon.

Click on Interactive Preaching to learn more about this concept.  One of the sermons in this post is an example of an Interactive Sermon; it labeled: "Peoples' Sermon" (see below).  Several months ago I posted another example, "Gossip, Slander and Coarse Language," which you can find in the Sermon Chart. 

Proper 13 (7/31/2011): Abundance Mentality

Matthew 14.1-21 (Feeding the 5,000)

Thesis:   The mentality in God’s Kingdom is not one of scarcity, it is one of abundance.

This sermon starts by unpacking the passage preceding Jesus feeding the 5,000.  That included receiving the news that Herod Antipas kept a foolish oath and broke a great law in beheading John the Baptist.  When Jesus tries to get some privacy, probably to process this loss, he is followed by a crowd.  Instead of ignoring them or chasing them away like many of us might do, he healed the sick and fed all the people.  It's an example of life in the Kingdom.  The abundant life goes on even during hard times.  Jesus' example is a good one for us.

Proper 13, (7/31/2011): A Time to Surrender

Genesis 32 (Jacob wrestles with God)

Thesis:  Like Jacob, we often must surrender to the Lord before we expect to receive the Lord’s blessing.

This sermon ties Jacob's story to my personal experience that preceded launching the Chinese congregations at New Life.  In the process of this venture I realized that in some key ways my personality resembles Jacob's.  Like Jacob, I had to wrestle with God over a problem for a long time, then give up, only to then see God bless us with precisely what I had striven so hard to get.

Proper 14, 8/7/2011: Peoples' Sermon

Scriptures from Year A, Proper 13

Thesis:   The Lord sometimes speaks through the congregation to the congregation. 

The days leading up to this Sunday, and especially this Sunday itself, are a time of inviting the Lord to speak through the congregation to the congregation.  A Peoples' Sermon Sunday is not my time to transmit, but it's my time to facilitate the Lord speaking through his people.  So I give the congregation the scriptures the Sunday before and encourage them to read, reflect, and wait on the Lord to speak to them through these scriptures.  Then they are invited to come and preach the Peoples' Sermon themselves.  For more on this, click on Interactive Preaching.

Proper 14, (8/7/2011): Surviving an Imperfect Family

Genesis 37 (The story of Jacob's family, especially the brothers selling Joseph into Egyptian slavery and its aftermath.)

Thesis:  In this life we may not get a special robe in this life, but in the life to come all God’s children get a robe designed just for them!

This sermon leans on a section in John Ortberg's book, If You Want On Water You Have To Get Out of the Boat.  It connects extremely well with listeners who came from an imperfect family which is still causing difficulty.  It also provides some indirect parenting advice to parishioners - both by highlighting Jacob's dysfunctional parenting and by the wonderful parenting available to us as adopted sons and daughters of God.

Proper 15, (8/14.2011): Praying Through God's Silence

Matthew 15.21-28 (The faith of the Gentile woman)

Thesis:  Sometimes God is silent in the presence of our prayers for a long, long time.  But eventually he will break the silence.

This sermon deals with that difficult scripture where a Gentile woman comes to Jesus and he responds with cold silence, and then harsh words.  We don't like to read about Jesus treating the woman this way; and we don't like it when we feel like he's treating us this way.  If this strikes your curiosity, I hope you'll read the sermon.

Proper 15, (8/14/2011): Suffering

1 Peter 4.1 and Genesis 45.1-15

Thesis:  This sermon uses Judah’s willingness to suffer for Benjamin as an illustration of 1 Peter 4.1, “For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you are ready to stop sinning.” 

This sermon leverages heavily off lessons God taught me through my own suffering experience: a life-threatening heart attack in 2005.

The only place 1 Peter shows up in the lectionary is Holy Saturday, so it seldom gets preached.  But God spoke to me through this passage in a very critical time in my own suffering.  So in late summer 2005 when this Genesis passage came along in the lectionary, and 1 Peter was still so fresh in my mind, God connected  them.  So I preached them together on Proper 15.  When you are ready to preach on suffering, give this sermon a read.  If you are suffering, this sermon will help you.

Proper 16 or 17, (8/21 or 8/28): Life's Inflection Points

Exodus 1-4 (A fresh look at the Moses story)

Thesis:  God loves to come to ordinary people living ordinary lives and inviting them to make a decision, which if followed results in another of life’s inflection points.

This sermon is quite a different framework than most of my others.  It interrupts scripture with preaching, looking especially at how God interrupts ordinary days with an invitation to act.  This phenomena is all through the Bible, but even Christians who read the Bible are often skeptical that God still does this.  He does.