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B Lent

Here are preaching and study resources for Lent (Revised Common Lectionary, Year B). Lent is a season of reflection and growing deeper in personal holiness, and a season to prepare us for the Easter season. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for the following five Sundays, setting the stage for Palm Sunday and Easter.

This post includes a 5-sermon series built on Dallas Willard's Renovation of the Heart, a 4-sermon series on the built on Clinton Arnold's Powers of Darkness, and 4 stand-alone sermons. I selected these particularly for Lent, but they are useful on nearly any other Sunday, too.

In the listing below, clicking on a sermon title takes you to a Google Doc of the sermon notes. You can view/print these from any browser, or download the file in various formats (such as Word, RTF, or PDF). If you are using a version of Word prior to 2007 you may need to download it in RTF. Then it will open with most (if not all) the formatting intact.

You can also access any of these sermons from the Sermon Chart, which displays them in the context of the entire 3-year lectionary cycle. Browse down the second column until you see the lectionary season of interest. To access the sermon notes just click on the sermon title.

Not a lectionary preacher? You can change the Sermon Chart so that it lists the sermons in the order of the primary biblical text for each sermon. In the Sermon Chart, browse down to the chart and look at the right-hand column. Click on Sort: Ascending. Notice that many sermons list additional scriptures. If you want to find all entries for a particular biblical book from the whole list just use your browser's Find function. The top of the Sermon Chart web page explains the biblical text abbreviation system I use.

For more about the Revised Common Lectionary, click on Lectionary Basics and Lectionary Preaching.

Feel free to extract any ideas, outlines, or entire sermons from my site. That's what it is for. To subscribe to email or RSS notifications of new posts from this site, click IsbellOnline News.


Blessings,
Tim


Sermon Series for Lent

Renovation  A 5-sermon series

During Lent in 2006 I preached a 5-sermon series based on Dallas Willard's book: Renovation of the Heart. It is a very strong series so I am posting it for this year's Lent Season. Only 2 of the 5 Renovation sermons connects directly to the Year B Lent lectionary, but Lent is a great season for exactly this kind of spiritual formation material. This is great Christian holiness material, packaged in modern terminology.

In 2006, I wanted to time the Renovation series to end up on Palm Sunday so I preached a stand-alone Lent sermon on the first Sunday of the season, then started the series. If you want to use this schedule, please consider using some of the material from any of the stand-alone Lent sermons posted below.


Powers of Darkness A 4-sermon series (2-5 Lent)

I rarely preach/teach on this sort of topic, and to do this series required me to do a bit of research. The result is a very strong series and an understanding of the powers that I wish I had developed much earlier. This series that can connect to the lectionary in several places, including this season of Lent. For more on this one follow the link to the series.


Stand-Alone Sermons for Lent

1 Lent: But What About Noah's Neighbors!?

Genesis 6-9. The story of Noah.

Thesis: Despite how it at first appears in some Old Testament stories, God is fair and God is gracious, offering his Grace Plan to everyone.

This was a special Sunday when the children from our weekday Christian preschool played a role in the worship schedule. The preschool is full of unchurched children, so these sorts of Sundays are an opportunity to extend hospitality to them and to give them a snapshot of Christian faith. Most of our preschool families are first-generation Chinese immigrants, schooled in the sciences, but with family histories including some combination of Asian folk-religions (ancestor worship) and pure secularism.

My strategy on this occasion is to have the preschool children in early in the service, and as part of their time in worship to tell them the Noah story. Then after the children are excused I have time for a short adult message, designed especially for this special audience.


3 Lent: Making Decisions

Exodus 20.1-17 (The 10 Commandments) and 1 Corinthians 1 & 2.

Thesis: Sometimes making decisions is as simple as following the 10 commandments and other clear instructions in scripture; many times making good decisions also involves the counsel of other Christians and of the Spirit of Jesus.

This is a very practical sermon about a very important topic. While it takes a bit of a "light" approach, it very clearly gets at the issues of how we make decisions as Christians.


4 Lent: Sin, Snakes, and Salvation

John 3.1-17. Nicodemus story.

Thesis: I cannot earn a place in God’s Kingdom, but I can receive one - and I respond to this grace by adjusting my life.

This worship material includes a little Children's Lesson that serves as a primer on Lent. This block could prepend any sermon in the Lent season. It is also very appropriate for Martin Luther King day in February.

The sermon itself unpacks the Nicodemus story with an emphasis on the snake on the pole story in verses 14-15. It draws a parallel between this strange biblical reference and a technique Martin Luther King used in his sermon in Memphis during the garbage workers' strike. It also uses a clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as well as a couple more attention-getting stories. If nothing else, you may want to read this just to see how these stories can possibly fit into a sermon on Jesus interacting with Nicodemus.


5 Lent: The New Deal

Jeremiah 31.31-34. The Old Testament prophecy of the eventual coming of the New Covenant. Also heavily uses John 12.20-28.

Thesis: God offers each person a New Deal in Christ, and even wants us to offer it to others.

This sermon opens with some historical perspective on Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Then it moves to the parallel of God's New Deal delivered through Jeremiah. Finally the sermon unwraps God's New Testament New Deal, the New Covenant, as described in John 12.


Blessings,
Tim

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