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B Ordinary Time (early)

After Pentecost Sunday comes Ordinary Time, but this doesn't mean we're entering a season for mundane sermons! The lectionary use of "ordinary" refers to the word's Latin root which means items that are "ordered." Ordinary Time begins with Trinity Sunday and proceeds through several numbered weeks Proper 4, 5, 6... 26, 27, 28, finally finishing on Christ the King Sunday, right around Thanksgiving. This is such a long stretch of Sundays that I've divided it into two pieces. This first piece extends through Proper 14.

Ordinary Time Sundays have two sets of Old Testament readings. The first is a continuation of the "typological" set, meaning the Old Testament readings either compliment or contrast the gospel. The second set is a stream of "semi-continuous" readings, meaning the Old Testament scriptures works its way through a book or books in sequence. Lectionary preachers choose one or the other of these Old Testament paths or bounce between them.

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.



Trinity Sunday: Samson - Learning from a Bad Example

Isaiah 6.1-8, Judges 13-16

Thesis: Let’s do better than Samson, who broke his vows to God, wasted the gifts God gave him, and with Samson - Samson was always first. 

This is my repackaging of a sermon I heard preached in our local church in 1976. God used it to speak to my heart for the first time about changing careers from electrical engineering and business management to vocational Christian ministry. I kept the notes of that sermon and used them at New Life on one Sunday in 2003. I think you will find that it is still fresh teaching from the life of Samuel.

Proper 5: The Unforgivable Sin

Mark 3.20-30

Thesis: The only sin for which there is no forgiveness is looking at truth and calling it false long enough to eventually believe our lie, and looking grace in the face and calling it evil.

Sooner or later each one of us in ministry is faced with a parishioner who is concerned that they may have committed the unforgivable sin. This sermon is designed to deal with this question, and do it in a way that speaks deep into the heart and not just at the head.

Proper 6: The Truth about Us

1 Samuel 9-13

Thesis: God offers each of us a great assignment - but we must move through some baggage, exercise passionate initiative, and follow all the light we have when we have it.

This sermon uses events in the life of King Saul to communicate some deep truths to us. It draws an interesting analogy with President Abraham Lincoln's assessment during the Civil War about General McClellan. In that case, Lincoln diagnosed McClellan with a case of "the slows." At critical times, King Saul had the same disease. And so do some of us. This is a very straightforward sermon helping us see ourselves through the life of Saul. It's another case of "learning from a bad example," in this case - King Saul.

Proper 7: XTREME Prayers

Exodus 33, Mark 4.35-41. Moses sees God's glory and his ensuing conversation with God.

Thesis: For many of us it is time to move to a prayer of XTREME faith: teach me your ways, give me your presence, and show me your glory.

Some of us never mature beyond asking God to take care of us in one way or another. This sermon uses a prayer of Moses to illustrate a deeper form of prayer - one that leads to intimacy with God.

Proper 7: Living Through Storms

Mark 4.35-41. Jesus calms the storm.

Thesis: God’s power is REAL, INFINITE, UNMANAGEABLE, and COSTLY; that’s enough to get us through any storm.

This message describes Jesus' power. It also deals with the situation of a person who is in a storm wondering, "Where is Jesus when I need him? If he has all that power and he loves me as much as the pastor tells me he does, then why hasn't he quieted the storm already!?"

Proper 9: Jesus Offends Everyone Sometime

Mark 6.1-13. The people from Jesus' hometown, Nazareth, reject him.

Thesis: We are called to live like Jesus: attractive and at the same time selectively offensive.

This sermon is especially useful for two kinds of listeners: those who only want to share the pleasant stories about Jesus, and those who themselves are offended by some of the Jesus stories.

Proper 10: David Danced - How About You?

2 Samuel 6. The story of Daniel dancing with the priests as he brings the Ark into Jerusalem, and Michal's scorn of his dancing. (Another version of this story is in 1 Chronicles 15-16, which never appears in the lectionary)

Thesis: The primary purpose of our life is to worship God with every cubic inch of ourselves.

This sermon helps people understand that what is at the core of our weekly worship services is, indeed, worship. Worship from the heart; the kind of worship God loves. The sermon speaks to "reserved" people to loosen up a bit, and to appreciate those who have a more passionate worship style. And it does this without advocating chaos.

Proper 10: What Do We Do with God's Blessing?

Ephesians 1.1-14. 

Thesis: God gives those who trust in Jesus several general blessings in hopes we will live and testify with praise and glory to him.

This sermon unpacks Paul's list of the universal spiritual blessings. These are different from spiritual gifts, these are the spiritual blessings that every fully-devoted follower of Jesus can count on - in good and bad times. Notice that there is also a handout for the congregation.

Proper 12: The Grand Partnership

1 Peter 3.15... Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect... And John 6, where Jesus feeds the 5000.

This sermon uses two of my very favorite scriptures to encourage personal evangelism. The instruction in 1 Peter 3.15 is something I return to often; it frames my favorite style of communicating the Good News of Jesus in modern cultures. And every time I read John 6 it reminds me that I'm invited to the role of the young boy who offered his lunch to Jesus and in return became a Jesus' partner in mission. It wasn't much to offer, but what a joy that boy had seeing what Jesus did with his little lunch.

Proper 13-16: Powers of Darkness (a 4 sermon series)

For detail on this sermon series, please follow to the link.

Proper 14: Gossip, Slander, & Coarse Language

Ephesians 4.29, Leviticus 19.1-18

Thesis: God calls Christ followers to speech that is humble, true, and loving – this precludes gossip, slander, profanity and coarse language.

This is part of the Interactive Series on Character & Conduct in the New Life. It is a simple and direct Christian teaching on several forms of inappropriate speech:

  • Profane
  • Coarse (near profane)
  • Gossip
  • Lying
  • Slander
As you would expect, after unpacking the list the sermon helps the listener come up with a strategy to do better.



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