The Calvary Call
What We Do When We Do Sermon
I want to take the opportunity to lay out for you my personal approach to preaching, so that my sermons make the most sense and are most useful to you.
Many of us have grown up in church, and we take for granted things that an outsider would wonder about. Why do we preach? Every week? Let’s be honest, the very last thing some of us want to do at any time, but especially not early in the morning the day before the workweek begins, is listen to someone give a speech. And to make it worse, they give speeches about people and places that existed thousands of years ago in a land thousands of miles away. So, the question remains: why?
The answers begin and end with Jesus. We, as Christian people, believe and affirm that Jesus is God’s final and ultimate Word about himself, us, and the unfolding destiny of the world. And we affirm that the Bible is a single, unified story that leads us to Jesus and forms us to be citizens of his Kingdom. We hold in faith that God does actually speak to us through the Bible. The Bible’s not the only way God speaks, to be sure. But because the Bible is centered on Jesus, we know that what it says carries far more gravity and power than an experience or word any of us individually receive.
And so a good sermon is one where the preacher takes a passage, explains it, and demonstrates how it prepares us for Jesus or reminds us of Jesus. A good sermon does not only provide us with some handy facts about a certain scripture, it proclaims the fullness of the gospel from it, and speaks a word from God into the concrete situations in our lives.
Come to church expecting the Lord to speak to you from the Bible. We do it every week because we don’t all have ears to hear every week. Because different scriptures will hit each of us in different ways and at different times. You personally may not experience a red-hot living word from the Lord every Sunday, and that’s fine. We still come, trusting that the Holy Spirit will bring us the word of God through the sermon. And that person could be any of us, by the way, not just the ones who happen to have the title ‘pastor’ sitting in front of their names.
My approach to this task always begins with my own soul searching. What message am I hearing? What sins or failures of mine are laid bare? What hope lifts my soul to heaven? I want you to know that the things I say, I have needed to hear first. I am not interested in railing against aspects of your lives while pretending that I’m somehow further up the mountain. They say the ground is level at the foot of the Cross; it’s also level before the Word of God.
I also want to release you from any feelings of burden or guiltiness towards the applications that I offer. None of us can do even half the things suggested in sermons over the course of the year. I don’t think that the Lord expects that of us. Again, different scriptures hit each of us different ways at different times, we don’t all come with ears to hear on the same Sundays, we don’t all struggle with the same things. So, don’t think that Clayton or I have an expectation that you’re going to do all the things we say in sermons. You’ll know when it’s something the Spirit is directing you to do. And I expect him to address us, every time somebody gets up and opens the Word.
All committees and pastors are to submit their budget requests to the church office or the trustees by September 17th. If you have any questions, please see one of the trustees.
Threads, Hope & Love is in desperate need of boys’ jeans sizes 5 through 14. They are stocking school clothing for fall and have hardly any of the boys’ sizes. If you can help, please drop them off at Threads anytime. They can be set by the front staff door or our regular donations days are Tuesday and Wednesdays 11-6. Questions, call Cindy 309-303-0205.
You are invited to join us for our mission meal on September 24th. It will be a pasta meal. As always, we ask that you bring a side dish or dessert to share. The funds will go to the Snackpak program to feed children over the weekend and summer.
Please remember, while we have changed our name to Calvary Community Church, please continue writing checks to Calvary Evangelical Mennonite Church until we have our name changed with the bank.
As the Lord leads you, please bring in Canned Soup for the month of September and we will deliver it to WHIP.