This year has been a weird one for all of us. From people stressing about their business survival to families not knowing if their kids would return to school, there’s been an uneasiness everywhere. This uneasiness has also found its place in my office. Take our preaching schedule, for instance. Normally, I plan an entire year of sermons the year before. This past year, I planned our 2020 preaching diet, in September, 2019. But, as this year has unfolded, we’ve made some very necessary adjustments. The Psalms series took on a different flavor and the same has been for the last couple of weeks. Our elders really felt that we needed to do a few things to speak to the current cultural moment. Also since we’ve had so many new folks coming, we wanted to make sure the gospel was clear; wanted our church to think through their spiritual disciplines; and next week, realize that we’re in a spiritual war, rather than battling flesh and blood.
As I prepared for this week, I was very mindful of so many of the “ironic” cultural moments. I mentioned several of them in the sermon: abortion clinics being open and churches being closed; gathering to worship Jesus is deemed a public hazard, while gathering in a protest is deemed honorable…but to be honest, there’s so many of these ironic issues that it literally makes your head spin.
Finally, before moving on…several folks asked me if I had watched a documentary on Netflix about social media to help me prepare for my sermon, because my sermon went hand-in-hand with it. My short answer is: I don’t have Netflix, so no, in case you were wondering.
A comment I regret:
In the early service, when I was talking about our cultural belief that gender is based on what you identify as, I gave an example that I really regret. I said that a man had identified a particular type of doll (not worth repeating), as a woman. As soon as I said it, I regretted it. It came across as crass, did not protect the ears of your children, and it shouldn’t have been said. If you were there and you heard it, I am very sorry.
The good thing is that I was able to make the adjustment in the second service and didn’t have this type of undisciplined mistake again.
Several years ago, as I was working on being a better counselor and reading about pastoral ministry, I came across an idea that has stuck with me: pastors/counselors are to prepare their people for the worst, while praying with them for the best. I have felt this burden over these past few months and it’s come out in my preaching.
On the one hand, I have felt strongly that we’ve needed to hear the message of hope. That is why the Psalms series was so good for us. All the guys who preached did a great job and my last 2 sermons on Psalm 42 and Psalm 2, were really aimed that direction.
But on the other hand, I have strongly felt that we, as Christians, need to do a good job of responding to this cultural moment. This is why in the last 2 sermons I have tried to give us principles to help us navigate through these challenging times.
And finally, the goal has been to prepare us while praying for the best. As I said in the sermon, we need to be prepared to field the wounded duck football punt. It really could go either way. And we need to be prepared for any number of wounded duck footballs landing on the cultural landscape. But, here’s the hope…either way it goes, the Lord God of the Universe, is still in control and has allowed it to go the way it goes.
This week, we’re going to look at the spiritual war that we find ourselves in. I will be preaching from Ephesians 6:10-18 and talking about seeing the battle appropriately. While it’s hard not to do this, we must see that our battle is not with flesh and blood (Nancy Pelosi or Mitch McConnell), but rather with spiritual forces in the heavenly places. Please be praying for this.
This past Saturday, I went to a meeting Glide with the church leaders. Those wonderful folks are still trying to get their heads wrapped around what might be needed moving forward. A couple of things were clear:
- It might be a few weeks before some folks can get on their property to begin the clean-up. The churches want to be organized enough, so that when the time comes, we’re ready to go.
- The Glide Revitalization/Glide Strong organization is a rock star in this whole thing. What they’ve done has been really amazing.
- I heard just this morning (Monday), that there are some homes, that survived, that will need help cleaning up in order to get back to their houses. We’ll know more by the end of the week.
So, all that to say, we will keep you updated, as needs come more to the forefront. And, if you want to volunteer to help, please let Christina Luther know at email@example.com.
From the Cheap Seats:
- Down 0-20 and 7-27, to win 40-39…I knew it was gonna happen.
- Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays this week on the all-time home-run leader list. He said that when he tied Mays last week, Mays sent him an email and a text message congratulating him. Then he said, Mays was not only a great ballplayer, but gives great advice. I love hearing a story like this. Here’s an older statesman, still giving advice to the next generation.
- The Dallas Stars! I only keep up with hockey when the Stars are winning, which hasn’t been very often lately:).
- If you’re into sports documentaries, let me recommend the Amazon Prime Series “Take us Home: Leeds United”. I’m new to the English Soccer scene. I love history and I love sports history. This doc has passion and history. It’s amazing.
To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.