Friday, January 18, 2008

A new series

I recently read a book on the nuts and bolts of pastoral ministry by two seasoned Pastors called On Being a Pastor. There were many great lessons from this book (thanks to my friend David Dennis for the book recommendation), and one key take-away was regarding preaching a series.

They commended the practice in general-- and affirmed its value to a congregation. But they also recommended that Pastors take regular breaks from a series, offering a change of pace and direction for a time.
One danger of expository preaching-- especially when we begin-- is the tendency to be too long in one book or subject. Expository does not need to be synonymous with exhaustive and exhausting!
We've been working through the book of Luke since I began at Hickory Withe. While we started with a brief (4-week) series on the Parable of the Lost Son, we've spent every Sunday morning in Luke since October 14! By mid-November, we started with Luke 1:1 and will finish chapter 3 on Sunday. We've studied the foundations of the book, the announcements of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, and the events of those births.

We're approaching a natural break in Luke-- in the middle of chapter 4, the end of Jesus' preparation for ministry concludes; starting with 4:14, Jesus begins his public ministry. Luke's account of the public ministry of Jesus continues until chapter 19, where the account of the triumphal entry begins the account of the passion of Christ. Clay Harrington will join us next week, and will preach on Luke 4:1-13-- the last text on Jesus' preparation for ministry. This will be our twelfth week of sermons in Luke, done in sequential order.

At that point, I plan to take a break from the sequential preaching of Luke's gospel, and will begin a new, 14-week series on the cross. This series will carry us through the liturgical seasons of Lent and Easter, and is fitting for both. Following that series, we'll return to Luke to begin working through the public ministry of Jesus (though we'll probably take another break down the line before we finish that section of Luke!).

This series will be topical, though most or all of the sermons will still be expository sermons. Here's the plan for the series, week by week:
  1. The cross as central to Chrstianity
  2. What did Christ die for?
  3. The accomplishment of the cross
  4. How forgiveness works
  5. The price of our sin
  6. God's substitutionary atonement
  7. Salvation for sinners through the cross
  8. God revealing himself through the cross
  9. Evil is overcome through the cross
  10. The community of God as a celebration of the cross
  11. Understanding ourselves through the cross
  12. Self-denial and giving of ourselves in response to the cross
  13. The cross enables us to love our enemies
  14. The cross and our suffering, the cross and our glory

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