I am happy to report that I have found a new plug-in called Sermon Manager to replace Sermon Browser. I am learning to use it and have now uploaded six new sermons into it, comprising together the sermon series for January and February. My immediate goal is to input sermons up to the current ones. Then I will see if I can put in some previous series for the benefit of those who use my sermons as a resource. I am glad for this and happy to be helpful to the family of God in some small way.
Unfortunately, I have not figured out a way to transfer old sermon files from Sermon Browser into the new plug-in. So the older files are stranded in cyber space for now.
This summer at Copper Hill Church, during the pastors morning messages, we are reviewing together the primary purposes of the church. There is no better time than the beginning of a new pastorate to undertake this important review. It gives us important Scriptural perspective for our work and decision-making and it helps us all to be on the same page. I enjoy preaching in series of messages and when I do I like to post the series so people can follow it. Here is the tentative plan for the current series.
I have just finished outlining our Sunday morning message series for April. It actually takes off from the Easter Celebration service message. It draws some topics and resources from Andy Stanley’s book The Principle of the Path.
The Principle of the Path
Mar 31 (10 AM) Celebration
Power for the Path
Christ the Lord is Risen Today (231)
The Principle of the Path
Proverbs 7:6-27; 27:12
Trust and Obey (320)
Grace and Truth for Our Path
Jer. 17:9; John 1:17; 8:32
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (Stuart Townend)
Pastor Eric kicked off our Lenten Easter series called Walking with Jesusthis past Sunday. He and I have been working behind the scenes on the entire outline for this series. Our goal is to focus our thoughts in the Gospels on the ministry of Jesus and our reaction to it. This will help us all to be powerfully confronted again by Jesus in person through the pages of Scripture. We are always changed for the better by such an encounter, just as his disciples were.
Walking With Jesus – Lenten/Easter Series for 2013
Our Big Bible Bonanza reading contest has been very successful in encouraging daily Bible reading. Though people could choose to read any passage of at least five verses that they wanted to, many chose to follow the sermon coordinated outline series that we prepared for the contest time. At least one person wondered aloud what he would do when that schedule came to an end.
I have good news. I am supplying a sermon coordinated list for the next sermon series as well. The up-coming series is on Gratitude and Giving. I also hope to supply a reading schedule for the Christmas series. At the turn of the year, we can help people choose from the many yearly plans that are available. Hopefully we will all have greatly strengthened the discipline of daily Bible reading in the process.
Bible Reading Suggestions for Sermons series on Gratitude and Giving
I haven’t blogged in a couple weeks because I have been traveling part of each week. But now that the schedule has returned a little more to normal, I will try to catch up a little. As you can see, the plan below is already in progress. Our October series was planned to go with election season when our country is talking about values and issues. The church needs to be relevant and enter the conversation. But my take is a little different ffom some. Here is a quote from the introduction to the series on Christian Values for Today.
“I believe that Christians are called to tell the truth about the chaos of values today. Our task is to call our country back to the values of the Bible. As we undertake this task, we cannot help but seem political at times. But that is not our first intention. As one person has put it, ‘God is not a Democrat or Republican.’ God’s values apply equally to Democrats and Republicans. He calls both parties to forsake their sins and walk in his paths. It is up to us as followers of Christ to use our discernment and our influence to encourage all parties to take stands on contemporary issues that reflect the teaching of the Word of God. Using our vote as best we can is part of our responsibility to use our influence. At times in this series, I expect that the Republicans will feel somewhat smug. But at other times I expect that the Democrats will feel the same way. But that is not my issue. My responsibility is to preach the word of God wherever the chips fall. My responsibility is to pick issues that I feel are of extreme importance in the Bible, our lives, and in our country and preach on them. And God helping us that is what we will do in this series called Christian Values for Today.”
The November series will focus on the close relationship between the Thanksgiving season and the Christian value and practice of generosity and stewardship. It will also be a great lead-in to the Christmas season with its emphasis upon giving.
Last Sunday I finished the series of sermons called Kitchen Table Talks on Relationships. As I was studying for the series and reviewing various sourcebooks, I was thinking about which ones to recommend to couples who were going through difficult times in their marriages. My wife and I know from personal experience that marriage is not always easy. But we also know that with God’s help, and determination to see it through, couples can come through rough waters with a better marriage than before. To help couples who are currently in those tough moments, here are three book recommendations.
Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley (Word Publishing, 1996) In this easy-to-read book, Dr. Smalley handles some difficult topics such as unresolved anger, deep hurts, disappointed expectations, marital communication and personality differences with insight and Christian wisdom. Taking his advice seriously will help couples get back on track.
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (Three Rivers Press, New York, 1999) This is a different kind of book, an extremely practical and behavior-oriented book in which the author shares his research in predicting divorce and helping couples avoid it. He describes how he predicts whether a marital conflict will resolve the problem 96% of the time after only listening to 3 minutes of it. I was skeptical until I began to read the signs he looks for, one of which is the presence of the deadly four horsemen: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. I knew from personal experience with couples and from other reading that he was being very insightful and his work would be helpful.
Fighting for Your Marriage by Howard Markham, Scott Stanley, and Susan L. Blumberg (Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1994) This book has become a classic for its description of four negative patterns that are very harmful in a relationship, patterns that must be avoided if marriages are to be healed. The authors describe the patterns well including case study examples, explanations, and practical advice as to how to change the pattern. The four specific patterns are escalation, invalidation, withdrawal and avoidance, and negative interpretations. When these patterns are present in the emotional interaction in a marriage they are very destructive and need to be fixed in order for the marriage to recover. This book can be very helpful in eliminating these four patterns.
It is always refreshing to turn again to the Bible stories of Jesus’ life and ministry. As I was praying about what messages to preach for the next five weeks until Pastor Eric and the team return and are ready with their report, my mind and heart seemed drawn back to the gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry and the basic truths of the Christian faith. So I have designed a message series for the remainder of August and early September called Essential Perspectives for Disciples. The messages will remind us of the basic outlooks that we need to be successful followers of Jesus. Most of the texts come from the Gospels.
Each week of ours sermon series called Kitchen Table Talks on Relationships I have been making recommendations on my blog for further reading on the topic of this week’s sermon. Here are some annotated recommendations on this week’s topic of personality differences.
Christian writer and speaker, Florence Littauer has written a number of helpful books on the subject of personality. All use the classic understanding of the four temperaments that I presented in the sermon.
Your Personality Tree (1989) – The one I have been using
Personality Plus (1992) – Her most famous book on the topic
Personality Plus for Couples (2001)
Personality Plus at Work: How to Work Successfully with Anyone (with Rose Sweet 2001)
Pastor Tim LaHaye also discusses the classic personality types and uses as examples famous characters from the Bible. For some reason LaHaye does not put the types in the same quadrants as Littauer, but his chart of characteristics is excellent.
Transformed Temperaments (Tyndale House, 1971)
For those who are looking for a more complex contemporary formulation of personality types that correlates to the Myers-Briggs system rather than the classical system, I ran across a very interesting secular book that I think would be helpful. I purchased it for my own further reading and have perused it some already. It contains a quick and easy test too. I like the positive names he gives to his 16 categories.
David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II, (Prometheus Nemesis 1998)
I’m looking forward to the men’s Adirondack retreat this coming weekend. I usually spend my time reading, helping some of the boys fish, canoeing and watching birds. It’s a relaxing time. So this coming Sunday, I will be at Forked Lake, God willing, leading the Sunday service at the Men’s retreat while Larry Nemitz will be bringing the message at Community Wesleyan. I will postpone the third one of our Kitchen Table Talks on Relationships, the one on the topic of personality differences, until the following week, July, 29th.