Over the years, many people have asked me about topical preaching, or preaching the latest trend or news event, and why I don’t routinely (if ever) do it. Well, here’s my response: I think it’s a cop out and puts too much reliance on “what’s happening in the world” than on where our focus should be: Jesus.
Now hear me out for a moment. I’m sure topical preaching has its place, and is valid in some instances. But, as I’ve studied and prepared sermons for over 23 years now, one consistent fact has always drawn me away from topical preaching and it’s this: When I have to take apart an entire text using an expository format, I’m forced to deal with all of it instead of being able to pick and choose the verses I like, which can lead to a skewed opinion on the topic, which everyone already has.
Scripture is meant to change us to be like God, not to move us to being more relevant to the world. Thus, when you focus solely on God, and the intent of scripture to include its instruction, correction, or encouragement, you cease to rely on sound bytes of information and instead soak in the glory of God through the entire word of God.
God bless you friends, and leaders, who will preach this weekend. Stay humble, stay focused, and let your heart break for sin as you draw (and pull others with you) closer to Christ.
Inviting people to experience your church this holiday season is always a daunting task. Here are three simple prayers that everyone can use to help us to get over the challenge (and sometimes the fear) of inviting people to come to church.
Pray for Divine appointments
Everything we do must begin with prayer. We should ask God to help us cross paths with others that we might have a chance to show them what our church is about. The church ought to be a safe place for all and not a museum filled with dusty exhibits. This Christmas season, will you ask God who you might be able to speak with and then be bold enough to follow through?
Pray for grace to be demonstrated
Everyone we know deserves grace in one form or another. Whether it means forgiveness, love, mercy, or even moving past a wrong that was done … we are all called to be grace-filled and extend the same to those around us. Many people are hurting during this season, and to be the church we must show them they are loved, accepted, and that they can feel safe to be themselves. After all, Jesus came to rescue you, so why not extend the same to someone else?
Pray for invitations to be given
To be the church, we must accept that it is our charge (and privilege) to invite people to experience what you have received. The simplest fact is, at one time, someone invited you – and this holiday season is a wonderful opportunity to invite someone else to come experience your church. If we won’t invite others, what does that say about how feel about where you worship? The truth is that most people are just waiting for the invite … don’t miss it!
I’m praying that this holiday season will be a new beginning for many to willingly step out and show our family, our friends, and even a few strangers that Jesus is REAL, and that you want them to know Him also. Be the church, friends, it IS our calling.