Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 11/25/2021
So this sermon was a part of a series called An Ordinary Life based on the book Sensing Jesus by Zack Eswine for Reunion Church during the summer of 2021. This was a series focused on how to live simply within the mundane and enjoy the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life. I think this was a great first series for our church and it really resonated with the community.
I recall during this time I was feeling fairly burned out and tired from the church planting process, but wanted to still deliver a great sermon. What added to my nerves was the fact that I hadn’t preached a sermon in a church in almost 2 years given the pandemic. I was meant to give this message on the 8th of August, but Pastor Andrew and Pastor David had returned from a retreat so they shared on the 15th of August.
Also only 3 other leaders showed up on the 8th, so I didn’t share the message on that night. I honestly felt pretty down that no one showed up and that hurt, especially when you’ve invested so much time to give a valuable message. If I’m being really honest, I cried on the way home. For some reason, when I’m attuned to God’s will I find myself very emotional.
Then again, this message was difficult to get a grasp on what to share exactly. The chapter I was sharing and recapping was about 35 pages of dense material. The author writes with a very poetic power that hits all the keys of the heart. Trying to faithfully adapt his work in a 90min small group discussion is incredibly strenuous.
Either way, I prepped ahead of time and with the extra 2 week gap had even more time to tweak the message for the people of God to hear exactly what they needed. If you feel immense pressure to deliver, then I’d say you’re in the right place because you can only rely on God. In your own strength, your sermon is shit. Without the power of the Holy Spirit himself guiding every word, point, and pause the message will not be what they need in that moment. The fear of God fuels great sermons and this one was no different.
We had a good group that night and I think this was one of my better sermons. I got to lean into my strengths as a teacher, which is simplifying complicated concepts. I love expositing complicated ideas in a way that clicks with your average person. It’s challenging, but rewarding in the same respect.
Going back through my notes, I had so many for this message. Explaining how we’re made for a period of time among physical things is a hard idea to get across since it’s so abstract. It’s one of those ideas that needs a lot of padding and stories to pass onto others. Here’s what I had in my sermon journal:
- Recap last week
- To live an ordinary life is to know that we are made for a period of time among physical things.
- As Zack Eswine writes,
“Faith, hope, and love-the matters of our souls-are tried, learned, and lived in close physical proximity to created persons and things within the limits of certain times and places (P. 173).”
- Read Acts 17:24-26
- Limited doesn’t mean less than
“The ministry with its leaders and neighbors is boundaried and limited… But boundaried does not mean inferior (P. 174).”
- Jerry McFarland’s Monday Night Study.
- Read 3 John 2
- How has a physical limitation led to an unlikely opportunity?
- A place is a people
- Read 1 John 1:1-3
“We sensibly minister the gospel of Jesus to ordinary persons in their particular places (P. 177).”
- How is a place a part of a person’s identity? Why does that matter?
- All matter affects the mind
- Read 2 Timothy 1:3-5
“Bodily senses accompany our interior lives. At times, they can adorn our souls with treasures and at times litter them with trash (P. 177).”
- What physical thing reminds you of a good memory? What makes you remember? A sound? A vibe?
- The boundaries of physical touch
- Jesus touched everyone in ministry to heal, not to harm.
- Read Mark 10:14-16
- What are your physical touch boundaries?
- i.e. children, friends, relationships, etc.
- Should Christians cuss or swear?
- Necessary + True
- Context + Culture (Where + Who)
- Final thoughts
Categories to Cuss
- Emoting through tragedy or great pain
- To shock or surprise
- Ordinary communication
“We religious must learn to recognize our own kind of cussing. Religious cussing often does not involve foul four-letter words (P. 204).”
“Language… always comes in the form of resistance or repentance or mixtures of the two (P. 205).”
At the end of the day, this was a good one. A long message, absolutely and yet a really good discussion from everyone involved. To get more insight into my thoughts on this message, watch this sermon recap I do every week for my church. Also, for more insights into my thoughts on cussing and swearing as Christians, watch this topical podcast episode. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.