Wednesday, March 26, 2008

15 Sermons in 15 years

In the past 15 years, I have preached approximately 700 sermons. Most have been eminently forgettable. I thought about that and wondered if I could remember even 15 sermons out of 700. To my surprise, I could.

I thought it might of some interest to share what have been some of my favorite messages. These are not necessarily the best or the most fun to deliver or the ones that God used the most. Some of them fit those categories. Sometimes the message was memorable because the preparation that was particularly meaningful to me. Here goes:

  1. Treasuring God in Life and Death (January 13, 2008, 2 Cor 4). This message a couple months ago represented the first time I changed my preaching plan because of things that were happening in the church. . . and I'm glad I did.
  2. A Treasure for the Nations (January 6, 2008). This message surveyed the entire Bible -- twice. I didn't know you could do that. It was a synthesis that encourages me to follow God's example. And it was fun to see if I could do it.
  3. The Gospel According to Ruth (November 25 - December 16, 2007). I was impressed again at God's ability and inclination to redeem bad events and undeserving people.
  4. The Resurrection (November 11, 2007, Mark 16:1-8). I almost said the entire gospel of Mark was my favorite to preach. Usually a pastor preaches this message on Easter. It was fun to do it in November.
  5. Peter's Denial (October 28, 2007, Mark 14:66-72). I have benefited greatly from other people's mistakes. This is my attempt to prevent similar denials in my own life and in New Life Church.
  6. The Book of Job (January 21 - February 25, 2001). God used these six messages to strengthen my faith in God's smiling face behind a frowning providence. I did not anticipate that I would feel like Job again later that year when we lost another child.
  7. Stewardship Series (January 1 - February 5, 1995). Our church had experienced chronic financial scarcity for years. For some reason, God used this particular series to change people's attitudes about giving and stewardship. It set us on solid financial ground. I've tried to repeat that same series a couple of times, but never enjoyed the same dramatic effect.
  8. Barabbas (April 9, 2000). I think this was my first attempt at preaching in the first person. I had forgotten that I preached this on my birthday. I remember my excitement trying to figure out what it felt like to see Jesus (literally!) as your substitute.
  9. Zechariah (December 12, 2005). Zechariah's name means God remembers.
  10. Things That Matter Most (1998). This series eventually led to a CD of original music (that you can still purchase from the church office, BTW). The music is more memorable than the messages.
  11. The Limits of the Atonement (July 17, 1998). This is the only time I did not know what I was going to say at 11:30 on Saturday night. I had prepared two different messages, one for each of two different views. I chose to say God definitely saves those whom He elects. It had to be a dreadfully delivered message (I didn't get much sleep). But, someone brought a friend with them that Sunday, and the friend thought it was fascinating. He was saved shortly thereafter and baptized that next winter.
  12. The Great (10) Commandments (September 26 - December 5, 1999). This series is memorable for me because it was during these messages that I discovered Thomas Watson. He has become one of my favorites because of his practical approach to Christian doctrine.
  13. The Excellency of Christ (November 2 - December 21, 2003). This Christmas series was inspired by a sermon by Jonathan Edwards with the same title.
  14. How to Raise Great Children: The life of John G. Paton (June 15, 2003). This Father's Day message was inspired by my reading of the biography of John G. Paton. He attributes his passion for God to his father. I couldn't help but wonder how you pass on that kind of vision for God.
  15. God is for us! (Easter, March 23, 2008). It's not that I couldn't really remember 15 so I had to go to last weeks. The criteria is that it was memorable to me and I can remember what I preached on last Sunday! Seriously, it is such great news that I can't help but put it on this list.


Jax said...

I remember almost all of these. I guess that means I must have been paying attention :)
I think my personal favorite was the 10 commandments. It changed my view on a lot of things forever.
Thank you for being the means by which God transforms us!
Jaqui B.

RevReav said...

Thanks for the encouraging words. I hope they were as helpful to you as they were to me.

Judy C said...

I remember all of these sermons. If I ever run for President I will be pleased to say that I am well acquainted with my Pastor's views and I agree with them!

RevReav said...

Very funny! I am humble enough to believe that someone, not you Judy, but someone could listen to everything I've said and it didn't sink in at all. It is much more likely, however, if the content is not Holy Spirit empowered. Hmmm.