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Archive for the Sermon Preview Category


Dec 13

“Arise, Shine!” New Series for December–January

2016 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Preview

If you’re reading the Bible, you can’t get away from it: light is everywhere.

The Bible opens with creation when God turns on the lights with the words, “let there be light” (Gen. 1:3). The Bible ends in a world without a sun, “for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb (Rev. 21:23). In between is a story about light and darkness. When God promised a Messiah, he said, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light (Isa. 9:2). Israel walked in darkness instead of the light, but this Messiah would be a “light to the nations” (Isa. 49:6). Speaking of the salvation of his people, Isaiah wrote these climactic words: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you” (Isa. 60:1). And, today, what God did in creation he is doing in our hearts: “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Jesus, the light of the world, shines on us and through us to the world (Jn. 8:12; Mt. 5:14).

From December 18 through the month of January we’re going to work through a series of sermons on the biblical theme of light. Ryan and Trent will tag-team on this series. Here’s where we’re going:

  • December 18: Genesis 1:3 and 2 Corinthians 4:4–6
  • December 24: John 1:4–9
  • December 25: Light in the book of Isaiah
  • January 1: 2 Corinthians 3:12–18
  • January 8: Ephesians 5:8–14
  • January 15: 1 John 1:1–10
  • January 22: Matthew 5:14–16
  • January 29: revelation 21–22

That’s the plan, though we may fiddle with it a bit.

Invite your friends to a service this Christmas season. Remember that we have two services on Christmas Eve—4PM and 6PM. Join us at 6PM if you’re able to free up space at the more heavily attended 4PM service. Then, on Christmas Day, we’re looking forward to one full single service at 10AM.

Jul 2

New Series on Isaiah Starts Sunday

2015 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Preview

isaiah-2

This Sunday we will begin a five-week sermon series through the Book of Isaiah, titled, A Vision of Two Cities. In Isaiah’s vision he sees Jerusalem as it is, in ruins. And he sees, come the end of the book, a new Jerusalem. The question is: how does Jerusalem get that way? Across 66 chapters a portrait of the Messiah emerges.

Come on Sundays with expectation for how God will use his Word among us this July. This book is quoted more than all of the other prophets combined. In getting to know Isaiah’s prophecy we will get to know our Bibles better, and in getting to know our Bibles better we’ll get to know Christ better.

Here’s the series outline so you can read ahead each week:

  • July 5: “The God of Unapproachable Holiness” (1-12)
  • July 12: “The God of The World and History” (13-27)
  • July 19: “The God of Absolute Strength” (28-39)
  • July 26: “The God of Redemption through Suffering” (40-55)
  • August 2: “The God of A New World and a New Name” (56-66)

What happened to our series through Mark? Each Summer Ryan takes a sabbatical from preaching for a number of weeks, so we’re hitting pause on Mark for now. When Ryan returns on August 9 he pick up where we left off.

Then, once we wrap up Mark, in mid-September we will continue our series through 1 and 2 Samuel, In Search of a King.

Apr 1

Reminders and Readings for Easter Weekend

2015 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Preview

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
– 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

This Friday evening we will gather to remember the death of Christ and on Sunday morning we will gather to celebrate his glorious resurrection from the dead. Don’t forget to invite someone to our weekend services. Here’s a digital invitation to make that easy.

To help you prepare, here are details and sermon texts for each of this week’s services.

Good Friday, April 3 (6:30 PM)

On Friday evening Ryan will preach from Mark 15:21-39, the account of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Childcare will be provided for children four years and younger.

Easter Sunday, April 5 (7:30, 9:00, and 10:45 AM)

On Easter Sunday Ryan will preach from Mark 16:1-8, the account of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Child care will be available only at the two later services.

A Special Request: If Possible, Please Attend the 7:30 AM Service

Imagine that you come to church once a year and this year a friend from DSC invited you to church. You plan to arrive when service starts. You show up maybe even five minutes early, but you are directed to an overflow room to watch the service on a TV. This is too-bad at a number of levels. But it is preventable if several hundred of our normal attenders attend the 7:30 AM service instead of their regular service.

If you have young children, this may not work, as we don’t provide childcare for this service. Or if you are inviting a friend or family member to join, 7:30 AM may not be the better time. But if it’s a matter of convenience we would ask that you do come early to ensure a seat for our many guests who will attend the later services. Thanks for helping us be hospitable.

Finally, A chronological reading of Passion Week

I know it’s the middle, and not the beginning, of Passion Week, but if you’re still looking for some guidance on where to read to follow the passion narrative, the below might help.

Saturday Arrival in Bethany, Anointed by Mary John 11:55-12:8
Sunday Crowd came to see Jesus John 12:9-11
Monday Triumphal Entry Matthew 21:1-17; Luke 19:39-44
Tuesday Cleansing of Temple, Fig Tree Cursed Mark 11:12-26
Wednesday Temple Controversy, Olivet Discourse Matthew 21:23-25:46
Thursday Last Supper, Betrayal, Trial Before Annas and Caiaphas Luke 22:7-65; John 13:1-38, 18:2-27
Friday Trials; Crucified and Buried Matthew 27:1-60; John 18:28-19:42
Saturday Dead in Tomb
Sunday Resurrected Matthew 28:1-15; Luke 24:1-35

– Adapted from Harold W. Hoehner, “Chronology,” Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, p. 120.

Dec 24

A Chart for the Middle of Mark

2014 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Preview

Tonight we reach the halfway point through the gospel of Mark. Ryan’s sermon will take us from Mark 8:22-33 and will revolve around the question that Jesus asked his disciples in Mark 8:29:

“But who do you say that I am?”

Never did Jesus ask anyone a more important question, and it’s a question for all of us.

Over the next four weeks, we’ll take a break from the gospel of Mark for a short series through the book of Ephesians. But as we take this breather from Mark’s gospel account, pull up and print out this crazy helpful chart. Notice the center of the chart, Mark 8:29. From here, the story takes a turn for the cross. The cost of our salvation for our Savior becomes increasingly clear. So does the cost of discipleship.

 

Apr 17

Texts for Easter Weekend and a Special Request

2014 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Preview

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
– 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

This Friday evening we will gather to remember the death of Christ and on Sunday morning we will gather to celebrate his glorious resurrection from the dead. To help you prepare, here are details and sermon texts for each of this week’s services.

Good Friday, April 18 (6:30 PM)

On Friday evening Ryan will preach from John 19, the account of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Childcare will be provided for children four years and younger.

Easter Sunday, April 20 (7:30, 9:00, and 10:45 AM)

On Easter Sunday Ryan will preach from John 20, the account of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Child care will be available only at the two later services.

A Special Request: If Possible, Please Attend the 7:30 AM Service

Imagine that you come to church once a year and this year a friend from DSC invited you to church. You plan to arrive when service starts. You show up maybe even five minutes early, but you are directed to an overflow room to watch the service on a TV. This is too-bad at a number of levels. But it is preventable if several hundred of our normal attenders attend the 7:30 AM service instead of their regular service.

If you have young children, this may not work, as we don’t provide childcare for this service. Or if you are inviting a friend or family member to join, 7:30 AM may not be the better time. But if it’s a matter of convenience we would ask that you do come early to ensure a seat for our many guests who will attend the later services. Thanks for helping us be hospitable.

And, of course, don’t forget to invite someone to our weekend services. Here’s a digital invitation to make that easy.

Dec 4

“The Name Above Every Name” – Christmas Sermon Series

2013 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Preview

In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul says of Jesus Christ that God has “exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (2:9).

It’s from this verse that our December series gets its name: “The Name Above Every Name.” The series begins tonight at our Lord’s Supper service and will take us through Christmas Eve, with the exception of this Sunday’s North Africa commissioning service.

In the first sermon, Ryan will preach from Philippians 2:1-11, and in the last sermon we will hear more specifically from Philippians 2:5-11. The two sermons in between will work from several places in Scripture to unfold the significance of two important and frequently used names for Jesus Christ.

December is a wonderful month to extend an invitation to friends and family to join us at church. Let’s pray for Christ’s name to be exalted in and through our church this December.

Sep 13

New Sermon Series, and Tips for Listening to Sermons

2013 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Preview

This Sunday will begin a new sermon series through 1-2 Samuel, “In Search of the King.” Here’s Ryan’s description:

The book of Judges ends with these ominous words: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” The books of 1-2 Samuel pick up the story through the lives of Samuel, Saul, and David. Israel’s search for a king reaches some of the highest highs and lowest lows of the Old Testament. We’ll explore why that’s so in this new sermon series beginning next Sunday.

With a new series is an opportunity think about what we’re actually doing on Sundays. Ryan is preaching, but what are we doing? What does it mean to listen to a sermon? How should we listen? President of Wheaton College, Phil Ryken answers the question in his article, “How to Listen to a Sermon.”

So what is the right way to listen to a sermon?  With a soul that is prepared, a mind that is alert, a Bible that is open, a heart that is receptive, and a life that is ready to spring into action.

The first thing is for the soul to be prepared. Most churchgoers assume that the sermon starts when the pastor opens his mouth on Sunday.  However, listening to a sermon actually starts the week before. It starts when we pray for the minister, asking God to bless the time he spends studying the Bible as he prepares to preach. In addition to helping the preacher, our prayers help create in us a sense of expectancy for the ministry of God’s Word. This is one of the reasons that when it comes to preaching, congregations generally get what they pray for.

The soul needs special preparation the night before worship. By Saturday evening our thoughts should begin turning towards the Lord’s Day. If possible, we should read through the Bible passage that is scheduled for preaching. We should also be sure to get enough sleep. Then in the morning our first prayers should be directed to public worship, and especially to the preaching of God’s Word.

If the body is well rested and the soul is well prepared, then the mind will be alert. Good preaching appeals first to the mind. After all, it is by the renewing of our minds that God does his transforming work in our lives (see Rom. 12:2). So when we listen to a sermon, our minds need to be fully engaged. Being attentive requires self-discipline. Our minds tend to wander when we worship; sometimes we daydream. But listening to sermons is part of the worship that we offer to God. It is also a prime opportunity for us to hear his voice. We should not insult his majesty by looking at the people around us, thinking about the coming week, or entertaining any of the thousands of other thoughts that crowd our minds. God is speaking, and we should listen.

To that end, many Christians find it helpful to listen to sermons with a pencil in hand. Although note taking is not required, it is an excellent way to stay focused during a sermon. It is also a valuable aid to memory. The physical act of writing something down helps to fix it in our minds. Then there is the added advantage of having the notes for future reference. We get extra benefit from a sermon when we read over, pray through, and talk about our sermon notes with someone else afterwards.

The most convenient place to take notes is in or on our Bibles, which should always be open during a sermon. Churchgoers sometimes pretend that they know the Bible so well that they do not need to look at the passage being preached. But this is folly. Even if we have the passage memorized, there are always new things we can learn by seeing the biblical text on the page. It only stands to reason that we profit most from sermons when our Bibles are open, not closed. This is why it is so encouraging for an expository preacher to hear the rustling of pages as his congregation turns to a passage in unison.

There is another reason to keep our Bibles open: we need to make sure that what the minister says is in keeping with Scripture. The Bible says, concerning the Bereans whom Paul met on his second missionary journey, “that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11; NKJV). One might have expected the Bereans to be criticized for daring to scrutinize the teaching of the apostle Paul. On the contrary, they were commended for their commitment to testing every doctrine according to Scripture.

Listening to a sermon–really listening–takes more than our minds. It also requires hearts that are receptive to the influence of God’s Spirit.  Something important happens when we hear a good sermon: God speaks to us. Through the inward ministry of his Holy Spirit, he uses his Word to calm our fear, comfort our sorrow, disturb our conscience, expose our sin, proclaim God’s grace, and reassure us in the faith. But these are all affairs of the heart, not just matters of the mind, so listening to a sermon can never be merely an intellectual exercise.  We need to receive biblical truth in our hearts, allowing what God says to influence what we love, what we desire, and what we praise.

The last thing to say about listening to sermons is that we should be itching to put what we learn into practice. Good preaching always applies the Bible to daily life. It tells us what promises to believe, what sins to avoid, what divine attributes to praise, what virtues to cultivate, what goals to pursue, and what good works to perform. There is always something God wants us to do in response to the preaching of his Word. We are called to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22; NKJV). And if we are not doers, then we were not hearers, and the sermon was wasted on us.

Do you know how to listen to a sermon?  Listening–really listening–takes a prepared soul, an alert mind, an open Bible, and a receptive heart. But the best way to tell if we are listening is by the way that we live. Our lives should repeat the sermons that we have heard. As the apostle Paul wrote to some of the people who listened to his sermons, “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:2-3; NKJV).