Archive for the Sermon Preview Category

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).

Jan 9

“Between Two Worlds”: New Sermon Series Begins Sunday

2013 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Preview

On Sunday Ryan encouraged us to read through 1 Peter some time this week as we look forward to the start of our new sermon series, “Between Two Worlds,” this Sunday.

When we announced the series a few weeks ago we drew your attention to the theme of suffering in the book of 1 Peter. Another prominent theme is the nature of the church as a people belonging to God. Belonging to God means we don’t ultimately belong to this world.

In 1 Peter 2:9–12, Peter shows us the connection between our heavenly citizenship and our earthly life:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

This is another great passage on which to read and meditate as we begin our series.

Dec 13

“Between Two Worlds” – New Sermon Series Begins in January

2012 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Gospel,Sermon Preview

We are now just one month away from the start of Ryan’s new sermon series through 1 Peter, “Between Two Worlds.” We announce a new series ahead of time for several reasons, but perhaps especially so that you can orient yourself with the book before the series starts.

As you read through 1 Peter, keep in mind the title of our series, “Between Two Worlds.” No, this is not a way of saying that Earth is between Venus and Mars. I’m sure that was obvious to you. It’s a way of capturing what Paul has said so famously in Philippians 3:20, “our citizenship is in heaven.”

In his letter, Peter encourages Christians in their life here in preparation for life in the new heavens and the new earth. In doing so, Peter will address a number of issues, including how women can please the Lord in a world addicted to fashion, how Christians should relate to this world’s institutions and to governments, how the church’s leaders should lead as they look forward to meeting the Chief Shepherd.

One recurring theme, however, is that of suffering – a theme common in life and common to every Christian person in this age. Suffering truly is where the rubber of our other-worldly theology meets the road of this world; where what we believe about who God is and what is eternal meets the cold but temporary realities of loss, pain, and persecution in this life.

Want an idea for how to prepare yourself for this upcoming series? Consider memorizing 1 Peter 1:3-9. If you do, you will spend this life and eternity glad you did:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.