Sermon Ideas for July 10, 2011
2011-07-07 by David von Schlichten

This Sunday I will begin an eight-week sermon series entitled, "'I'm a Christian; So What?': Why So Many Christians are Unfulfilled, and How God Helps Them."

Many Christians, despite their commitment to Christ, feel a void. Sometimes they are told that, to fill the void, they need to have more faith or commit themselves more to Christ.

My series will challenge this notion, suggesting that faulty understandings of God, life, and humanity are often at the heart of the void, not a lack of faith or commitment.

THIS SUNDAY'S GOSPEL, THE PARABLE OF SOWER, is relevant to this thesis. We tend to think of God as the sower, but what if we Christians are (or are also) the sower? We scatter seed, that is, spread the Good News, but sometimes the Good News just doesn't take. It doesn't take, not because of the sower's lack of faith or commitment, but because, well, sometimes the Good News doesn't take.

What does this have to do with the unfulfillment of Christians? Perhaps this: if we Christians can accept that sometimes the sowing just doesn't take and that we have not necessarily failed due to a lack of faith or effort, then we can find some peace. In other words: the success/failure of the Church is not all about us. Actually, it's ultimately about God.

Just sow the seed generously, and thank God for the successes that happen.

What do you think? Please send me an email or submit something to be posted.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Initial Thoughts for July 10, 2011
2011-07-04 by David von Schlichten

Isaiah 55:10-13: This passage promises hope to those in Exile. How are we in exile, and how does God water us and cause us to flourish?

Romans 8:1-11: What is the difference between being in the flesh and being in the Spirit? It's easy to keep such language vague and general. What are the specifics of being in the flesh and being in the Spirit?

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23: The Parable of the Sower. It's easy to be reductive with this parable. I suspect that Jesus' explanation of the parable was a later addition by a redactor. How would we interpret the parable if we ignored Jesus' explanation?

What do you think? Send me your thoughts or submit them to be posted here.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Enslaved Free
2011-07-02 by David von Schlichten

My sermon is on the paradox of Christian freedom and is available at the Sermon Feedback Cafe. Drink up, and give me feedback.

Lighting sparklers, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Sermon Ideas for July 3, 2011
2011-06-29 by David von Schlichten

Zechariah: This passage promises a king, but a humble king. We baptized citizens of the kingdom are to imitate that humility, and we do so confident in the saving power of the king.

What all does the king save us from? The Donkey-Ridding Monarch gives us eternal life, yes, but how else is this ruler our savior? What does "salvation" entail?

Psalm 145 is an acrostic psalm of praise. It praises God from A to Z. A sermon in that shape could be poedifying.

The excerpt for this Sunday mentions that God cares for all of creation and that all of creation praises God. It is important for us Christians to remember that all of creation receives God's love and Christ's redemption, not just humans.

Romans 7: I don't do what I know is right! Who can't relate to that? We could invite people to consider what tempts them, what their Achilles' Heel is when it comes to sin. (One of mine is gluttony; I eat more than I need to. People might think that's funny, but over-eating is a serious issue.)

Of course, the larger point of the passage is our need for Christ. In Christ lies hope for the otherwise hopeless.

Matthew 11: Jesus gets criticized; John gets criticized. As a Christian, you can't win with all the people all the time. Somebody is going to find fault. What matters is pleasing God, not people. In fact, frankly, some people you're better off not pleasing.

The passage promises a burden that is light. Yes, following Christ is demanding, but it also brings rest and refreshment. How is this so? Here are some ways that come to mind: forgiveness of sin, the support of the brothers and sisters, the nourishment of holy communion, the comfort and guidance of Scripture and sermon.

Independence Day: Yes, we have wonderful freedoms in this country, thanks be to God, but the greater freedom is won through Christ and is for, not just Americans or even humans, but all.

What ideas do you have? Feel free to tell me via email or to post an idea here.

Celebrating the publication of "H-E-Double Hockey Stick," my children's novel based on Dante's "Inferno" (which is available for Nook and Kindle), I am a shameless self-promoter and also

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Initial thoughts for July 3, 2011, Pentecost 3
2011-06-27 by David von Schlichten

Zechariah 9:5-12: This passage calls the people of God "prisoners of hope." What a phrase! What does it mean to be a prisoner but of hope?

Psalm 145: Verse nine says that God is good to all. That doesn't seem true. How do we explain this verse given that so many people, including those who are devoted to God, suffer so?

Romans 7:15-25: I do the things I don't want to do. The point of this passage is that we are hopelessly depraved and so must rely on Christ. In what ways do we try to be our own savior?

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30: The yoke is easy and the burden is light. This sounds paradoxical. How do we resolve the paradox? I find being a Christian to be pretty hard work, so what does Jesus mean by saying that the yoke is easy and the burden is light?

Independence Day: This is a civil holiday not a religious one (contrary to popular belief), so we need to proceed with caution. That said, could we use the occasion to preach about the freedom/enslavement we have because of Christ? Moreover, this status is for all people, not just Americans.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





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