Saturday, March 17, 2007

nervously and in very small print...

OK, here goes... This is a leap of faith for me... but maybe there is something in it that is worth using in the future???

I've never posted anything like this before and I am a little nervous. FWIW - "the classmates" didn't like the fact that I didn't use a lot of Greek and Hebrew and holy theological words.

A coupla caveats...
(1) I have not had a preaching or sermon w
riting class yet and (2) I had to cover the concept of "power" as it is found in Paul's letters - and offer it in outline form... and keep it under 800 words (I made it - 791!) and (3) it was a classroom exercise, but I approached it as if I might actually preach it, not give geeky Greeky definitions

Ducking and running for cover... (Please be kind...)

[Edited to add this: BTW - I don't talk like this! I don't preach using these words... and the church I will intern at in the fall does not use this preaching model!!! It was a good exercise for praying through a passage... and that's about it! So much for class assignments in seminary helping you get ready for the "real world"!!!]
[1]Title: The Power of God: From Potential to Kinetic Energy

Theme: Because of God’s desire to have a relationship with humanity, He offers us the plan, the premise and the promise of His power. Uniquely gifted and empowered, we can rock our world and transform it for His glory!


I. Introduction

At George Washington’s plantation, Mount Vernon, there is a working reconstruction of a grist mill. When we visited there recently, the mill’s docent explained to us the transfer of the water’s energy from potential to kinetic energy. What made the water a source of energy some times and not others? It was when the miller introduced the water into a sluice which contacted the waterwheel’s paddles. The paddles turned rods which turned gears and more gears, and caused the millstones to turn against each other, and ground the corn into cornmeal. Unless the power of the water was engaged, the water flowed around the mill, never touching or transforming the grain. Our world is often untouched by the power of the God, never connecting or accepting the possibility of its ability to transform us, even though God is constantly seeking to engage His creation in a relationship.

II. Body

A. The Plan: God’s power for our redemption (1 Cor. 18-24)

1. God’s might and power was revealed in Creation, and in His mighty acts for His people (Flood, Exodus, Exile narratives)

2. God’s wisdom and power personified in Jesus - the Cross and the crucified Christ

3. We choose to accept or reject God’s wisdom and gift of salvation – God’s power through the cross to us

Question: Would you try to grind the grain by turning the stones yourself? Or by using a mortar and pestle by hand? If you knew that the way to grind the grain had already been designed for you and was available for your use, those would be foolish choices. Do you choose to engage the power of God, to allow Him to have access to your heart, and your life? (like the waterwheel – change from potential to kinetic energy)

B. The Premise: God’s power for transformation (2 Cor. 4:1-9; 12:9)

1. Our weakness shows God’s strength and power

2. Our changed hearts and lives show God’s work in us (quote by Paulus Kertelge: “Faith is [the] expression of the liberty God restored to man – the liberty to obey Him.”)

3. Our trials show that it is God’s enabling that gives us endurance, instead of an escape

4. Our boasting is only in God’s bearing us through our trials – the opposite of a power-seeking world

5. Our service by being His instruments of healing (Luke 9) as an example of God’s power and authority vested in us

Question: If you know you have become “connected” to God by the saving power of the cross, and His power is now available to you, have you been changed? Is the grist of His grace bringing about change in your actions and attitudes? The corn is not left unchanged when it is poured into the grinding stones… and we should not be unchanged either!

C. The Promise: God’s power for a future hope (Rom. 1:16-17, 15:7-13)

1. A promise made to God’s people of old – “the righteous will live by faith” – a faith that accepts the power of God to rescue and redeem “everyone who believes”

2. A promise for all peoples, Jews and Gentiles- the power of the Holy Spirit gives us joy and peace, and hope (cf - experienced by Mary in the conception of Christ)

3. A promise of God’s resurrection power exemplified in overcoming the cross and grave

4. A promise of God’s righteousness counted to us through the risen Christ

Question: If you have yielded to God’s power, and it is resident in your life, changing and transforming you, what is the result? What has God done with your life? How can you live out this message of hope and belief for a world that is hungry for it? (Make cornbread out of that cornmeal!) A person who has had dynamic change in her or his life can rock their world by allowing the power of Christ to shine – it is already resident in them!

III. Conclusion

God’s power is made real to us through three realities in Christian life: (1) The plan of God’s power for redemption (2) The premise of God’s power for transformation (3) The promise of God’s power in the future. The power of God is not something we conjure up or take on our own; it is given to us, implemented through us and is resident in us to bring glory to God. As we decrease our control and self-direction, and surrender ourselves to Him, God’s power shows itself and rocks our world!

[1] (suggested format for sermon outline) David Alan Black, Using New Testament Greek in Ministry: A Practical Guide for Students and Pastors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1993), 112.


rev maria said...

Deb, I like this. May I steal the grist mill illustration sometime? And while your classmates may have pooh-poohed the lack of Greek, Hebew and fancy theological phrases, the people in the pews will be grateful. They really do tend to prefer hearing words they don't need a dictionary for! Before going to seminary my hugest pet peeve was listening to sermons in which it sounded like the preacher was trying to prove how much smarter he was than anyone else by using language only he understood!

I will keep you in my prayers in your watch and wait time.

Deb said...

Please use what works - the grist mill captured my fancy and I told BBS when we got home "there's a sermon in there somewhere!"


God is with us - in our Waiting Rooms!


Sally said...

good stuff deb- I echo Maria- people like to understand stuff in plain language- to take the deep stuff and make it plain is a rare gift, thanks for sharing.

Prayers are with you btw.

mompriest said...

Deb,you have a fine sermon here...even though you have not had a preaching class you seem to have a good feel for what the REAL people in the pews need to hear...and I agree with those above...only seminary students like to use greek and hebrew words...until we all find out that it doesn't fly in the real world..

Prayers and hugs to you as well as you wait...

QuakerPastor said...

This rocks!
While Greek is fun, I try to leave it out of most sermons...Now, thanks to the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" whenever I say "in the greek" in a message-several people snicker...that's what we get for trying to put on academic airs!
Did you get to watch the Bucks?! What a game--on to the next round by the skin of our teeth!
I am praying for you regarding health issues-
peae out, QP

April said...

Deb, I think its great!!! There will be always be people that think they know how to do something better than you. Just remember, God will always give you the words! I can tell that this sermon is God inspired!!! Way to go!!! Just keep listening and following your heart. You cant fail!! Hugs always, April

Sarah said...

Great job girl! It was encouraging and well done. And may I say that even in Bible college I tried as hard as I could to stay away from Greek and Hebrew. The only reason to use that in today's world is to increase YOUR knowledge of the text, the people need to hear the result of your study, not WHAT you studied. Good work!