Friday, January 4, 2013

Holiday Creativity and the Preaching Plan for 2013

As I'm on holiday I've been taking some time each day to work through a preaching plan for 2013. Now I know that sounds rather counter intuitive, working on holiday...but as I'm having lazy mornings with not much to do I am enjoying both wrestling with what I will preach on this year and why? I am also enjoying the extra time to be creative about posters and title slides for each series. While I'm not being as creative as I could be, I don't have a camera at the moment, I have the time to search for ideal images to use, a luxury I don't afford myself during the year as it can be very time consuming.

Anyway here is the first half of 2013 sorted. The overarching theme is renewal...

I have preached through the book of Haggai before and I feel that it has so much to say to the church today. Particularly to churches in main line denominations in our western society. It is a call to renewal... renewal of priorities and in a similar economic reality that we face today... renewal of vision and courage for the future... we can so often look back to a glorified past and say those were the days... but the call of God through Haggai is to take courage and build a new future... that the best is yet to come... and central to it all is renewed relationships... the restoration of covenant relations with God.

That renewal of relationship invites us to again to focus on the person of Jesus, of whom John tells us
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

 leading up to Easter and  beyond I am going to look at how Jesus is revealed to us through the seven "I am' sayings in John's Gospel... I've called the series 'Refracted Glory' picking up the idea of the light of the world being refracted into these seven different metaphors.  What do each of these I am Sayings reveal to us about Jesus and how do they bring his light into our everyday world?

As I'm in John's gospel at Easter I will look at John's account of Jesus passion and resurrection. Then round this series off with looking at Jesus saying "I am the Resurrection and the Life".

If the center of renewal is a renewed relationship with God then I believe we need to rediscover relationship with God the Holy Spirit. So from Easter to Pentecost I will be exploring what Jesus tells us about the Holy Spirit over his last meal with his disciples and then looking at what Luke tells us Jesus told his disciples in Acts 1. Surprise surprise be looking at Acts 2 on Pentecost Sunday.
In the past I've focused on what Paul has to say about the Holy Spirit... But I hope it will bring some freshness and newness by focusing on what Jesus has to say.

Following on from that renewed relationship with God, I wanted to look at what it meant to live as God's people. It may seem strange to use 1 Corinthians as a way of doing it but his dysfunctional church reminds me so much of the world we live in. I don't know what your experience of church is but I am seeing an increasingly diverse church that wrestles with theological diversity, a multiplicity of ethical outworking from that, reflecting our multi cultural cities and wrestling with a growing socio economic polarisation. We can focus on such ideas from the church growth movement as 'the homogeneous unit theory' that churches and organisations function best when everyone is the same, or we can journey the road to unity that Paul invites the fractured church in Corinth to walk. That is where I sense the hope we have to offer in Christ.

I haven't got as far as working out each week for this series yet and I want to continue my journey through the psalms which I started in 2010 as part of student soul... this year in conjunction with spring I want to look at the nature psalms in a series I will be calling... 'Theo-cology:The breath print of God and the renewal of caring for creationin the nature Psalms'.

I hope you'll join me on this journey.

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