Saturday, November 19, 2005

Senior Sermon

I've been working this week on the topic for my senior sermon (December 8th). During my degree program at DTS, I have been required to take three preaching courses. The first two classes required two sermons, and this last class (called "senior preaching" by the guys in it) requires three. For all of the sermons in these classes, specific requirements are made for which texts you can preach and even how you can preach them. Except for the senior sermon. For their last sermon, each student chooses their own text. While we were away this week of vacation, I have been thinking daily about this last sermon. I excited about it for two reasons.

First, many of my family and friends are coming to celebrate this as the completion of my studies at seminary. The school doesn't have a fall graduation, so I have invited all of my family and friends to come here my last sermon. I am excited about preaching to those who have meant so much to me during my years at school. And second, this will be my last chance to preach to my fellow classmates who have been through senior preaching with me. So, I have been wondering - what need do I share with my fellow classmates who are about to launch into a lifetime of ministry inside the church? The resounding theme in my heart: dependence on the Spirit of God.

In reponse to this need, I've been reading through the book of Acts again. Acts is a tough book to preach because we don't want to preach every event in the narrative as normative for the Christian church. In other words, we don't want to preach that if you lie to God about your tithe, God will strike you dead (as He did Ananias and Sapphira in chapter 5). The point of that narrative is probably more about the authority of the apostles to establish the church as representatives of Christ Himself and the divinity of the Holy Spirit than establishing a punishment for unethical giving. But I am excited about preaching Acts (because of the consistently powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit) in my senior sermon. Right now, I am thinking about Acts 4:23-31, where Peter and John pray with other believers after being released from prison. I love the fact that they pray for great boldness with the message of Christ and for great displays of the Spirit's power in their midst. And you know what? It happens.

Pray for me as I prepare to share my heart about our great need to rely on the life-giving and life-changing Spirit of God.

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