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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cultural Preaching May 10, 2017

Cultural Preaching May 10, 2017


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May 10 (1 day ago)
to me

A new buzz in bagels, a new Bible museum in Washington, D.C. and Denison Forum's executive coordinator's take on motherhood.
Welcome to Cultural Preaching
May 10, 2017
Welcome to this week's edition of Cultural Preaching. I am honored to share this resource with you. Know that I am praying for all who receive this email with gratitude for your service and faith.

This week, the "Preaching" section discusses a new buzz in bagels, a new Bible museum in Washington, D.C. and Denison Forum's executive coordinator's take on motherhood. I've also attached a sermon for this Sunday titled, Loving God for Life.

In "Pastoring," we'll look at David Green's fascinating book, Giving It All Away . . . And Getting It All Back Again. In "Personal," we'll consider the relationship of consecration to revelation.

In addition, I tweet on current news occasionally throughout the day. I invite you to follow me @JimDenison

Buzzed-bagel breakfast?

Many of us start the day with a strong cup of "joe."  Caffeine has a way of jumpstarting one's metabolism - especially for those needing an early morning "pick me up."  While coffee isn't the sole source of caffeine for the slow-to-get-started, have you ever imagined chewing your caffeine? Einstein Bros. Bagels recently announced that it is launching the "Espresso Buzz Bagel." Each pastry contains 32 milligrams of caffeine—about a third of what you'll find in the average 8-ounce cup of coffee. The bakery hopes this "unique and innovative" food offering will be a hit with their tired, caffeine-yearning fans across the country.

What are you expecting from your morning bible reading and prayer?  A caffeine-like spark to your day?  Renewed energy?  When that doesn't happen for you, what are your alternatives?  There's an interesting article from about six ways to find new vigor in your spiritual routine.   Much like a rote physical exercise routine, many of us would benefit from a change.  When daily spiritual exercises become dry and fruitless, consider shaking-up your routine.  While everyday likely won't be a mountaintop experience, finding new ways and approaches might invigorate your day.  Something to chew on.

D.C.'s Museum of the Bible set to open

At presidential inaugural ceremonies and on bedside tables in hotels, the Bible has played a visible role in American life since our founding as a country.  A new, 430,000-square-foot facility, The Museum of the Bible aims to increase its visibility and to offer an "immersive experience to people from all faiths, or no faith, and those who have never even picked up a Bible." The $500 million, eight-story museum is financed entirely by private funds. Just three blocks south of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the Museum of the Bible is set to open this November.

Museums are often seen as repositories for old things… even dead things.  They often are designed to assist visitors in recalling what HAS BEEN, rarely on what IS or what WILL BE.  And, while the Bible certainly has a significant place in history and in antiquity, believers see it as a living, vital, ever-relevant document.  2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…"  Many well-known churches, especially in Europe are modern-day museums.  It's been said that a church is never more than one generation away from being a museum.  Let's pray that the inference of "museum" won't cast a pall on the vitality of God's word in the eyes of visitors.  It's alive.  He's alive.

A Blind Side Kind of Mom

Sunday is Mother's Day in the U.S. and several other countries.  Cynthia Yanoff, executive coordinator for Denison Forum, has written an excellent blog on the role of motherhood, which can apply to others, as well.  Cynthia has something in common with the real mom from the movie, "Blindside".   She shares, "as we prepare to celebrate Mother's Day, let's take a minute to consider some different paths we can take as moms in today's culture. One path is to be thankful for the Lord's provision for our family, but still find ourselves wanting more: more friends for our kids, more opportunities, more vacations, more fun. Or another option is to continuously thank the Lord for his great provision, but spend our days consumed with worry over what may be around the corner and how that may impact our families (I have a patent on this one)."

She continues, "But maybe as we get ready to celebrate Mother's Day we should consider a better way, one requiring us to expand our traditional thinking on what we are called to as moms. What if we made the decision to live a lifestyle where every day we seek ways in which we can share God's "wealth" with others in our circle of influence? In other words, find where the Lord would call us to be a "mom" to those beyond the ones that share our DNA. Because somewhere around you I bet there's a child whose mom has cancer or whose dad is an alcoholic, whose parents are in a struggling or failed marriage. Maybe it's that kid who is ALWAYS at your house, or a classmate your children tend to avoid because he or she is "weird." …I don't know exactly the faces that come to mind for you, but I know every day we pass up real people, with real needs that we can meet. For my family, that "face" came to us fifteen months ago in the form of a foster baby…." Read more here.

Sermon: Loving God for Life

For last week and today, I am providing Mother's Day sermons I have preached in the past. I know that this can be a challenging Sunday for preachers. I hope the messages will be helpful to you.

David Green is known to the world as the founder of Hobby Lobby. The company he founded is now worth $4.6 billion. In Giving It All Away . . . And Getting It Back Again, he tells the story of God's blessing on their family and work. Then he challenges us to use our time and resources for God's glory. To read more, click here.

 Exodus 19 finds Moses and the nation of Israel at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Here the Lord will reveal his Ten Commandments, truth that would change the world forever. Before the people could receive this revelation, however, they must prepare themselves for what God would give to them: "The LORD said to Moses, 'Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people" (vv. 10–11).

Here we discover an important truth: Consecration must precede revelation. A holy God must have a holy people. If I pour purified water into a dirty bottle, the water is no longer pure. The Holy Spirit seeks holy vessels through which to reveal God's word to the world.

As a result, our spiritual health must be our highest priority. Only when we are close to God can we speak his truth to our culture. This commitment is the foundation for all we do in serving our King. Since human words cannot change human hearts, it is imperative that the Lord speak through us to those we serve. And he can do this only when we are consecrated to his use and purposes.

Here's the problem: our personal spiritual health is seldom a priority to which others hold us accountable. In twenty-five years of pastoral ministry and forty years of preaching, I have yet to talk with the first person who asked me about the health of my soul. Not one has encouraged me to take more time to be alone with Jesus. As pastors, we speak into the lives of others every day but seldom receive such ministry ourselves. And so the well easily runs dry.

The good news is that our Father is ready to meet with us whenever we choose to meet with him. The Spirit's consecrating power is as close to us as our knees. How close would your Father say you are to him today?
It is a great honor to share this ministry with you. May the Lord empower and encourage you as you serve him today.

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