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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cultural Preaching June 28, 2017

Welcome to Cultural Preaching
June 28, 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 includes an Independence Day sermon on Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. In "Pastoral" we'll discuss my recent chat with pastors. In "Personal," we'll look for ways to stay "fresh" in our ministries.
In addition, I tweet on current news occasionally throughout the day. I invite you to follow me @JimDenison.


The July 4 weekend presents unique challenges and opportunities for preachers. It can be hard to find a new theme when you've preached on this topic over several years. It can also be challenging to affirm America while not attaching Christianity to a particular nation.
My sermon for this Sunday continues a series in the Book of Acts, focusing this week on Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. I connect Philip's faithfulness to that of our country's founders and suggest that we can best serve America today by serving Jesus. I hope the message will be helpful to you.


Last week I was the guest on the Pastor's Resource Call sponsored by Cornerstone Pastor's Network.  If you were not able to join our conversation about how the culture is impacting pastoring and the church, I invite you to listen. We had a great conversation.


This Sunday's preaching assignment points up the challenge to stay "fresh" in our ministries. It can be hard to preach each year on perennial subjects such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, Easter, and so on. The longer we serve one congregation, the more difficult it can be to share new material during the rest of the year as well.
I was hiking in the woods over the weekend and noted a tree growing out of the bank of the lake. It couldn't have been closer to the water without falling in. The words of Psalm 1 came to mind: the person who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night "is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers" (v. 3).
Jeremiah 17 offers a similar promise: "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is in the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit" (vv. 7–8).
Of course, trees have no choice where they are planted. But you and I do.
Deciding how to grow intellectually is one of the most significant—and overlooked—elements of stewardship. We are called to love God with all our minds (Mark 12:30), to grow in "wisdom" (Luke 2:52), and to "reason together" with our Lord (Isaiah 1:18). Paul's example is both motivating and humbling: at the very end of his life he still wanted his books and parchments (2 Timothy 4:13).
What is your plan for growing your mind in the word and wisdom of God? Are you systematically and regularly reading outside your comfort zone? Are you planning trips this summer that will stretch you spiritually and intellectually? Do you have relationships with people who challenge you?
Let's close with this observation from Frederick W. Robertson: "It is not the number of books you read, nor the variety of sermons you hear, nor the amount of religious conversation in which you mix, but it is the frequency and earnestness with which you meditate on these things till the truth in them becomes your own and part of your being, that ensures your growth."

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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