Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Fred Craddock Story

CNN has a terrific article on preaching giant, Fred Craddock. Learned several things I did not know about the man. Not only has it increased my already high opinion of Dr. Craddock, it has also blessed my soul. Such a rich story of God's calling and equipping of a preacher.

"A preaching 'genius' faces his toughest convert" by John Blake 

 Here's an audio of Dr. Craddock's sermon, "Learning to Read" from Psalm 19.

Learning to Read from Faithkid Zhang on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Give an Advent devotional new life.

FaithVillage is taking submissions for Advent devotionals, art, etc. for use on their blog throughout the season. If you're like me, you've written a few things about Advent through the years. Why not find your best and give it some new life by sending in it. Submissions are due by November 27.

Seeking Advent Submissions: What Are You Waiting For?

Advent Sermon Series

The Advent season is upon us. I thought it would be a good time to share some past Advent sermon series with each other. No doubt, we should already have this year planned. But, if you're like me, this is a time of year when the number of devotionals, talks, articles one needs to come up with skyrockets. So maybe our sharing with one another will spur some creativity on that front. No doubt it can sow some seeds for future Advent seasons.

I'm going to list all the series I've done here at Southland. I am not strictly a lectionary preacher as you'll see. But some of these have followed the lectionary readings. Please leave a series or two that you've done in the comments. I know I will benefit, and I'm confident others will, as well.

2011 - Finding God in Unexpected Places (a title I borrowed from an old Philip Yancey book)

Advent I - Matthew 1:1-17 - Finding God Among the Screw-ups
Advent II - Matthew 1:18-21 - Finding God in our Disappointments
Advent III - Matthew 2:1-12 - Finding God Above our Heads
Advent IV - Matthew 2:13-23 - Finding God Through the Tears
Christmas I - Matthew 2:22-25 - Finding God in Josh Davidson

2010 - A Light has Dawned

Advent I - Luke 1:11-17 – Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it
Advent II - Luke 1:26-28 – It’s not what you know, but who you know (or maybe even better yet, who knows you!)
Advent III - Luke 1:46-56 – Pride comes before a fall
Advent IV - Luke 2:1-7 – Behind every great man . . .
Christmas I - Luke 2:8-20 – Good things really do come in small packages

2009 - Simply Christmas: How to Maximize the Season by Minimizing the Distractions

Advent I - Luke 21:34-36 - Live Lightly
Advent II - Philippians 1:3-13 - Live Gratefully
Advent III - Luke 3:7-18 - Live Contentedly
Advent IV - Micah 5:2-5a - Live Humbly
Christmas I - Colossians 3:16-17 - Put your new clothes on

2008 - Songs of the Season

Advent I - I was out this year
Advent II - Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 - Turning Towards Joy
Advent III - Psalm 126 - Sowing in Tears, Reaping in Joy
Advent IV - Psalm 98 - Sing a New Song . . . A Christmas Song

2007 - Follow the Star - Finding true wisdom this Christmas season.

Advent I - Romans 13:11-14 - Wake Up! Get Dressed! Learning to pay attention to Christ's work in our world.
Advent II - Matthew 3:1-12 - Make Way! Make Room! Learning to make space for Christ's activity in our homes.
Advent III - James 5:7-10 - Wait! Have Patience! Learning to wait on Christ's provision for our needs.
Advent IV - Matthew 1:18-25 - Enjoy! Rejoice! Learning to celebrate Christ's work in our lives.

2006 - Hope, Peace, Joy, Love

Advent I - Jeremiah 33:14-16; Luke 21:25-26 - The Seedling of Hope
Advent II - Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79 - Pathway of Peace
Advent III - Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 12:2-6; Philippians 4:4-7 - The Song of Joy
Advent IV - Micah 5:2-5; Psalm 80:1-7; Luke 1:46-55 - The Face of Love
Christmas I - Isaiah 9:2-7 - The Light of Life

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Illustration-a-day: If making babies were all the world needed . . .

I know you’ve seen them, those Johnson & Johnson ads – the black and white ones with the cutest of babies and the voiceovers. One has the chubbiest little boy you’ve ever seen sitting in the sink taking a bath grinning a large toothless grin. He splashes around as a voice ponders, “You always went for the tall, dark, handsome types. So who’d have ever thought the love of your life would be short and bald?” And then after a brief pause to build effect, says, “Having a baby changes everything.”

The birth of a baby is one of those sacred moments that takes our concrete, no nonsense world and in a moment transforms it into a place that’s at once mysterious and magical and at the same time perplexing and full of terror. You can’t get over how small his fingers are. You giggle at the recognition that he has that funny little flap on his ears like his mother. You wonder in delighted expectation at what this newest of lives might become.

But along with all the new found joy you can’t help but recognize new fears. You find yourself looking intently at his miniscule lips asking yourself again and again, “Is he still breathing?” You eye every guest who holds him with suspicion, “Have they been sick recently? Did they wash their hands?” He seems so fragile, so helpless, so small. Your can barely watch the evening news with its stories of senseless death, its reports of disease and famine, its images of war without wondering, “What kind of world have I brought this child into?”

Because the greater truth is, while my baby’s birth has changed my world, his birth hasn’t changed the world. It’s really quite remarkable. On the one hand my immediate world pauses for a glimpse at LIFE – new life – life full of promise and possibility – complete strangers pause and wish you congratulations. It seems as if the world is at peace – but then you see the headlines and realize that the world continues to fall apart. Oh, we long for a day when there could be an end to war, or pollution, or rape, or kidnapping, or drug use – we look at our new born child and think – surely for our children we would change – we have to change – and then we don’t. We keep on sinning. I keep on sinning. The world keeps on sinning. We keep on polluting and robbing and hurting one another. And sometimes we even do so to our own families. If making babies was all the world needed to reverse its course then the world would have righted its ship long ago.