Over the past two weeks I have been working on my sermon plan for 2016. One part of this process is to look back over the past year and see what I have already preached. Finally I take a big look over my entire preaching ministry (I have a record of all sermons since 1996) and see what has worked well and what has not.
Yesterday as I was looking over my lists I began to see huge patterns in my preaching. There are several topics that I have hit over and over again.
1. Making Jesus Your Savior and Lord. My greatest desire is for people to come to faith in the grace of Jesus. Then I want to see their lives transformed by that grace. My biggest question is, “What is your next step of faith?”
2. Learning Basic Bible. Every year I have preached a series about some basic bible stories or characters. I firmly believe that the Bible is sharper than any two-edged sword cutting to the very soul of a person. Do you know more about God’s word this year than you did last year?
3. Growing In Faith and Practice. While I want everyone to know their Bible, the ultimate goal is the transformation of a person into Christlikeness. I would rather you live 10 verses of scripture that you know than to know 100 verse and do 1. What do you need to do with the knowledge you have of God and his word?
4. The Church. The Church has fallen on hard times lately. People skip Church and do not make it a priority. I firmly believe that the Church is the best place for every believer. It is the place we learn, grow, serve and fellowship. In 22 years of ministry I have yet to see one person grow in their walk with God by Biblical standards outside of Church. The Church is full problems, but so is everything else on this earth. It is still a great place to develop as a believer. Is the church a vital part of your faith?
5. Sharing Your Faith. As our life is transformed by Jesus within his Church we share the good news with the people around us. Each one of us should personally care about the eternal fate of the people around us. Who is closer to the Lord because of knowing you?
These five themes have reappeared in my preaching year after year. As I look into 2016 they will be a part of my sermons once again. I guess when I feel like people have mastered these five things I will move onto something else. Right now, it looks like I should be busy for many years to come.