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If You Could Preach, You'd ______….

This week some of us will sit down and plot out much of the rest of the summer preaching schedule, and start making plans into the fall of 2008.

I’ve always considered it a privilege and deep responsibility to preach the Word of God.  But as we start to hit some great grooves in ministry at Connexus (it just gets more exciting to be this kind of church every week), I really want to make sure we’re trying to answer questions people are asking when we take on a series.  (Sex and family issues are in the hopper for May and June 08).  God’s Word just has so much to say on issues that people struggle with every day. I just love that through preaching, we get to bridge that gap.

So…if you could design a series or pick a subject to cover, what would you do?  Me and our little team are all ears.   Blog away.


  1. Lyndsay on July 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Hey Carey,

    This is a LONG time out of date, but I am going to assume that you get a notification on this. I just hit your blog, and I am sure you never lack for suggested ideas, but here is one that I think would make a HUGE difference to both Christians and non-christian “seekers” alike.

    The meaning of “christianese.” It gets a lot of joke time (aka Stuff Christian’s Like), but RARELY have I seen a sermon on the topic. As a former Atheist, now Christian, and as a therapist, this is something that continues to plague my thinking. What do people MEAN when they use specific phrases (i.e. Man of the Word), what are we trying to convey by using that language, and should we examine our motives when we use this language? Have we reduced the christian community experience to the right phrases, in front of the right people, to be seen in a specific light? Is this an idol in Christianity (to tie into your current [2012] blog topics). Just some current thoughts on an outdated posting.

    • Carey on July 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      Lyndsay..thanks. Great thoughts. And no post is too old for a comment, especially this one. Sunday comes around with surprising regularity. 🙂

  2. Linda Crummer on June 14, 2012 at 7:32 am

    I’ve been reading about rest. HEBREWS 3 & 4.
    Hebrews 3:7-11
    Now if we can only keep a firm grip on this bold confidence we’re the house! That’s why the Holy Spirit says, Today please listen; don’t turn a deaf ear as in ” the bitter uprising,” that time of wilderness testing! Even though they watched me at work for forty years, your ancestors refused to let me do it my way; over and over they tried my patience. And I was provoked, oh so provoked! I said, “They’ll never keep their minds on God; they refuse to walk down my road.” Exasperated, I vowed”They’ll never get where they’re going, never be able to sit down and rest.”
    Rest? What’s that? This spoke to me.

  3. Carol Penfound on May 5, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    I feel very strongly on educating people of how to use the internet as positive tool.
    Internet education, for parents and for kids.
    Information is so readily available, temptation lures and is so easily accessed. It has not just opened a portal for great communication is has created much more crime and confusion. It is not taken seriously enough.
    There is a whole generation out there that the parents were not educated and did not monitor their children. Where and what are they doing today? What has this done to society, growth is good but not without education. Now these kids are becoming adults.
    I know of someone from the OPP that speaks and has videos on this topic.

  4. carey nieuwhof on April 16, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Nice to see this link and subject still alive and active a week later.

    I did a series about three years ago called "Skeptics Wanted" that deals with many of the faith versus science and 'evidence' issues. we may do that again in the next 12 from a fresh angle. in the meantime, any of Lee Strobel's "Cast for…" books are fantastic on that issue.

    I'm seriously printing off this thread as we do some plotting for the next year. Any other ideas while this is still "live"?

  5. Shirley on April 16, 2008 at 8:43 am

    I have some ideas on where to find facts that refute the evolution theory ( for the student needing facts to support Christianity). There is a full study on the subject called Answers in Genesis that you can find at a site with the same name (google it for the exact link), also a couple DVDs come to mind: Icons of Evolution, Unlocking the Mystery of Life as well as The Case for the Creator (also available in book format). Lee Strobel wrote The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for the Creator and The Case for the Real Jesus, all very good resources for the one looking for answers to share with believers and non-believers alike. They are very factual and therefore very appropriate for Science students!! God bless you in your search for truth!

  6. Nancy MacLachlan on April 16, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Wow, I've been away awhile and just trying to catch up on blogs and things I have missed. Lots of good ideas here… looking forward to what you do Carey. I would be interested in exploring how science and God fit together… the idea of them not being exclusive of one another. What does "in the image of God" really mean? Are we talking brunette/ beard/ fair/ brown skin? Or is it really our soul and how we are all connected and what is the soul? energy? vibrations… how does that connect with science theories?
    I have picked up a book a physicist friend of mine talks about, and sites as his fave on facebook, "The God Delusion" by Dawkins. I have also found a second book (a response) "The Dawkins Delusion?" I have yet to read them, but there is lots of blogging and debating about theories and ideas out there, and it might be interesting to wrestle with some of these themes. What do you think? ( I know, I should be in bed and not typing on the computer!)Thanks for asking for ideas and questions.

  7. Joan Parker on April 14, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Jayne, I'm with you too on that one. Sometimes I look around and think that lots of people just turn to Jesus/church/God when they are down and out and in need and I wonder about that…as if it's sometimes seen as a "weakness". I have family that is very content, happy and successful with their lives – many friends, live the good life etc. and yet they are atheists. They are "strong" people and seem to roll with the punches (if they have any) far better than I do. Hard question to answer…why do they need God?…to die and go to heaven! They sure can't see that as sensible.

  8. student on April 14, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    I really like the idea about the Bible and Science. As a university student studying science, the Theory (and the "facts") of Evolution is basically unavoidable. I find it can be difficult to share your faith with other science students especially – with all their profs telling them that evolution is true, why should they believe anything else?
    Where do fossil discoveries (dinosaurs, etc) fit into the picture with the bible?
    What are the newer discoveries being made that are opposed to evolution?
    There are rocks and fossils supposedly from hundreds of millions of years ago – but the bible says everything was created in a very short time period.
    Basically, just ways to share and explain your faith to those who want scientific evidence and proof

    Thanks 🙂

    p.s. I absolutely love Connexus.. can't wait to be home for the summer and to be able to hear the message every week – definitely miss it while I'm away! It's an awesome environment, I love it!

  9. Sarah Flemming on April 11, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Jayne, Carey, I think about that question too. Sometimes I look at friends who are not following Jesus and think "well they seem to be doing just fine – they seem better than me some days!"
    And no, I really have no idea what the answer to this question is.
    The truth is Jesus offers us A LOT, and what Jesus has for us is unquestionably better than anything we find for ourselves. When Jesus is at the water well and asks a Samaritan woman for a drink he says:
    "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

    Maybe our friends don't realize what Jesus is offering them. Do I even realize the true extent of what Jesus offers me?? Maybe it comes down to how much we as followers of Jesus recieve Him in full… and how that spills over into our relationships with others??

    …hmm, I'm not sure the answer to Jayne's question – it's a good one!

    I am also thinking about Rob's commment about our fast-paced society. I have heard (more than once) people suggest that the God of the Bible isn't LIKE that anymore. He doesn't interact with us the same, doesn't reveal himself, doens't get involved. Maybe He does and we're just to busy/concerned/stressed out to listen?

    WOW – I'm excited for the next 6 months! So many good ideas on here… but I'm going to stop now 🙂

  10. Louise on April 11, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Just an idea.
    Looking beyond ourselves and our condition and exploring the need for global compassion. Social Justice – Love your fellow man, Social Justice – Love your fellow woman, Social Justice – social responsiblity to love one another, Social Justice – as Christians we are commanded by God to be compassionate and responsible beyond ourselves, beyond Barrie, beyond Orillia (Luke 10:27-37 The Parable of the Good Samaritan).
    What a modern example of this we saw in the life of Corrie ten Boom. A woman, who because of her love for Christ and her knowledge of His teachings, hide Jews in her home from the Nazi's, while knowing the extreme risk she and her family were taking. She knew the Jewish people were being unjustly treated – Social Justice.

  11. Ed on April 11, 2008 at 10:30 am

    I've been wondering about the question of evil.

  12. carey nieuwhof on April 10, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    more great ideas. thank you all. the thread isn't done yet if you're still thinking this through….

    jayne, i love your train of thought. i'm going to do a blog post Monday that angles this question differently — seeking input from our friends who are not yet followers.

    by the way, i think about your question all the time and would love to hear what others think the answer might be.

  13. Jayne on April 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    I think in this day and age people want to know "what's in it for me?". Is there something we can do to showcase what Christianity has to offer?

    I know that many of my non-church-going friends just don't see what the point of it all is….it's not that they don't believe in God (or at least a higher power) but they just don't get what church is for. Or what being faithful to God is good for or how it can change their life.

    They feel happy and comfortable the way things are going in their lives so why do they need God and church….it's just one more committment in an already packed calendar of events.

    I find people who are hurting are much more open to checking out what the church has to offer. But what about people who are relatively content? How do we convince them that Jesus can make life even more satisfying? That they really are missing out on something?

  14. Doreen on April 10, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    What should we believe now, when some churches are taking a more world view of things..should we be more tolerant of some behaviors,then we've been taught in the past..?
    Are we in end times.."When good will be called evil, and Evil will be called good" ?
    What to think? What to do?

  15. Cathy Penelton on April 9, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    You are SO right about encouragement. It is also my deep conviction that there is never enough encouragers in the crowd, especially for leadership. There are such spiritual battles being waged around those who find themselves on the front lines of ministry. Breathing life into people through our words, spoken or written, instead of "evaluating" thier weekly performance or "giving feedback" on someones effectivness goes much further to keep them thriving and motivated to stay in the game. I have purposed to take every opportunity not just to pray for our church leadership teams but to write out those prayers in my emails to them so that they know it is more than just words….

  16. L Fournier on April 9, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Wow. Well said Rob. I think that all the stuff we have and all the stuff we want DOES get in the way of God. That's probably our biggest hurdle.

  17. L Fournier on April 9, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    I love Tim's idea of the Bible vs Science and how they back each other up. Also, since we are a portable church trying to reach out to the unchurched on their territory how about a series about "If Jesus were in the flesh today". Where would he hang out? Who would he befriend? Who would he challenge? What kind of modern day relavent advice/teachings would he have for such a diverse society? If Jesus were here today (in the flesh) hanging out with us at a backyard BBQ…maybe chilling out with a beer; what would he say to us?

  18. Rob pinches on April 9, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Wow so many wonderful topics God is great. I was thinking that a series on contentment could find it's place in your messages.
    We live in a fast paced society That continually bombards us with messages to buy this, have that, this is newer and better or wouldn't you like to have one of these. The media counters these points with statements like " are you tired of that Old…" "wouldn't this _______ be just right for your …." " Haven't you always wanted one of ________……." " if you get one of these all your cares and worries will be gone." I know that i hear this talk constantly at work that there is a bigger better faster something that one of the people I work with need or want.
    We are Christ's and we belong to Him and he will supply all our needs I think we need a reminder that what we have is enough and that we should remember that God has given it to us.
    I was training to be a Missionary to the Soviet Countries in 1996-1997 and I met a Chezc Pastor who told me He continually prayed for all of us in North America. In my naivety I asked Him why?
    he replied with this " that all the stuff you have doesn't get in the way of God"


    Rob Pinches

  19. Michael Creasor on April 9, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    When I was a kid, the topic of my Dad versus someone else's dad always came up and the "My Dad is Better than Your Dad" always resulted. Interestingly there is now a game show with that title where kids have their dads compete against other dads to find who gets the bragging rights.

    How about a play off that with "My God is Better Than Your God."

    It is a little strange for a title, perhaps even controversial and confrontational, but the Bible has many instances where this confrontation took place.

    Elijah versus the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel

    Moses versus Pharoah in Egypt

    Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego vs King Nebuchadnezzar

    Daniel vs Administrators of King Darius

    Jesus conquering sin and death on the cross

    I also like Tim's WHY questions as I think these questions are some of the barriers that people will throw up at us when we try and share our faith with them.

  20. Justin Piercy on April 9, 2008 at 9:25 am

    How about something like "Keeping it Real"? Personally, I make sure that I read my bible everyday, and usually a few times a day, and get lots of prayer time in, but still struggle to "live out" my faith in my day to day relations with others and in general. The can be a big gap between being obedient, and living your faith. I know it's a big topic to try and tackle, but it's something that requires constant attention in my life.

  21. Tim L. Walker on April 9, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Online communities are totally personal. If anything, I think social networks have increased peoples' ability to better communicate with others. It may not be the same as being in physical contact with people, but in a lot of ways, it is far superior. Online communities like Facebook and Twitter open up whole new avenues for people to communicate, share, bond, and discuss.

    For example, I know Carey as the teacher @ Connexus. He knows me through me attending and volunteering there, but really, we only chat every so often at church, or at other church related functions. But through Twitter, he knows I'm a Canucks fan, and we've chatted about hockey and my disappointment of them missing the playoffs (but as he noted, at least I'm not a Leafs fan… hehe). Last night, he wanted to watch the end of the BlueJays game, but his kids took over the TV, so we were chatting about the game (I had it on) through Twitter. And that's just one example.

    That being said, I think it would be an interesting topic to discuss, as there are a variety of viewpoints on it.

    Don't you think if Jesus was in the flesh today he would Twitter and have a Facebook account? Imagine how many friends he would have on Facebook. 😉

  22. Laurie McNair on April 9, 2008 at 8:14 am

    How about one on community. The youth of today are so involved in "online community"–facebook, msn, blog, chat rooms, online gaming, online school and even church– but that is not the same as being in physical contact with people. Is society losing touch with being able to interact with others on a personal level?

  23. carey nieuwhof on April 8, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    very interesting and helpful stuff. thanks! can we keep this thread rolling? seriously… my note book is still open.


  24. Tim L. Walker on April 8, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Just had another thought… I know it wouldn't work in a traditional church setting very well, but I think Connexus could pull it off. What about a series on The Bible & Science? A look at scientific evidence that actually backs the Bible, etc… It would be another good, viral series that would interest the more intellectual of the seekers…

  25. Bill Laxton on April 7, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    The one 'crazy' idea that comes immediately to mind is anger. Sometimes it is justified, often it isn't. What does God have to say about it all? And in the few times that we may realize a 'righteous' anger in Christ rise in us, how does God's word tell us to deal with it? This is an area I have struggled with for years. I have found some things in scripture that have helped but I could do with more direction here…and I don't think that I am alone in this.



  26. carey nieuwhof on April 7, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    i love these ideas. thanks. family is always huge (we've got one series coming on that in june).

    funny..but i've had a series called "why" written in pencil for over a year now asking some of the questions you've listed Tim. Also one in pencil on Confession Chris. Any more questions in those areas?

    Bill and Steve, some good food for thought on proofs and on love. thanks!

    Any more ideas? Particularly, any crazy "i don't think anyone would actually preach on this stuff" kind of whacky ideas? I really want to hear it.

    Plus…any other things to add to what has already been written would be great.

  27. Bill Laxton on April 7, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Hi Carey,

    Lately I have been reading Philippians in preparation for a men's bible study group that I will be joining here in Barrie as soon as it starts this April. In my initial reading of Chapter Two, I was drawn deeply into a present meditation/application of what Jesus modelled for us as true christian love. This love is marked by a very real sense of humility and service to both God and everyone else.

    When I read your request for sermon ideas this morning, I was immediately lead to consider how a series teaching this love, would be of great benefit to 'seekers', young christians and old christians alike.

    With 'seekers' I believe that such a series would dispell the idea that we christians think that we are supposed to be 'high and mighty'. When I reflect on God's word, sink into it and apply it, I know that, that is the last thing that christians are called to be. Imagine the impact on a group of people hearing for the first time that all in Christ Jesus are called to love and serve each other. More over, that while each of us is serving the other, we need not be concerned for our own welfare, because in the body of Christ, our brothers and sisters are looking after each of us in turn.

    For young christians, this type of series would draw them into a deeper understanding and application of their lives in Christ. What an encouragement! To know that they will continuously come to see what Paul means when he talks about 'the riches in the present life, as well as the life to come', as they begin to more deeply apply this love of God.

    Older christians need to be reminded of this basis principle, (I say this because I am very often reminded of my own need in Christ to apply this true love of God in my own life!), as it not only directs their/our focus to a real need to continue to grow in our faith, but also softens the places of our hearts that have been either neglected or hardened by the various 'thorns in our sides.' I know in my heart that it would further the cause of Christ, by reminding the older christians in our congregation of how we are to pursue the "new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another."

    I hope this helps.

    Cheers in Christ,


  28. Chris on April 7, 2008 at 9:31 am

    There are topics that get "talked about" in church but sometimes there's a lack of context or instruction about the topics –

    Repentance – what is it? why do I need to do it? how do I do it?
    Lament – how does lament fit in the context of worship? is lament/doubt/questioning okay in light of what I know to be true about God?
    Confession – is this public? private? to whom? how often?

  29. Steve Ongo on April 7, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Hey Carrie :
    Saw a remarkable totally captivating show on Civilization now program. Looking at the Miracles of Jesus right through to the Resurection from several viewpoints. Magician/illusionist,can this trick be reproduced there was always a snag.
    Phychologists what was there mental state could the disciples have died for a lie ?
    Even an examination of the artifacts concluded that the story as it has been told is true.
    What I was thinking as I watched it was what an eye opener for those not quite there yet this may be the convincer. And for those of us already in the Faith it is a reinforcer that now our faith is proven fact.
    Phsychologist what were they thinking

  30. Tim L. Walker on April 6, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    How about a series called "Why?" Perhaps along similar lines to the "Jesus the Guru" one we're doing right now, it could be a biblical/christian look at the various "why" questions people have. It would be great to invite friends to (and would make for some great online viral video stuff).
    – Why bad things happen to good people?
    – Why good things happen to bad people?
    – Why does God allow war/suffering/anything?
    – Why did God let ___ die?
    – Why did God let _____ happen?
    – etc

    Make a list of the top "Why" questions people would pose to God, then we could explore the possible answers.

    Just my $.02 late at night after being up early for church this morning. 😉

  31. Anne Campbell on April 6, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Hey Carey:
    We just finished a family series at our church. We looked at different kinds of families and what we all have in common . Families with elderly parents. Families with special needs children. Single adult households. The best part of it all? We all realized how much we need each other to do this thing called family.

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