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Preaching Cramp..Help Please

I don’t even know what to call it, so I’ll call it preacher’s cramp.  I need your help.

The next month of preaching is all lined up, but when it comes to June, I am stuck.  I got amazing ideas on previous blog posts and have a bunch of my own promptings and ideas, but I can’t decide what to preach in the June time slot. For whatever reason, I feel like God is saying this June series is somehow going to be important – as in it needs to address issues people are really facing. And I just want to be obedient. I’m praying, but I’m stuck.  So I turn to you, my friends.

So let me ask you — what’s the most urgent issue in your life and the life of your friends?  What’s the one thing you want addressed before the summer hits in full force?  Tell me, please. Your answer may indeed help me figure out where God wants this to go in June. 

22 Comments

  1. Bill Laxton on May 9, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Hi Carey,

    Welcome back home!

    What I would like to suggest for June is a teaching that would deal with how we can best live our lives in our most significant relationships; marriage. This is something that I have found necessary to revisit many times in in my own marriage.

    I am asking for some clear biblical teaching on how we can all learn to see Christ in each other rather than just what it is we want from our partners.

    I think that each of us wants and needs to learn to see Christ in each other. I know that when I have lost sight of that deep desire, I mess up in my love for Cherry (my wife), my family, and in my own life and in my relationship to God.

  2. ed on May 8, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Balance.

  3. m.w. smith on May 8, 2008 at 6:39 am

    I doubt that we really know what it means to be the church. I doubt that we are courageous enough to love one another in a way that wakes others from their numbness.

  4. Laurie on May 7, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    The idea of peoples' doubts may tie in with the faulty thinking we all have about different issues in the Bible. I have been reading Job and seeing the flaws in the thoughts of his "friends" that they didn't realize they had – the footnote comment was that it is better to know God than to have all the answers about life because we could misunderstand them. How many things do we misunderstand and label Truth?

  5. Carey on May 7, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    thanks for the feedback. you guys are really helping. any other "i doubt…" issues hot in your life or the life of your friends? this is really great stuff, thank you!

  6. Rebekah on May 7, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    I love the 'doub it' idea. I would add "I doubt Jesus is actually divine" or "I doubt the ressurection"…that's one I would love to hear addressed. I think my generation is okay with a kind of general idea of God, but Jesus can be confusing/upsetting/sometimes even insulting to one's intelligence…I mean, we're enlightened, right? How is it possible that you want me to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. That doesn't happen.

    (That's not what I think, that's what I hear expressed from friends of mine who are doubtful about Christianity.)

    Blessings on this new endeavour – sounds good even in the very beginning stages.

    Cheers,
    R.

  7. Debra Morgan on May 7, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Hi Carey,
    Your timing couldn't be better with your request for topics. I just got home from the sportsplex where you will be preaching June 8th I believe in Bracebridge. Great workout and greatwalk. It's when I do my best thinking. I've had a goal for the past few years of a ranch for troubled and addicted teens. I wanted to discuss this with you but it does tie in with your request. Addictions are running ramped in teens and they are getting younger everyday. I believe God is directing me to Move, come out of doubt and take risks to get the ball rolling in that direction. If you recall I mentioned that the sermon you did with the vodka bottle as your prop is what got me to Trinity just in time to hear about and join Connexus.
    Begin by sharing the dream. I love all the suggestions I've read. Just wanted to add what's been foremost on my mind. Look forward to any suggestions on this goal.
    Love Debra
    I also learn from listening to the testimonies of the teens on 100.3 weekend mornings.

  8. CharleneBoucher on May 7, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Hi Carey,
    I love the doubt it idea. I think it will strike a lot of people. June, to me, is one of those transitional months like September. It's about getting everything lined up so that the summer will run easily. It can also be about making changes in our lives.

    One of the best series I ever heard you preach was the Skeptics Wanted one where you looked at Bibical teachings and science and showed how they could make sense together. We didn't have to just blindly believe, we could doubt, and for the most part trust that science and the Bible can go hand in hand. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

    I'm looking forward to the series.

  9. josh roberts on May 7, 2008 at 7:51 am

    I've really been dealing with the issue of courage and strength. I think we pray very often for Wisdom (and we should), but lately, for me, it isn't that I don't have the wisdom to do the right thing. It's that I don't have the courage or strength. Solomon was the wisest man in the world, but he still made some terrible choices. Perhaps it was more courage and strength that he needed.

  10. Rob Pinches on May 7, 2008 at 6:42 am

    Hey Carey If it is doubt I would add "I doubt that I am am good enough to be a Christian, I doubt that I can be happy, I doubt that God could ever love someone like me." Just dome thoughts.

  11. Carey on May 7, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Hey all… THANK YOU. Some great and varying ideas all around.

    Here's my idea as it's been germinating over the last two days. I'm thinking of a series called "Doubt it" which addresses some real skepticism people carry about the Christian faith like "I Doubt God Actually Exists", "I Doubt God Can be Good", "I Doubt I Can Be Forgiven", "I Doubt so Much I Doubt I can be a Christian".

    What do you think? What doubts would you add or take away from the list?

  12. Joey on May 7, 2008 at 5:49 am

    GRACE!

    I think the world is simply starved to hear about, see and experience the amazing grace of God.

    Besides, then the band could sing Chris Tomlin's Amazing Grace. I mean, you simply cannot ever hear THAT song enough! LOL.

  13. L Fournier on May 5, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Hey Carey,
    I think what I struggle most with is convincing non-believers that Jesus offers unconditional love and acceptance. I try to assure them that it is more about their personal relationship with God and less about all the 'rules'. You see, most of them believe that they are 'biblically bad' and no longer welcome in church or even Heaven (most are looking for a back door-to Heaven that is) because of materialism, homosexual relationships, unethical or immoral decisions they have made etc. These people are locked into the slavery of their 'sins' because they feel like they might as well live it up because Heaven and the church don't want them anyway, or living their life the way God wants is too rigid and boring. I need a toolbox full of ideas to convince curious non-believers that life as a Christian is fun, exciting and doesn't include a hangover. I need to convince them of Forgiveness and Grace without sounding too 'churchy'. I need 'something' to seal the deal and make them want to take the next babystep and check out Connexus or another new and notable either in person or via the internet. I have some shiny tools in my toolbox but I really need something to seal the deal.

  14. m.w. smith on May 5, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Great question…the most urgent issue in my life right now (and interestingly, some of my friends too)is change.What's perplexing to me is that even when it is positive change, it can still create a negative environment.

    What is the best way to navigate by faith the things that God calls us to be, to do, to dream, to hope..when change creates such turbulence?

  15. Dean Butterfield on May 5, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    One that God has recently laid on my heart to address is the area of priorties, choices and time. As parents, we seem to be crunched for time, so what are THE most important things we should focus on?

    Also, if the end goal of having and raising children is to produce fully, committed disciples of Christ, then everything we do as parents should be filtered with that end in mind. Do I send my kids to public school, chrsitian school, or home school? Do my kids participate in soccer or music lessons? If the end goal is genuine disciples, then what I do as a parent should help bring that about.

    Just some thoughts, Dean

  16. Carey on May 5, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    thanks for the quick and though-provoking posts.

    pat d and lindsay, I wonder if you are speaking of the same phenonemon – how do you overcome the plasticity of so much Christianity? great question. I was thinking of doing a series in june called "I Doubt It" which would look at objections to Christianity, but maybe a look at doubt from the inside (my doubts) might be stronger.

    rob – interesting. the other major contender in my heart was a series on forgiveness. i think it's a huge issue, and tying it into the basics of faith might be good.

    dan – debt is huge. rich birch just did a great short series on money and simplification, but i'm sure we'll come back to it soon.

    rob — are you a blogger? i think that's a metaphysical question none of us quite have the answer to.

    keep the ideas and comments coming. what's burning up inside you?

  17. Lindsay on May 5, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Hmmm… well, one thing I've been thinking about is what does it really mean to be "authentic," "transparent" and "sincere"? Life is messy- how are we to properly mourn with those who mourn, and celebrate with those who are celebrating… how can we be a people who really practice and know what it means to share life? ALL, aspects of it. Also, what are the parameters/boundaries to that? Are there? Should there be? I'm learning that it's so easy to compartmentalize ones life. On a personal note, I struggle with this because I work in church ministry and feel an unspoken pressure (whether imaginary or real) to consistently have a smile- yet this past year has been extremely difficult emotionally/spiritually/physically and have been too afraid to share any glimpse of that with my community. I've found that by closing up to the people around me, that also causes me to close up to God… and then of course, it works the other way around- and that sucks! I am so thankful that nothing is hidden from God and that I can experience His grace and restoration – yet, when it comes to being transparent with people (even if it's just teeny bit) things get messy because us humans are so unpredictable and restrained.
    The inability or refrain from being authentic in community robs us from being able to fully engage, encourage and hold each other accountable (and i think it keeps us from fully engaging with God). Also, I think it tends to diminish the value and beauty of God's gift of community.

  18. Rob Meeder on May 5, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Hi Carey,
    just browsing your blog because I actually have some time to do so! About June….. I was thinking about a book that really impacted me when I first became a Christian called Knowing God which really explained some key Christian principles and sort of blew me away….. So without insulting your audience, what about a series to the effect of "Jesus for Dummies" and explore the concepts of Grace, Faith and Forgiveness. We toss these words around in worship and discussion all the time. I know each of these concepts probably deserve their own series but maybe unpacking one key concept of each of these words: Grace – salvation is a FREE gift form God and salvation comes with no expectations from us, Faith – believing in things we have not seen JUST ON GOD'S WORD (evidence or no evidence) and Forgiveness – the idea that this is a ONCE AND FOR ALL phenomenon from a positional perspective and how this relates to eternal security. Maybe call the first one Grace Anatomy 🙂

    Just some thoughts I'm enjoying! and concepts that were real "aha's" for me when I first became a Christian.

    Am I a blogger now?

    Rob

  19. Pat D on May 5, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Hey Carey,

    An idea I've been messing around with in my head lately, based on conversations I've had with friends both here at home and back in Barrie, is the idea of sharing our doubts with each other.

    We have been taught in the Christian world how to share our faith. There are literally hundreds of books on the topic, just from recent years.

    But, there seems to be this underlying mentality that you are allowed to ask questions and challenge things about Christianity until the moment you decided to become a part of it. Then, you must accept everything and ignore any doubts that you may be having.

    I've been talking to people who are having huge, emotionally draining dilemma's over the doubts they are facing, and how they have to continue with the facade. I imagine even those outside Christianity have the perception that as soon as they take that step, they must give up on their doubts and simply accept faith blindly. And I do not say this so much as intellectual faith ("Does God exist?") but more of a spiritual, practical faith ("Does this even mean anything to me anymore?" "Is God really out there?")

    Just some thoughts to toy with, that I think may be very relevant.

  20. dan scott on May 5, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Hey, Carey…

    I've noticed my friends spending huge amounts of money on their vacations and summer plans… going into debt for water-toys and all-inclusive resorts. I don't know if this is a phenomenon that you face in Canada – but it seems like people here are just willing to blow money (they have or don't have) to make sure they're happy all summer long. Simplicity is not something we do well here. Bigger better faster more seems the way to go… and it's killing us.

  21. carey nieuwhof on May 5, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Thanks Leslie. It was great to see your blog too! People should wander over and check it out.

  22. Leslie on May 5, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Hi Carey.
    I wish you could have seen my face when I looked at my blog comments this morning..thank you for stopping by. It made my day!

    I LOVE your blog-thank you for being so open and letting us be apart of such an exciting time with Connexus!

    As far as JUNE goes –I guess what I have noticede in my own life is how many people are hurting and seeing relationships with other people rather than with Jesus. Trying to fill a whole with others rather than the Lord.

    Blessings!
    -Les

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