Tagged: Calling

Ephesians 1:15-22

This text is used for the Lectionary Year B on December 3, 2017.

Two branches stem from this passage on the power of God.  The text illustrates the enormity of God as it relates to the individual and the church.  The preacher may speak to the individual in the congregation about their own path as it relates to the power of God.  However, the more fitting sermon may bend toward the church.  There is a strong emphasis here on the nature of the church as God’s power on earth.  Either way, you go, individual or communal, the power of God is at the heart of the message.

Verses 17 and 19 provide a starting point for discussing the unimaginable power of God.  God’s power is beyond us as humans.  God operates in ways that are inconceivable in scope and time to our minds.  This fact, however, does not limit the prayer of the text for us to know and receive that inconceivable power of God.  The preacher could note two things here.  One, the power of God surpasses all on this earth.  There is nothing here that will overwhelm our God.  You may list many hurdles that overwhelm us, recognizing that God can calm those fears with a single breath.  Two, Ephesians 1:20-22 puts all this divine power in Christ.  To deepen the Christology of the church, it may be fruitful to consider the supremacy of the name of Jesus Christ and that every knee will eventually bow to that name.  There is a whole sermon on the grandness of God here, but practically it is worth the preacher’s time to point from the power of God to the individual or the church.

To the individual, it would be worth parking in verses 17-18.  Here you find a prayer for wisdom, knowledge, calling, and inheritance.  The truth is that every Christian can be filled with these things through the Holy Spirit.  Most individuals in the pews are unaware of what that looks like in their life.  The preacher could fill in those gaps with stories of answered prayers in these areas.  Calling though may be the one that resonates with the congregation.  They need to hear that the calling of God is hopeful and generous.  God has surely placed a calling on each of their lives for a specific purpose in His Kingdom, and when the time is right, they will have full wisdom and authority to live out that call.  God does not abandon us without purpose but gives a call.  This calling into God’s work is far greater than anything we could come up with on our own.  We tend to chase after other things, like Jonah, but our lives will always flourish when we recognize what God has in store for us individually.  The preacher could list all the kinds of dreams that people have for themselves (e.g., sports, school, financial, recreational) and show how our dreams pale in comparison to God’s dream for our lives.

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Genesis 12:1-4

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on March 12th, 2017.

These words in verse 4, So Abram left, as the LORD had told him, are essential to preaching the Genesis 12:1-4a text assigned to the second Sunday in the 2017 Lenten season. They are grounded in themes of surprise, obedience, faith, courage, grace, and a new beginning – if not a new birth – blessings, and perhaps intrigue in the context of God’s protection and provision.  They are exposed on a God-directed journey being traveled by Abram.

It is a pericope that is pregnant with much preaching opportunity for the preacher, as she focuses on these themes. The preacher would be wise to consider this text from the perspective of the hearer being on a life-journey under God’s guidance.  After all, in a sense, the Lenten season is a certain kind of release, freedom or letting go of oldness or that which is comfortable or familiar for newness that God offers. While Lenten is one season of the year, God’s offering of newness is presented daily to his people throughout their lives, even if it seems they are being asked to make a personal sacrifice leaving what they know.

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Exodus 24:12-18

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on February 26th, 2017.

When I read Exodus 24:12-18, the lectionary text for Transfiguration Sunday, it seems that the Lord’s words in verse 12 to Moses – Come up to Me on the mountain – should be primary to the preacher’s consideration when preaching on this pericope. It speaks of Moses being called before and encountering the manifestation and transcendent presence of the Lord God. It speaks of being drawn to God at his request, and it is a holy experience because God is present.

The words of this text also apply to all of God’s people in every generation. That upward trajectory appeal – God’s calling of his people upward to himself – is the life story of God’s people and the continual refrain God speaks into the lives of his people. Perhaps this appeal is a recurring theme of this pericope, as we read and hear it today, particularly through the eyes and ears of the preacher.

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Isaiah 49:1-7

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on January 15th, 2017.

What is a calling? When someone is asked about their calling many times that person will recall a specific time or event as the moment when there was an understanding that this was what God wanted to accomplish in their life. The servant, mentioned here, declared a specific call from God was received while still in the womb (49:1). Not only did this call provide a great sense of confidence for this servant, but there was also a sense of being specially prepared for the mission for which this servant was called.

The special equipping the servant received was a “mouth like a sharpened sword.” Additionally, the servant was “made into a polished arrow” (49:2). The fact that the servant had a mouth like a sharpened sword and was made into a polished arrow could possibly indicate that this servant’s message had the ability to pierce his hearers’ hearts. Regardless, the servant’s ability to communicate the master’s message was potentially effective.

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