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sermon resources for february 12, 2012 [Epiphany 6B]

sermon and preaching resources2 Kings 5:1-14

Naaman risks many things in an effort to be made well. He risks authority by taking advice from a slave girl; his favored position with the king by suggesting going into hostile lands; his wealth, taking a huge some of money with him; and ultimately his physical health.

It is interesting how important the roles of servants (those with lesser positions) have in this story: the slave girl who gave Naaman the idea, Elisha’s messenger who gave Naaman the instructions, and then one of Naaman’s servant who begs him to reconsider being offended. The servants end up having the most heroic roles.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

“But only one receives the prize…” Does that strike anyone else as problematic? Am I a Christian competing with other Christians and only one of us, in the end, gets the prize? Ancient church father Origen puzzled over this, too. To solve the dilemma, he concludes that the one winner Paul was imagining was the Church as a single corporate body.

That’s an interesting preaching image. What does that mean for us if a slower runner in the Body of Christ is struggling? What if it is a runner whom we are not personally fond of—would we help our “enemy” complete the race if it affects how my whole team finishes? How would it look if the race Paul speaks of is a relay—my role is to receive the baton from those ahead of me, pass the baton on to those who follow, and make sure that our team “wins gold.” Paul speaks of not running aimlessly—not just for himself, though; the whole team needs his (and mine and yours…) focused efforts.

Mark 1:40-45

Note that the leper asks for cleansing not just healing. It is tempting to make the story about physical healing when it is really about restoring the leprous man to his community through the ritual purity laws and cleansing. And because of that restoration, he is able to go throughout the town rather than being dismissed and shunned.

Are there those in your congregation who need cleansing and restoration for the sake of the whole team trying to complete the race? Jesus heals and restores by a touch—scandalous in terms of ritual purity laws. How well is your own congregation holding hands and touching those who others dismiss and shun?

 

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a field guide to contemporary worship

Now available for purchase via Augsburg Fortress, A Field Guide to Contemporary Worship is a must-have guide for anyone thinking about starting a contemporary worship service, and an essential reference work for those wondering about the nuts and bolts of instrumentation, arranging, working with microphones and speakers, and much more!

A Field Guide to Contemporary WorshipWritten by a church musician and a pastor who have experienced the joys and challenges of this popular form of worship, A Field Guide to Contemporary Worship provides field-tested ideas and hints and a wealth of illustrations.

In this book you will learn how to form a worship team, how to build a repertoire, how to lead effective rehearsals, the basic of music arrangement and orchestration, how a PA system works, and how to arrange/assemble a sound system (including info on microphones and speakers).

If you've already been so kind as to purchase a copy [thanks, Mom], please make sure you take advantage of the supplementary material to the book found in the "Field Guide Extras" section. You'll find a ton of free contemporary worship resources, including a searchable index of contemporary worship songs organized by theme.

Order A Field Guide to Contemporary Worship (via Augsburg Fortress)