Saturday, 27 February 2010

Matthew 26:69-27:10: Two betrayers

This continues my series of sermon thoughts for feedback

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Matthew 26:69-27:10
Two betrayers
Both Peter and Judas betrayed Jesus. This had to happen, to fulfil prophecy (Matt 27:9-10; see also Matt 26:30-35). Jesus had to go to the cross alone. "There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin; only he could unlock the gate of heaven, and let us in".

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Matthew 26:57-68: Who's in charge here?

This continues my series of sermon drafts for feedback.

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Title: Who's in charge here?

Summary:
The Sanhedrin is a false court, based on lies. Jesus is the Christ - the real temple, the real king, who speaks the truth. He's the one who's really in charge.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Matthew 26:47-56: A Matter of Take and Give

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I'm going to post my thoughts on the sermon series I hope to preach over the next few weeks leading up to Easter. Feedback appreciated.

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Title: A matter of take and give

Summary:
Jesus wasn't a helpless victim, taken by surprise. He gave himself to his enemies, so as to fulfil the Scriptural prophecies and die as a sacrifice for sin. It was the high point of God's deliberate, purposeful plan to forgive sin and save the world.

STOP PRESS! Cheap theology at Koorong!


Hey everyone - cheap theology at Koorong!
Incidentally - I have no financial or other interest in Koorong, I just love a bargain! :)

Monday, 22 February 2010

Feedback on Matthew sermons, please

Orright, I'm gonna try something unusual.

I've been preparing talks on Matthew 26-28, to preach in the run-up to Easter. I haven't done any Greek language work yet (not that efficient!) - just got an overview of the passages in English translations, broken 'em up into preaching units, and, in the process, come up with an idea for the main point of the passage.


Over the next few days, I'm going to progressively publish the passage, my proposed main idea, and sermon title. I'd love your feedback on them - main idea and sermon title.
First passage up tomorrow!

A prayer upon taking up my first pastorate

Lord most sovereign, God of all nations, shepherd of your people, you have given me the privilege, responsibility and pleasure of being your fellow-worker upon this earth. You have appointed me to care for the people of St Mary’s Presbyterian Church, and the local area of St Mary’s and St Clair. They are yours: you created them; you gave your son for them; you have already brought some to faith and new life in him; and you will bring others also.

Father God, make me an under-shepherd worthy of your name. Continue, by your Holy Spirit, to make me grow more and more like your Son. Give me love for you, love for sinners, and skill with your Scriptures. Save me from the sins of laziness, workaholism, pride, false humility, lust, gluttony, asceticism, anger, conflict avoidance, indifference, anxiety, and everything else with which the Devil will assail me to try and hinder your kingdom from advancing.

Father, I have had eight years formal training for this moment. St Mary’s Presbyterian is a already a great church, with functioning Sunday School, Bible studies, pastoral care, and a desire to reach out. And yet I feel overwhelmed by the task. How could I, frail as I am, be a worthy worker for Almighty God?

But I go not in my own name, or my own strength. I go in the name of the risen Christ, who is at your right hand, above all earthly and heavenly powers. I go in the strength of your Spirit, with your Word in my hand, your powerful Gospel in my mouth, and shoulder-to-shoulder with your people. Take me and use me, to draw many to you, and strengthen them in love and knowledge of you. Amen.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

My ministry priorities

I'm about to start in my first pastorate at St Mary's Presbyterian Church. As I mentioned in my previous post, this'll be the first time I'm in charge of the church. Previously, I've been assistant minister, and so I had someone to pass the buck to. My priorities, in order, are:
  1. Get to know people pastorally - which means lots of pastoral visits;
  2. Preach soundly & consistently;
  3. Get familiar with the ordinary routines of the church - who's who, when things happen...
  4. Think creatively about evangelising the St Mary's-St Clair area;
  5. Pray lots about 1-4 above.
Anyone got any feedback on these?

I put pastoral before the preaching because I consider preaching a pastoral act. The better I know people, the better I'll be able to think about what the particular Bible passages says to them, in their particular context, at this particular time. What do you think?
Prayers along these lines would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

My new ministry this year: St Mary's Presbyterian Community Church

Okay world - it's official.

I've been appointed the minister (technically, the "home missionary") of St Mary's Presbyterian Community Church, in the suburb of St Mary's, between Blacktown & Penrith. Official start date: 22 Feb.

These past couple of years, I've been assistant minister, first at St David's Strathfield, then at MEPC. This'll be my first time as the senior minister. Well, the only minister - it's a small church, they can't afford assistants. And that's a bit scary.

Wait a minute - I'm not the only minister. The church is full of ministers. Like Greg and Bruce and Ibrahim, who've led Bible studies for years. And Betty, and the others who teach Sunday school. And Warwick and the others who do kids talks. And everyone else who's been serving each other & encouraging each other for years and years.

Maybe I should continue to think of myself as an assistant minister. As in I'm assisting all the other church members, as they minister to each other.

I feel better already.

Friday, 12 February 2010

The Certificate

"This is to certify that Kamal Weerakoon, a duly qualified student under the supervision of the Theological College at Sydney, has passed all the requirements for the course of training for the ministry. The seal of the College Committee affixed this Thirteenth day of January 2010. (Signed), John Davies, Convener."

Finally, after eight years of various full-time & part-time & vocational training, I'm eligible to become a minister in the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

Monday, 8 February 2010

The Vice-Chancellor's Hope

Professor Michael Spence is vice-chancellor of Sydney University - kind of like the university's chief executive officer. He's also a practising Christian, and an ordained Anglican minister. Last month (Jan 2010) he was invited to speak at the Sydney Festival on hope - and he was to speak just as himself, not as the university's VC. So, he gave an answer for the hope that he had.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Beware the indirect objects of sub-clauses

This week, I’ve been working on a little piece of fiction. It’s about a young Englishman who visits Sri Lanka to try and find redemption for past sins of his family.

I’d just finished working on the following passage, and was quite happy with it, when I realised something was badly wrong with the last sentence.

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Tendrils of mist coiled around the trees and buildings of Diyatalawa, creating haloes around the few lights that were on. The damp swirled around the car like horizontal rain. Anthony shivered, and pulled his jacket tight around him. Sunil, the driver, glanced at Anthony through the rear-view mirror, and turned the heat up to maximum. Anthony looked to his left. Reuben seemed comfortable enough, snug in his thick blanket and clutching a bottle of warm milk.

The town was just waking. A few men, their heads swathed in towel turbans to keep out the sodden chill, were walking languidly along the road’s narrow, uneven pavements. A group of children squatted around a tap on the roadside, brushing their teeth. They looked up and waved as the car passed. Reuben, wide awake and looking out of the window, pointed and said ‘boy! Boy!’

Anthony stopped the car to wind down the window. ‘Where does the mudalali live?’ he asked a man who was just opening his shop. Yawning, the man pointed down the road to a double-story house. The car continued slowly and drew up in front of the front door.

‘Sunil, please watch the child,’ Anthony said as he got out of the car. Sunil got into the back seat with Reuben. Reuben stared inquisitively at Sunil as he sucked contentedly on his bottle of milk.