Monday, July 28, 2008

Cooking Something New: Help Wanted

It might sound ironic at first, but I really like it whenever I'm asked to preach or write and the topic is assigned.

For one thing, being assigned a topic saves me from the sometimes-agonizing question: So what exactly will I speak (or write) about? It's already decided. They're expecting to hear from me about that.

Something else. Of the better things I've ever come up with, many were the result of an assignment. I have a theory about why. I think it's because, whenever I pick the topic, it's something I think I already know about. Now, it's true that I do know something about a few things. The only problem is, when I select a topic that I think I already know about, I don't begin to search. Instead, I simply try to figure out how to say what I think I already know.

The result? Not much digging. No new discoveries. No trying to figure out a thing for myself. None of the excitement that comes from a fresh insight. Just trying to convey what I think I know. It feels like I'm taking something out of the freezer and tossing it in the microwave. "Ding!" Ready to eat?

I'd much rather serve and eat a home-cooked meal made of fresh ingredients. And that's more often what I come up with whenever I start with an assigned topic. So I'm happy that I was recently asked to deliver lessons (about 30 minutes each) for these titles:

1. The Sovereignty of God

2. Christianity as Counter Culture

Now I want your help. Would you name one or more biblical texts to go with each title?

Also, can you name something else--a book or an article or a movie clip or anything--on these topics that you think I should know about?

Thanks for any feedback. I always like hearing from my blog buddies.


Arlene Kasselman said...

Frank, check to see if there are any short video clips that would work. For the Sovereignty of God, "Thats My King" would be great.

Anonymous said...

RE: sovereignty
check piper's website, and Daniel 2:20ff if you want to go political, or Job if you want to go theodicy

RE: counterculture
Acts 17:6, I believe "causing trouble" is literally, turned the word upside down,
maybe not a main text but an interesting point

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

I like assigned topics too.

Bobby Valentine

Anonymous said...

A childhood friend of mine, Dave Nixon, once had aspirations of running in the Olympics. He later pursued Bible, theology and language studies with the same intensity at Harding Grad School. While pursuing a doctorate a few years later and preaching for a little Church of Christ in Cincinnati, he hit a wall spiritually and only recovered with the help of some friends within the Vineyard community. Before long, he and his family were establishing an intentional Christian community in Cincinnati, sharing a common purse, living simply within an abandoned convent and cleaning rich people's houses. He remarked what a joy it was that they only needed to work about 4 days a week to sustain their community, thus being able to devote more time to serving God and the poor through various ministries. Their story and journey is remarkable. It is counter-cultural without any political or militant overtones. It's a work in process. They seem not to be trying to prove anything or promote themselves in their experience. Read about Dave and Vineyard Central.

Frank Bellizzi said...


I went to sermonspice and listened to "That's My King." Brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to laugh and cry at the line, "I wish I could describe Him to you." Thanks for this great recommendation.


I liked these recommendations of yours. Years ago, I read Piper's book The Supremacy of God in Preaching. That book has done a lot for me. It's one that I go back to over and over.

Bobby, the assignments make life easier and more interesting, I think.

Ken, I didn't know about Dave, but will be sure to find out more about him. I can always count on you to mention someone interesting, something good I never knew before.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Arlene I found your wonderful blog!

Chapter 13 of 1 Kings has a chilling tale regarding the importance of recognizing the sovreignty of our Lord, and the need to obey Him instead of someone who "speaks" for Him.

Anonymous said...

Counterculture: 1 John 3:13

Steve Duer said...

For counter culture I go back to John when Jesus is preparing his disciples for what is ahead of them. "Before they hated you, they hated me." etc...