This sermon is part of the sermon series "True North". See series.
True North Backstory
One reason I enjoyed preaching the sermons in this series was the contrast between a "head" message and a "heart" message.
The message on Scripture was a head message—didactic. We asked folks for questions about barriers to taking the Bible as authoritative, and there were so many good ones I had to rewrite the sermon on Thursday.
N.T. Wright's notion of the biblical story as a play with five acts was extremely helpful.
This enabled me to demonstrate how the nature of a story carries authority, and what it means to read the Bible literally.
The message on grace alone was aimed at the heart. One question I always try to keep in mind is, What are people talking about this week? That week, people were talking about the deaths of Steve Jobs and Al Davis. So the message was simple: How successful, tough, talented, attractive do you have to be? The stories of
high "bar-setters" helped set the stage for grace.
I recently saw an advertisement for a product that was marketed as "must-have." Companies use this language to advertise their latest and greatest products. There are must-have clothes, must-have shoes, must-have accessories, and must-have apps for your smart phone.
But must-haves extend beyond the world of merchandise. People have must-haves about other people. Employers have must-have lists for new and potential employees. Graduates have must-have lists for potential jobs. And of course, the most infamous must-have list comes from the world of dating. Men have must-haves about women, and women have must-haves about men. I recently read about the top three must-haves women look for in men: slightly shorter than average height, small build, and a pastor. It's true. You can do the research. ...
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