What should we teach this year?

It’s that time of year.  I’m starting to plan our teaching series for the next year or so. I already have some ideas percolating, but I need you to brainstorm this with me.  Maybe something has immediately come to mind.  Or maybe one of these thoughts will help you get started…

  • I’m curious what the Bible says about…
  • I need to hear from God about…
  • I have a friend who would come with me if we talked about…
  • My everyday struggle in life is…
  • My friend asked me this and I didn’t know how to answer…
  • I don’t understand why God would…

This is brainstorm…no wrong answers!  You don’t have to attend our church.  I’m open to EVERYTHING.

Leave your ideas below in the reply section.  Last time I did this, I know some of the replies prompted more replies.

So…let me hear it!

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~ by Greg Lee on March 1, 2012.

59 Responses to “What should we teach this year?”

  1. why serving God can be so difficult and how to continually overcome these trials so that others might truly see Him in me and know Him.

    What does the Christian look like? Examination of the core traits of Christian life.

    • Good stuff Brien. What is your perspective on what the core traits are?

      • right now i am doing a similar series.. the subjects are:

        Transformation (in my case of the mind – think Romans 12:2, Gal. 6:15)
        Generosity, Community, Worship, Prayer, Love, Sacrifice, Evangelism, Holy Spirit are the current areas i have for the series….

        Each one focusing on the place it plays in helping us live a complete life in Christ (as mentioned in Matthew 5:48). Jesus corrects the less than accurate views on six subjects (from 21-47).

        I am sure you and your team could do this series twice as well as I can. I would love to see what you come up with if you happen to take this route.

        • Thanks Brien. Like a lot of churches, we have reflected and studied what it means to follow Jesus and keep growing in our faith. We feel like we need to be very clear what discipleship really looks like if we are going to be purposeful about it.

          Here are the 4 elements we are focused on developing in people’s lives:
          -Cultivating a personal relationship with Jesus.
          -Caring about people far from God.
          -Contributing by Serving.
          -Connecting in relationships where truth meets life.

          I could describe them more if it is helpful. We teach through these regularly.

  2. How to find the “silver lining” of every situation that comes our way.

    How important our attitudes are in making our lives, and the lives of those around us, better than they are today.

  3. I would like to here at least a little bit on apologetics. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed Lee Strobel’s books. I think it is very important to understand why we believe what we believe.

    • Scott,

      This is good. Do you think more evidence of bible stuff (like case for Christ) or more about overcoming common issues people have with God/faith (like case for faith)?

      Greg

      • Both are great, but I was thinking more along The Case for Christ or Case for the Real Jesus. I’m intrigued by the historicity of the Gospels and think important to understand th Canon and why we include what we doband perhaps more importantly why we do not include others.

  4. A few sermons about the neglected part of the trinities on the Holy Spirit and the effects on our lives!

  5. what is it about “every day life” that makes work, family, spouse more important than serving 24/7… or at least 24/5….or 12/7? why haven’t we taped into what the Holy Spirit is yearning for us to do D-A-I-L-Y? Is the flesh really stronger than…….???

  6. I would love to hear more about the spiritual ralm, how we do not fight against men but against evil in the spiritual ralm. I’ve been reading a little bit about it and would love to learn more about our ” Invisible Enemies ” that we call “struggles” or “issues” when in reality they are more than that.

    I think if everyone really knew what these “issues” or “struggles” are, it would help us all realize how we are so decieved and how even as Christians we can be prisioners of demonic opression such as :
    Jeolousy, Depression, Bitterness, Pride, Condemnation, etc…all demonic opressions.

    The book i’ve been reading that’s been a wake up call for me regarding this is the book by Rick Joyner titled : The Last Conquest ( I think ) I’m translating the Title only because the book I’m reading is in Spanish.

    Its message to me has been life changing so far in the couple chapters I’ve read, how we must be prepared and wear the full Armor of God at all times, even when we think we’re standing firm, we must not let our guard down because the enemy is always planning his attack, him and his army of demons are just waiting for us to open doors or cracks for them to sneak in and attack!

    I believe this should be tought, not to to create fear but to be prepared and know who the real enemy is and his tactics to deceive, devour and destroy us.

    Just a suggestion.

    Thanks,
    Adrianna Araujo

    • Love this suggestion.

    • Thanks for the suggestions Adrianna. We live in such a physical world that it is easy to default to being unaware of a spiritual realm and relying on our own power. Some of the things you describe are overcome with the spirit and with the wisdom God gives us.

  7. http://www.churchofthecrossaz.com/blog

    Greg…we attended this church for 2 months in AZ and loved their philosophy and teachings. (Mark Driscoll style) Wondering what you think about what they teach? I know you already teach about impacting our neighborhoods and living life with people, not just inviting them to a building or our “church events.” I’d love to hear from you a series or two or three about us living more on “mission” where God has placed us…having meals with people, helping our community, etc. Thank you for allowing us a chance to share our ideas. Love how you have shaped Suncrest and inspire and teach us God’s word!!!

    • That’s very kind, Diane. You can bet there will be some stuff this year about living on mission wherever God places us.

      That church looks like it is doing great things in the kingdom. I’ve been able to spend some time with Mark Driscoll. We wouldn’t agree about everything, but God is using him in powerful ways and I’m thankful for his influence on me and on churches everywhere.

  8. I think a key to our spiritual life and growth is how well we understand who God is and His attributes. It helps us understand who we are, why God does/did what he does/did. It is really the basis of our understanding.what Jesus did for us and why.

    • Thanks Jack…great stuff. I was thinking about re-visiting a series we did years ago called “The God you are Looking for” Any particular characteristics that you feel resonate with you or are central to our understanding?

  9. How about a series directed on parenting or influencing our youth? I feel there is no greater job nor tougher job than being a parent. I realize a potential problem would be that not everyone is a parent and some may not be able to relate. But most people have some youth around them, whether it be your child, nephew, grandchild, etc. I know that I would welcome some insight on parenting God’s way. With the way this world is, we need all the help we can get for our children, right?

    • Hey Jen,

      I know this is a great suggestion. Truth is…I’ve avoided it but it is probably time. I have a hard enough time preaching about marriage and I’ve been trying to get that right for 15 years. I usually feel like I should let my kids grow up before I try to teach on parenting!

      The truth is…the scriptures have a lot to say about this and it’s time to teach whether I get things right myself most of the time or not.

      Greg

      • Now if you want someone to preach who’s mastered the parenting thing, let me know. Ha ha! You’ll never get it right. No one does. But that’s like saying you have to get the Christian life right before sharing it :+} And we know that you are one of the best people to open God’s word to us on a subject. A parenting sermon geared toward how we are all examples and mentors would be great, because I think it takes a church to raise a child.

  10. Greg-
    How about a series on “not being quick to judge” and
    another one….. What we think and how does it agree with the word of God.
    Anticipating a great year of messages!
    Marlena Mazza

    • Thanks Marlena. Quick to judge….hmmm. I have an idea percolating about “Dealing with difficult people” of various kinds. I think they could fit together quite nicely.

  11. I would like you to do a series on HOW to share your story, and impacting “your” world. I am a firm believer that everyone has a story, and everyone has a mission field. How do we use our story, to impact our mission field. I know you did a series last year on the story, but I would like you to take it a bit further, and help us impact our own missionfield because I do not think our mission field will be coming into the church, we must go to the field. And I think I would be more effective, if I felt more comfortable in using my story to make a difference in the lives of others. People are craving a touch from Christ, are seeking Christ but sometimes I am afraid I will hinder that search, instead of being a tool Christ uses.

  12. WOW~ These are awesome suggestions ~~It will be a year this April that I first attended Suncrest, and 40 some since I attended any church. Your teaching series keeps me coming back week after week. I’ve learned so much this last year. From all these suggestions I can see it will be another fantastic year of learning~~ my only suggestion~~~ keep up the good work, Suncrest Church is awesome~~

  13. I dont know if I am the only one and if I am then maybe its a personal session between you and I but I would like to hear about bartering. I dont know if there is enough for a whole sermen but it would be nice if it was made alittle clearer as to what it is and the biblicle meaning and the correct ways of approaching it (if there is one). I have found myself praying doing the whole “God, let this happen so this other thing can happen” and I know sometimes it can be the right way to pray and sometimes depending on what it is may not be. I have searched the internet on this topic and as all topics there are mixed emotions. but one verse stood out ” Do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you” (Romans 11:18).

  14. …what is Heaven really like ?

    • Thanks Ann. I thought we had done that recently so I just looked at it was longer than I thought…2008! I’m definitely seeing some interest in it again.

  15. I would like to learn more about what life must have been like for Jesus when he lived on earth as a human. Did he suffer the same struggles, fears and anxieties that humans do today? Sometimes after all I’ve learned about Jesus, I forget that he lived among us and suffered many of the same struggles we do, even though he is Gods son.

    • Thanks, Rita. There are a few ways we could come at that. I thought of this passage when I saw your note. I hope it is helpful:

      Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. -Hebrews 4:14-16

  16. I would love to hear a series on eternal security.

    • That’s a good one, Sheila. Are you referring to this theologically, often known about the ability or inability to “lose” our salvation? Or is it more personal with your family’s story and the nature of the next life? I saw some other comments about exploring the afterlife.

  17. I think a series on worship would be explosive!!!! Breaking down the different aspects of worship.How to honor God in our worship.Ways to grow,examples of worship in the OT,practical ways to be a living sacrafice,what worship will be like in heaven,ect.

  18. I’m with Sheila, I would also love to hear more about how we can be sure of eternal life (salvation) and also, once saved, how to go about sharing the good news to others which can sometimes be intimidating. Maybe even give an invitation at the end of a service like this, or even just include it at the end of every service. I invited a friend once to church and how I wished she could’ve heard about the plan of Salvation, heard the invitation and possibly been saved.

    • I’m getting great stuff here. One thing I always want is for the church to help you as you interact with your friends about faith. Still, I don’t want people to be dependent on church services for things Christ-followers can/should do on their own. I want all of us sharing about salvation and inviting people into that all of the time. Maybe we should do a message on equipping people to do that themselves.

      • YES!!!! exactly- a series on being Salt and Light would be incredible. I think all believers would like to use their lives to make a difference, but not sure how to share what a difference Christ has made- I think I tend to “gush”, and that scares some people!!!

      • Thanks Greg, I think that would be great!

  19. How about massive unemployment , Losing your family, home, transportation, self esteem, and your home worth 30-50% less than what it was worth 30 years ago. All due to the economy and bad business deals that the individual did not have any control over. I ve been in the church all my life, being taught that bankruptcy was wrong,when the world walks off and uses that to get out of responsibility, How does the world know the difference when a christian declares bankruptcy, and the rest of the world is using it as an easy out? We have a responsibility to repay what an institution gave to us in good faith. At least thats the way I was taught. And I am sure that there are families in worse shape, How we are the salt and light to everyone in bad times and good times show who we really cling to as a large church family helping our own and the needy in the world

    • Good input. There is definitely a theme developing here about how followers of Jesus ought to have a UNIQUE and POSITVE impact on the world because we live a distinct life with a vision from Jesus Himself. Salt and Light might be the right name for the series!

  20. I like the parenting theme and the teachings surrounding “children being a gift from God”. There is so much to uncover there with respect to the various age brackets. Challenging topic but so necessary since much of who we are is shaped by this role. I’ve never heard a sermon series on this and the talking points could go in so many different directions. Thanks for asking!

  21. Greg,

    I am a newcomer at Suncrest, and quite frankly just beginning my quest toward receiving the gift of faith. So, I feel as though I have inadequate & insufficient basis on which to suggest a teaching of any sort. But I feel compelled to share the impetus in my life which has led me to seek a relationship with God that (thankfully) is being facilitated through you and through the vessel that is Suncrest. For the sake of brevity, I will state directly that at the mid-age point in my life, I was suddenly struck by a sense that I had no direction, no focal point, no “end game” in mind. I was barreling forward in my quest for “success” with only some semblance of a goal that had something to do with money and financial independence. I defended this selfish pursuit by rationalizing that my efforts also resulted in an abundant provision of “the good life” for my wife and children. But, as you might imagine, I found my successes and provisions to be largely empty results, besides fueling my pride and my daily torture of envy for those “succeeding” better than me. Then one day, I stumbled across Relevant Radio, a Catholic radio station, while flipping through talk show stops on the AM radio dial. The segment being broadcast had a theme entitled “What’s Your Why?” Although I only caught the end of the segment, the subject matter hit me square between the eyes. Upon subsequent self-examination (and a fair amount of research into spirituality), I came to the conclusion that I had no solid “Why?” for all of my efforts, ambition, & pursuits, however well, but selfishly intentioned. I believe that now I’m headed down the right path of discovering,defining, understanding, and pursuing the true “Why?” for my life (I have a hunch that it’s God). I wonder how the suggestion of “What’s Your Why?” might constitute an excellent basis for a teaching series and a challenge to the Suncrest congregation to examine the “Why?” behind their daily activities and behaviors.

    • Brad,

      Thanks for the note and for sharing your story.

      The concept of “What’s your Why?” is very close to something I had on the drawing board…and I think it might be better. My original thought was “WYDWYD – Why you do what you do.”

      I have a feeling this will be showing up in some form.

  22. Pastor Greg, you’ve really stimulated a lot of conversation with some great ideas! Joining the conversation a little late, I see that so many of my thoughts have already been mentioned. So if I could please, I would like to support Adrianna Araujo idea. So many people do not understand spiritual warfare and look at you as if you’ve lost your mind if you mention “the enemy”. Just as many people don’t believe in a heaven so many also don’t believe in “the enemy” or hell itself.

    I also LOVED Kylie’s suggestion of worship!! I have always had a free heart to worship however, always yearn to go to the next level or another realm of worship with God. One of my favorite books is by Darlene Zschech; “Extravagant Worship”. I’ve actually thought of it being the next book we cover in our Community Group. So many Christ Followers don’t realize how much God loves our pure, “extravagant” worship unto Him! Webster definition of extravagant is; exceeding the limits of reason, lacking in moderation, balance, and restraint, extremely or excessively elaborate, spending much more than necessary, profuse, lavish. Like Mary of Bethany, I long to see Christ Followers worship Jesus, excessively and abundantly, lavishing Him with their expensive oil from their alabaster box!

    Another discussion our family and friends have had time and time again is on the subject of “once saved always saved”. I know where I stand on the subject based on Matthew 7:21, but would love to hear your teaching on it.

    Now I am really going to go on a limb; I long for and yearn for the freedom to have an altar service at Suncrest. I understand the limitations with the need to have three services; it limits the freedom of the movement of the Holy Spirit. However, have wondered if during the third service it would ever be possible! “I can only imagine”!!

    Thanks for allowing me to pour out my heart!

    Judy Kirinch

    • Thanks Judy. Lots of good stuff here. I think I have enough form this post and a few other conversations I have had to teach for the next 20 years!

      It is a amazing how our world has taken some very good terms like “enemy” and attached goofy baggage to it. This idea of the Unseen world is definitely gaining some traction in all of my conversations.

      Pray with me as I pray through where God leads us in upcoming series.

      Greg

  23. Without being intrusive, I would like to mention another topic that has exploded in our comuntiy group; While reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan, several of us have had an eye opening experience while reading the profile for “lukewarm”…wow…just wow~

  24. Greg, how about looking into what the Bible and God says about war and/or waging war. Certainly there were many battles and wars in the Bible and we have our own wars in the present day. How should we choose to react to war or when is it okay or not okay to go to war? I am sure God has some insight into this topic.

    Bryan

    • Hey Bryan,

      I like this idea. Might be better for a seminar with discussion than a Sunday sermon, but I think it is important and relevant. Much of what religious philosophy on this topic points to the “Just War” theory or doctrine. Some want to categorize Jesus as a pacifist citing his “turn the other cheek” teaching, but most recognize the difference between how the Scriptures say to respond personally and the need for defense in national matters, especially where evil motivates the aggressor and oppresses many. There is a decent link here about the Just War theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_war_theory

  25. Brother Greg, Thanks for asking for input on upcoming sermon series. Just brainstorming on some ideas — some are lengthy in deep detail:
    1) Spiritual Gifts (Eph 4, 1 Cor 12, how they balance each other out) 2) Series on NT Books (like Corinthians, for instance) and OT ( Penteteuch, Prophets, 3)Preparing for battle, armor, (put on full armor of God is passage I’m thinkg of) etc… this one is rather personal for me, my cousin Brandon literally is on overnight flight with Natl Guard from his 2nd Afganistan tour, it’s personal when your own relative is fighting for &protecting and defending our personal freedoms people take for granted) — also equipment for battle –helmet(of salvation) breastplate (of righteousness), etc
    3)Reasons people avoid church,come to church, stay in church
    4)7 churches (Revelation)
    Those come to mind now, I’m sure I’ll be thinking more about it and praying about it too. Love and hugs 😉

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