Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sermon Notes

A few days ago, I discovered a note on my iPod. It was sermon notes for a fifteen-month period from February 2010 to April 2011.

A bit about my sermon note-taking habits. Generally, I prefer to just listen, knowing that (a) if I am writing too much, I will undoubtedly miss the next point (or the punch line in an anecdote) and (b) most churches these days have all the sermons available as audio files for streaming or download on their websites should I wish to hear them again. However, once in a while, if the preacher makes it clear early on that he will have a set number of main points or is using an mnemonic to reinforce them, I will take out my iPod and make a note of those points. I also occasionally make note of an interesting and/or witty insight.

So below I have pasted the text of that note I found on my iPod. These are notes from sermons I heard at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park (those dated during summer months or around when I would have had winter break) and College Church in Wheaton (most others). There is also a Wheaton College chapel message or two noted in there as well.

I thought about editing these notes or including some commentary, but then I realized that what I found worthwhile about rediscovering my notes was seeing what had stood out to me as I was hearing the sermon live. Each set of notes generally begins with the date in mm/yy form and the text of Scripture on which that sermon was based.


1 Corinthians 4 (2/21)

When criticized...
Internalize the gospel (vv. 1-7)
Embody the gospel (vv. 8-13)
Enforce the gospel (vv. 14-21)

Spring Missions Festival (2/28)

"Trust God and do the next thing." - O. Chambers

1 Corinthians 9 (4/25)

text w/o context is pretext for prooftext - precursor to disaster

1 Peter (6/27)

if hardship results in anxiety and decreased joy, then you are under spiritual attack


good = something pleasing to God (attitude is a factor as well as content)


Spirit-led Christianity is God's Word about the Cross of Jesus

Nick Wolterstoff

8/25 President's Address
communal life - love
life of holiness - godliness
life of grace - gratitude
life of purpose/intentionality - faith
life found in Christ

8/29 - 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

encourages unity
proclaims the Trinity
emphasizes/enables servanthood over selfishness
tells purpose of gifts rather than defining them
shows the simple miracle of the Christian life

10/2 Matthew 6:19-21

investing in heaven is a way to release the heart

11/14 Genesis 1

in all things God is upholding His glory
God wants to share His glory via grace
we humans reflect His glory (Imago Dei)
our response to God's glory is to worship

correspondence btwn Day 1-3 (kingdoms) and 4-6 (inhabitants)
Day 7 was resting specifically from CREATING

11/28 Simple Christmas - John 1:1-5

darkness pervades our fallen world
unconquerable light has come

12/12 Genesis 3
Is God's Word sufficient?
Is God the King?
Is there ever any need to test God?

12/19 John 1:14-18

Travel a key part of Christmas?
Profound truth at the heart of Christmas: God has traveled a great distance so we could see, touch and be touched by his glory
The distance was both physical and relational - we were experiencing complete alienation from God
What "travel expenses" were incurred?
We have lost the sense of the transcendence of God and thus the costliness of the Incarnation
The most costly part of the "trip," however, was the Cross

12/26 John 17:1-5

Knowing God is not just knowing about God, not just obeying God, not just understanding and investing in God's purpose, not just high Scriptural literacy, not just knowing the facts of the gospel - in fact, none of these are strictly necessary for salvation

Knowing God is being in a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ
Knowing God is both gift and grace - it cannot happen under our own power
Knowing God is life eternal

Seek and ye shall find

1/23 Acts 17
The Gospel and Culture

How do we relate to a changing culture?
How do we influence the culture? Politics? Hollywood? ... the gospel?

Culture is a secondary construction imposed on the natural. -Niebuhr

Jesus did not found a state (nor did his apostles)
Should there be such things as Christian nations?
Does sanctification not work in cultural contexts?

The Christian way is to seek redeeming grace to transform our culture

1/30 Psalm 120

Psalms of Ascent = pilgrim psalms (JM)
devotional tools
prayer should be the first response to distress

the psalms are objective doctrine combined with subjective experience

2/13 Psalm 122

no individualism - community is essential for Christian discipleship
hell is the inability to love
the church is God's new society where true transformation is possible
Ps 122 rejects the individualized notion of gathering as the people of God
love people in general or people in particular
the psalmist has no cynicism toward the authorities or, by extension, the cynicism of God's Word
it takes considerable effort to find joy in the gathering of God's people

if you want to make God happy, love His people, for they are at the center of his heart

3/20 Psalm 126

"Some people are morning people. Other people are normal people."

You (restoration)

3/27 Galatians 3:6-9

God's blessing to Abraham is His solution to the world's problems

4/3 Acts 17:11

Listen Inspire Feed Evangelize


This is Rubio, over and out

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