Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Introduction: My Thesis.

It's a wordy blog title but I think it will make more sense once you read the introductory thesis.
The last time I was a regular member of a Pentecostal church, and not attending any other church was in 1999.
I really have not missed it that much, but I was thinking what would I think of the sermons presented there now?
How would I compare and contrast them to the sermons I hear in my current church?
Would I like them, hate them, or be ambivalent?
Many questions, but I wanted to have a basis for which I chose the church to listen to and a basis for which I compared them.
So the first thing was to confess that like all people I am biased in some respect.
I am biased in that I hold to a reformed theology position and I believe the Bible should be preached in an expository style, which is book by book through the Bible.
I am basically against most topical sermons, and I am against hearing what the pastor/preacher is feeling at the moment.
It is my aim to try and be unbiased with the talks I listen to and take each talk individually on their respective merits.
So what church would I choose?
So it had to be a Pentecostal church.
So even though I know people who still go there I decided to listen to and analyse the sermons for the church that I would be attending had I still lived in Melbourne and been attending a Pentecostal church.
This church has gone through several name changes over the years but currently is under the banner Enjoy! Church.
Enjoy! Church – personally I hate the name.  Should we strive to enjoy church? I guess we should, but to name our church that to me gives images of being entertained and not challenged by the gospel to repent of my sins and cry out to God for salvation.
I'm sure the rationale for the name is not to do with entertainment but you know what I'm not sure what the rationale is.  However, I will look past the name, because if you know Pentecostal churches you know they have this annoying habit to have a snappy name.  I would prefer it to be Insert Suburb name – Insert denomination – Church.  So for me I attend Chatswood Presbyterian Church.
I still think the worst ever name was one in Melbourne which was called The Born Again Christian Church in the House of Prayer.  You can imagine someone saying ‘give me a T’ and the rest saying “oh shut up!”
So this is what I will do I will try and listen to the sermons from “Enjoy! Church” and fearlessly analyse them, and I will ask the following questions all of which I believe are vital for Bible talks.
01. Are they from the Bible?  That is do they take a passage from the Bible or passages and unpack the meaning of the passage?
02. Do they preach the true gospel of Jesus?  Can you see the gospel of Jesus presented throughout the message?
03. Do they teach us to repent of our sins?
04. Do they preach a total dependence on faith in Jesus?
05. Do they preach Christ and him crucified?
06. Do they read the Bible and interpret contextually correct?
07. Do they go via Jesus?  That is do they go to Jesus first or take a passage and go straight from the passage to us today?
08. Does the sermon lead you to Jesus?
09. Can I honestly say from the message I heard, that I heard the gospel preached?
10. Are there points of application from the passage which stem from the gospel and which I can make changes in my life?

Senior ministry team of Enjoy! church.
Ten questions each time and also before I listen to the talk I will make five predictions based on the title of the sermon, the date preached and the speaker.
I will be interested how close my predictions are to what will be preached.
This is not an exercise in bagging out Enjoy! Church or in fact making out Enjoy! Church to be the best church in the world.
Enjoy! Church is a large church in Melbourne, and it represents my church heritage, I am analysing where I have come from, where I am now, and what I think about what is being taught there today.
So that I think is enough of an introduction the next post will be the first talk I listened to and my summary and comments on that talk.
Enjoy the ride…

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