Beginning Sunday March 4, CBCGL will begin a sermon series on Experiencing God (不再一樣), a classic study of discipleship written by Henry and Richard Blackaby together with Claude King. The English ministry will start the sermon series first; it will begin later in March for the Cantonese ministry and in April for the Mandarin ministry. The sermon series intends to bring out the personal relevance for our 2018 theme focusing on God’s work in transforming an old reality into a new thing: a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert (Isa. 43:19). Instead of running the same old thing my way, or standing idly by to watch God working, Blackaby challenges his readers to discover what new things God is doing and join Him. God is doing a new thing in our church for the community. Look no further than the building project to see His guiding hand. Nevertheless, every member must still pause to ask: what is my role in this new thing?
Since it came out in the mid-90s, millions of copies of Experiencing God have been sold. You can easily find hundreds of inspiring stories and online resources shared by different Christian leaders and churches worldwide that have integrated Experiencing God as a foundational discipleship program. The 26-chapter book, which will be the basis of our sermon series, is accompanied by a 12-week intensive group study guide which we will not use this time. To get the most out of the sermon series, we encourage each family to get a copy of the book. For the English edition, the paperback and e-Book can be ordered online through Amazon or CBD. For the Chinese edition, which is available from several online bookstores in Taiwan and Hong Kong (e.g. Logos, Baptist, Campus, CCLM), we will circulate a pre-order sign-up so that the church bookstore can stock enough copies for purchase.
LifeWay Publishing has produced an hour-long documentary film illustrating the impact of Experiencing God through some real-life stories. You can see a trailer here. It can be a powerful experience viewing the film together as a group and followed by an interactive discussion, especially during the early lessons to get people interested. We will purchase the digital church license. Please contact me if you are interested in showing the film in your group.
There are other video resources available freely online. For example, an album of seven introductory sessions is available on Vimeo. You may consider encouraging your group members to watch the introductory videos before reading the book chapters and coming church to hear the sermon preached. If we can get enough technical volunteers, we could also video record the sermon series. This video collection can be a valuable resource for discipleship training in the future.
While the preachers will individually determine the passages to speak on, I have come up with a collection of illustrative biblical passages used in the various chapters. You could consider referencing these passages during your group bible study sessions to correspond more thematically in tandem with the Sunday messages. The key verses are also suitable for memory verses. The worship leaders could also take the topic into account when selecting music.
|Topic||Key Verses||Illustrative Stories|
|1||Knowing God by Experience||John 17:3||Gen. 22 (Abraham)|
|2||God Works according to His Nature||1 John 4:7-8||Deut. 10 (The Israelites)|
|3||Doing God’s will||John 4:34||Gen. 12:1-5 (Abram)|
|4||Being God’s Servant||John 12:26||Jer. 18:1-6 (Jeremiah)|
|5||Seven Realities of Experiencing God||Amos 3:7||Exod. 3-4 (Moses)|
|6||God Is at Work Around You||John 5:19-20||2 Cor. 5:17-20 (The Father-Son co-working)|
|7||God Pursues a Love Relationship with You||Matt. 22:37-38||Phil. 3:4-14 (Paul)|
|8||God’s Invitation to Join Him in His Work||Phil. 2:13||Num. 14 (Caleb)|
|9||God Invites You to Join Him||2 Cor. 5:19-20||Isa. 14:24, 27, 46:11 (Isaiah)|
|10||God Speaks to His People||John 8:47||Heb. 1:1-2 (Jesus as Prophet)|
|11||God Reveals Himself, His Purposes, and His Ways||Isa. 55:8||Gen. 17 (Abram at 99)|
|12||God Speaks through the Bible||2 Tim. 3:16-17||Heb. 4:12; 1 Cor. 2:14-15 (The Holy Spirit)|
|13||God Speaks through Prayer||Rom. 8:26-27||John 11 (Mary of Bethany)|
|14||God Speaks through Circumstances||Prov. 3:5-6||Gen. 37 (Joseph)|
|15||God Speaks through the Church||Eph. 4:15-16||1 Cor. 12:18 (the Church as a Body)|
|16||God’s Invitation Leads to a Crisis of Belief||Heb. 11:6||2 Chron. 20 (King Jehoshaphat)|
|17||Joining God Requires Adjustments||Luke 9:23-24||1 Kings 19 (Elisha)|
|18||Joining God Requires Obedience||Luke 14:33||Jonah 4 (Jonah)|
|19-21||God Accomplishes His Work; Broken Relationship, Marriage||Isa. 46:10-11||Luke 10:21-14 (the Disciples)|
|22-24||Joining God’s Activity in Your Children’s Life; the Church, Marketplace||Acts 17:17||2 Chron. 7 (Solomon)|
|25-26||Continuing to Experience God; His Kingdom||Jude 24||Joshua 1:1-9 (Joshua)|
The sermon dates of each lesson have been tentatively set and the speakers will be finalized soon:
|3/25 Palm Sunday||Joint Service|
|5/13 Mother’s Day|
More announcements will be filed under the category “Experiencing God” in the site news.lowell.church. I am encouraging preachers to make available sermon notes and discussion questions to be posted there.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions and suggestions.
Thank you and I pray that this sermon series can help bring spiritual transformation in this church!
English Ministry Pastor, CBCGL