Preaching God’s word is a tremendous privilege and none of us who do it take it lightly. As we come to the end of the year, I can’t help but think of all the sermons we preached this year.
And I can’t help but come up with a list of my favorite sermons from 2016. In one sense, it’s hard to pick. After all, each sermon feels like a child that you carry around for a while and deliver into the world. But in another sense, I can pretty quickly go back through the archives of sermons and determine which ones I liked the most.
So, here’s my totally subjective list of my favorite 10 sermons from Gateway in 2016.
10. The Beautiful Meaning of Baptism (Stand Alone)
This stand-alone message is one I’d wanted to preach for a long time, but a seminary class weeks before gave me some additional content that can help anyone considering the value of baptism. One highlight was that the professor whose content I leaned on attended that week at 5:00pm. (Note: I did issue an apology the next week for my tone related to infant baptism. But I still like this message.)
9. Pray to the God Who is Your Portion (Psalm 73)
I’ve wanted Mark Andress to preach for a while and he once told me Psalm 73 was one of his favorite passages I volunteered him to preach it in our Psalms series. I loved what he did with it and think that many people would be surprised that he’s not a regular preacher.
8. The Demanding Word of God (Matthew 5:17-20)
Many Christians are confused about the role of God’s Law in the life of a Christian, so I was eager to preach this message and try to bring some clarity. It was a message where I felt like I saw things in a fresh, clear way and I was eager to share it.
7. Direction: The Story of Marriage (Various Scriptures)
One of the big highlights of 2016 was bringing a few new people on staff, including Seth Troutt. He’s a gifted young leader and the first ‘outside’ hire for us, and I was excited to have him preach for the first time at Gateway. He kicked off our marriage series by overviewing how the story of the Bible could also be seen as the story of marriage.
6. Pray to the God Who Reigns (Psalm 96)
I’d been eager to preach this for a long time, as I love the Vertical Church Band recording of this Psalm. This is also a message where I can still remember the main idea: The theme of the Bible is the theme of Psalm 96–The LORD reigns, and he is coming.
5. Pray to the God Who Crushes Evil (Psalm 137)
When we decided to preach a number of Psalms, I knew I needed to do an imprecatory Psalm. So I picked the hardest one I could think of. It was a blessing to have to study and preach a difficult text, and my awe of the holiness and kingdom of God grew as a result.
4. Delight: Enjoying your Spouse (Various Scriptures)
I love seeing other preachers develop and grow–and I’m planning on more of it in 2017. I thought this was one of Josh Watt’s best sermons he’s preached at Gateway and I know a number of people were helped by it. I think it was a message where he particularly sensed his weakness and need for the Lord, and that’s perhaps what made it so strong.
3. A Home Through Jesus (John 14:1-11)
For much of the year, I’d known we would be kicking off a big initiative to develop our new property, and I was looking forward to how the first message would set the tone. I like this sermon because I think it shows the heart and vision that drives our church and that drives our initiative.
2. Right in Their Own Eyes (Judges 17:1-21:25)
Judges kicked off our year and this sermon wrapped up that series. I loved the series and I think this sermon sums up the message of the book. It’s a tough, horrible story to tell and listen to. But we learn a lot about ourselves and our faithful God.
1. Grace Trains (Titus 2:11-15)
It’s really, really fun as a preacher when you have an epiphany from God’s word and get to share it with everybody. That’s what happened in this sermon, which makes it my favorite of the year. It reframes our understanding of grace to what it really should be.
Thanks for coming to church, watching online, and listening via podcast. Pray for me and the other preachers as we prepare for what God will do in and through us in 2017.