This Summer I choose a preaching series through the Proverbs for Coastline Bible Church. The book opens by letting us know that Solomon had has hand in the book. Later in the book we see there are some other contributors to the Proverbs. We’re not exactly sure how many proverbs Solomon writes, but I think he is the major voice or the major contributor to the book. It makes sense since he is known as the wisest man to ever walk the earth. Solomon took the wisdom God gave him and passed it on.
I highly encourage you to read about the life of King Solomon in 1 Kings. He is the son of David. Learn about he came to be the king. Look at his first experience after being king and how he immediately applies the wisdom God gave Him (1 Kings 3). See the magnificent building projects he undertook and accomplished. As you keep going, you will see the organizational leadership he developed in leading Israel. You will read about how nobility and royalty came from a far to seek an audience with him. Even Queen Sheba came and brought Solomon amazing gifts.
Let me zoom out and briefly talk the book as a whole. Proverbs 1-9 are a longer discourse on wisdom and the benefits of wisdom. Proverbs 10-31 are more pithy little sayings for us to apply to our lives. The are short, impactful, and memorizable. In the first nine Proverbs wisdom is spoken of in great detail. Wisdom is referred to in the feminine form. Then in the later two-thirds of the book, the reader is encouraged to apply the wisdom she/he has learned in the first third of the book.
There are few reasons I choose to go through the Proverbs this summer.
A series that (kinda) builds on itselfFirst, during the summer I like to preach a sermon series that doesn't have to build on itself. The summer is a time when people travel. At Coastline we do our best to shape culture for the truth of God, but we know that people travel more in the summer. This trend can be a little different in a beach community, but there is still a good deal of travel. Grandparents want to go see the grandkids in Oregon. Young families travel to see their parents. It's a good time to take vacation at work.
We want to preach a sermon that a person can be at the first three weeks, miss a week or two and easily merge back into the sermon series. If we choose to preach the book of Daniel it might be more difficult for a person to jump back into the story because it builds on itself. The Proverbs build but you can miss a week and be fine.
In addition to that, we have more and more people who are staying current on the preaching series by listening online at Coastline Bible and via Podcast.
We're a new churchOur church just relaunched. In March our church just relaunched and went through the book of Colossians. After that we talked about living a life of Compassion. Then we looked at the book of Ruth. After that I preached a stand alone sermon for Father's Day. I'm sharing all of this because when we preach a sermon series we want to see what is before and what is after.
Our church preached a number of topical sermon series this year. That means we choose a topic to talk about. We talked about Biblical Literacy, Marriage/Sex/Dating, Compassion, and more. When I look at that I think that it's time to preach through a section of Scripture from the Bible.
As a new church, we want to hit topics that define who we are and who we want to be. We are an outreach focused church, but we want to be more outreach focused.
The Proverbs are great for gaining wisdom. As a new church we need God's wisdom. Since we are outreach focused, we are seeing more people coming to Jesus than before. We are seeing new people every week (one week we had almost 25 guests).
We all need wisdomIf you are honest with yourself, you want more wisdom. I'm thankful that in Proverbs 8 we read that wisdom is calling out.
Wisdom is not hiding from us. Wisdom is not some unfindable entity like BigFoot or the Lochness Monster. Wisdom is not confined to a certain region or a classroom. Wisdom is not hidden in the darkest cave or placed in the middle of the hottest dessert. Wisdom is calling out to any person that is willing to listen. Understanding is crying aloud to be found by every person. Solomon tells us that wisdom is calling out at the gate to the city. This is a place where everyone would pass. This is a central location where wisdom is available to all.
Wisdom is available to anyone who will stop to listen to her. We live in a time that is fast paced; where people can be extremely busy. We live in a time where we spend hours on the TV and screens; hours that would be invested in listening to wisdom. What we learn from Solomon is that means we have to be willing to allot our time in such a way to be able to listen to what wisdom wants to teach us. We need to schedule our life in such a way that we have time to sit where wisdom calls out so we can hear the truth of wisdom.
We live in a time where formal education is pushed. I am sick of hearing parents tells their children to go to college so they can get a degree and get a job. I’m not opposed to college. I'm opposed to students going to college, graduating with thousands of dollars of debt and sleeping on a couch. I would prefer for parents to help their kids see what they’re passionate about so they can go to school to get an education and help make the world a better place. Not everyone needs a college degree. We need more people to become union plumbers, electricians, and pipe-fitters. We need more people who want to join the armed services and help serve our country.
My stepdad enlisted in the Army after high school. He served our country by going to Germany. While he was overseas he fell in love with VW’s. He came home and began working at an auto shop. He eventually moved to Big Bear and opened his own shop in the back of his house. He was a genius with anything dealing with a VW engine. I’ve heard a story that VW was having an issue and they called my stepdad. I asked him about the story and he just laughed. Wisdom can learned in a classroom, mountain, basketball court, or garage.
Keep the fall preaching in mind
Just as we looked back to what we preached earlier in the year, I also look to the Fall for what we're going to preach on. This fall we're kicking off a brand new sermon series on the Gospel of Mark. For years I've wanted to preach through Mark. I think it's going be a life changing sermon series for our church.
When you slot your summer preaching calendar, it's vital to keep the Fall in mind. Preaching through Proverbs and then transitioning to the Gospel of Mark will be shift for our people. For the summer we're not talking a ton about Jesus (every week we do talk about Jesus), but looking at Solomon's call to wisdom.
The Gospel of Mark is going to be an up close encounter with Jesus. The Gospel of Mark is going to help Coastline; look, smell, and live more like Jesus. We want have an in-depth look at the life of Jesus. I think we know about Jesus, but lots of us have things confused.
As you think about the next summer preaching schedule, keep this in mind. Now let's be honest, all of this can be applied to fall, winter, or spring teaching too.
Hope this helps!