Last week on my When You Work for the Church website, I was so excited to share the cover of my next book along with the table of contents and back cover copy. Since On the Way with Jesus is a collection of sermons for Lent and Easter, I thought it might be of special interest to those who work for the church, and besides I was too excited to wait until today—even though On the Way with Jesus hadn’t been posted on my publisher’s website yet.
We’re still a long way from Lent and Easter 2020, but the book is now on the CSS Publishing website and available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca as well, so you can use those links. I’ll also have copies available, although I don’t know when yet, so I’ll have to let you know.
Since On the Way with Jesus is part of an ongoing lectionary sermon series, I won’t be putting together a launch team, but I’ll still celebrate by hosting a giveaway, and a new book is always a good excuse for a party, so I’ll let you know about that too. And you can always help out by adding my book to your “to read” shelf on Goodreads, and posting a review there or on Amazon.
As a related project, I’m also working on a reflection and discussion guide so that On the Way with Jesus may be used for personal or small group Bible study. The guide for all sixteen sermons isn’t finished yet, but today you can pick up the first two sermons plus the first set of reflection and discussion questions.
To get a copy of the sermons along with the preface and table of contents, download the book excerpt from CSS Publishing (on their website, look for the red button underneath the image of the book cover). For a sample of the guide for personal or small group Bible study, please see below.
On the Way with Jesus: With Gratitude and Humility
This is the first title of the sixteen sermons in this collection, and is designated for Ash Wednesday. To see the complete table of contents and read this sermon, download the book excerpt from CSS Publishing. For personal or small group Bible study, consider the following.
Read: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
- What three spiritual practices does Jesus address in verses 2-4, 5-6, and 16-18?
- Note that each spiritual practice is introduced with “whenever you,” indicating that for Jesus and his followers, each was a common and expected expression of faithful living. What similarities do you notice in Jesus’ instructions for all three? Which of the three do you commonly practice, and why? Which are not as familiar to you, and why not?
- From verse 1 and verses 19-21, what basic principles apply to all three spiritual practices?
- The opening of this sermon contrasts our carefully curated pictures on social media with the reality of daily life, and notes that
The technology to curate our lives online may be relatively new, but the impulse to re-arrange our lives and show them in the best possible light is an ancient one.Adam and Eve are given as one example. Where do you see other examples of this concern for appearances in Scripture, online, and in real life?
- The sermon applies Jesus’ teaching in this portion of Matthew to Ash Wednesday:
Like any worship service or spiritual practice or good deed, Ash Wednesday might also become an occasion for pride and showing off. Just as we might give or pray or fast to impress others, we might come to Ash Wednesday with that same tendency to make ourselves look good and give ourselves a pat on the back for taking part. But that would miss the whole point of Ash Wednesday as a solemn remembrance of our human frailty and a time for confession and repentance.How will you live out this call for authenticity on Ash Wednesday, during this Lenten season, and year round?
I’m still working on the rest of the guide and look forward to sharing it with you once it’s ready!
Writing/Reflection Prompt: What does Ash Wednesday mean to you? If Ash Wednesday has not been part of your spiritual practice, would you be interested in taking part in an Ash Wednesday service? Why or why not?
For more on everyday acts of faith,