Cancer. Suicide. The death of a child. As much as we wish we could avoid tragedies like these, eventually they will strike your church community. When they do, pastors must be ready to offer help by communicating the life-changing message of the gospel in a way that offers hope, truth, and encouragement during these difficult circumstances. Those asked to preach in the midst of tragedy know the anxiety of trying to say appropriate things from God’s Word that will comfort and strengthen God’s people when emotions and faith are stretched thin. This indispensable resource helps pastors prepare sermons in the face of tragedies by providing suggestions for how to approach different kinds of tragedy, as well as insight into how to handle the theological challenges of human suffering.
Each topic provides a specific description of the context of the tragedy, the key concerns that need to be addressed in the message, and an outline of the approach taken in the sample sermon that follows. Topics addressed include:
Bryan Chapell, author of Christ-Centered Preaching, has gathered together messages from some of today’s most trusted Christian leaders. Each chapter provides you with the resources you need to communicate the life-giving hope of the gospel in the midst of tragedy.
“But Jesus Christ does not say he will give us consolation. He says he is giving us resurrection. What is resurrection? Resurrection means, ‘I have come not to take you out of the earth to heaven but to bring the power of heaven down to earth—to make a new heaven and new earth and make everything new. I am going to restore everything that was lost, and it will be a million times better than you can imagine. This is the power of my future, the power of the new heaven and new earth, the joy and the wholeness and the health and the newness that will come, the tears that will be gone, and the suffering and death and disease that will be wiped out—the power of all that will incorporate and envelop everything. Everything is going to be made better. Everything is going to be made right.’” (Pages 66–67)
“My goal was to insist that we avoid providing answers hidden from human understanding and affirm with passion the undeniable love and care of God as demonstrated in his Word.” (Pages 71–72)
“If our God has lost control or never possessed it, then we are at the mercy of the cosmic dice of fate. The Bible tells a different story, insisting that the Lord rides on the storms to deliver his people from this present evil world and to secure us for the next (Psalm 68:4, 33). We trust him, not because we can explain our circumstances, but because our God has revealed his character at the cross. The One who shed his blood for us can be trusted to love us; the One who gave his life for us can be trusted to provide what is best for us; and the One who purposed all this before the foundations of the earth were laid can be trusted to direct our paths to glory.” (Pages 15–16)
Scripture references are linked directly to Greek and Hebrew texts, along with the English Bible translations of your choice. For any word in any language, you can double-click on that word and your digital library will automatically search your lexicons for a match. That gives you unprecedented access to linguistic data, along with all the tools you need for exegesis and interpretation.