-Sermon Notes-

September 23, 2018

Knowing Your Why”

(Psalm 1, Mark 9:30-37)

     In a recent church newsletter, I shared the experience of living through the “Why” stage when kids hit at a certain age.  The “why this” and “why that” questions can drive a parent/grandparent a bit crazy due to their persistence; thankfully, it’s a phase they seem to grow-out of. Today, I, as your pastor, am planning to throw some “Why” questions of my own at you.

     Author Simon Sinek unpacks how great leaders, movements and companies know and operate from their WHY. Most people associated with companies and organizations know what they do, some know how they do it, but relatively few know their WHY.  Yet it is the WHY that inspires the what and how of an organization.  Without knowing the WHY, organizations and businesses lose focus, direction and energy.  We can say the same for churches, right?  Sure, we know what we do and how we do it, but it’s fair to say we sometimes lose focus on our WHY

     This is something Jesus addresses today in our reading from Mark.  The passage features Jesus on the move with his disciples, and as they walk together the disciples are described as arguing about who is greatest amongst them. Clearly, the disciples are struggling with their WHY.  Jesus sets them straight-their WHY is not about positions of power made desirable through pride, instead their WHY is about following his example in humbling themselves-to be servants to others, thereby bringing the kingdom of God to bear.  The motivation of the disciples is addressed by Jesus, as he focuses their attention back to their WHY (using the nature of children as an example.)

     Psalm 1 fits nicely with this theme, I believe-even matching this notion of walking along on a faith journey (as was the case with the disciples.)  The opening of the psalm features one who delights in the Lord, comparing that person to a tree with its roots in water to receive nourishment. In the same way, we are to connect ourselves to the Living Water (Jesus, God’s presence.)  Doing so grounds us, connecting us to God’s wisdom and direction-which inspires us to understand our WHY-our purpose for being.

     The sermon today is going to end very differently than usual.  Each of you have received a slip of paper with these three questions related to knowing your WHY:

  1. What brought you here (why did you attend this church the first time?)
  2. What keeps you here (at church)?
  3. Why is this place special to you?

We are going to pause now for several minutes to provide time for you to write your answers to these questions (don’t include your name.)  In the coming week, I am going to use your responses to craft the second part of this sermon series “Knowing Your Why” which I will share with you next week.

     If you are reading these sermon notes because you were not able to attend church Sunday, I invite you to email me your answers to the questions, or send me a note with your answers.

 

Thank you!

Pastor Steve (sws28@duke.edu) (36 Oak Street, Orono-04473)