Sure, I reference popular culture when it makes sense to do so. I recently used climbing Mt. Everest as a parable for a series I did on The Sermon on the Mount, for instance. (Before I heard about the movie, if you're wondering.)
But it matters that preachers draw inspiration for sermons from our time in God's Word, not our time on Netflix.
6. I Don't Care Why Bad Things Happen to Good People
Let me be very, very clear about this one.
I care – deeply – when bad things happen to people. There’s a lot of very real pain in the world and not nearly enough people who care about it.
As believers, we have overwhelming scriptural mandates to care for widows and orphans, bind up the wounded, heal the sick, feed the hungry and visit the prisoner. That's where a lot of pastoring takes place.
When people are hurting, they want answers. But our desire to give them answers can lead to empty slogans and unbiblical explanations.
I’ve seen so much damage done by good people spouting theologically dubious clichés like “everything happens for a reason” because they feel the need to say something.
In the face of suffering, our prayers and our presence are more important than our explanations.
We live in a broken world. Bad things happen. Pain is real. Knowing the “why” behind every specific pain is not possible. Most of our “why did this happen?” questions aren’t going to be answered this side of heaven.
I don’t have the answers. So I won’t pretend I do.
But I know who is the answer. Knowing who is better than knowing why.
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