SERMON: Wonderland (Week 2) | Rev. Tim Guptill

“Wonderland” is Moncton Wesleyan Church’s 2013 Advent series. You may wonder why we would present Advent messages to you after Advent is done adventing. Well, we hope that we give you resources that spark your thinking for the coming year. We do not want to give you resources you copy and plagiarize for the next Sunday. With that in mind, and a smile in our eyes, we offer you this advent sermon in hopes that you might start planning this coming Advent in advance.

Towards the beginning of his message, Pastor Tim explains that “Wonderland” holds a double meaning, capturing both the wonder that we find at Christmastime and also bringing into focus those things about the Christmas story that we “wonder” about- the Virgin Birth, angels, wise men, etc. In week two of “Wonderland”, Pastor Tim focuses on the faith and the fear that Joseph experienced in Matthew 1.

You are welcome to download audio MP3 here.

A Few Things We Appreciate About This Sermon:

  1. Tim addresses nonbelievers in the congregation.  Sometimes in church we become so comfortable with our congregations that we forget that there are unbelievers sitting in the pews, too. Pastor Tim acknowledges that some listeners may not believe; it’s important to let your congregation know that you understand where they are at in their faith journey, even those who don’t yet believe. Several times throughout the sermon, Pastor Tim addresses nonbelievers, including in the response time. Of course every experienced pastor will nod their head in silent approval. Yet not every experienced pastor will remember to do so diligently week after week. Believers and non believers alike need to hear the gospel in all its fullness. As non-believers overhear the gospel, acknowledge that they are there. As believers overhear the gospel, acknowledge that they still need to hear the word of grace again and again.
  1. Tim acknowledges that Christ’s power still moves today. Through story and through simple words, Pastor Tim acknowledges that God still moves among us. he tells a story of a time that God spoke in a voice that seemed audible to him; he also mentions that there are stories throughout his congregation of people who have found Jesus. Pastor Tim proclaims that Jesus still breaks chains. We can get rather human about our preaching at times. Overreacting to the health and wealth movement, or chasing respectability from mainline denominations we can stop preaching miraculous intervention and start preaching helps and tips for hurting people. May God give us courage to preach a faith that involves the miraculous.
  1. Tim provides time for response.  Do you ever hear a sermon and think, “Wow. That was powerful, the air is thick!” Then the pastor closes the service and you’re left sitting in your seat not knowing what to do next, not wanting to leave that moment? Pastor Tim provides an appropriate time and means for people to respond to the word and leaves it wide open; he doesn’t make it complicated, but simply asks those who want to response to the Word of God to come forward.

Remember, every hour after a sermon without any tangible response reduces the likelihood by half that the listener will do anything with the sermon.

To get you thinking:

1. If I counted the number of times I preached about the miraculous intervention of God in recent months, how may fingers would I need?

2. How can I give my people space to respond, simply and without manipulation this coming Sunday?


guptillTim Guptill is the Lead Pastor of the Moncton Wesleyan Church.

Tim served on staff at Moncton Wesleyan from 2000-2005. Most recently he served as the Director of Adult Ministries at World HQ of the Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis and then as the Lead Pastor of Crosspoint Church in Fredericton before returning to lead Moncton Wesleyan. Tim has a passion for changed lives and for the local church and is looking forward to using those passions to help move MW forward into the future.

Tim and his wife Gayla have been partners in life and ministry for 21 years. They have two daughters, Hope (16) and Autumn (12), for whom, Tim & Gayla are ridiculously proud.

Tim blogs at timguptill.com and Tweets at @timguptill

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