HE IS RISEN, JUST AS HE SAID! Easter Sunday 2014.

OVER AND OVER THEY HAD BEEN TOLD: IN THE BOOKS OF MOSES, IN THE PSALMS, IN THE PROPHETS, IN THE WORDS OF THE WORD HIMSELF. HE WOULD SUFFER. HE WOULD BE CRUCIFIED. BUT ON THE THIRD DAY, HE WOULD RISE. IT IS THE THIRD DAY AND THEY ARE OVERWHELMED WITH SORROW WHEN A STRANGER COMES ALONG SIDE THEM. NO MORE GRIEF NO MORE CONFUSION NO MORE PAINFUL STEPS AND SLOW THEY ARE RUNNING TO TELL: HE IS RISEN, JUST AS HE SAID! This week you’ll watch a WONDERFUL Keller video on Luke 24. Jesus showed the two how He was in the psalms, and we will review the psalms of this Lenten season and see Him. It will be a great week. Easter Sunday: 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? 2. There is so much […]

read more

Holy Week 2014 Psalms 17 and 22

It is the holiest of weeks. As we travel the trail of tears, may we know afresh how deeply we are loved.      I am facilitating a seekers’ study this year, studying John, seeing how different Christianity is from world religions. Last week I had a a few couples over, one who is so earnestly and authentically seeking, and we talked of the difference between religion and the gospel. One dear man said, “This is so different from what I have been taught in church all my life.” I could see his tenderness, his hope it might be true, but his confusion. I was so moved.     Leaning across the kitchen counter between us, I covered his grasped hands with mine and was silent for a moment. His eyes grew wet with tears. I told him: “I understand your confusion. […]

read more

LIFE TOGETHER FOREVER (PSALM 16)

Psalm 16 is richer than a seven course meal. We will begin with the focus on “Life Together,” the GREAT GIFT we have in Christian fellowship. This is a unique gift, and this psalm and Bonhoeffer will help us approach it wisely. Then we will close our meal with a brief but glorious Easter sermon that focuses on the close of this psalm, and the triumphant truth of the resurrection of Christ and what that means for us. Remember what C. S. Lewis shouted across the train station to a parting friend? REMEMBER! CHRISTIANS NEVER SAY GOOD-BYE! Indeed, as Christ was raised, so will we be, and we will be together forever. So let us learn how to love one another well now. But let us begin with life together on earth. Our Lord delights in us, and as we […]

read more

THE SCARIEST PSALM (PSALM 15)

WHO SHALL DWELL ON YOUR HOLY HILL? WHO SHALL BE WITH YOU IN HEAVEN, LORD? DEATH CAN SPRING UPON US UNAWARE… ANYONE…ANYTIME… WE WANT TO BE READY, AND THIS PSALM CAN BE FRIGHTENING. PSALM 15 TELLS US: HE WHO WALKS BLAMELESSLY AND DOES WHAT IS RIGHT BLAMELESSLY! HE DOES RIGHT ALL THE TIME! AND SPEAKS TRUTH IN HIS HEART DO YOU REALIZE HOW HIGH THE ABOVE STANDARD IS? HE DOESN’T DECEIVE HIMSELF SO HE CAN GO HIS OWN WAY, HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH TO HIS HEART SO HE CAN DO WHAT GOD WANTS ALL THE TIME. WHO DOES NOT SLANDER WITH HIS TONGUE AND DOES NO EVIL TO HIS NEIGHBOR…   NO GOSSIP, NO UNFAIR WORDS, NO NEGLECT OF NEED AND THE PSALM IS JUST GETTING STARTED… HELP IS ON THE WAY… The sermon this week is one of the […]

read more

THE LORD LOOKS DOWN FROM HEAVEN TO SEE IF ANY SEEK AFTER GOD (PSALM 14: PART 2)

MEN SUPPRESS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CREATOR, THOUGH HIS INVISIBLE ATTRIBUTES CAN BE SEEN FROM THE NEWBORN BABY TO THE SWEEP OF THE GRAND CANYON Tim Keller says everyone believes initially, but then they suppress the truth so they can live as they wish. In time, they truly believe the lie, for their minds become darkened. Matthew Henry writes: The fool cannot satisfy himself that there is no God, but wishes there were no God. Pascal says men do not want to believe because they do not want to give up control. It has been illuminating to me to see the reason behind disbelief. While it is true that if you have been fed lies, you need evidence to refute them, it is important to see that our hearts do not want to believe, for that will help you not […]

read more

THE FOOL SAYS IN HIS HEART THERE IS NO GOD (PSALM 14: Part I.)

IT IS THE PSALM OF THE ATHEIST WHO SAYS IN HIS HEART THERE IS NO GOD BUT WE ALSO SEE, AS THE PSALM PROGRESSES, THAT WE ARE ALL FOOLS UNTIL HIS LOVE BREAKS THROUGH. IN KEITH GREEN’S SHORT TIME ON EARTH, HOW I REMEMBER HIM SELLING HIS RECORDS FOR “WHATEVER PEOPLE COULD PAY” STIRRING THE LUKEWARM CHURCH WITH HIS PASSION SINGING FROM HIS TRANSFORMED HEART: WHAT I AM PRAYING FOR EACH OF US THIS LENT, IS THAT WE WILL NOT LIVE LIKE FOOLS, BUT SEEK HIM WITH ALL OUR HEARTS, FOR AS THIS PSALM PROMISES, HIS LOVE WILL KEEP BREAKING THROUGH. FOR GOD IS PRESENT WITH HIS FORGIVEN CHILDREN. There is justified anger in this psalm against those who lead others astray. I see so much poison coming from the media, but also from pulpits — sheer lies about how […]

read more

SINGING THE BLUES (PSALMS 12-13)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was visiting America shortly before Hitler’s reign and was troubled by not hearing the gospel in American churches. He also saw amazing racial prejudice and oppression of the blacks, and no distinction among professing Christians. He wrote: In New York they preach about virtually everything, only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life. Then he went to a black church in Harlem and found real faith. There was the gospel, there was passion, and there was music that stirred his soul. They sang the truth to God, they lamented, for persecution against them was rampant. They cried out to God for help, and placed their trust in Him, as the psalms […]

read more

LENT 2014 BEGINS! ALLOWING THE PSALMS TO TRANSFORM OUR HEARTS!

HOW WE HAVE EXPERIENCED GOD ON THIS BLOG DURING PAST SEASONS OF LENT! FOR SOME OF YOU LENT IS A NEW DISCIPLINE, AND YOU MAY HAVE TO CAST OFF PAST ASSOCIATIONS, FOR IT CAN BE SUCH A TRANSFORMING TIME, BRINGING OUR HEARTS FROM WINTER’S COLD SLEEP TO SPRING’S WARMTH AND LIFE LIKE THE LIFE THAT BURST FROM THE GRAVE ON EASTER MORNING THIS IS CAN HAPPEN FOR YOU, AS YOU SUBMIT TO THE STONECUTTER WHO LONGS TO REPLACE YOUR HEART OF STONE WITH A HEART OF FLESH. OH BREATHE ON US BREATH OF GOD!   WHAT’S LENT ALL ABOUT? Just as Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days before He began His ministry, Christians throughout the ages have found value in allowing God to lead them into a season of seeking Him and a season of repentance in order […]

read more

HE HIDES AND THEN HE APPEARS, TAKING OUR BREATH AWAY (Psalms 9 & 10)

THIS BUCK AMAZED ME, LEAPING FROM THE BEACH, INCHES FROM MY WINDOW THE SONG OF SONGS COMPARES OUR GOD TO A GAZELLE OR YOUNG STAG, LEAPING OVER THE MOUNTAINS, BOUNDING OVER THE HILLS. JESUS CULTURE SINGS THIS — LET IT WASH OVER YOU. PSALM 9 SINGS OF THESE GLORIOUS TIMES WHEN GOD COMES, WHEN GOD FIGHTS FOR US, WHEN HE IS A STRONGHOLD IN TIMES OF TROUBLE. LAST WEEK I WAS IN THE TEXAS PRISONS AND DESPITE ALL THE PREPARATION, I ALMOST DIDN’T GET IN, FOR I HAD A NEW WISCONSIN DRIVER’S LICENSE THAT DID NOT MATCH THEIR RECORDS. WE STOOD OUTSIDE THE PRISON GATE PRAYING, WHILE THE OFFICER TRIED TO FIND A WAY, MAKING PHONE CALLS… WANTING TO LET US IN, BUT NOT WANTING TO LOSE HIS JOB. OUR NERVOUSNESS INCREASED AS TIME PASSED, AND THEN! THE GATE OPENED! […]

read more

WHAT IS MAN THAT THOU ART MINDFUL OF HIM? (Psalm 8)

PSALM 8 IS THE PINNACLE OF THE OPENING PSALMS, JUST AS MAN WAS THE PINNACLE OF GOD’S CREATION. HOW THIS WEEK WILL ENCOURAGE YOUR SOUL! TO THINK THAT THE ONE WHO SET THE STARS IN PLACE IS MINDFUL OF US. THIS QUESTION: WHAT IS MAN? SOME LOOK AT HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND SAY HE IS A GOD HE IS SO WONDERFUL, THEY BELIEVE, HE DOESN’T NEED GOD OTHERS SEE THE DEPRAVITY AND SUFFERING OF MAN AND SAY, WITH MACBETH, LIFE IS A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT, FULL OF SOUND AND FURY, SIGNIFYING NOTHING YET GOD HAS SET ETERNITY IN OUR HEARTS, AND HOW BLESSED WE ARE IF WE COME TO THE CONCLUSION OF NEITHER OF THE ABOVE, BUT OF PSALM 8, AS SARA GROVES DID, AS A YOUNG GIRL: SUNDAY: ICEBREAKER 1. Can you remember when you first pondered “What […]

read more

BETRAYED AND SLANDERED (PSALM 7)

WHO OF US DARES TO PRAY, AS PSALM 7 DOES: “IF THERE IS WRONG IN MY HANDS… LET MY ENEMY PURSUE MY SOUL AND OVERTAKE IT?” DAVID DID DARE, BUT WE MUST SEE BEYOND DAVID TO CHRIST, TO THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS NEVER DONE WRONG. FOR WHEN WE SEE CHRIST AT THE CENTER OF THIS PSALM IT HELPS US ENTER INTO HIS SUFFERING AND THEN WE CAN KNOW WHY HE CAN SO COMPASSIONATELY ENTER INTO OURS. WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE BETRAYED AND SLANDERED? HE KNOWS.   Patrick Henry Reardon, echoes Mike Reeves when he writes in “Christ in the Psalms” The underlying voice in the Psalms is not simply “man” but “the Man.” Do you remember when Mike Reeves said that the underlying man in Psalm 1 was Christ? And the underlying king in Psalm 2 […]

read more

HELP ME LORD, I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PRAY (PSALMS 5 and 6)

I COME TO MY KING AND MY GOD EACH MORNING AND LIFT UP MY VOICE I START WITH THE WORD, FOR I HAVE LEARNED THAT HELPS ME PRAY BUT SOMETIMES I AM SO TROUBLED BY SITUATIONS, I AM DISTRACTED, ANXIOUS. RECENTLY WHEN TELLING A DEAR FRIEND ABOUT DANGER A CHILD IS FACING, SHE STARTED TO PRAY AND THEN STUTTERED AND STOPPED, SAYING: LORD – I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PRAY. I ONLY KNOW YOU ARE BIG AND I ASK FOR YOUR HELP. WHEN WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO PRAY, OUR GOD HAS COMPASSION, HEARING OUR DESPERATE CRY AND THEN HIS SPIRIT PRAYS FOR US THAT IS THE SENSE OF PSALM 5. DAVID IS SO TROUBLED HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE WORDS, BUT HE CRIES OUT AND ASKS THE LORD TO CONSIDER HIS MEDITATION, HIS TUMULTUOUS THOUGHTS. FOR THE SPIRIT SEARCHES OUR […]

read more

SLEEPING WHEN ANXIETIES MULTIPLY (PRAYING PSALM 4)

BOOKS ONE TO FIVE OF THE PSALMS, MIKE REEVES SAYS, PARALLEL BOOKS ONE TO FIVE OF THE BOOKS OF MOSES. THEREFORE, BOOK ONE OF PSALMS, WOULD HAVE PARALLELS TO GENESIS. I’M STILL CHECKING TO SEE IF I AGREE, FOR THIS IS SUCH A NEW THOUGHT — BUT I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THE CREATOR OF THE REVOLVING SOLAR SYSTEMS COULD DO THIS!! ONE EVIDENCE REEVES MENTIONS IN BOOK ONE IS THE REPETITION OF MORNING AND EVENING, AS IN CREATION. PSALM 3 IS A MORNING PSALM, PSALM 4 IS AN EVENING PSALM, PSALM 5 IS A MORNING PSALM. PSALM 4 GIVES US THE SECRET OF RESTFUL SLEEP, EVEN WHEN, AS WAS DAVID’S CASE, ARMIES ARE AGAINST US. THIS LIFE IS CHALLENGING, AND ANXIOUS THOUGHTS CAN MULTIPLY THERE ARE REAL EARTHLY ENEMIES AND ONE WHO  WHISPERS LIES IN THE NIGHT HOW CAN […]

read more

REAL HELP FOR REAL TROUBLE (Psalm 3)

THERE IS A GREAT STRUGGLE IN THE WORLD, AS PSALMS 1 AND 2 HAVE SHOWN US BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARKNESS NOW PSALMS 3 AND 4 SHOW US HOW TO FACE THAT STRUGGLE, FOR THERE IS A PRINCE OF DARKNESS AND SOMETIMES GOD DOES NOT DELIVER US FROM EVIL IN THIS PRESENT AGE. SO WHAT DO WE DO WHEN OUR WORST FEARS BECOME REALITY? WHEN OUR OWN CHRIS’S SON DANIEL FOUGHT FOR HIS LIFE AFTER BEING ASSAULTED, CHRIS SAW THIS PAINTING IN THE HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM IT DID NOT PROMISE THE STORM WOULD END BUT IT DID PROMISE A REFUGE IN THE STORM. THE WISE MAN LEARNS HOW TO RESPOND TO THE HURRICANE BEFORE IT HITS, AND GOD, IN PSALM 3, SHOWS US WHAT TO DO. THOUGH WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO STOP THE CANCER, THE BETRAYAL, THE LOSS OF […]

read more

THE KING OF KINGS WHOM WE BETRAY (Psalm 2)

 THE BEST STORIES THAT MOVE OUR HEARTS DO SO BECAUSE THEY TAP INTO THE TRUE STORY, THE STORY THAT BEGAN BEFORE THE DAWN OF TIME. SO WE LOVE THESE TALES THAT TELL OF A GOOD KING WHO MADE ALL THINGS RIGHT, BUT THEN THERE WAS AN ENEMY…A BATTLE… AND WE ARE ON THE EDGE OF OUR SEATS… TAKE THE STORY OF THE GOOD KING ARTHUR WHO FELL IN LOVE AND TOOK FOR HIMSELF A BRIDE… KING ARTHUR WAS SO WONDERFUL AND GUINEVERE DID LOVE HIM. AND HIS KNIGHT, SIR LANCELOT, LOVED HIM. SO HOW COULD THEY BETRAY HIM SO? BRINGING SO MUCH PAIN TO ALL AND THE DOWNFALL OF CAMELOT. “ONCE, A DISTANT TIME AGO, THERE WAS A LAND CALLED CAMELOT” AND TRULY, ONCE, THERE WAS A LAND CALLED EDEN SEE HOW THIS STORY IS A “MEMORY TRACE” OF THE […]

read more