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Julie and Jessa Brestin watching a storm arise in Ephraim, Wi.





Watch this to prepare your heart for the week and for this powerful psalm:

This week we see the power of the Lord, the power of poetry, the power of accompanying music — and most of all, from the psalm, the confident assurance that God is in control. There is no storm over which He is not Lord, no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

rainbowStorms, like the flood in Noah’s Day, show both His fury, but also His mercy.  I have not seen the Noah movie (but I will when it comes out on DVD) and I know they added to and changed the story — but believers I respect were able to filter that out and “mine the gold from the Egyptians.” I mined some gold in this preview — see if you can as well:


1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Were you able to “mine any gold” from the clip from “Noah?”

Monday – Wednesday: Bible Study

Prepare your heart with this:

3. Read aloud Psalm 29 with all your heart and all your mind. What stands out to you? Why?

4. Compare Psalm 29:1-2 with Isaiah 6:1-5. What similarities do you see?

5. Read Psalm 29:3-9 and describe the power God has over creation. Share a time when you witnessed this and it caused you to tremble or be in awe.

6. Isaiah describes a day that is coming in Isaiah 2:12-21. What will happen and what is the purpose of this storm?

7. What similarities do you see in the above with Psalm 29?

8. Psalm 29:10 moves into the storm that becomes a flood. Read Genesis 6:5-8. What was the purpose of that storm and how did it show both God’s wrath and His mercy?

Prepare your heart with this song:

9. Find ways God showed mercy to Noah and his family in:

A. Genesis 6:17-18

B. Genesis 7:16

C. Genesis 8:1

D. Genesis 9:1-3 (How does this echo God’s command to Adam and what does this imply?)

E. Genesis 9:13-17.

10. Challenge question: Do you believe that God is in control of every storm — or not? If not, what does that mean theologically? If so, can you support this scripturally?

11. Optional: The following is a documentary from a man on the street questioning people about Noah — I found it illuminating — but this is optional, if you have a half hour of relaxed time to watch. Watch and comment. Might be interesting to watch with teens too.

Thursday-Friday Sermon

Keller has a free sermon on Noah that is terrific: LINK

12. Share your notes and comments on one of the above


13. What is your take-a-way and why?

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.


  1. and then this:   Kerryn,  I just read your last comment about taking another line of thinking.  I do appreciate it and of course the example of Jesus’ purpose being to suffer and die cannot be contested in any way.  That one is crystal clear in the scriptures.    However, I fear I am more confused than ever about our personal suffering.  As I just said above….I am more and more content to just accept it all as a mystery.  But now, I must wrestle with (or maybe not?)  the suffering of my daughter who has turned her back on Him……in many ways,  (not the only reason but I think it plays a big part)…. I think she gave up on Him because of her chronic illness.  So now, my question is even greater…..Must I believe that He willed her faith struggle too?  As well as willed that she have life threatening illness? I know her story isn’t all written.  I know He is not willing that any should perish.  (II Peter 3:9)  I don’t know if all of our personal sufferings fit through the same sieve as those of our Lord.  I do know that God’s love is infinite and his mercy and grace are great.  Maybe that is all I know.

    1. Wanda, what I wrote is a thought in progress, not by any means a complete answer. No, I don’t think our personal sufferings have the same purpose as Christ’s, but it is another lens to look through and I found it opened my eyes. From a perspective 5 years later I can consider the thought that God has a purpose in the timing of John’s death, that he called John home. Maybe it was not just a random outcome of the genetic dice, but ordained by a loving Father. I don’t know, but I wasn’t even willing to go there 5 years ago.
      Maybe what I’ve gleaned from this process is that it is important to rely on what we know for sure about God rather than what we deduce by logic. So no, you do not have to believe that he willed your daughter’s faith struggle, or her illness. He has not told us why those things happened, so any reasons we come up with are by our own logic and therefore unreliable. What we do know for sure is that he loves us and her more dearly than even you, her mother, can. Which is exactly what you concluded anyway. 🙂

      1. Oh ..thanks for the reply, Kerryn.  After I went to bed, I realized that my questions were also part of  ‘thinking and processing’ and were not meant to be addressed only to you although that is what it looked like.  Thanks for your gracious reply.   I so agree that we need to look at what we know of God for sure.  I expect to not know many things in this life!  

  2. 13. What is your take-away and why?
    I will never again see Noah/the flood in a whimsical, nursery manner ever again.  In fact, I am thinking that I need to get rid of my Noah & the Art rubber stamp; I don’t think I can ever use it again.
    The Keller sermon…so good!  I have never thought of the earth’s consistent, continual obedience to the Lord or the need for the Lord to save it from human sin, but it makes good sense now.  I have always respected of my natural surroundings, Keller’s sermon has caused me to ponder a needed increase of “honor” as well.  Keller’s reminder that all human life is in the image of God and that we should look to what God deserves in serving others rather than what the person might deserve…convicting; I must consciously put this into practice.  I always enjoy Keller’s focus on the gospel…God is relentlessly holy and infinitely loving…my relationship with God is based entirely on grace.  I was also convicted in regarding to what might be motivating my serving God in various circumstances…might I be serving Him for to prove myself or to attain something from Him in some circumstances?
    I have been thinking of the various points of discussion over the past few days…it has been consumed much of my thoughts of late.  My take away in this regard is that there is indeed mystery involved.  We do not have the mind of God and cannot comprehend all of God’s purposes and/or how He might bring good from horrific circumstances.  I do believe that humans have free-will which means that as good and loving behavior is possible, evil and suffering at the hands of another is entirely possible as well.  I don’t believe that the good that the Lord brings from various circumstances  (Romans 8:28) negates the evilness; we do live in a fallen world where there is evil that would clearly be defined as “evil”.  I think there can be many reasons for why things happen and we may only recognize a snippet.  I don’t believe that God ever wills “evil” that would be inconsistent with His character, but what we define in some cases as “adversity” (bad) might be exactly what is needed to be directed to an alternate path, to learn an invaluable lesson for the future, etc.  It might be what God would deem “adversity” (good), that is for our or another benefit and well-being.  I certainly don’t claim to know all and am only sharing my beliefs/thoughts…bottom line, I rest in the Lord’s goodness, His incomprehensible love, His continuous affection for me, His omnipotence, His omniscience, and His saving grace…and the mystery.

  3. 12. Share your notes and comments on one of the above
    Keller’s sermon..Again-so much here! I will just post what stood out..All of it did as usual, but the ‘War bow’ blew me away. Also God really used this sermon to help me really see the meaning behind the Rainbow much deeper! I will never look at it the same way again rather I will see at the conjunction of the sun and the storm-mercy and Judgment coming together and that Jesus took on the lightening-he went into the heart of the storm so we could have the rainbow- that is why it is pointed up. No more condemnation on me no matter what I do-he was condemned so I would no longer be.
    He also is helping me to see creation rightly and therefore why ecology is so important and not to serve to get any ‘blessing’ from God but serve creation-to serve the needy and poor because I want to honor God because He is beautiful. The rainbow is the thing of beauty-Jonathan Edwards said the religious person finds God useful-what can I do to get things from God, Gospel people find him beautiful-I want to serve God for the beauty of who he is.  Then it becomes the dynamic for all of my life. I am not serving the poor, taking care of creation to prove myself or get something from God. I am in a relationship with God based on Grace.
    I also love to be reminded of the truth that people are made in the image of God and He is so beautiful..And really when I think of my own desperate condition without Grace-that He fought the war for me so I could have the rainbow-looking down on others who are difficult is harder to do, and serving and helping them will become more desirable. Of course-I haven’t arrived but I want to grow closer to Him..I need to have my heart readied by communing daily and worshiping Him-His beauty..and I do think the more I gaze at his beauty the more I will see the stark darkness of my heart the more I will repent and turn yet rest in the ‘war bow’..and that he is in control of every storm. 

    1. Dee, The anti-education attitudes I have experienced have only been among a small percentage of believers  — but some are so vocal & determined that I feel drained being around them; it’s usually not worth discussing because most of those who complain have had no direct contact with those they “don’t like.” 

  4. Keller sermon. 
    Thanks for the good notes Elizabeth and Nanci! 
    The biggest thing that stood out to me was the war now pointing at heaven. That God would take His own wrath. The gospel in the sky. Loved it and it will stay with me every time I see a rainbow…which was His plan, for me to remember!
    My take-a-way (other than the war-bow): I have appreciated all the discussion and perspective on suffering. I don’t remember who said it but it was essentially expressed by many. We cannot know definitively why, but we trust. The truth is He loves His children. Whether He purposes storms or gives purpose to storms allowed (or some of both) I am still in His hands. And He is ultimately omnipotent, in control, able. However He does it I trust Him, I trust He loves me, He cares for me, He has my good (in the holy sense) in mind.  I think it is good to ponder these things so when we are questioned or faced with situations we can be sensitive and solid. I especially appreciated all the scripture shared.
    I was personally convicted that I still tend to pray “make it stop” when faced with a storm, while this isn’t necessarily bad it was  where I stopped and dwelt and that was ‘bad.’  But to apply our lesson from last week and other weeks – to gaze on the beauty of God, to turn from my lament to Him (God is.), to trust Him in the storm (not to trust/expect Him to take it away, or the pain away) ….He lifted me up this week and showed me so much of my selfish heart, I have been in repentance and seeking and my circumstances didn’t change (got worse, actually) but after being upset He whispered in my heart, “I am.” And it changed my heart. Pain is still pain, hardship still hardship, but God is God. I think I finally saw how to cling to Him in the storm. 
    I am also going to watch Noah. =)

  5. :'(     I haven’t been able to download the sermon.  Tried multiple times over a few days, and it only partially downloads.  Will try one more time on my computer .  I’m thankful for the notes!  After mowing my lawn and trimming some stuff, I’m convinced mosquitoes are corrupt… and I want to hear what Keller says!  Apparently, death and decay aren’t considered part of corruption of nature isn’t corrupt?

    1. Woo hoo! Finally got it 😀

    2. A few sermon notes/comments:Loving this sermon, but kinda confused about some parts.  Have to relisten to the nature/corruption part.  i.e., not God’s design for strong to eat the week; it happens all the time in nature; it’s wrong — that sounds corrupt to me.  Also, would like to relisten to the rainbow/war bow part.Also like the part about helping every human whether they believe like we do or not.  We have a basis for racial justice, social justice, international justice and peace.  Wow — challenging.  Look upon the image of God in all.We can’t do the ecological, social justice things without a covenant relationship with God, relationship with God based on grace.  We will be crushed. If we do it believing God will bless us, we won’t be doing it for their sake. 
      Great quotes:  “You will never find a rainbow on a sunny day.”   (dark backdrop)
      “I want to serve God for the beauty of who he is”
      This was presented in such a compelling way:  God’s grace and His love are motivating.  I want to respond when I see His grace and know His love.  This implies that when other people are driving me nuts, I should look to Jesus — see my neediness and let him love me — and then my response to obnoxious behaviors will be more gracious.

    3. interesting, Renee….because it was the first time I’ve had to place an order … since I really haven’t purchased anything yet.  I know this was free but still had to go through all the steps.  I was all ready to send you a note asking for help as i couldn’t figure out where the download was…and then I realized it had appeared on the bottom of my screen.  I guess I’ll know what to expect next time.    Glad it finally worked for you too.

  6. Enjoyed the interviews that Roy Comfort (?) did! I was pleasantly surprised that many “strange” looking, younger than me, people were going to church the next day and that so many believed in God. Loved that he had a sense of urgency and tried to convey that to the people! Also loved that he got some to pray with him.
    Regarding the Keller sermon; I, like Renee have questions and need to go back and listen again. I love that he brings Jesus to the picture and relates Him to the Noah story. I want to go back and really understand that piece of the lesson. It reminded me of the “first” Adam and the “second” Adam. I never thought like this before about the OT and NT. I was kind of confused about the bow pointing down versus up. Need to think more on that one. Not sure I am comfortable with the animals killing each other bit either. They need to survive so isn’t it natural? I suppose if sin didn’t exist in the world then they would just be satisfied all the time?