August 2010


I spent the summer working through the book of Psalms in my personal time and in the pulpit.  I came away with some thoughts.  I don’t think any of my thoughts are particularly earth-shattering or mind-blowing.  However, I have been examined by the Holy Spirit and convicted of my feeble attempts at hiding from God and people.  Therefore, I would encourage you to spend some time in the songbook of Israel.

Thoughts…

  • Psalm 1 is the introduction to the whole of the book of Psalms.  I challenged our church members to memorize this psalm.  I have this memorized and love to recite it audibly to my listening heart.  I am continually challenged and encouraged by hiding the Word in my heart
  • The theme of ‘Two Ways to Live’ presented in this psalm is foundational to and points to the gospel
  • Psalms 1 & 2 present two amazing truths.  Psalm 1 tells us that we are blessed by the Word.  Psalm 2 elaborates and tells us that we are blessed in the Word, King Jesus!
  • I have never heard a sermon on Psalm 3 or 4.  The Holy Spirit did the most work on my heart during the weeks I preached from these two psalms
  • 12 of the first 14 Psalms are attributed to David.  I did not intend to preach a sermon series on  David, but in the end, this was a sermon series about the heart of David
  • David was human and he was real.  So often I try to hide under Christian platitudes.  The Holy Spirit worked through the Psalms to root out my prideful hiddeness.  He convicted me in the realm of Spirit-led, true, emotive worship.  David says the things we want to say but think we can’t and still be ‘good Christians.’  I want to be able to say, “Why, LORD!”, “How long, O LORD!”, “Where are you, LORD!” and not be concerned about what my wife, elders or fellow believers think
  • If I stop at crying out to the LORD and don’t rush to prayer, I am manifesting a cold, lifeless heart that is blinded to God’s amazing covenant love and faithfulness
  • The psalms are prayers
  • The psalms are relavent
  • The psalms are extremely convicting
  • The Holy Spirit is extremely concerned with our speech
  • The Holy Spirit is extremely concerned with our hearts
  • The psalms prepare us for Jesus: As we recognize the injustice in and around us, we cry out for the LORD to do something.  Jesus is the answer to all the prayers that make up the psalms

 

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

Psalm 13:5-6

It is so easy to rip on politicians.  Do you remember the joke, ‘You know how you can tell when a politician is lying?; His lips are moving.’  I love it.   Here is the crazy thing.  You are much more of a politician than you are willing to admit.  I am much more of a politician than I would like to admit.

Psalm 12 deals with human speech, it deals with human speech on the lips of politicians.  In the first four verses, David describes the politicians of his day.  He says that:

  1. They are all around him (1)
  2. They lie (2); the word translated lie has the sense of vanity or emptiness.  So David is saying, they speak fine sounding arguments without substance.  Their speech is kind of like soda or potato chips.  Taste great, but no nutritional value.
  3. They employ flattery (2); this goes beyond lying because it adds the element of an evil or corrupt motive.  The goal in flattery is to manipulate the hearer rather than communicate with her.
  4. They use double-speak (2); in other words, they use a word that means one thing to advance something that is the exact opposite.  Think about the misuse of language that abortion rights advocates use to legitimize abortion (surgical procedure instead of abortion; pro-women’s reproductive rights/pro-choice instead of pro-abortion)
  5. They boast (3-4)
  6. They are in power because of their use of this kind of speech (4-5)

Sounds like Washington, D.C., right?  Sounds like Senator ________ or Representative__________, etc., right?  True, but it also sounds like me…and you.

Let me challenge you to consider two things in determining if a politician lives in your heart.

First, what words to you use to describe someone to a friend or co-worker?  Especially if you don’t like that someone.

Second, how do you describe your situation when you really want something?  Do you use manipulation (through lies, flattery, double-speak, half-truths)?

How should we respond to our secret lives as politicians?

First, trust in the pure, trustworthy words of God, i.e. the Bible (5-6)

Second, ask yourself this question: Are the words I am using intended to edify (build-up) or tear-down the person I am talking about/to? (Ephesians 4:20-32)

Today is a really exciting day for me.  First, we just launched our new website at Manchester Creek Community Church. www.manchestercreek.org

Second, I get to welcome my friend, Dean Paulson to As Grace Extends!  Dean is a fellow Evangelical Free Church pastor.  He just started serving as the Senior Pastor at Kost Evangelical Free Church.  Prior to this ministry, Dean served as the Campus Pastor at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN for 20 years.  I look forward to reading and interacting with Dean’s posts at As Grace Extends.  Our desire is for each of us to blog twice a week about theology, church life, culture, sports, etc.  We are both pastors of small churches, so we thought it would be fun for us to ‘share’ in ministering to our people in this little way.

Two words about Dean.  He is one of my three best friends.  And he is one of the most godly men I have ever met.  I trust you will be challenged, encouraged and convicted by the addition of Dean to the As Grace Extends.