Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Psalm 27: Strength

The Psalms are a treasure trove of experiential knowledge.  They are dynamic human interactions with our Living Creator Redeemer God.  The Psalms fluctuate from expressions of agony to unwavering trust, from despair to the heights of praise, from complaining to thanksgiving.  That sounds much like the reality of ‘life and living.’    

As this summer Psalm series has unfolded, I have noticed a few things.  Psalm 1 begins the Psalter with describing the path of wisdom.  Then Psalm 2 enthrones God as King of the heavens and the earth.  And then there are two groups of laments, crying out to God (2-7, 9-14) with another enthronement Psalm in the middle, Psalm 8.  Then a mixture of Psalms focused on a revolving pattern of lament, confession of trust, thanksgiving, and praise.  Sometimes they are expressed communally and other times individually.   

This revolving pattern of dynamic human expression and experience in relationship with a loving and mysterious Living God, seems an accurate reflection of our day to day life.  We are never all praise all the time, we are never all trust all the time, we are never all ‘in sorrow’ all the time… like Ecclesiastes says, “There is time for everything under the sun.”  

What’s my point?  Not sure… yet, here is something… There is comfort in knowing that others, especially the community of God’s people, can and do express their heart of worship in authentic and real ways.  The ebb and flow of life with its ups and downs, even for people of strong faith, is not only ‘OK’, it is to be expected.  It’s normal.  

When it comes to worship of God in our lives, seems to me that God desires authenticity when we express our worship, preferring ways that reflect honestly and openly where we are with God.  God invites the different postures in which we can approach him.  And when we approach Him, make sure we are engaging him with reality – no ‘fake-ness’ allowed.    

Sunday we take a look at Psalm 27: Strength.  It is a difficult Psalm to categorize because it embodies different genres of the Psalms.  Lets explore it together on Sunday – – See you soon!

Pastor Mark    

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Psalm 23: Comfort

I have been spiritually blown away this week in preparation for Sunday’s message on Psalm 23.  I think this is for a few reasons: 1) God is amazing and the way he speaks through his timeless Word is amazing. 2) spending intensive time in the Psalms fuels me as the inter-related ‘ness’ of the Psalms is powerfully insightful.  They seem to fit together like a puzzle, completing the picture of human existence and experience with the Living God.

Psalm 23 has been a favorite of God’s people for centuries.  It speaks powerful truth about who God is and how he cares for his people.  Yet, I think that many people miss the central point of the Psalm by taking the Psalm out of its context (the life of a shepherd and sheep).  Most people read Psalm 23 through the lens of envisioning a kind of utopia.  However, after some contextualization of David’s time and a trip to Israel and walking the land, my view of Psalm 23 have been flipped upside down.  

Rather than tip my hand as to the direction of the message for Sunday, I’ll see you on Sunday or you can tune in to the podcast after Sunday to see and understand where this weeks message if going.  Looking forward to Sunday – Installation of elders/deacons, worship through Psalm 42 and 23, and celebration of Communion.  

Looking forward, God is ‘preparing a table before us,’

Mark 

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Psalm 13: Lament

What are we to do when it seems like our Covenant Partner (God) seems or feels distant or abandoned us?  This seems to be a common human experience.  Each one of us has had our pits of doubt, anger, frustration, sadness, in the midst of some troubling human experience.  What are we to do with that?  How should we lament?  Is there a right or wrong way?  What’s allowed?  What’s not?  Hmmm….   
It doesn’t take far into the Psalms to find a song of deep and gut wrenching lament.  Some of us may have been raised with such a high reverence for God that we aren’t even to question God or question our suffering.  Others may be a bit too casual and have no problem slandering God if we feel justified in our anger and heartache.  What is the right response?  Somewhere in between?  Is it all OK?  

Psalm 13 gives us a window into the Hebrew worldview of suffering that seeks to hold faith, doubt, and a dynamic/real relationship with God together.  It is very instructive and spiritually shaping.  

In reading Psalm 13, you may notice a structure/pattern to it.  The Psalmist begins in a pointed way in verses 1-2.  What is it?  Then transitions in verse 3-4 to another tactic.  What is it?  And finally, comes around to finish with another approach to God in verse 5-6.  What is it?  

What does this Psalm give us permission to do (vs.1-4)?  And what also does it call us to do (vs.5-6)?  Not only can we engage in lament with God individually, we can also lament with God on behalf of others.  What is it that you lament over for yourself?  On behalf of others? 

See you Sunday,
Pastor Mark              


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Summer Psalms: Wisdom

Summer Psalms is putting in the river this coming Sunday.  We will explore some Psalms together over the rest of the summer.  The Book of Psalms is a wonderful tapestry of the human experience.  Pointedly, they describe with passion the relationship between the human experience and God.  We begin Sunday July 14th with Psalm 1: WISDOM.  

Psalm 1 is a masterpiece of Hebrew poetry with several unique Hebrew literature qualities.  Can’t wait to dive into this one with you on Sunday.  Psalm 1 is a beginning to the Psalter.  Why is it a good beginning?  What effect is the writer seeking to have on its reader?  What do you think the writer has learned about God and the human experience that he desires to communicate to us? 

See you Sunday,

Pastor Mark