Wow, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. After a vacation and some personal struggles that have kept me from my ‘listening time,’ I am back. This morning, I am posting my notes from part of a talk I prepared last week. I wrote this as part of my DAWG day. (Day Alone With God) After I wrote this, I went for a 3 hour hike with my ipod repeating Psalm 145 over and over as I spoke it out loud, alone in the forest, successfully memorizing it after about two hours. I thoroughly enjoyed this modern way to memorize and meditate upon Scripture.
July 2, 2008 10:15 AM Today I am enjoying some time up in our mountains in my tent trailer. I just spent the last hour lying in a hammock reading Psalm 145 and praying through each verse. I admit that I dozed off once and a while and I enjoyed it. Peace and rest, solitude; wow, these things have been non-existent lately. There’s a cool breeze and it is quiet. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been alone for an extended period of time. I tend to enjoy my life – the chaos of four children (yes, four! You’ll have to check out my Adoption Blog) and the challenge of keeping up with the busy social schedule of my ENFP (Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving) wife. Of course being a pastor at a large church and living in town with most of our relatives makes it all the more busy. Somehow, I like it and like the challenge of listening to God in the midst of all the stuff that really is my life. God has placed all of these people around me and I delight in them and in the things that he has called me to do. While I value the time to get away, the Christian life must be lived in the day-to-day, moment-by-moment reality of activity. The challenge is how to listen to God and grow in my relationship with him. Basically, the challenge is two-fold. First, I must make God a part of every area of my life. Second, I must make some space for him alone. Both are a challenge in this day and age, and probably have been throughout all time. I’m going to spend the bulk of my time preparing a talk on Psalm 145 that I will call “145 Worship.” Mark Brown and Rick Langer are going to preach a message on that passage and then I am going to conclude with a challenge for us as a Trinity Church worshiping community. Goal: I am going to close our message this morning by encouraging my Trinity church family to excel in 145 worship. This is worship that meditates on God’s greatness and proclaims his works. I want to apply this Psalm to us as a worshiping community.
Key Idea: Psalm 145 calls us to publicly declare, celebrate and sing about two aspects of God
1. Who he is, “the glorious splendor of his majesty,” his character, what he is like “he is gracious and compassionate . . . slow to anger and rich in love . . . good to all . . . faithful to all his promises . . . loving toward all he has made . . . righteous in all his ways . . . and near to all who call on him.”
2. What he does, “he upholds those who fall . . . lifts up those who are depressed . . . gives us the things we need . . . satisfies our desires . . . fulfills our desires . . . hears our cries . . .
saves us … and watches over us.”
Picture these two aspects of worship, over here [left] “Who God is” and over here [right] “What God does.” (I’m going to give my camera operators a challenge this morning) It is critical that we spend equal time doing both in order to engage our heads and our hearts in worship to God. [Move to right] Picture a worship where there is not an adequate focus on who God is. We would end up with a self-centered view of God that lacked the deep trust that comes from the knowledge of the truth. This deep trust carries us through when life
gets hard or God seems distant and hard to understand. [Move to left] On the other hand, if our worship services lacked the proclamation of what God does, all of the deep truths would seem to lack evidence – heady knowledge without a heart connection. The works of the Lord are what makes it real. I think that God realized the human need for evidence or proof. Remember when John the Baptist was questioning the identity of Jesus as the Messiah? Jesus answered his messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. (Luke 7:22, NIV) [move to center] We need to fill our times when we gather to worship God with an equal portion of both. I would like to see our church family rally more and more around Who God Is and What God does. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “I urge you, therefore,
to excel still more.” However, over the past year God has been giving me an increasing desire to see us grow in the aspect of worship that publicly declares What God has done and what he is doing among us. Just a year ago, I wrote a blog and titled it, “Desperate for
God’s Work Among Us.” In it I concluded that God was indeed at work among us, but that we needed to do a better job at declaring that work, and that it was my job to lead out in this Psalm 145 worship. “One generation will commend your works to another. They will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty and I will meditate upon your wonderful works.” However, if we are really going to excel at declaring
the works of the Lord, we need to realize something important that goes before. Have you noticed this about the works of the Lord on our behalf? Nearly all of them have to do with the fact that we are needy. Listen as I read through the list again. (Read What he does list) I Bill Born, do hereby confess that I am a needy person. There is no shame in being needy, in fact there is glory to God in this. Do you recall that Paul boasted in his weakness in order that through Christ he might be made strong? Do you recall that Christ said, “I did not come for the healthy, but for the sick who were in need of a physician.” In order to grow in this “declaring the works of the Lord” aspect of our worship at Trinity, we must come honestly to God in front of one another. We cannot hide thinking that we are alone in our needy state, or worse yet, come trying to impress like we have it all together. David was unashamed to confess how absolutely needy he was and we need to be unashamed as well. We cannot fully declare the works of the Lord unless we first identify, own and confess that we are needy. In fact, I think that we close ourselves off to the works of the Lord unless we come to him needy. What are your needs this morning? Have you called out to God with this need? He is near to those who call on him in truth. Do others in this church family know about your needs? Perhaps our great God is whispering to you right now that he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, that he is good and wants to have compassion on you. God hears our cries and can save us anywhere, but certainly we should be open to him doing these works among us during our worship service. Or perhaps you’ve experienced the works of the Lord. Remember that time when you cried out to him and he heard your cry and saved you? Have you taken the time to share that with your friends, your family, your coworkers, with this church family? We must do our part to pass on these stories of God’s works in our lives. Great is the Lord, and most worthy of Praise; his greatness, no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another. Don’t miss out on the pleasure of worshiping the Lord this way.