Sermons

Psalm 24
Sun, Jul 15, 2018
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place He who has clean hands and a pure heart who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. -- Psalm 24:3–4 (ESV) Do you ever feel like you can't come and worship God? Maybe you had a bad week. Maybe a specific sin seems to be undefeatable this week. Maybe life seems so tiring and suffocating that worship feels like one more thing. In Psalm 24, the Psalmist asks a honest, penetrating question. Who can come and stand in the presence of a perfect, holy, righteous God? Can you? Can I? His answer: someone with clean hands and a pure heart. Uh-oh. Now what?
Psalm 72
Sun, Jul 08, 2018
Give the king your justice, O God and your righteousness to the royal son! May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! -- Psalm 72:1–3 (ESV) I'm not an overly political person. And we have purposely not made Hope a political organization. We want the gospel to be the resounding message not any political side. Ultimately, we are not looking to make a voting block but people that bow first and foremost to a king. But that doesn't mean that God has nothing to say about governments and those who lead them. In this royal Psalm, David writes a song or prayer for his son, Solomon who will one day become king. He prays for what he should do and what he hopes it will bring. Take a few minutes and read through this Psalms, that may not be as familiar to you. Did this come to fruition? How should we relate to this now?
Blessings for Sinners
Sun, Jul 01, 2018
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. -- Psalm 32:1–2 (ESV) In the Christian world we tend to have two opposite reactions to our own sin and guilt. Sometimes we try to hide, cover, and dismiss it. We might just treat it as difficulties, mistakes, or personality quirks. We choose to cover it with politeness thinking that we shouldn't discuss such things. Ignore it and it will go away. Right? The other option in the Christian world seems to be to wallow in it. We see the depth and feel caught in an endless cycle of failure, sin, and guilt. We vow to do better. We get accountability. We punish ourselves when we fail...only to slide back into it and the hole grows deeper and darker. Is there a different way? David in Psalm 32 lays out a different path. Probably written looking back at his adultery with Bathsheba. This Psalm points us away from the tragic effects of silence and toward the freedom and forgiveness to be found in confession. I'd encourage you to take a few minutes to read through this Psalm before Sunday and consider how this links to Christ.
Forsaken but Forgiven
Sun, Jun 24, 2018
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. -- Psalm 22:1–2 (ESV) Have you ever felt like God was distant or unavailable to you? Like he forgot who you were or what you needed? Maybe it was in a moment that you needed his help the most. What did you do? What did you pray? One thing I like about the Psalms is the honesty of emotions. The passages are not a pious religious rehearsal but a real human cry of longing, fear, and trouble. They are often more honest then we are willing to be. In Psalm 22, David is struggling to sense and know God's presence and gain God's help. He wonders if God has cast him to the side. This struggle and his words find their way into Jesus' mouth and the gospel writer's pen to describe the life and work of Christ. Join us on Sunday as we explore this Psalm, one of the most used and quoted in the New Testament. It will help us connect not only David's but our experience to that of Christ's work.
Enter the King
Sun, Jun 17, 2018
Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. -- Psalm 47:1–2 (ESV) What do you consider worshipful? Maybe a quiet time of reflection. Maybe it's a loud excited melody. Maybe it's an old familiar hymn. Maybe it's a scripture read clearly. Often times our definitions are colored by the times and experiences where we felt close to God. We associate those times and the feelings we had with the truest expression of worship. But this Psalm pushes us to expand our boundaries. First, worship is not primarily about our experience but about the God we worship. Who He is and what He has done should elicit in us a response. That's worship. Second, the Psalm expresses that response in a variety of ways - singing, clapping, loud, soft, quiet, vocal, instrumental, and more. This week we turn to a Psalm that calls for (even demands) our response before the King of the Universe as he takes His throne. Who is He? What is He like? Why should we praise him? Take a few minutes and read through the whole of Psalm 47 before Sunday.
The Day the LORD Made
Sun, Jun 10, 2018
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. -- Psalm 118:22–24 (ESV) The Psalms are a curious mix of tears and cries of vengeance and beauty and devastation and hope and failure and longing. This week we are going to take a look at Psalm 118 in our series, Songs of A Savior. In it the Psalmist feels the press of his enemies and the need to retreat to the safety of the love of God. But will even this refuge fail him? Where can it be found? How do we get in? I want to encourage you to take a few minutes and read through this poignant Psalm. Mickey Counter will be opening it up to us, as I will be sharing with Shade Valley Church (an EFCA church) in Birmingham on Sunday.
Psalm 14
Sun, Jun 03, 2018
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. -- Psalm 14:1–2 (ESV) Fools are easy to point out and laugh at but harder to see, especially in the mirror. The Bible is brutally honest about the world around us and the struggle within us, but it also shows us the only refuge from them both. This week we are going to look at another Song of the Savior in Psalm 14. Kevin will be opening up this Psalm that looks at denial and rebellion. It points us to a sure, true, and strong refuge. Take a few minutes to read it through, and plan to join us at 10:30 on Sunday.
Beware the Son
Sun, May 27, 2018
hy do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” - Psalm 2:1–3 (ESV) Political instability, war on the horizon, the potential for devastation and an end to our way of life. Is this a description of our moment in history? Actually it could be used to talk about many times and ages. In many ages these words would be a more apt description than today. However, the world is a troubled place on an international, national, and personal level. This rebellion is not just nation against nation, but actually had deeper more spiritual roots. It will take a greater more powerful ruler then merely a human president or king. This week, we begin our summer series entitled Songs of a Savior. We will be looking through the Psalms, God's inspired songbook, to see the laments, praises, and songs of God's people. We will also see hints and clues to this one who will set the world right again.
From Theology to Life and Back Again - Part 2
Sun, May 20, 2018
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:6–8 (ESV) Suffering, pain, and anxiety are a pressure cooker. In those times, days, and years we feel the weight of life. At times it can be hard to do anything. These moments bring many questions. Why? Has God forgotten about me? Does He care? Don't I deserve something better? Can't life be easy? How do I know He even loves me? When we have these questions and read scriptures like Romans 5:3 we wonder if Paul lived in the real world, but he wants us to know he does. He knows a God who loves deeply. This week he gives us reassurance of that through two important avenues. Take a few minutes and read through Romans 5:6-11 to prepare your heart and mind to worship together.
From Theology to Life and Back Again - Part 1
Fri, May 11, 2018
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. - Romans 5:1–2 (ESV) We often think of theology as an academic study disconnected from real life. Big books and ivory towers are what theologians use and where they live, but those of us that live in the real world we just want something we can do. We need a principle for Monday on Sunday. Paul won't let us disconnect theology from life. As we round the corner to Romans 5, he wants us to see how the doctrine of Justification by Faith comes into life and even into our troubles. Why don't you take a few minutes and read through Romans 5. Have you ever rejoiced in your sufferings? Come on Sunday and find out how that is even possible.
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