Sun, Jul 31, 2016
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)
What does the ‘normal’ Christian life feel like? This summer, we have tried to address this question by exploring the Psalms. Seeing the joys, fears, pains, and hopes of the psalmists rewires our perspectives through faith. And it shows us that Christians don’t avoid the bad and amplify the good feelings, but places them in a context of the gospel.
This week as we conclude the summer series, we want to not only review but show how each of the emotions we cover connects and points us to Christ. Together we will celebrate the Lord’s table and worship together. So plan to be there!
Sun, Jul 24, 2016
Duration:1 hr 1 min
For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, (Psalm 88:3-4 ESV)
Darkness, sadness, hopelessness, or depression - these heavy-hearted feelings go by several names. They have varying levels of severity and length. They can have discernible causes or no cause at all. Everyone has felt it at some level. How do we respond? Does the scripture ever express such a feeling? Does it provide any guidance or hope?
This week in our series in the Psalms: Devotion and Emotion, we deal with the emotion of despair. I want to encourage you to read Psalm 88. One commentator called it the ‘darkest corner of the Psalms’. I so appreciate it’s honesty and crying rawness. Take a few minutes before Sunday to read and listen to this Psalmist's heart. I promise this week will not be a ‘take-two-verses and call me in the morning’ solution for depression. But, I believe it will provide some perspective and hope for us as we struggle in our dark moments. Plan to be there.
Sun, Jul 17, 2016
You have made us the taunt of our neighbors, the derision and scorn of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples.
(Psalm 44:13-14 ESV)
To recall our memories is to often times rehearse our regrets and shame. We see our failures with greater clarity than our successes. Sometimes we hear from others that in order to be truly free we need to abandon shame and move forward. But is that the best? Is there something between wallowing in our shame and forgetting about our mistakes and sin? Could there be something redemptive in shame?
This week, Kevin will be opening up Psalm 44 and dealing with the emotion of Shame. I encourage you to take some time before Sunday to read through this Psalm.
Sun, Jul 10, 2016
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” (Psalm 2:4-6 ESV)
“Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt me” This old rhyme is true on a physical level but completely false on an emotional one. The words have the ability to rip our souls apart. Words of hatred. Words of gossip. Words of anger. Words of contempt. They can all do damage that is deep and life altering. We can all think of things that have been said to us, hopefully both in the positive and negative, that have directed our lives and thoughts.
So this week we want to deal with the emotion of contempt. It often comes out in our words. How should our feelings about other people be shaped by God. In Psalm 2, the psalmist tells us that even God mocks and hold some people in contempt. Are we to do the same? Is he talking about the same emotion? Jim Maynard will be opening up the scriptures for us this weekend. I encourage you to take a look at the Psalm and come ready to be challenged.
Sun, Jul 03, 2016
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever! (Psalm 30:11-12 ESV)
It is easy to let our emotions overwhelm us especially the negative emotions. Fear. Worry. Shame. We can be paralyzed by them. And when we talk about emotions at all, we tend to focus on trying to avoid these negative emotions. But this Sunday we want to look at joy. How do we foster joy? Where does it come from? Or even more basic: what is joy? And is it different then just happiness?
We will be examining this emotion through the lens of Psalm 30. It’s a story of deliverance, thanksgiving, and joy. I want to encourage you to read it through before coming together this week.
Sun, Jun 26, 2016
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26 ESV)
Sun, Jun 19, 2016
For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; (Psalm 22:16-17 ESV)
The future. Getting sick. Violent people. Something happening to my children. Money. Loss of a friend or spouse. There are a million things to fear. When my mind begins to spin up on these fears, often we can’t pull it back. Our fears can overtake us. Overwhelming and paralyzing us. What do we do with fear? Is there any aspect of it that is good?
Sun, Jun 12, 2016
Duration:1 hr 1 min
Be not silent, O God of my praise! For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause.
(Psalm 109:1-3 ESV)
Fight or flight? They say there are two responses to an attack. I think this includes physical, emotional, verbal, and spiritual. We can retreat. This might be through physically "getting out of there," or it might just be shrinking into ourselves. We do what we need to in order to get to a place of safety.
The other response is to counter-attack and fight. We stand up and punch back. Both of these responses, fight or flight, can be occasions of anger. You see, anger is not always the loud, blustery outburst. It can also be the slow simmer that often leads to bitterness.
This week in our series, Psalms: Emotion & Devotion, we explore the emotion of Anger. I want to encourage you to read Psalm 109. In this Psalm, we see the distress of the psalmist but also the anger of God. We will be asking about the anger of God. What is it like? What is it against? How does it help us understand our own anger? It will be a great Sunday. Plan to join us and bring someone with you.
Sun, Jun 05, 2016
"It’s just the way I feel." "You shouldn’t feel that way." "Be angry, but do not sin.""‘I just don’t feel led to do that." "I just don’t feel like anyone could love me, probably not even God." "My sadness seems like thick fog that I just can’t see through...."
All of these have been read or said to me in church. We are people built with emotions. Some people live by their feelings. They are swayed by their heart. Others will do whatever is necessary for their intellect and their will to wrestle their emotions into submission. But what should we do? How should we feel?
This week we begin our summer series: Psalms: Emotion & Devotion. We will look at the highs and lows that various psalmists express as they rejoice, weep, burn, and much more. I believe this will provide us a great window, not only into our own hearts, but also into the heart of God. Plan to be with us.