Transfiguration Sunday

image1362-transfiguration2aMarch 2, 2014

Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 2; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9

Why are the nations so angry?
Why do they waste their time with futile plans?
The kings of the earth prepare for battle;
the rulers plot together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.
“Let us break their chains,” they cry,
“and free ourselves from slavery to God.”

But the one who rules in heaven laughs.
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then in anger he rebukes them,
terrifying them with his fierce fury.
For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne
in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”

The king proclaims the Lord’s decree:
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son.
Today I have become your Father.
Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
the whole earth as your possession.
You will break them with an iron rod
and smash them like clay pots.’”

Now then, you kings, act wisely!
Be warned, you rulers of the earth!
Serve the Lord with reverent fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry,
and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—
for his anger flares up in an instant.
But what joy for all who take refuge in him!

Though I Walk Through The Valley of Death

Valley_of_the_Shadow_of_DeathThese past day have been a roller coaster of emotion for my family. We had a child die in my extended family this week.  Even as a pastor I have times when I questioned what God was thinking. When the emotion is too hard to handle, that is when the tears start to flow. I know God is control and will be by my side. As I Christian I know that he will take care of me and comfort me. Even when I do not know he is there, he has his arms around me. He will never leave me or give me more then I can handle. In Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk in the darkest valley, I am not afraid, for you are close beside me, your rod and your staff comforts me.

A Fresh Definition of Worship

I really enjoyed this article and I hope you do as well.

A Fresh Definition of Worship

In this same childlike, adventurous, etymologically playful spirit, let’s bite off more than we can chew related to the grand word “worship.”

Let’s attempt to come up with some fresh language around the “big idea” of worship. Let’s look for language that expands our vision of worship rather than limits it, that works all of the time in everyday conversations, and can serve as the headwaters from which more specific ideas about worship can easily stream and be understood.

Continue Reading…

He Makes Me Lie Down In Green Pastures

 

This is not the way we think of "He makes me lie down in green pastures," but this picture is much more realistic to the text of Psalm 23

This is not the way we think of “He makes me lie down in green pastures,” but this picture is much more realistic to the text of Psalm 23

Over the past couple of weeks, our Sunday school class has been watching the video series by Ray Vander Laan called Faith Lessons.  Currently we are watching the last of these videos called “Walking with God in the Desert.” The lesson that has got me thinking is the one where he was talking about Psalm 23:2a “He lets me rest in green meadows”. Sometimes as westerners, we do not understand the Bible fully because we look through our eyes instead of the culture the Bible was written in.  For most Christians, they would imagine this verse means God will take us to a large field with high grass. In the video, Ray shows us the kind of place that shepherds take their sheep or goats to graze. Shepherds in the Middle East take their sheep to places where it doesn’t even look like grass is growing.  You almost wonder at times if they are rock-eating sheep, especially if you are viewing from a distance because you see is ground and rocks. When you get closer you will see around the stones and rock, there are patches of grass. It does not look like it would be enough for the sheep to eat but the flocks are always on the move. The small patch of grass is enough for the sheep till they get to the next place, where they will find some more grass to eat. The sheep have faith the shepherd will always supply what food they need.

The lesson that we learned that Sunday morning is that God gives us enough of what we need to handle for the next couple of minutes. We as God’s sheep should learn that same lesson. God will always supply our needs. He knows how to give us during every moment of our lives. Even when we are going through the deserts of life, our needs will always be taking care of by God.

Five Ways to Improve Congregational Singing

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By Keith Getty – via The Gospel Coalition

My wife, Kristyn, and I recently returned from a tour where we had the privilege of sharing our music in cities across North America. As we do on our tours, we partnered with most of our concert sponsors to host a lunch and time of discussion with local pastors, worship leaders, and other church musicians.

In each of those leadership events, I posed the question, “What are the things you ask yourself on Monday morning, in reviewing Sunday’s services?” Generally, the responses centered around production values, stylistic issues, people management, pleasing the pastor, or finishing the service on time. I do not recall that any one asked, “How did the congregation sing?”

Here are some practical suggestions…

1. Begin with the pastor.

2. Sing great songs.

3. Cultivate a congregation-centered priority in those who lead.

4. Serve the congregation through musical excellence.

5. Manage the congregation’s repertoire intentionally.

Read the rest of the article here.