This morning I am sitting in my family room in a recliner with a cup of coffee and I am content. It was a crazy week at church. We had an incredible week of Vacation Bible School and finished it off last night with a Back to School Carnival. There were so many people involved and it was an incredible undertaking. Yet, the church pulled together and showed the face of Jesus to the community.
For those reading this today, many of you know that we have been going through some changes at the church and doing a lot of reorganizing and visioning. It has been at times all consuming and at other times frustrating. Yet the readings today ( Psalm 130, Psalm 131) helped to remind me of something important.
Give them Jesus. It is that simple and for some reason I try to make it harder. At the end of the day what people need is to know that they matter and what people need to know is that God is with them. We just have to keep showing up and sharing joy, peace, and hope. This is what God is asking and this is what the world needs.
Daily Reading Psalms of Ascent
This morning I got up and got our dog on his leash and set out for his morning walk. When I take Duney out of the back yard we go out through the front gate and when Ginny takes him they go out the back gate. So when we got to the back yard this morning Duney knew exactly which way was the right way to walk because I was with him.
Today, our daily reading takes us to
In Psalm 128, we read of the benefits of knowing the right way to walk. We don’t have to have a leash on to follow this way, instead all that is required is that we take time with God and learn the correct way. We do that via prayer, bible reading, worship, and fellowship. It isn’t always the easy way to go but we know that it is the way that will bring us peace and joy.
Which way are you going to walk today?
Daily Reading – Psalms of Ascent
Today we take a look at
Remember getting ready for standardized tests as a child? We had to clear off our desks and get out two #2 pencils. If you are life me you also had to go to the back and sharpen those pencils. I always had a tough time getting that point just right. I would often sharpen it too much or sometimes I just couldn’t get it to sharpen at all. I could never get the point just right.
I was remembering those tests and the pencils this morning as I read through the psalms. We have all had moments in our life where we question whether what we are doing is worth the effort. It is often during times of stress that we find ourselves with these questions. It is a normal part of life but sometimes those types of questions can be pointing to something really important.
Psalm 127 wants us to look at those questions very seriously. What is it all for? We need to make sure that our foundation is sure. All the money in the world means nothing if we lose focus of what is truly important. The best vacations, schools, and houses are ultimately worthless if we lose ourselves getting them.
Today’s reading is a reminder for us to make our relationship with God a priority. Make the main thing the main thing in your life. That’s the point.
Daily Reading Psalms of Ascent
I remember the commercials from the early 1990’s for Prudential. Some of them portrayed nothing but a storm and the damage it caused. The voiceover than spoke of Prudential always being there by your side as “The Rock”.
I was reminded of these commercials as I did the daily reading of
These readings, specifically Psalm 125, remind us of the power of the God who walks with us. Psalm 125 compares those who trust in the Lord with Mount Zion…unshakeable! What a feeling to have that we are unshakeable because of our God!
I know there are times in our lives where we can feel shaken and tossed around, however in these words we see and experience a different reality. We do not have to let that feeling be the last word because we have a God who stands with us.
Be bold. Be strong. Your God is an awesome God!
Thoughts on Psalm 122 and 123
I walked into church yesterday morning less than 48 hours after coming home from vacation and there it was. Well, more to the point there they were. Over 140 children piled into the sanctuary getting ready to kick off our week of Vacation Bible School. What a morning it was. Listening to the young people scream out that when we are alone…JESUS RESCUES was a really cool experience.
I thought about that group this morning as I read the Psalms. We are continuing to read together the Psalms of Ascent and today we read
As I was reading I was struck by the unspoken acknowledgment of the author. There was an expectation that this journey to Jerusalem and this bit of worship was a corporate activity. It is a great reminder to me that there is a power that is evident as brothers and sisters come together to worship God.
I experienced it yesterday with those children and I love when I feel that same thing when the Body of Christ comes together on Sundays. The great thing is that the power is not only present when I am on my best behavior or when I pray or sing “correctly”. The power is from the presence of the Holy Spirit and all we need do is to open ourselves up to that power. In other words, GET OUT OF THE WAY!
Are you ready to get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit lead you?
“Stop looking at the ground!”
This was a phrase that I heard a lot when I was younger. My parents would always tell me to look where I was going and to not stare at my feet when I was walking. It took me a long time but I finally think that I have mastered looking up!
I encouraged the church to read 2 Psalms a day along with me this week starting with Psalm 120.
In today’s reading
we begin a series of reading called the Psalms of Ascent. These 15 Psalms were those in which the Israelites would recite on their way up to Jerusalem. These are readings, which help people begin to connect with God and to focus their attention on worship of the One True God.
It is tough sometimes to keep our head up and stay focused. There is always so much going on that we can become distracted. We may have good intentions for the day but they often take a back seat to whatever pops up as a priority. These two psalms are a great reminder to me that the God we worship is ever present and will not forsake us. This God is desrving of our worship.
Wouldn’t it be great f we could start each day with a few moments of worship and get ourselves focused up towards God!
Let’s try and do that…let’s start now.
This morning I am sitting in my sunroom, I guess that is what it is called, with my dog and a cup of coffee and it hit me. Today will mark 525,600 minutes since I have been the lead pastor at St. Peter’s of Ocean City. It is amazing to think about all that has happened in that time but I guess that is the point. Life is funny after all.
This year has stretched me and challenged me in so many ways. The year has brought sorrow, joy, and hope. I have been pushed to grow into a new way of leadership and it has been a blast. I have met incredible people who have done all they can to welcome Ginny and I into this wonderful community. I can’t wait to see what God has for us next.
See because that is the thing that I need to remember. Life is not about a calendar or a schedule instead it is about moments and seasons. It is the moments and seasons that I look back at and marvel over with Ginny. It is seasons of new routines and new places to explore. It is a season to cherish old friends and meet new ones. It is seasons of serving in the community and living into my identity as a Child of God.
I am feeling excited about what is coming because I truly have no idea what it will be. These last 525,600 minutes have helped me understand that reality. we may have a plan but it is very probable God has a bigger plan in mind. My travel itinerary for 2018 did not include Tijuana, San Diego, Boston, and Ocean City and yet that is what happened. My plan for 2018 didn’t include fishing on the bay, kayaking, paddle boarding, and getting a dog. Yet, this is the season that these things will be accomplished.
As 2017 started I definitely did not plan major life and career changes but God had other plans . I did not plan on the joys of leading worship on the boardwalk in the summer but God did. I did not plan on working with and being mentored by some fabulous leaders but 2018 was the season for that.
I am not sure what is next in this season but I know that God has got my back. I think the summer of 2018 may be the best yet. I know God is doing something amazing at St. Peter’s and I know God is doing great things in my family and my marriage and all I can say is ” let’s celebrate, remember the year, in the life of friends”.