No rejection

Psalm 15

I imagine someone might read Psalm 15 and turn away.

Who may abide in God’s tent? God’s holy hill? Our modern ears may hear the question another way, who is good enough to go to church?

Those who walk blamelessly. That’d be the turning point for many of us. Plus, the psalm offers a few more qualities of the one who is worthy. A few more that might seem to disqualify more and more of us.

So, what do we do with such a psalm?

To be sure, obedience is important to God. Obedience isn’t simply doing what you’re told. It’s trusting the One who told you. Jesus said, “If you love me keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience, then, is an act of love and devotion as well.

But does that mean if we aren’t obedient we aren’t allowed to be with God? The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world has a resounding answer. Listen, if God ever stopped allowing disobedient people to come to church or to cry out to God, we’d be in trouble.

Thankfully, Psalm 15 isn’t a who’s-in-who’s-out checklist. Most likely, it’s a liturgical response to the goodness of God. It offers a reflection on what it is to follow God faithfully. In other words, read Psalm 15 as a testimony of walking with God. See what difference that makes in how you understand it.

Read the last line of the psalm again. “Those who do these things shall never be moved.” What a statement of confidence and assurance! There’s no rejection there.

We can also stretch the prayer to cover our full life with God. This isn’t about going to church in a building on Sunday morning. It’s being in God’s presence. Learning to discover more the reality of God’s presence awakens us to be blameless. We begin to desire to turn from our disobedience.

But when you go to God’s house this weekend, reflect on the joy of worship and your fellowship with God. Consider the blessing of being in God’s house with God’s presence and God’s people. 

Stay blessed…john

The Gift of Solitude

Summarize the passage by asking Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Read Matthew 4:12-33

PERSONAL REFLECTION

  • How comfortable are you with solitude? Are you sure?
  • Reflect on the relationship between solitude and community?
  • How did Jesus’ solitude prepare him for his ministry?

RECALLING THE MESSAGE

  • How does this message help Kelsey be a loving church?
  • What caught your attention the most?
  • How did the Holy Spirit challenge you?

WEEKLY PRAYER FOCUS

Pray for churches that are near closing. Ask God to bring healing and hope through this difficult time. Pray that prayer becomes and remains a foundation element of your church.


SCRIPTURE TO HEART

Take time this week to memorize this one verse:

“Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.  -Matthew 4:12

Livestream letdown

Psalm 27:1-6

I’m on board with livestreaming Sunday worship until I’m not.

It was only a few years ago we had to convince churches to give it a shot. That it might be useful in nurturing the connection of a church.

A lot of churches today would probably do well getting rid of their Sunday livestream. Not every church, mind you. Some do well at using the tool to connect with people. Some are following a fad when they go live and hope for the best. That doesn’t align with one of the most important things in ministry. And that is being intentional.

So, here’s why I’m bring this up with you today. Knowing that taking care of our congregation is more than livestreaming, I’m worried about two people.

The first is the long-time member who can’t get to Sunday worship anymore. How can we connect with them without livestreaming? That’s the question churches seem to be asking all of a sudden. Well, what about in all the ways we did for 2,020 years? Most churches put up a livestream and assume that member watches and engages. Let’s assume they do. Then what? I fear we may be letting that member down in nurturing real connection to the church. As if to say, we’re livestreaming. What more could we possibly do?

I also worry about the young child. She sits with her family, perhaps, to watch church on TV. I’m glad to have that opportunity. What happens, though, when the family doesn’t sit with the rest of the congregation after a while? Does church become something else you watch on a device? Are we emphasizing to that young child worship is not something in which you participate? That’s it’s another thing to consume? What kind of connection will that young soul have with the church if that’s all we’ve taught her?

If livestreaming is an intentional tool for your church, great! Keep connecting. If it’s merely a hope and a prayer, we might be letting our people down. Let’s be intentional about nurturing true connections as the body of Christ.

Stay blessed…john