Sunday, January 13, 2008

Blogging God's Promises (6)

This morning, Sermon Two focused on God's Promise of Happiness. What happened was such joy to me. Why? Because of several factors:

Collaboration - when Jane (a church member) told me her story many weeks ago about how Psalm 1 had been God's promise to her over many years, I longed for her to share it. Others suggested making a video testimony, and a gifted member of the congregation, Donny, (who is a professional film maker), wrote a script (working with Jane) and then filmed/edited a 4 minute 7 second video. Involving many different voices and scenes, developing the image of TREES, (at the heart of the psalm), it ended imaginatively with different church members on the lawn outside! I was overwhelmed when I first saw it. Oh, what can happen when people share their best to tell out God's word, and how it enriched me as preacher! To have all these friends collaborating with me. Thank You.

Realism - Jane told her story briefly but with honest highs and lows that registered directly. One person said: "That what so real. The failed marriage, the difficulties of trying to start again. That's me." So many conversations and prayers were sparked.

God's word now - her personal realism provided a vehicle through which to declare God's promise of Psalm 1 today. I preached three aspects to claiming God's promise of happiness in Psalm 1:
Discern when to say 'No" to the ungodly- verse 1
Delight to say "yes" to God and be like a tree(!) - verses 2,3
Grow together in joy - Verses 5,6,
Several commented especially on the last part - the picture of Calvary Memorial as an "arboretum" - seeing the plurals of the NRSV translation: "Happy are those who do not take the counsel of the wicked..they delight in the law of the Lord...they are like trees planted by streams of water...the congregation of the righteous." What a vision of growing together in God's promises, some silver birches, perhaps a giant redwood, helping each other to discern courageously about saying "No," and rejoicing in the "yesses" (Psalm 96:12).

This sermon (with video clip) should be posted soon on calvarytv at
Now on to sermons three (peace) and four (stress & anxiety). Please keep praying and working with me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

-- I am glad, I am posting this anonymously. I just realized that I orignally responded to a much earlier entry of yours on promises. I have copied it here with your most recent entry. sorry for the confusion. Here are my comments.

The question of God delivering on his promises, is the basis for my faith. I spent my childhood learning not to depend on others, my twenties learning not to depend of myself, and my thirties, learning to depend on God. I grew up in the church and attended a Christian University. I often wonder why it wasn't until my thirties, that I gave God a chance. (I think it because for my dependence to be real, I needed to face my worst fears about myself. Thank God for His patience.) Today, I am surprised by his faithfulness throughout the course of every day.

I have always enjoyed honest discussions about different worldviews. I have spent some time with a colleague, who has no belief in God or spritual things, discussing our different worldviews. In the course of our discussions, he expressed the hopelessness of his worldview and how he struggles with this as he gets older. He mentioned figuring out a "life strategy" would help him survive. He is genuinely confounded by my faith in God and has asked me point blank asked "Why?". These discussions and their questions have caused me to do quite a bit of reflection. It became clear to me that I would never be able to argue him into faith. Recently, I considered offering the following challenge to this man as he looks for a "life strategy". Examine God's word and His promises of life, sharing with him my "leap" of faith and my surprising spiritual rescue. This leap (when done with honesty, through the work of Jesus), and experiencing a promised rescue would reveal undeniable evidence of God's existence and character. This is not a revolutionary approach, it is finally becoming so real for me. As I drove by the church and saw the sign, I was even more encouraged by this idea.

At this time, there is tension between us and our conversations on any topic have been strained. Right now, I am praying for another chance to speak with him.

Finally, as I have heard this series, I have been encouraged by your faith.