As we bid 2017 ado, and welcome 2018, I’m feeling the need to get centered and grounded in my faith and practice. It’s not that I want to disengage with the world around me, but if I’m not spiritually grounded, I won’t be able to engage in the ways that are rooted in God’s hope, joy, peace, and love. I need to let God’s Holy Spirit work in me and trust the Spirit to even pray on my behalf. Romans 8:26-28 points to the Spirit doing for me what I can’t do for myself:
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Over the centuries, God’s people have used the Psalms as a means of letting God’s Word and Spirit shape their prayers. I confess that I’ve not prayed the Psalms on a regular basis, but as I look for strength, guidance, and grace these days, everywhere I turn I seem to be pointed to the Psalms. People of faith have taken their fears, angers, hurts, troubles, and sins and allowed the Psalms to shape all of what life stirs up into prayers which provide comfort, forgiveness, and hope. The Psalms express the real struggles of life and God’s real presence in the midst of it all. The Psalms connect me both vertically in conversation with God and horizontally with the community of faith. I do not stand alone in life.
All evidence is that the Psalms are a treasure I’ve neglected, with the exception of reciting Psalm 23 when things are really bad. So I’m on a treasure hunt over the next five weeks to discover what the people of faith before me reportedly discovered, starting with Psalm 1. What I’ve already found is that I need to let the Psalms speak to my soul. If I stay in my head analyzing the details, I’ll miss the point, for prayer is a heart to heart conversation with God.
Here is Psalm 1 from the New King James Version:
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
This is what I found on my desk…
New Year—New Sunday Schedule starting Sunday January 7th. First service will start at 9:00am…Second service at 10:30am. We hope a shorter time between services will create more community.
The Twelve Steps: A Way Out: A Spiritual Process For Heading
Thursday Nights: 7pm-8:30 pm starting Thursday January 11. Jane Marzoni is joining me as a co-facilitator as we work through this life changing workbook.
Are you looking for Financial Freedom and Peace? Mark your calendars! The 2018 Financial Peace University classes will begin on Sunday, January 28th at 11:45AM. This is a nine-week course. Cost is $99 to cover materials (a $113.95 value) per person/household. Students must be present during the first class—and cannot start in the middle of the course—the weeks are built on one another. If you would like to sign up or receive more information, please make a note on your Prayer Card this Sunday or email Dawne Carver at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for supporting our Romania Flour Mission! As a congregation, we were able to collect $3,833.00 in donations for the Romania Flour Project! Those funds have been sent to Romania to purchase flour to feed the families throughout the Winter. Thank you for your generous support of this amazing mission!