In his opening remarks Brad commented on the joyful spirit of a recent wedding and had us all join in singing, "The Joy of the Lord Is My Strength."
Announcements included a reminder that Vacation Bible School is but a week away. Brooke filled us in on details. If any child needs a ride, let us know. There will be T-Shirts available. If anyone would like help purchasing T-Shirts for the kids, they will be $5.00 each. There is also a need of materials for crafts, including:
23 egg cartons, 2 rolls of magnetic tape, 45 1/4" Google Eyes, 45 ice cream buckets, Sand, Crepe paper, 5 rolls double stick tape, red, white & blue felt, modeling clay, duct tape, shipping tape... Contact Brooke to learn where you can best help.
We entered into worship with the reading of a passage from Psalm 67. After the offering JoAnn read Galatians 1:11-24, followed by a time of prayer. Then Brad took to the pulpit and spoke from the heart.
Other Heart Matters
What is it that prompted God to call David, "a man after My own heart"? Last week we examined David's passion and his heart of wild abandon. This week we will look at two other features that characterized this most remarkable man.
The second thing David heart was characterized by was deep reflection. Here's a typical statement from 139: "Search me, O God, and know my heart." This is a rare combination, a man of passion and action, yet deep reflection, but it's vintage David.
Brad believes David learned this kind of attitude while alone for many years herding sheep, many even after he had been anointed king. Last week we reviewed how the prophet Samuel came to Jesse's home in Bethlehem and anointed David to be the next king of Israel. But David was not suddenly whisked away to the throne. Instead he went back to what he had been doing before until the time was right. These desert years were not wasted years. David was learning how to be alone with God.
Like David, we need to grow deep. But it's challenging in today's busy, noisy world. It's not easy to be alone and quiet. Brad jokingly said that in today's world the gift people really need is phoneless cord.
Henri Nouwen once wrote, "Solitude forms self-righteous people into gentle forgiving persons who are so deeply convinced of their own great sinfulness and so fully aware of God's even greater mercy that their life itself becomes a ministry." Brad repeated this last phrase, "their life itself becomes a ministry." And it goes to the heart of Brad's prayer for our church in this community.
"I want a heart that goes deep for God," he said as he turned to Psalm 1 and it's metaphor for such a heart.
1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
It takes time for tree roots to go deep. We live in a hurried, frenzied world and it is not easy to take time or make time for solitude.
At this point Pastor Brad recommended that as we go through the life of David this this summer, that we take time to read the book of Psalms and reflect on them as we study David's heart. The Psalms will teach us how to pray, how to lament, how to repent, how to love God. The Psalms will help you deepen your heart.
The third facet of David's heart was a stubborn love. Brad said that if he had to only choose one of the three, it would be this one. David's heart was characterized by stubborn love, a love for God and others that would never give up. He loved people with the loyal heart of a shepherd who just keeps loving even the most obstinate sheep.
Saul, for example, though king of Israel was tormented by a pathological jealousy of David and even tried to kill him. Yet David never stopped loving him. David knew his faults, and his possibilities, and when Saul died David's declared "Weep for Saul," and "How the mighty have fallen."
Jonathan was another whom David loved, recorded as one of the great friendships in history. They wept when they finally had to part.
When David was king he learned that one of Jonathan's sons was still alive. Although potentially a rival because of his lineage as grandson to Saul, David went out of his way to welcome Mephibosheth into the royal home because of his great love for Jonathan. This demonstration of love even for a potential adversary reveals the kind of heart David had.
So, too, when his handsome but rebellious son Absalom attempted a coup to steal his father's throne, David never stopped from loving his son. When the uprising was put down, and Absalom slain, David mourned deeply. "Oh Absalom, my son. If only I could have died instead of you."
When David loved you, you stayed loved.
Pastor Brad then peeled open his heart a bit and said, "If at the end of my life I could have people say that about me, I'd be a success... and if that can't be said about me, I will have failed."
David loved people because he loved God. He was not a perfect man. He did stupid things at times and got sidetracked, but his heart kept coming home to God.
This is what I want for us... that we worship with wild abandon, from the depths of our hearts. And that God would say of us that we loved with a stubborn love. With God's grace, we will.