Sunday, August 3, 2014

Psalm 34

This week our service was held at Walt & Gwen Cressman’s home on Grand Lake. A gorgeous morning had been awaiting us here as everyone began assembling in lawn chairs of various configurations. It was nice to have some of the neighbors join us for worship including Martha Westlund who will be turning 99 in October.

Brad welcomed us with his usual enthusiasm, reminding us of how many times this (having the service at Walt & Gewn's) has been attempted but thwarted by weather. The stillness of the air helped the sound to carry wonderfully.

1. It was an awesome week on the building site, with the plumbing roughed in and prep for the next round of concrete. It’s an exciting time with many people contributing their time and experience. Please keep praying for the building committee and the vitality committee.
2. There will be a double header Tuesday at 6 and 7 and also on Thursday for the church softball team.

The trio got our blood flowing by opening with Heaven On My Mind. The electric keyboards sounded grand. They followed with Master of the Wind before leading us in worship.

There were several prayer requests and as well as things to praise God for, including the beauty of the day.

Psalm 34

It’s a familiar psalm, and one that Brad says he loves, as do many others. There are many familiar passages including “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” But this passage is not isolated. A later verse speaks to our wonderful provision for forgiveness through the Gospel.

And then there is Verse 18… The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Life has many incredibly hard things, so as much as I'd like to just talk about verse 8, we need to remember "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

And then there are verses 12-15… straight talk from David. “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days… keep your tongue from evil.” Stop slandering. Stop gossiping. Don’t yell and scream at each other. Don’t tell lies. Walk away from evil. Seek peace and pursue it.

What would our community look like if each of us found a way to be peacemakers?

I want to preach about verse 8 but I don’t know how to talk about that without addressing verses 4-7.

4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me; 
 he delivered me from all my fears. 
5 Those who look to him are radiant; 
 their faces are never covered with shame. 
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; 
 he saved him out of all his troubles. 
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, 
 and he delivers them.

God not only frees us from sin, but also from our shame. What is it in your life that causes you shame? Sometimes it is from something that happened to you and you didn’t have anything to do with. It could be a broken marriage. It could be being betrayed by someone you trusted.

And then there are verses 1-3.

1 I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. 
2 I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 
3 Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.

A spirit of gratitude is central to healthy life. God wants to hear your voice. No one can sing your praises for you.

Let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Finally … the verse I want us to consider. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Our God is really, really a good God. When we taste God’s goodness, we suddenly have a bond with all others who have tasted and appreciated God’s character and nature and goodness. God even takes the evil one’s intentions and turns it around for our good.

Our God is good.

At this point we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. … followed by a time of fellowship over food and and an afternoon fun -- near, on and in the lake.

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