Contemporary at 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.
Sanctuary at 8:00, 9:30 and 11 a.m.
Chapel at 6:00 p.m.
Hispanic at 11:00 a.m.
Chinese at 10:30 a.m.
In his book, Miracles, C.S. Lewis pointed out that the great miracles of Jesus were simply God performing in a short time what he always does over a long time. Jesus turned water into wine, and fed the 5,000, but every glass of wine and every loaf of bread that was ever baked could not have come about had God not provided the seed, the sun, and the rain.
Modern man has become accustomed to thinking that if there is a “scientific” explanation for something, that means God didn’t do it. It was not always this way; the great scientists of the past were those who believed, just as the writer of Psalm 105, that in studying the inner workings of nature, they were simply revealing the wisdom of God. Indeed, all of modern science is predicated on the Judeo-Christian idea that God is a wise, rational God whom we can know, not the arbitrary and capricious gods of the pagans. The more we learn of the order of nature, the more we ought to declare with the psalmist, “How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom You made them all.”
Prayer Thought: As you observe a rainstorm this week, or sit down to eat a meal, marvel at the many works of God and give Him thanks.
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Do you remember the formula for the volume of a sphere from your days of studying geometry? It is V=4/3•r^3. That 3 at the end means you have to measure in three dimensions—width, length and depth.
Psalm 103 gives us the formula for measuring God’s love, and it is also in three dimensions. First, as high as the heavens are above the earth; second, as far as the East is from the West, and third, as a Father has compassion on his children. If you can measure all three of those immeasurable things, you will know the volume of God’s love for you!
It reminds me of the words to the hymn, “The Love of God”: “Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made; were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade; to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry; nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.
Prayer Thought: When Satan accuses you, or others judge you, or you judge yourself, take again the measurement of God’s love for you, and rest your heart in His infinite grace.
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Frazer member and graphic artist Courtnie Johnson has a great way of reminding our staff to just call things what they are. We may think up names like “The Awakening” or “Operation New Life” and Courtnie will pipe up and say, “why don’t we just call it ‘Easter Service’?
I think Courtnie should like the title of this psalm; it pretty much says just what it is. “A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord.” That’s how life goes: we endure affliction, and suffering, whether a physical illness, or some emotional trial or grief, and along the way we grow weary. God calls us to pour out our lament to him, to express our sorrows. In so doing, we discover anew that we may grow weak, but He is strong. Our lives are short, but His Word is eternal. He promises hope—in the continuation of His goodness to our children and grandchildren, and ultimately in the promise of eternity. When we “call it like it is” in prayer, we discover that God can handle the truth of our sorrows and laments.
Prayer Thought: If you feel weak, sing “Jesus loves me” to the Lord, and remember its simple truth: we are weak, but He is strong.
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The bizarre figure of Rasputin was known for his dissolute lifestyle of occult arts, drunkenness and immorality. Nevertheless, he was given great influence over the imperial court of Russia. By many accounts, the fall the Romanov dynasty and subsequent the Communist revolution were hastened along by this evil man.
In contrast, King David pledges in this psalm to only accept into his inner circle of counselors and royal ministers those who are humble, pure, faithful and truthful.
While none of us have an imperial court to maintain, all of us have an inner circle of people whom we turn to for advice. If we want to be pleasing to God and stay faithful in our walk with him, it is critical that we give careful consideration to whom we allow into that circle. Sooner or later, regardless of our intentions, we all tend to become like those whom we surround ourselves with.
Prayer Focus: Renew your commitment to accept in your inner circle only those whose words and lifestyles reflect the standards of God’s Word.
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Read Psalm 99
Just as the saints and angels sing “holy, holy, holy” around the throne of God in Revelation 4, three times the Lord is declared “holy” in this Psalm. His holiness is a cause for fear and trembling, when we consider our own sinfulness and lack of holiness.
And yet, at the heart of this psalm is a reminder of three men who interceded with God to ask forgiveness and mercy for Israel when they disregarded the holiness of God. Moses, Aaron, and Samuel all asked God to turn his wrath away from the people on various occasions—and the remarkable thing is, God listened to them.
Isn’t it interesting that God doesn’t make a list here of those who sinned against his holiness, or even those who kept his Law; instead he makes a list of those who prayed on behalf of sinners.
To be remembered with honor in God’s history book, learn to be great in praying for others.
Prayer Focus: Learn to be an intercessor. Ask God to show forgiveness and mercy to someone today who needs grace.
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In the summer of 1988 something unique occurred in Estonia, at that time a Soviet state of the U.S.S.R. At summer music festivals, people began to sing the folk music and patriotic songs of the Estonian people, some ancient tunes predating Russian domination and some new compositions. At first there were just a few, but they grew, and soon hundreds of thousands of people were gathering spontaneously to sing their desire for independence and freedom. The movement, which became known as “The Singing Revolution,” eventually paved the way for the independence of all three of the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Psalm 98 envisions an even greater singing revolution. When God reveals his Kingdom through Jesus Christ, bringing freedom and justice to all the poor and oppressed of the earth, all the nations will sing, and even the rivers, mountains and trees will join in the song as all creation celebrates the freedom of the sons and daughters of God.
Prayer Focus: Start the revolution in advance by singing a song of praise to God—and by living out his kingdom calling to justice and righteousness.
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READ: Psalm 97
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. (vs. 1)
I can imagine the psalmist standing in “awe” of God as the words to this psalm flow from his heart. When is the last time you stood in “awe”? Prayed in “awe”? Worshipped in “awe”? We need moments in life where we stop in our tracks. We need moments where the world stands still. We need moments where everything around us fades away. We need moments that take our breath away. We need moments of “awe”!
We can have one of those moments today. All we have to do is stop. Stop and begin to be “awe-struck” thinking about the nature of God. “Fire goes before him; lightning lights up the world; the earth trembles; the mountains melt like wax; the heavens proclaim his righteousness.” (97:3-6) God has given us so much to stand in “awe” of all around us. The psalmist meditates in “awe” of the wonders of God. Spend some time doing the same.
Prayer Thought: Read Psalm 97 and add it to your PrayList. Pray and meditate in “awe” of God. God is good. God is great! Go ahead and tell Him today. To God be the glory.
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Modern culture claims to see “reality” more clearly because our society
has rejected faith in the invisible realm of the spirit. So it is ironic that
modern art is so often fragmented, depersonalized, and dehumanized in
it’s depiction of mankind compared to the “realistic” portrayals common
in the classical periods when Christianity was the dominant cultural force.
As Psalm 115 teaches, this is nothing new. Those who worship idols have
always mocked God’s people with the question “where is your God?” (vs.
2) In other words, where is your idol? How do you know he is there if you
can’t see him? However, they are the ones who were deceived. Worshipping
gods of stone and wood, they become dehumanized. “Those who make
them will be like them.” (vs. 8)
Hold fast to the invisible God, even when the world around you mocks.
It is not what we see with our eyes, but what we see by faith and what we
worship that ultimately determines who we become. –Ken Roach
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As the psalmist reflects on the amazing ways in which God has delivered
him from disaster and rescued him even from death, he is overwhelmed
by thankfulness, and his natural response is to want to do something to
show his gratitude to God. “What shall I return to the Lord for all his
goodness to me?” he asks. (vs. 12) The answer that comes to him is to “lift
up the cup of salvation” and to offer a sacrifice in worship together with all
of God’s people. (vs. 13-14)
While as Christians we have no need to offer any sacrifice beyond the
once-and-for-all sacrifice of himself that Jesus made on the cross, we do
have an opportunity to lift up the cup of salvation, each time we partake in
communion together. The gifts of bread and wine remind us of the blood
and body of Christ, and our natural response when we think of all the
ways that God has rescued us should be to want to celebrate that sacred
meal in worship together. Has God done great things for you? Then look
forward with eagerness to the next opportunity you will have to take the
Lord’s Supper together in worship, and “lift up the cup of salvation” with a
heart full of gratitude.
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In today’s world of advertising, the big “win” every company wants is to “go
viral.” That is, to have people like your ad or your product so much that they
share it with their friends, and they share it with their friends, until it seems
like no matter where you go, everyone is talking about it. No one knows
exactly which videos will go viral, but generally they are the ones that either
make you laugh, or make you cry, or both.
This brief little psalm gets straight to the point: God’s message will “go viral.”
It will be the talk of all nations. It will be the story people around the world
are talking about. Two reasons are given: first, because God’s love is so great.
It’s bigger than anything. Second, because God’s faithfulness is so enduring.
It lasts longer than anything. When you think about it, it’s enough to make
you laugh, that the great God of the whole universe would choose to love
us, despite our smallness and weakness and sinfulness. And, it’s enough to
make you cry tears of joy, to know that not only has He loved us in spite of
our sins, but that nothing can ever make Him stop loving us. It’s the greatest,
most enduring love story ever told. No wonder it’s “going viral” to all the
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