Fostering Thankfulness: In the Wilderness: 107:1-9

October 30th, 2017

Fostering Thankfulness: In the Wilderness

Psalm 107:1-9

The Cry of the Redeemed (v. 1-3)

  • Psalm 107 begins the 5th book of the Psalter

    • The book of Psalms is divided into 5 smaller books
    • The last section focuses on praise
  • The call is to praise God if you have experienced His love
    • Redeemed: Brought out of some bad circumstance
  • The 4 corners of the earth allude to God’s work throughout the world
    • As well as His gathering of His people into His care

 

The Lord of the Lost (v. 4-7)


  • The psalmist describes those who wandered (v. 4)

    • This can be both literal & metaphorical

      • Without direction

        • Divorce, job loss, failure, sudden change
      • The result can be both physical & spiritual hunger & thirst (v. 5)
        • Looking to fill the void
      • Sometimes we are lost:
        • Because we have gone astray
        • Because we have become unfocused
        • Because of things beyond our control
        • Because we really have been going the wrong way for too long
      • The psalmist encourages us that help comes when we call out to God (v. 6)
        • He gives direction
        • He leads us home
      • This reflects the heart of Jesus (Luke 15:4-7)
        • Jesus rescues the lost

          • And leads them to repentance

            • Turning from their own wandering to follow Him
          • Jesus will meet us where we are
            • And lead us to where we need to be
            • Because He is Lord of the lost!
          • He not only provides a way for us
            • He is the way for us! (John 14:6)
          • He calls us to follow Him closely
            • Not always giving us the destination (Ps. 119:105)
            • Like Abraham
            • Like the Israelites & the pillar of fire & smoke

 

Thankfulness in the Wilderness (v. 8-9)

  • The psalmist calls us to be thankful because of what God has done

    • Delivering those who wander
  • And to have a vision of God’s provision for the future
    • Leading us to good places
    • Even if where we are now doesn’t seem so good

 

So What?

  • When we feel lost, do we turn to God for help?
  • Do we understand that sometimes being ‘lost’ means that He is really putting us onto the right path?
    • Learning to follow Him more closely

 

Meditation Verse: Ps. 107:6

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Loving Well: Food: Various Text

October 23rd, 2017

Loving Well: Food

Various Texts

Food as a Love Language

  • In both its preparation and its enjoyment, food can act as a means of expressing love
  • It provides opportunities to utilize all the other love languages in various ways

 

God as the Lover


  • God uses food as a means of providing love and connection
  • From the beginning, food has not only been a means of sustenance (Gen. 2:16; see also Gen. 1:29; 9:3; Rev. 22:2)
  • Food also is a symbol God’s provision and common grace (Ps. 104:14; see also 111:5; 136:25; 146:7; 147:9; Isa. 55:10-11)
  • Food as symbolizes fellowship and favor (Rev. 3:20; Ps. 23:5)
  • In the OT, the sacrificial system was built around food
    • Sacrifices were meant to be shared between the priest and the offeror
  • Passover is centered on a meal
    • With the lamb later representing Christ

 

Our Love for God

  • In the NT, the Lord’s Supper is a meal of connection with Christsacrifice

    • To be repeated as a means of remembrance for us
    • As we celebrate it, we are expressing our love and gratitude for Jesus’ death on our behalf

 

Loving One Another

  • Gifts of food show that we value the receiver more than the time, effort, and cost that it took us to make it
  • Sharing meals together provides opportunities to connect
    • Fellowship
    • Hospitality
  • The early church made meals together a priority (Act 2:42, 46)

 

Loving Our Community

  • Sometimes food is about provision (Jas. 2:15-16)
  • Providing food for others can be a mean of loving Jesus well (Matt. 25:34-40)

 

 

The Wedding Feast (Rev. 19:6-9)

  • In his vision of the end of the age, John is shown a great feast to celebrate Jesus’ final victory

    • It is a wedding supper

      • With Christ as the Groom
      • And the Church as the Bride dressed in white
        • Representing our righteous deeds

          • How well we loved God & others

 

So What?

  • How well are loving?

    • Are we reflecting God’s love in its various forms to Him, one another, and our community?
    • Are we looking for ways to connect, to care, and to cultivate Christ-like love?

 

Meditation Verse: Acts 2:46

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Loving Well: Physical Touch: Various Texts

October 16th, 2017

Loving Well: Physical Touch

Various Texts

Acts of Service

  • Doing something for your someone that you know they would like

    • “Actions speak louder than words.”

Physical Touch

  • An expression of love that is felt physically by the beloved

    • Though this does not always necessitate physical contact

God as the Lover

  • In the Bible, God’s presence is described as being spirit (John 4:24)

    • Thus, indicating that He does not have a physical form
    • And yet, God is speaking of touching people (1 Sam. 10:26)
  • In His incarnation, Jesus often touched people as a means of expressing love
    • Healing the sick (Matt. 8:2-3)
    • Blessing the children (Mark 10:14-16)
  • Feeling the Holy Spirit’s presence
    • The physical and/or emotional sensation of God touching you

      • Like a warm embrace

Our Love for God

  • How do we reciprocate this kind of love to God?
  • Engaging our bodies as we worship
    • Raising hands, kneeling, laying prostrate
  • Engaging our emotions as we worship
    • Crying tears of joy or contrition
  • This is not a call to disengage our minds (1 Cor. 14:15)
    • But rather to give God all of us (Luke 10:27a)

 

Loving One Another

  • We can show each other love through physical touch in ways that are appropriate, as determined by our relationships
  • With our friends: handshakes, hugs, high-fives
  • With our kids: hugs, kisses, cuddles, wrestling, etc.
  • Within marriage: hugs, handle-holding, back rubs, sexual intimacy
  • In the Church
    • Greeting with handshakes and hugs (2 Cor. 13:12; see also Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 1 Pet. 5:14)
    • Praying with the laying on of hands & anointing with oil (Jas. 5:14)

Loving Our Community

  • Being the hands & feet of Jesus

    • Touching those who need God’s touch
  • Sharing in people’s joy & sorrow (Rom. 12:15)

 

Boundaries of Love

  • Physical touch, like all expressions of love, must be delivered in ways that are relationally appropriate
  • And in ways with which the beloved is comfortable
    • Respecting their boundaries

So What?

  • Have we been touched by God’s love?
  • Are we touching others with His love too?
    • Being the hands and feet of Jesus

 

Meditation Verse: Romans 12:15

 

 

 

 

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Loving Well: Acts of Service: Various Texts

October 9th, 2017

Loving Well: Acts of Service

Various Texts

Acts of Service

  • Doing something for your someone that you know they would like

    • “Actions speak louder than words.”

 

God as the Lover

  • It may be difficult for us to imagine the God of the Universe as a servant

    • However, Scripture is full of examples of His love being expressed in this way
  • The Deliverance of Israel from Egypt
    • Which became the defining moment of the OT for Jews
  • God’s love in service is best revealed in the Incarnation
    • Jesus’ life was about serving others in love (Matt. 20:28)
    • He did this through His miracles (Luke 4:17-21)
      • Which He stated was proof of His divinity (John 10:37-38)
    • He did this through the washing of His disciples’ feet (John 13:1)
    • He did this through His death on the Cross (John 15:13)

 

Our Love for God

  • We show God our love through our acts of service
  • This includes using our giftedness to serve within the context of Church ministry


  • Worship team
  • Serving teams
  • AWANA/Trek
  • Recovery Ministries
  • Teaching
  • Missions
  • Prayer
  • Others

 

 

Loving One Another

  • How do we show love through our service to each other?
  • Taking on tasks that we know the other person does NOT enjoy doing
    • It does not have to be something you despise doing
    • But, it should be sacrificial on some level
  • This kind of service can be between spouses, within families, among friends, and even in the workplace
  • ) Cooking a meal, washing dishes, taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, changing the baby’s diaper, taking someone’s shift

 

Loving Our Community

  • How do we serve our community in love?
  • Volunteering
  • Helping out a neighbor
    • Mow their lawn, make them a meal, watch their kids, etc.

 

Love as a Choice

  • Since love is a choice on the part of the lover

    • The beloved should never try to force or manipulate a certain action
    • “If you loved me, you would…”
  • Likewise, if we feel criticized by those we seek to love, we may be tempted to stop trying
    • Instead we need to hear what is behind the criticism to learn to love better
    • This is NOT a license for us to be critical of each other

 

So What?

  • Are we loving through our acts of service?

    • Doing for others what helps them, even if it is not something we enjoy

 

Meditation Verse: 1 Peter 4:10

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Loving Well: Gifts, various text

October 9th, 2017

Loving Well: Gifts

Various Texts

Gifts as Love

  • Gifts can be a visual representation of love

    • Don’t mistake this love language for materialism
  • The receiver of gifts thrives on the thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift
    • “It’s the thought that counts.”
  • The perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift

 

God as the Lover

  • Scripture is filled with examples of God as a giver (Jas 1:17)
  • Grace is one of God’s defining attributes (Ps. 116:5; 145:8)
    • Grace: A free, unmerited gift
  • God gives physical life (Gen. 2:7)
    • And through Jesus, eternal life (John 6:27)
  • God gives us His Son (John 3:16; Mark 10:45)
    • And with Him, everything else (Rom. 8:32)
  • God gives us His Spirit (Luke 11:13; John 3:34)
    • So that He do His work in and through us (Acts 1:8)

 

Our Gifts of Love to God

  • Giving of our money, which shows where our priorities lie (Matt. 6:21)
  • Using the gifts that He has given us to glorify Him
    • Both ‘natural’ talents & spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-6)
  • Every gift is given to be shared! (1Co 12:7)

 

Loving One Another

  • A thoughtful gift can transform someone’s day

    • It shows that they are known by you
  • It is not about the monetary cost
    • It is about showing the value you place in someone by the sacrificial act
  • Gifts are also about making sure that the physical needs of others are met (Jas. 2:15-16)

 

Loving Our Community

  • Helping meet the basic needs of our neighbors
  • Being known for our generosity

 

So What?

  • Are we expressing love through giving?

    • Realigning our priorities
    • Seeing needs and meeting them
    • Showing our thoughtfulness to others
    • Giving away what we have received

 

Meditation Verse: James 1:17

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