There are many places around the world that we might describe as lovely but there is none more lovely than the dwelling place of God. The psalmist tells of the glory of the presence of God. It’s so incomparable that he says he’d rather spend one single day in the house of God than one thousand days elsewhere! This message is a reminder of the great worth of being near to God and all that flows out of it. Scott also discusses the common experience of feeling distant from God in the valley and yearning for the embrace and whisper of God that brings inner strength and joy. This message is especially relevant to those who find themselves in a dry and weary place. God will bring forth springs of living water in our desert in due season!
It seems to be the human condition to struggle with anxiety, fear, panic and worry. These things rob us of the joy and peace the soul craves. Psalm 139 contains truth that can serve as a wonderful remedy for excessive anxiety. David, who wrote the Psalm, tells of God’s intimate knowledge of us, God’s presence with us at all times and God’s care. The reason God puts so much attention on us is because we are designed and crafted by God Himself. We are His living, breathing, animated works of art, His treasured possession. When we begin to understand these great truths, we find rest. Why worry when we are in the everlasting arms of God?
This Palm Sunday message sets the table for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In this message, from Matthew 21 and Psalm 118, we explore how Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem leads up to our future triumphal entry into the New Jerusalem. We look at how Jesus overcame sin and death, and now by His Spirit enables us to see how God works all things, especially hard things, for our good as Jesus prepares us for that Day of our glorious entrance. Jesus conquered sin and death for the whole world, and now we follow Him in this world as overcomers to the glory of God.
Guest preacher Nick Fatato teaches on Psalm 1. This psalm includes a warning against aligning our lives with destructive tendencies and an encouragement to intentionally root our lives in the Word and the power of God. We can choose to live by default or by design.
This psalm is typical in that it expresses praise for the goodness of God and calls us to speak out the excellencies of the Lord. The psalm is unique among psalms in that it tells us about God’s love and care for every person in the world. Despite God’s love for all, not all are saved. Only those who call out to God in truth, fear God and love God will be brought near, heard and preserved. And those who reject God will be destroyed in the end. Scott gives a strong encouragement from the last verse to pray for and reach people who are spiritually lost around us.
Once we become followers of Christ the propensity to go astray is real. We choose daily whether we will abide in Christ or follow the impulses of our sinful nature. Psalm 107 describes four different groups of people who each went astray for different reasons. Thankfully, God doesn’t just let us run away. His steadfast love for His people cannot be quenched. He will never leave us or abandon us, even in our worst seasons. He tenderly invites us back, and if we will not listen, He orchestrates circumstances—even severe afflictions—to bring us to a place of humility and crying out to Him. God then answers our cry and rescues us. The psalm describes a cycle of straying/affliction/desperate prayer/rescue. This type of cycle is miserable and Scott gives some strong encouragements at the end about how to not live a “roller coaster Christian life”. The secret is the fear of the Lord.
Sorrow is an unavoidable part of the human experience and, as followers of Christ, we are not exempt. Jesus Himself was called a “man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53) and Paul said he was “sorrowful yet rejoicing” (2 Corinth 6:10). In this world we will experience sorrow. The experience of sorrow can be dangerous if we let it draw us away from God and into sin. But sorrow can actually be a thing that drives us into the depths of God and it can shape our lives in significant ways. God gives us Psalm 42 as a gift to show us the way to pray through even our worst seasons of prolonged sorrow. This message goes out especially to all those who have been dwelling in the valley of discouragement.
Carrying out God’s mission can be difficult. But God doesn’t leave us without a guide. Psalm 67 teaches us that Christ-centered prayer, praise and justice all lead to the exaltation of God through the exultation of his people. In other words, God saves and his people sing, so that the world might join in and sing as well!
This Psalm of David gives clear insight into how God works in the life of someone who cries out to the Lord. God works on our behalf. He brings relief in our times of distress. He puts love in us even for those who are hostile toward us. He lavishes supernatural joy upon us. Several verses of this psalm are directed toward those in society who were buying into false ideas. David encourages them to be silent and place their trust in the Lord. This message is an an encouragement to believers who find themselves in a society that has rejected the Gospel. Toward the end of the talk Pastor Scott gives personal testimony of how God has met him in his times of distress and has put joy in his heart greater than anything this world could give.
This is a motivational psalm perfect for the start of a new year. The psalmist urges God’s people to worship with joy, to be humble and to obey the voice of the Lord. And then strong reasons are given to do these things. This message explores the nature of worship and gives practical insights on how to excel in worship. The main idea of the message is that what we think about determines not only what we worship but the intensity of our worship—“as a man thinks so he is”. Much encouragement to feed the mind through Christian meditation is given. This is a great sermon especially for those who feel like their worship experience is a little flat and uninspiring lately. There is hope for the new year!