Beautiful Jesus

We worship God because he sent Jesus to reveal His love and grace to sinful people through his death and resurrection. As you prepare to worship on this Lord’s Day, reflect on the beauty of Jesus; the glory that shines forth revealing the Father. Don’t enter your places of worship out of a sense of duty to one another, but because of what God has done through Jesus Christ. As the psalmist says, in Psalm 27:4, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

The following poem is dedicated to the beauty of Jesus…

Lord Jesus you are beautiful,
And your heart is full of mercy.
Your love is all encompassing,
Your compassion has no boundary.

Your presence gives me holy peace,
Your comfort soothes my broken heart.
I was weak, blind and oh so lost,
From you I’ll never be apart.

You shine forth the Father’s glory,
Your face glows brighter than the sun.
Your beauty takes my breath away,
And with you I am so undone.

I long to gaze upon your face,
And to bask in your loving glow.
Lord Jesus you are beautiful,
And its you that I want to know.

We Will Praise the Lord

Praise the Lord ! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.” [Psalm 111:1 ESV]

I pastor a congregation who can be described as a “church in a box”. What I mean by that is each and every Sunday a trailer is backed up to the building we rent at a county park. The trailer is then unloaded so we can set up for worship. Following our 9:00 AM worship, the take-down crew gets to work as we need to vacate the building by 11:30 AM. As long as this pastor doesn’t get too long winded, we still have plenty of time for Sunday school/Coffee fellowship time. For 10 years this congregation has had that routine. I’ve been part of that routine for the past 3 years.

Now, we are investigating a former church building that is up for sale. The location is a little farther away, but the size is great, the lot is big enough for expansion and the price is in our ballpark. There are still many questions that need to be answered, but the excitement is high. What is God up too? That is the question we are trying to discern. Is this God gift-wrapping a property for us that He may be glorified or is Satan presenting a stumbling block to trip and derail this congregation? Questions, questions and more questions. God help us.

Whatever the outcome I echo the psalmist in the verse above. Praise the Lord ! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Yes, Sundays are a challenge, especially considering this is an aging congregation. We don’t have the freedom to do certain things when we want to do them because the building is not ours (i.e. When funerals happen, we have to make phone calls to find a venue). But where ever God places us, we will worship and praise the Lord. We will praise the Lord in the company of the upright. The upright made that way through our common faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We will worship corporately as a congregation because we love the Lord and we love to be together:

– whether it is at a building in the park or in a school or in someone’s pole barn, we will praise the Lord.
– whether we have to meet in living rooms, basements or garages, we will praise the Lord.
– whether we have to share space in someone else’s fellowship hall, wander from place to place, or meet in a tent outside, we will praise the Lord.

With that said, my prayer is that we keep our eye on the ball and remember who we are and whose we are. We are not here to build our kingdom but we are here to advance THE Kingdom. I can not say that enough. If this place is being gift-wrapped by God for us, I will gladly unwrap it and give glory to God. If this is Satan putting a stumbling block in our way, then I say to him, “Go back to hell. We will worship the Lord where ever God places us.”

Praise the Lord where ever you are, for it is right to give God thanks and praise in all places and at all times. Praise the Lord, all you people – the upright, the congregation – praise the Lord.

Help Me, Oh Lord My God!

Help me, Oh Lord my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love.
” (Psalm 109:26)
Help me Oh Lord my God!
Guide me with Your Holy Spirit.
Help me, Oh Lord my God!
Teach me to know Your ways.
Help me, Oh Lord my God!
Show me the path to follow.
Help me, Oh Lord my God!
I want to glorify You with my life.
As the psalmist cried out to You for help;
knowing his shortcomings;
knowing his failings;
knowing his sin;
I cry out to You.
I cry out to You for help that I may not be crushed by my sin.
Save me according to Your steadfast love,
For my faith is in Jesus.
I am weak.
I fall short.
I often turn from You.
If salvation were up to me, I would certainly be damned.
Please do not turn from me.
Please do not give to me as I deserve.
May Your grace shower me and drench me.
May I be caught up in Your river of Life;
sweeping me away in a torrent of Love.
Help me, Oh Lord my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love.

Help

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.
[Psalms 121:1‭-‬2 ESV]

We have family staying with us this weekend and because of that, my 4-year-old son has been displaced from his room and is sleeping in our room. He usually ends up with us in our bed each night but is not accustomed to starting in our room.

Anyway, an hour or so after he went down, my wife hears something upstairs – it’s our son, whimpering at the top of the stairs. She scopes him up and brings him back to our room. After a little while she returns downstairs saying that he wants daddy. I rush up there and he’s crying. I ask him if he’s scared and with a crying whimper he says, “Ye-e-s”. I laid down next to him and held him close. Within minutes he was out. All he needed was to know daddy was near.

From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.” Isn’t it nice to know that your heavenly Father is always there for you? You are never alone in the darkness. You are never alone in your fears. You are never alone in trials. You are never alone in tribulation. Cry out to Him and know your heavenly Father is there.

From where does your help come?

You Are

I will remember the deeds of the Lord ; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
[Psalms 77:11‭-‬12 ESV]

Yes!
Awesome and mighty You are.
Awesome and mighty are Your deeds.
Yes!
You are full of wonder.
You are full of strength.
Yes!
I will ponder and meditate on You.
I will recount Your amazing works.
You created all I can and can not see.
You set everything in motion.
You are the breath of life.
You are…
You remain faithful though I am faithless.
You sent Jesus to save.
You are on high.
You are…
You have defeated king after king.
You have made Your enemies Your footstool.
You are victorious.
You are…
You redeemed me.
You have established Your everlasting throne.
You are Lord and King
You are…
Mighty You are, oh God my Father.
Mighty You are, oh God my Lord.
You are merciful, just and right.
You are loving, compassionate, and healer.
You are
You are
You are…

Uninhibited Worship

Scripture: 2 Samuel 6, Psalm 150

Awesome and mighty God,
as David danced before You in uninhibited worship and praise;
dancing with all of his might,
shouting Your praises with a loud voice,
may my spirit know the freedom of letting go
to worship You without fear or judgment from others.
David, as king, sought not the approval of man,
but of You and You alone.
Oh, how I seek the approval of man.
Oh, how I seek shelter from judging eyes.
But the psalmist calls all living beings to praise You;
everything that has breath;
not according to our gifts and abilities,
not according to how well or awful we sing,
but to praise YOU, for your mighty deeds,
and your exceeding greatness.
Yes, Your mighty deeds and exceeding greatness.
For it is not about me.
David knew that.
May I know that.
May my heart and soul show that in uninhibited worship;
dancing and singing for You.
Praise the Lord, oh my soul,
Praise the Lord!

All I Need

The following is the opening paragraph for the sermon I plan to give on Sunday, May 12 on John 10:22-30 using a bit of Psalm 23. If you want to hear the full sermon, stop by Living Word Lutheran Church on Sunday or check out our website later for the audio file. To God be the glory!

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The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, for He is everything I need. The first part of that sentence you recognize as the opening of the beloved Psalm 23. It headlines a beautiful Psalm of salvation; describing the peace we have because of God: Green pastures, still waters, restoration for the weary, security in darkness, evil forces irrelevant, sustenance, bounteous provision and a place prepared especially for you forever. This peace is something we have by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is a peace secured by God’s love and faithfulness. This peace assures us of the forgiveness of sins and thus peace with God. And this is the Truth that we can cling to for it has been stamped and sealed with the blood of the Lamb. This beloved Psalm also details a future that can not be altered by those who would oppose God, not even you. No one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28) And therefore, through faith in Jesus, you WILL dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, for He is everything I need. Do you hear his voice? Are you truly following?