Benediction

At the end of our morning worship, I typically offer the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6:24-26. It is one I have heard and known for as long as I can remember – and it is beautiful, because, well, it’s the Word of God.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

I have heard other benedictions that I have liked. I have even made some up on the fly when my brain seemingly stopped working and I forgot Numbers 6. Whatever the case, my goal is to bless the people into the mission field as they glorify God.

The following benediction is something I wrote for worship this morning. It is nothing fancy, just something in which I want to bless my congregation and you. To God be the glory!


May you know the love of God that embraces;
the grace of God that frees;
the mercy of God that heals;
the peace of God that comforts;
the power of God that strengthens;
and the forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ that brings you home.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

May You Know

May you know the peace of God raining down on you –
soaking every part of your being and causing you to drip with compassion and kindness.

May you know the love of God embracing you –
squeezing out every insecurity that weighs you down to which your heart clings.

May you know the grace of God coursing through you –
bringing healing to your sin-stained soul through the forgiveness of your sins.

May you know the power of God guarding you against every attack of the evil one –
sheltering you in the Rock that is Him and defending you with His might.

May you know the family of God receiving you as you are –
bringing you to repentance as you advance in holiness to the glory of God.

May you know the joy of God rejoicing in His salvation that reconciles creation –
worshiping Him and singing his praises with all the saints forever and ever.

May your know the hope of the resurrection that is yours through faith in Jesus Christ –
giving you courage in the face of death and fortitude through the taunts of Satan.

Oh sinner, may you know God the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen!

Why I Praise the Lord

[Inspired by studying Psalm 98]

Why do I praise the Lord?
Oh let me, oh let me count the ways.
He is the King of glory,
The maker of my days.
He won salvation for me,
That I may dwell with thee.
He won salvation for me,
And now I am ever free.
I praise him for his awesome grace,
Through which someday I’ll see His face.
I praise him for his awesome grace,
And it’s Him I will always embrace.
He never leaves me stranded.
He never abandons me.
He never turns His back.
His Spirit is my guarantee.
He shows me His glory in Jesus my Lord.
He shows me His glory and He is adored.
He shows me his glory,
Oh wow! Oh wow!
He shows me His glory in His great story.
So why do I praise the Lord?
There are many reasons to list.
The quantity does not deter me,
For I love to reminisce.
So why do you praise the Lord?
Oh please, oh please tell me.
Proclaim to me His mighty works.
So in Him I’ll have more glee.

Morning Gaze

To God be the glory, to Him alone.
To God be the glory for He’s enthroned.
Reigning on high and yet close to me.
Reigning on high and always near me.
You are my God,
My Lord,
And my King.
You are my Rock my praise I will bring.
In the morning I lift up my voice,
At the noontide I will still rejoice.
For you are mighty and full of grace.
You are love, i’ll will never be displaced.
Through Jesus Your Son I confess my sins.
Through Jesus Your Son, my new life begins.
To You be all glory,
all honor
and all praise.
To you be all worship on You i’ll set my gaze.

Worship!!!

Here we are – Sunday morning – preparing to travel to a location to engage in corporate worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Why? Because God is so freak’in awesome that if you are not worshiping then something is seriously wrong. Jesus died on a cross for the forgiveness of your sins and rose from the grave that you may live forever in eternal joy with him. How can one not worship this God? How can one be ambivalent? Our Creator God is not distant but close, loving and intimate as a father to a child. Our Creator God is not too busy for you but knows every hair on your head – He’s given them each a unique name. Our Creator God reigns on high but lives in your heart.
Worship? Of course.
When? Now.
And so, what are you waiting for?
Worship!!!

[The following is part of the Holy Communion liturgy I wrote for worship this morning. To God be the glory, always and forever.]


Yes, God, it is right and our joy to give thanks and praise to You, at all times and in all places. It is our joy for through Jesus Christ You gave us Your Spirit that we may know the truth of the Gospel – the forgiveness of our sins and the salvation of our souls through faith in Jesus Christ. You redeemed us though we are sinful. You saved us because we cannot save ourselves. You love us because, well, You are love. Oh God, our praise and worship is so inadequate in compassion to what You deserve. Our self-conceived works fall oh so short. May we just let go and let the works you have prepared beforehand manifest themselves through us that You are rightly glorified. And so, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise…

Roadside Reminder

While driving to my office yesterday morning, I saw these power poles, but these are not new. I’ve driven this road for 3 1/2 years and they have always been there, but something different happened yesterday. As pole after pole went by, I no longer saw a power pole, but rather, I noticed a cross.
~ I saw Jesus
~ I was humbled as a sinner.
~ I contemplated his death for me.
~ I experienced God’s grace.
~ I heard God’s forgiveness announced.

All of this through a series of power poles that I have seen hundreds and hundreds of times. God is amazing like that – taking everyday things and people to remind you of His grace. And so, as I continued contemplating this picture and morning experience, the following poem got written.
To God be the glory!


The cross of Christ is all around me,
reminding me of Your grace.
Suffered, died and now lives forever,
that I may not be disgraced.

Thank you, Father, for these simple signs,
reminding me of Your love.
For through Jesus Christ my Lord and King,
I will live with You above.

Confident Praying

For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord , faithful God. [Psalms 31:3‭-‬5 ESV]


Just think on those verses for a moment. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

[Pondering]

…and now consider this: Into your hand I commit my spirit are words that Jesus prayed while on the cross – right before he breathed his last breath (Luke 23:46). With his dying breath he was praying the Word of God. No doubt, the rest of this Psalm was on his heart as he was dying:

~ You are my rock and fortress.
~ For Your name’s sake You, oh Father, lead me and guide me.
~ You are my deliverer – taking me out of their net.
~ You are my refuge.
~ My life is Yours for You have redeemed me.
~ Father, You are faithful.

What a powerful prayer to be prayed at that time. A prayer of faith, for Jesus knows the Father like no one else. Jesus knew what was coming and thus he endured the cross FOR YOU. Jesus knew his Father was and is faithful. Jesus knew God’s plan would be fulfilled. Jesus knew God would be glorified. Knowing all of this, Jesus prayed with confidence – praying for your salvation – and with his dying breath.

And now, we sit here on this side of the cross looking back. Looking back to see Jesus’ incredible love for you and for me. He died for our sins and rose from the grave that we could have the hope of the resurrection. He committed his life to God and His plan of redemption so we could be saved. What an awesome God we have. Knowing this and knowing that God wants to hear from us, it behooves us to commune with Him.

But maybe you are feeling dry in your prayer life or just need something different. Try praying the Psalms like Jesus did. Pray Psalm 31, for example, and let the Holy Spirit carry you on a wave of joy – splashing you with the love of God. Start with verse one and then meditate – praying what comes to mind, and then move on to the next verse and so on – taking your time. It is like you are carrying on a conversation with God. He speaks to you through His Word and you pray back to him. And then God speaks and then you. What a fun scene. A child and daddy communing together in intimate joy.

If you run out of time, that’s alright. Just pick up where you leave off next time. Pray, pray and pray some more. Pray with confidence – in faith – and through your dying breath, knowing:
~ God is your rock and fortress.
~ For His name’s sake, God will lead and guide you.
~ God is your deliverer – taking you out of the nets set for you.
~ God is your refuge.
~ Your life is His for God has redeemed you through Jesus Christ.
~ Your Father is faithful.

Jesus prayed this with complete confidence and thus, through faith, you can and should as well. God wants you to. Give thanks and praise and worship to God – committing your life to Him. Pray confidently, as Jesus did. Take refuge in God and chat with your heavenly daddy. He’s waiting for you.

So, are you ready? Okay then, let’s pray…