Meditative Moments Day 5 – Psalms 23 #TheGoodBook

I thought I’d meditate through Psalms 23 with all of you this week.

This week at Kfirst, we are focusing on a meditative approach to the scriptures. “Meditation” is, perhaps, the most underused and misunderstood approach to the bible. Often, “meditation” is associated with eastern religions or New Age “disconnecting.” Scriptural meditation is not about disconnecting but engaging with the text in order to digest it.

Check out Day 1 HERE 
Check out Day 2 HERE
Check out Day 3 HERE
Check out Day 4 HERE

As we are taking a meditative approach to Psalm 23, we’re going to do it bit by bit. One of my favorite “meditation” tactics is using the 5 senses in the context of the scripture. Other tactics can include memorizing scripture, focusing on specific phrases, speaking aloud, journaling, and praying it.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell[ in the house of the Lord forever.ESV
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.NLT
Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.MSG
So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life. Then afterward, when my life is through, I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you! TPT

My meditative thoughts today:

So often I’ve been told that if I pursue God harder, I’ll “get” more of Him in my life. So much of my theology/belief was very driven by what I can accomplish so that I can say, “look what I was able to discover based upon my abilities to chase down God.”

First, I don’t chase God. He passionately pursues me. His goodness and mercy/unfailing love are after me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. His Spirit draws me to Him. His Spirit reveals who He is.

Second, the things I do to “deepen me” (scriptures, prayer, worship, community, etc.) are not there to “get more of God” but to become more aware of Him. God doesn’t show up more than He is in this moment. He is omnipresent. BUT I can have a greater awareness of His presence and how He is at work in and around me.

Lastly, hope is now and forever. Because I am pursued by hope I can have it now. But I don’t have to worry about “using it up” here on this earth. A hope awaits me. I will rest in His hope now. I will rest in His Hope forever.

Amen

Check out the service from Sunday from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

 

Love you all.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

 

Meditative Moments Day 4 – Psalms 23 #TheGoodBook

I thought I’d meditate through Psalms 23 with all of you this week.

This week at Kfirst, we are focusing on a meditative approach to the scriptures. “Meditation” is, perhaps, the most underused and misunderstood approach to the bible. Often, “meditation” is associated with eastern religions or New Age “disconnecting.” Scriptural meditation is not about disconnecting but engaging with the text in order to digest it.

Check out Day 1 HERE 
Check out Day 2 HERE
Check out Day 3 HERE

As we are taking a meditative approach to Psalm 23, we’re going to do it bit by bit. One of my favorite “meditation” tactics is using the 5 senses in the context of the scripture. Other tactics can include memorizing scripture, focusing on specific phrases, speaking aloud, journaling, and praying it.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.ESV
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.NLT
You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.MSG
You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit; you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows. TPT

My meditative thoughts today:

This grouping together of 3 distinct moments are brought together in Jewish hospitality.

Preparations are made for an honored/welcomed guest (especially from a long and challenging journey (v. 4).
Oil is both soothing to the head and reviving to the smell. It refreshes the sojourner.
I have more than I’ll ever need poured into a cup.

This is my Savior; this is my God.

He is the One who leads me through my journey but doesn’t leave me as a casualty of my journey.

When I feel surrounded by the darkness that wishes to consume me, in the face of my opposition, my Lord feeds my soul (table), revives my mind (oil), and refreshes my spirit (cup).

This is my Savior.

Check out the service from Sunday from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

 

Love you all.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

 

Meditative Moments Day 3 – Psalms 23 #TheGoodBook

I thought I’d meditate through Psalms 23 with all of you this week.

This week at Kfirst, we are focusing on a meditative approach to the scriptures. “Meditation” is, perhaps, the most underused and misunderstood approach to the bible. Often, “meditation” is associated with eastern religions or New Age “disconnecting.” Scriptural meditation is not about disconnecting but engaging with the text in order to digest it.

Check out Day 1 HERE 
Check out Day 2 HERE

As we are taking a meditative approach to Psalm 23, we’re going to do it bit by bit. One of my favorite “meditation” tactics is using the 5 senses in the context of the scripture. Other tactics can include memorizing scripture, focusing on specific phrases, speaking aloud, journaling, and praying it.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.ESV
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.NLT
True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.MSG
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.TPT

My meditative thoughts today:

My every intention was to stick to one verse, but words like “leads/guides”  “paths” and “walk” and “valley” could not be separated. There are some “paths” the Lord leads me on which most likely go through a valley.

The “valley moments” are not always evil in nature. Sometimes they are difficult seasons. But nevertheless, they are dark and challenging. But as I meditate on this, the promise is:

He leads me.
He is with me.
He protects me.
He will bring me through.

But He doesn’t do it so that I am glorified. It is for “His name’s sake.

Here’s my life Lord. Lead me, my marriage, my family, and my calling according to Your honor. Guide me on a path that only can be traversed because I stuck close to you. I want no part of something I can do apart from you. Speak Lord, and I will follow. Mountain or valley, no fear will fracture the truth of Your presence. You are with me.

Amen

Check out the service from Sunday from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

 

Love you all.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

Meditative Moments Day 2 – Psalms 23 #TheGoodBook

I thought I’d meditate through Psalms 23 with all of you this week.

This week at Kfirst, we are focusing on a meditative approach to the scriptures. “Meditation” is, perhaps, the most underused and misunderstood approach to the bible. Often, “meditation” is associated with eastern religions or New Age “disconnecting.” Scriptural meditation is not about disconnecting but engaging with the text in order to digest it.

Check out Day 1 HERE

As we are taking a meditative approach to Psalm 23, we’re going to do it bit by bit. One of my favorite “meditation” tactics is using the 5 senses in the context of the scripture. Other tactics can include memorizing scripture, focusing on specific phrases, speaking aloud, journaling, and praying it.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” ESV
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength.” NLT
You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” MSG
He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss. That’s where he restores and revives my life.TPT

My meditative thoughts today:

Sometimes I do not realize the value of rest. Our bodies were not designed to run without rest. So I listen to the leading of the One who designed me. And the Designer leads me to a place(s) where I can find:

A quiet place for my soul.
A calm moment for my mind.
A resting place for my body.
Resources to refuel my innermost being.

In the Passion Translation, the words, “…He offers me a resting place…” pierces my heart.

He offers…and it is my choice to ignore it or embrace it.

Yet he still offers.

While I selah (stop, pause, reflect) on this a song begins to play in my ear. It perfectly meets me in this meditative moment of needing His refreshing winds in my spirit.

So today Lord, I let out the sails of my heart. Here I am, here You are.

Check out the service yesterday from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

 

Love you all.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

Meditative Moments – Psalms 23 #TheGoodBook

I thought I’d meditate through Psalms 23 with all of you this week.

This week at Kfirst, we are focusing on a meditative approach to the scriptures. “Meditation” is, perhaps, the most underused and misunderstood approach to the bible. Often, “meditation” is associated with eastern religions or New Age “disconnecting.” Scriptural meditation is not about disconnecting but engaging with the text in order to digest it.

This is what makes the bible so different. It is meditative literature designed to impact and shape our faith in Christ. Which means:

  1. You were not meant to get it all at once. 
    • We are given a text that doesn’t have every detail of every story. Why? Because the scripture is an invitation to a lifetime of learning and growing. It forces you to slow down and read carefully.
  2. It’s not about religious achievement.
    • Reading the bible isn’t about getting the “Christian checklist” done for the day to make God happy. This is about engaging in His story and narrative.
  3. It was meant to be worked through in community.
    • This is one of the beauties of scripture. While personal study is fantastic, there is something about how it unfolds in community when you enter into discussion with other believers.
    • The point isn’t to get someone to believe what you believe. The point is engagement with people so that the Kingdom of God is built and others are better because of what was shared and it was shared.

As we are taking a meditative approach to Psalm 23, we’re going to do it bit by bit. One of my favorite “meditation” tactics is using the 5 senses in the context of the scripture. Other tactics can include memorizing scripture, focusing on specific phrases, speaking aloud, journaling, and praying it.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” ESV
The Lord is my shepherd;I have all that I need.” NLT
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.” MSG
A Psalm of David. Jehovah [is] my shepherd, I do not lack.” YLT
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough.” TPT

My meditative thoughts today:

  • Jesus, do I allow you to lead?
    • How often do I want the role of the shepherd to lead you instead of resting in your guidance? How often do I wrestle you for my wants and blame my lack of happiness because my happiness is dependent upon my “wants” instead of being thankful for my “needs” being provided for.
  • My peace doesn’t rest in my hands but from the covering and care of an ever-present Shepherd.
  • “All that I needed thy hand hath provided.” – song “Great is thy faithfulness”
  • How much gratitude do I exercise in my life? Do I focus on what God has given me in Christ or what I feel I lack (or deserve)?
    • If I only had today what I was thankful for yesterday, would I possess anything?
  • I must approach what God gives as “blessing” and not “entitlement.”

Check out the service yesterday from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

 

Love you all.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

The Cheap Seats: Controlling Our Opinions

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24

The “cheap seats” is a simple term to describe a location in a stadium, in particular, older stadiums. In this day and age, most areas are built with nothing cheap and with the attender in mind. But back in the day, the “cheap seats” were economical for a reason. They were far from the action, many times your view was inhibited by a pillar or by distance, yet you got to have full participation in the moment without the cost others paid.

Today I write from a place of brokenness; a heart of humility. Psalm 139:23-24 is what I pray almost daily. Before I start my day, write a message, type of blog, meet with an individual, post on social media, or…whatever, I whisper those words of the Psalmist.

Search me, O God…show me any grievous way within me…”

Why do I do that? Because without that heart, I end up buying tickets in the “cheap seats.”

What are the “cheap seats” I speak of? They are the places in life that many of us like to live life. They are places where we like to hurl our opinions over someone (or a situation) even though (1) we are far from the action, (2) have limited insight to the situation, and (3) get to have full participation with little to no personal cost.

The cheap seats are great for keeping your distance so you’re not “associated with a person” while making a seemingly righteous stance. This feeble and destructive response has image of Godliness but has nothing to do with Jesus. Why? It’s all about exalting self. Without bringing my heart into check, I make myself look better by publicly (or in my circle of friends) shaming or taking a stab at someone else.

Christians friends, in the words of James, “…this should not be” (James 3:10). We have to be better; we must do better.

Do you want to stand for righteousness? Me too.
Do you want to see holiness in people lives? Me too.
Do you want to see those of influence have a greater impact in the opportunities they’re given? Me too.

Can you do better with your gossip? Me too.
Can you use better self-control with your social media? Me too.
Can you be a better listener? Me too.
Can you do better at treating people with kindness? Me too

Can we be better at halting our immediate response to any situation by starting with a moment of personal repentance (Psalm 139)?

Me too.

Maybe it’s time we stop being season ticket owners in the cheap seats. We all like to sit in them. You can find the “cheap seats” in the church halls, at coffee shops, or on social media. They’re easy to find.

These past couple weeks, seeing the amount of people buying their “cheap seat” tickets to Lauren Daigle’s interview has been astounding. Lauren responded to a question in a way many Christ-followers are not happy with. Personally, I wish she gave a better answer. But then again, that’s my “cheap seat” response. Armed with my 20/20 hindsight and my “cheap seat” location, it’s painless to dissect her and others of influence and affluence. It’s easy to say we’d do better (at least we’d like to think we would) if we had the opportunity.

But I’ve wondered over this past week? What has been more damaging to the body of Christ? A singer’s answer or our responses? A moment missed (in many people’s opinions) or an example we’ve made to the world of how we handle people in our ranks that we don’t agree with?

Do people do the same thing to me as a preacher? Probably. Honestly, I do it to myself. Most Sundays, I walk away from the pulpit thinking that about my sermons. “I wish I had said something better. I could have done better with the moment/opportunity I was given.

What should our response have been with Lauren’s statement (and others to come)? I believe it starts here:

Search me, O God…show me any grievous way within me...”

Before we pick up a rock to throw and a judgement to hurt, can we start with ourselves? Can we check out motives first? Can we exercise Matthew 18 of shutting our slander and dealing with offense with others in a healthy personal way? Please note: Loving others and exercising self-control isn’t a stamp of approval for someone’s decisions or lifestyle. It’s a display of the Fruit of the Spirit. Reactionary posts to make yourself look better only mar our lives with pride and self-righteousness.

The more I start with me first, the less rocks I have to throw at others. The more I begin with my own heart, the better I handle someone else’s heart.

We can do better as the Body of Christ. We must do better.  For if Jesus was a friend of sinners, why can’t that be said of us too?

So Lord, before I ask a reader to this blog to respond to this challenge of personal repentance, please start with me.

Search me, O God…show me any grievous way within me…”

 

Love you all. Praying for you today.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: Leveling Your Soul #Playlist

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday, and sometimes in the wake of a great weekend and long workweek ahead, you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together. 

Loved the day we at Kfirst yesterday. We continued our series “Playlist“as we looked at Psalm 131 (Read Psalm 131) as we put our focus on the pride we all deal with. It’s never an easy thing to deal with. That why Charles Spurgeon said of Psalm 131, 

 “It is one of the shortest Psalms to read, but one of the longest to learn.”

I’ll admit, yesterday’s message was working hard on me up till the service and has been pounding on my heart since.  I’ve been asking the Holy Spirit to give me greater revelation of the areas of my life where I am letting pride in. I mean, let’s all admit: Pride is a struggle for all of us. And, like carbon monoxide, it’s been a silent killer that goes undetected. It’s for that reason we said, 

Your pride will want to wrestle your vision aways from you to distract what Christ wants to do in you and through you. This natural and gradual inclination has no desire to co-exist with a move of God in your life. It wants to destroy anything God has built. That’s why we take pride seriously. 

The Psalmist did. And his answer for leveling his soul when pride wanted to throw him off was to be in the presence of God “like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” So this week, would you take a couple Next Steps from Psalm 131?

  1. Spend time in the presence of God. Be in His presence just to seek His face without worrying about asking anything of Him. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Find a time to worship the Lord on your own. Get into the Word of God. If you need a reading plan to start, use this link from our youversion sermon notes
  2. Practice the AAA.
    • Admission. 
      • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see where pride has crept in.
    • Accountability. 
      • Who is a trusted person in your life you can confess pride to and who will help you overcome pride?
    • Actively pursuing humility. 
      • Two of the greatest ways to pursue humility: 
        • Worship. I know some who can worship without music. If you need some, here’s one of my favorite playlists right now: River Valley Worship
        • Serving. When you get beyond your pride and serve others, you both cultivate the character of Jesus and show the world who He is. 

Love you all.  See you on Sunday. 

BTW: Here’s a song to put on your #Playlist this week: