Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, September 28. Read Psalm 1:1-6. 1) What kind of person does the Psalmist call happy? 2) By contrast, describe the wicked.
Tuesday, September 29. Read Micah 7:18-19. 1) What makes God preeminent, according to Micah? Verse 18. 2. What will God do for us?
Wednesday, September 30. Read Isaiah 40:18-23. 1) How does Isaiah describe an idol? 2) How does God contrast with idols?
Thursday, October 1. Read Psalm 139:13-15. 1) Why did the Psalmist praise God? Verses 13-15. 2) How did the Psalmist picture his connection to God?
Friday, October 2. Read 1 Peter 1:17-25. 1) According to Peter, what had happened to his readers? Verse 18. 2) What are the implications for the “purification of their souls”? Verses 22,23.
Saturday, October 3. Read Psalm 19. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer of the Week:
Lord of the heavens and earth.
With the Psalmist we bow before you. With the Universe we sing out your glory, power, and wisdom. We see you in the light and heat of the sun. We hear you in the roar of thunder and feel you in the flash of lightening. You alone are the Creator and greater than all gods that may exist.
Lord God, let the words we speak and the thoughts we think bring you praise and joy. We pray this to you, our Rock and Redeemer. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Lord of All Being, Throned Afar
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1848
Lord of all being, throned afar,
thy glory flames from sun and star;
centre and soul of every sphere,
yet to each loving heart how near!
Sun of our life, thy quickening ray
sheds on our path the glow of day;
Star of our hope, thy softened light
cheers the long watches of the night.
Our midnight is thy smile withdrawn,
our noontide is thy gracious dawn,
our rainbow arch thy mercy’s sign;
all, save the clouds of sin, are thine.
Lord of all life, below, above,
whose light is truth, whose warmth is love,
before thy ever-blazing throne
we ask no lustre of our own.
Grant us thy truth to make us free,
and kindling hearts that burn for thee,
till all thy living altars claim
one holy light, one heavenly flame.
Devotional Article of the Week:
Worship and the Ballpark?
Can we really take worship with us outside our religious boxes?
by Phil Ware
Sometimes life’s important messages come together at the same time. When they do, I try to pay attention! I’m not always sure what they mean, but I do find them fascinating since I don’t believe in accidents, coincidences, or happenstance. Over the last few days, I’ve bumped into articles about God-stuff and the ballpark.
First, I found an article in USA Today about the Colorado Rockies baseball team revival occurring on two levels, faith and a winning record.
Then I found the front page New York Times piece on “Faith Nights” that are appearing at more and more baseball parks at both a minor league and major league level.
Then came the follow-up article about the Rockies trying to downplay the faith angle a little bit — it was an attempt to make sure the Rockies’ players who were Christians did not come across as “holier than thou.”
Internet friend and brother in Christ, Brent High, has a business group, called Third Coast Sports, that is behind much of this recent stir about faith in sports. There should be follow up stories that appear on CBS Evening News and ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
While I’m not sure what to make of all the stir, I will watch it unfold with fascination. I believe that a big part of what is happening is something we need more of in the Christian community: more of living the life of Christ in the real world and less of “cocooning ourselves” in our little religious enclaves and viewing ourselves in a war against the people around us.
I’m convinced that much of our sense of worship is well-intentioned wrong-headedness. We’ve confined worship to what we do in our daily quiet times, in our church building sanctuaries, and our small group Bible studies. In other words, worship takes place away from the everyday world where we live, the jobs where we work, the leisure activities we enjoy, and the activities where our children play. In other words, worship is what occurs at the margins, fringes, and short moments of time where we are isolated from “real life.”
While worship with Christians is great and necessary, it is private worship with our church family. Occasionally someone from the “outside” may come in and be blessed (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). But Jesus left the incredible worship world of Heaven to enter the everyday world of fallen humanity to do the will of God, show the love of God, and bring God glory — in other words, Jesus’ life was a life of worship! God wants us to follow our Lord’s example. He wants us to take our worship out into the “real world” where we work, play, go to school, and watch our children in their activities. Worship must be what we do in our daily lives out in the world around us (Romans 12:1). We meet together for worship to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds” in our daily worship lived out daily in the world around us (Hebrews 10:24-25 NAS).
Our power to change the character of our culture will be found in the compassion and quality of our daily lives, not in the political clout we can marshal at the polls or in the power of our Christian assemblies (1 Peter 2:11-12). The way we conduct ourselves in our daily lives, openly living our faith but not shoving it down everyone’s throat, will give us the opportunity to share the real basis of our hope in Jesus even in the most hostile situations (1 Peter 3:13-17).
Once we grab hold of this concept, we’re in for quite a surprise. We learn that our lives will be heard by the skeptical world around us more than our words. We will discover that each day is a day holy to God. How we treat our family, the way we conduct ourselves at work, the kind of person we are at school, the way we carry ourselves at our children’s events, the way we help those around us who are in need, and the kind of neighbor we are when we are at home all are a crucial parts of worship. Rather than God being a tack on part of our day-to-day lives, he will inhabit all spaces and places of each day. All of our efforts to do good things and to be a person of character take on a sense of the holy … even trips to the ballpark!
So what’s your take on all of this? I’d love to have you weigh in on my blog and let’s get serious about having a more positive impact on our culture and taking our worship into the real world.