Monthly Archives: November 2018

“Identity”

On Thursday, November 29, 2018, the middle school and high school small groups of Southside Christian School met to discuss the following questions on the topic of “Identity.”

“Identity”

Small Group Questions

Southside Christian School

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Starting Off:

  1. Highlights/lowlights since we last met?
  2. What are five words you would use to describe yourself?
  3. We invited one or more students to share their “story” or “testimony” of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives (until our entire group has had the opportunity).

Discover:

  1.  Read or paraphrase Galatians 4:4-7 –

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.  (English Standard Version)

2.  What are some signs of a healthy family?

3.  What are some implications of being a son/daughter in God’s family?

Nurture:

  1. Imagine two homes side by side. In one God is hosting His feast/party. In the other the “world” is hosting its feast/party. What would those feasts/parties look like? How would they differ?
  2. Being 100% honest:  which feast/party sounds more appealing to you?
  3. When you think about Christianity, do you view it as restricitive or freeing?
  4. When you think about sin/the World, do you view it as restrictive or freeing?
  5. What satisfaction do they both offer? What trade-off is there for either side (God vs. the World)?
  6. Why is it so difficult for us to want to be a part of the God’s “home”?

Act:

Students partnered up and students shared (an) area(s) they wanted to see God change in them. They prayed with/for one another and, potentially, will follow-up throughout the coming weeks about the area(s) that were shared.

“We Evangelize AND Disciple!”

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, Southside Christian School Campus Pastor Colin Urbanick presented excellent information about the Bible’s call for all Christians to evangelize and disciple others ALL OF THE TIME. If you would like to read my summary of Pastor Colin’s message, “We Evangelize AND Disciple!” please read on. . .

“We Evangelize AND Disciple!”

By Colin Urbanick, Campus Pastor and Director of Discipleship

Southside Christian School

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Summary of and Editorializing by Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal (All errors are mine alone.)

Good morning. Welcome. Let me pray for us, and we’ll begin. . . .

I want to take some time to talk about something a little more philosophical in regard to disciple-making.

We have students who are believers, and some are not — for a variety of reasons. Some are a part of the family of God, and some are not a part of the family. We all have some sense of unbelief, and we should not be judgmental about those who are not in the family of God.

The typical thought is that evangelism is what we do with people who are not saved. We evangelize the non-believer. And we disciple people when they come to know the Lord. But what does Scripture actually say about this?

Jesus picked 12 guys as His disciples. Were they believers at the beginning, middle, or toward the end of their faith journeys? Jesus still discipled His followers prior to his death. Most became believers and followers toward the end of their faith journeys, but even warriors like Peter showed areas of unbelief [after Christ’s Resurrection]. We should be both evangelizing and discipling all of the time.

Jesus invested in His disciples as He walked alongside of them. He evangelized and discipled all of the time. He proclaimed the Good News all of the time. Paul told Timothy to preach the Word. He was telling Timothy not to preach what people wanted to hear. Paul told Timothy he shouldn’t be tickling their ears. He told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. We don’t stop evangelizing to believers or non-believers.

Jesus modeled this type of discipleship. Regardless of where our students are, our mission is the same. We are to evangelize and make disciples. Jesus didn’t command us to go evangelize. We are called to disciple and evangelize to our students AND TO EACH OTHER. I need evangelism today. I need someone to speak the truth of the Gospel into my life today.

I’m thankful that Jesus meets us right where we are. We continually come alongside each other, walking with one another through the journey of faith. Jesus attached Himself to the disciples. He invested in them. In areas of unbelief, He preached truth to them. Regardless of where our students are, we are called to evangelize and disciple them.

Paul declared himself to be the worst of all sinners. How much more did he believe he needed the truth of the Gospel for his own areas of unbelief.

 

“Christ the Majestic One”

On Sunday, November 18, 2018, Eastside Presbyterian Church Lead Pastor Mark Auffarth preached a message about the majesty and grace and mercy of the Lord when He meets us, the crown of His creation. If you would like to read my summary of Mark’s message, “Christ the Majestic One,” please read on. . . .
 
“Christ the Majestic One”
From the “Jesus and the Psalms” Sermon Series
By Dr. Mark Auffarth, Lead Pastor
Eastside Presbyterian Church
Greenville, South Carolina
Sunday, November 18, 2018
 
Quote of the Week:
 
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
 
Passage of the Week:
 
Psalm 8
1 O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Summary of and Editorializing by Bob Stouffer (All errors are mine alone.)
Father God, great is Your faithfulness. All we have needed, Your hand has provided. We live in a broken world with broken people and the enemy constantly accusing. We ask this Psalm to be a place of respite for our souls. Who are we that you would even be mindful of us? Yet You are. We ask for forgiveness and strength for our weary souls. Forgive our sins. Lord Jesus, we lift Your name on high today. We thank You. Amen.
There was one huge element when Christians were attempting to capture the hearts of a watching world — mercy. Christianity provided an island of mercy against the petty emotions of the world. Mercy provides unearned help. It is contrary to justice. The world saw mercy as a defect of character. This was the climate in which Christianity taught that our merciful God required Christians to be merciful.
Psalm 8 tell us in so many ways why God is merciful to us. Why would God even look at us? His name is majestic. And He is merciful to us.
The point the Psalmist is making is that God’s majesty is shown most gloriously through his scandalous, mind-boggling, astounding mercy.
I will attempt to make four points today:
GOD GIVES US POWER.
HE GIVES US POSITION.
HE GIVES US OCCUPATION.
HE GIVES US JESUS.
GOD GIVES US POWER.
What power? The Psalms have a theological point like every other book of the Bible. Look at the previous five Psalms prior to Psalm 8. David was struggling. His foes had risen up against him. He called out to God, but he found no relief. He asked for mercy from God. His bones were in agony. He was looking for deliverance. No one seemed to be available to rescue him.
Are you struggling this morning? I live in struggles. Psalm 8 gives hope after 5 Psalms of struggle. God shows mercy to His people. We can count on God’s promises.
He gives us power for deliverance. How does He deliver? What’s all this infants and children talk? His ways are not our ways. What we think is the right way is often not the right way. There is no greater picture of trust and contentment than a baby suckling at his mother’s breast. There’s nothing between mother and child. The child feels safe, protected, and loved. All is right with the world. Our power comes from relationship with God. He watches out for His children. He is the all-powerful one. What could be more trustworthy than that?
The world around us — and the constant badgering of the enemy — and our insecurity and sin make us feel unloved and unsafe. So we take matters into our own hands. We create love for ourselves. God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Do you realize the power in that stillness and rest in God?!
HE ALSO GIVES US POSITION.
About 3,000 stars are visible to the naked eye on a clear, moonless light. 100,000 stars are visible through a telescope. The Milky Way alone has 100,000,000,000 stars. Think about all of the other galaxies. That’s mind-boggling. David was a shepherd. He saw what he saw. Little did he know how vast is the universe. We have a better idea. It was amazing to David, in considering the heavens; how much more to us should the amazement for us that God would care for us. We’re in the backwaters of the Milky Way Galaxy.
And consider how the human race turned against God — as though He didn’t even exist. Nietzsche said God did not exist. A movement during this period indicated a mockery directed at God. God had become irrelevant. God was dead — not because He didn’t exist — but because we live as though He doesn’t exist.
Where is God in your life? Do we just give lip-service to Him?! He gives us position! We are a little below the heavenly beings. We are the pinnacle of His creation. We are spiritual beings. We are like the spiritual beings in heaven. He also gave us dominion over the earth. We have physical bodies with spirits. We see both worlds. We know we exist. The animals do not know they exist. They live on instinct. God has blessed us. And He doesn’t destroy us because of his mercy.
AND HE GIVES US OCCUPATION.
We have a mission. The mission hasn’t changed since the Creation. God charged Adam and Eve with being fruitful and subduing the earth. The call for us is to rule the earth — to subdue the earth. The Garden of Eden was the prototype. This was heaven on earth. The Garden was physically beautiful with waterfalls, mountains, and scenery. We can imagine. This is good stuff. Eden was a beautiful place. This was where God walked with Adam and Eve. They had relationship. This was the prototype of heaven. God wanted Adam and Eve to make the rest of the earth like Eden. We are called on-mission to subdue the earth.
If you’re a scientist, you have an important function to find out how the world works and subdue it. Find the cure for cancer! This is God’s work. If you’re a teacher, you have a very important function in the world, teaching truth and mercy and the wonders of God and His creation. Your job as engineers is important in subduing the earth and causing flourishing in the world. If you cut hair, you have an important job to do. I don’t care what you do. If you’re cleaning toilets, you are performing important work for the Kingdom of God. If you are an artist, you show us God’s beauty. Artists show us a picture of the world in ways we have never considered. How glorious and majestic is God’s name in all of the earth!
God is not dead. He is our loving Father, our merciful and majestic God.
FINALLY, HE GIVES US JESUS.
This is a Messianic Psalm. The Psalmist is talking of us. David was amazed. The parallel track is talk about Jesus.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the crowd was screaming. Children were shouting. Jesus called out that God had ordained praise from children, fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 8! The God of the universe had become flesh, and He was RIGHT THERE! He came in mercy to those who rejected Him.
In Hebrews 2, the writer refers back to Psalm 8, pointing to Jesus, who had suffered death in our place. The one who holds the universe together became a laughingstock, taking on a criminal’s death to conquer death for us. The children had praised Him, because they know the majesty of His name in all of the earth. The greatest tragedy became the greatest victory. In 1 Corinthians 15:5, Paul quoted the Psalm as a sign of God’s mercy. Jesus was merciful.
Bono made an explicit confession of faith. The God of the universe was looking for company — a real relationship with people. It’s not karma. Grace upends karma. Grace defies reason and logic. This is good news indeed. Grace does not excuse our mistakes, but we hold out hope for better tomorrows.
God Himself invaded our planet. How majestic is His name in all of the earth! We need to be amazed in public about what Jesus has done. We need to live a life of amazement at His mercy and grace and majesty. Let it spill out of us into our spouses, kids, neighbors, and co-workers! Let grace and mercy gush out of us! Our job is to allow the grace to spill out of us everywhere we go. This is what it means to help others and the world to follow Jesus. Though people are against us, we spill mercy!
Lord, O Lord, how majestic is Your name in all of the earth!
That’s the Gospel.
And the Gospel changes everything.

“Hiddenness”

On Friday, November 16, 2018, Dr. Sam Barfell, Superintendent of Southside Christian School, opened a discussion on the “hiddenness” of a God, a term invented by Tim Keller in his commentary on the Proverbs. If you would like to read my summary of Dr. Barfell’s message to the all-employee gathering, “Hiddenness,” please read on. . .

“Hiddenness”

From the Devotional Series on the Proverbs

By Dr. Sam Barfell, Superintendent

Southside Christian School

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Friday, November 16, 2018

Summary of and Editorializing by Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal (All errors are mine alone.)

Good morning, everybody.

Welcome to Friday. What a Friday it will be. We have kids at Youth and Government. Tonight is the play (Mary Poppins). The play-off football game is also tonight.

Congratulations, Ryan and Ryan Krall, who have a baby due in June!

Tina Davis’ daughter, Megan (‘11) is also expecting!

We are a prolific group!

You have to go see Mary Poppins. I smiled and laughed the entire time. My face was hurting. It was so enjoyable to see the kids create these characters.

Here’s  [a photograph of]  Bennett Clark as the dysfunctional father. Here’s Ricky, who excelled. Mary Elizabeth Baumgarten.  What an amazing job all of them did.

We have a football game tonight. Let me explain the temporary bleachers. There are minimum seating requirements for the play-offs. We now have 3,000 seats in our stadium, so we can host for the entire play-off season. It puts an exclamation point on the Annual Fund goal of permanent seating for the 2019 season. We also need to treat our guests with excellence. And we needed to put down gravel in our front yard, so people don’t sink into the saturated ground.

There’s five of my 10 minutes gone!

We’ve have looked at several big ideas of Proverbs: wisdom, knowing God, His order revealed, His order disrupted, and, starting today, God’s order hidden.

Job 1:9-12

Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.  (English Standard Version)

Hiddenness is Tim Keller’s made-up word. Remember the recent word I reviewed another of his words, “givenness.”

God’s purposes are sometimes deeply hidden when we experience suffering. We learn many things about Job and suffering. God’s purposes to his suffering are unknown to us.

But God does not generate evil. God hates evil, but He permits it in Job’s life so it will ultimately defeat Satan. God’s wisdom is involved in suffering. God has purposes for our suffering.

Job 5:7

. . .man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.  (ESV)

We love our backyard fire pit. We watch the sparks. Sparks fly upward. Heat rises. The embers flicker upward. We will similarly experience suffering and pain.

Jesus endured suffering for a greater purpose.

1 Peter 4:12

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  (ESV)

Be prepared to have Godly wisdom when you suffer.

Job 42:5-6

5 “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
    but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
    and repent in dust and ashes.”  (ESV)

 

This is near the end of the book of Job. Job did not get a full explanation of suffering. His friends were trying to figure that out. The why was hidden. Though God slays him, still did he serve Him.

The ultimate Job is Jesus.

Isaiah 53:5, 9

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed. . . . 

And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.  (ESV)

The final answer: When we suffer, we can know we are walking the same path Jesus walked. And we are not alone. That path is simply taking us to Jesus and the Father.

I don’t know what your suffering is right now. We have hope in Jesus. We are not walking this path alone. It’s a Christ-like walk. We walk toward Jesus and the Father. Internalize that truth. And realize that other eyes are watching us as we suffer.

“Wrestling with Important Questions”

On Thursday, November 15, 2018, Pastor Colin Urbanick offered a unique chapel format to the high school students and staff. If you would like to read my summary of the high school chapel activities on this day, “Wrestling with Important Questions,” please read on. . . .

“Wrestling with Important Questions”

A Panel Discussion

High School Chapel

Southside Christian School

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Summary of and Editorializing by Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal (All errors are mine alone.)

High School French Instructor Brett Henderson (keyboard and vocals), sophomore Rebecca Rinkliff (vocals), Coby Greene (percussion), and High School Bible Teacher Ryan Donell (guitar and vocals) served as lead worshippers for Chapel.

Mr. Henderson prayed as a bridge between a time of worship through song to a time of worship through a discussion about the Word of God and important cultural issues.

Pastor Colin Urbanick, Campus Pastor and Director of Discipleship, introduced a different format for the high school students and staff to chapel.

High School Bible Teacher Ryan Donell, former Upper School Bible Teacher Nathan Forrest, and former Upper School Bible Teacher Jim Thompson were on-stage to answer critical questions as a panel.

Pastor Colin indicated that chapel would center on “burning questions” about faith and the Bible on a quarterly basis. Pastor Colin indicated that 60% of the students in the audience will walk away from your faith, and 80% of that number will never come back to the faith. Why? Not cool enough programs? Ineffective churches? Research from “Sticky Faith” has indicated two major reasons: Each student needs 5 or 6 adults in his/her life for a “sticky” faith. The second reason is that burning questions about the faith were not genuinely answered for students who walked away from the faith. In college, students receive genuine but not biblical answers, and they often walk away from the faith.

Pastor Colin indicated that high school students are asking about 15 burning questions. Pastor Colin said, “We’re going to ruffle some feathers today. You’re going to be a little uncomfortable.”

Pastor Colin served as moderator of this panel of Mr. Donell, Pastor Forrest, and Pastor Thompson.

Question: Let’s start with a softball question.  What do you think will be the score of South Carolina and Clemson football game this year?

Jim: 52-10, with Clemson being merciful, and I’m a die-hard Carolina fan.

Nathan: It’s going to be a big score

Ryan: Clemson by a lot. 52-10 is a good number.

Question: Is it wrong to us to doubt God and have questions about Him?

Ryan: Everyone is born messed up. We do not naturally trust God. We don’t put our confidence in Him. Everyone starts there. Because of our sin, it is not abnormal to doubt. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Ignoring that is ridiculous. Looking down on someone because of his or her doubts is also ridiculous. God gives us reasons to have faith in him and not doubt Him. Some doubted Jesus’ resurrected body. Thomas doubted, but Jesus showed up, rebuking him and also being super-kind. He showed Thomas he should believe. Jesus is our example. We should always be kind and merciful when people have doubts about their faith.

Jim: It can be. It depends on what you do with doubt.

Nathan: The idea of doubt needs to be unpacked. You won’t lose your faith or mind if you doubt. Other people who have already decided they are done with Jesus and the Christian faith package it in a way that they’re safe, and they sell their unbelief as doubt.  Own what you believe. Some people really don’t know. You see people like that all over the pages of Scripture. Abraham believed, it was counted to him as righteousness, and his next sentence indicated doubt. Push against and grapple with what you believe. It’s okay to wrestle with faith issues. Don’t package disbelief in the wrappings of doubt. Be honest.

Pastor Colin: Jesus’ disciples walked, ate, and saw miracles with Jesus. Many of them struggled with doubt. Jesus’ own brother knew Him His whole life, but he wasn’t sure about Jesus being the Messiah until after the Resurrection. We have room to keep trying to understand our faith.

Nathan: Some of you are deep thinkers. You ask great questions. I affirm that. I get concerned with kids who are super-confident about everything and do not ask deep questions. Process hard questions. In college, you will encounter people with external agendas. Ask the questions now.

Question: People say horrific things in the name of Jesus, and you have other “Christians” who are engaged in sinful behavior, and we wonder how we follow a God who allows people to do awful things.

Jim: Christianity is the only place where you can be honest about being hypocritical. We should be pointed to grace. None of us deserves salvation. You walk in the door at church as a hypocrite. You’ll try to hide your hypocrisy everywhere else where you walk.  Christians can be jerks. Christians can be inconsistent.

Ryan: I agree with all of that — for sure. You have to embrace the tension that Christians are not perfect. Jesus has not returned yet. When he returns, He will fix all of the Christians forever. Jesus loves people, but suffering is part of the story. He is working in and through messed-up people. There are a lot of you who like the grace and don’t want to be challenged about your sin. A lot of people in this room, Greenville, the South, and the culture don’t want to change. They don’t actually have a relationship with God. What are you doing with your hypocrisy? Do you want Him to change you, or do you want to stay in your sin?

Nathan: Do your parents love you? Yes. Have you done terrible things? Yes. Would they chain you to the ground? That’s not love. God lets your life have significance and meaning. He doesn’t chain you to the floor. Does that make sense? In His kindness, He gives you free will. The jacked-up-ness of the church is indicative of free will, but that’s not justification of walking away from the church. You need to move toward the people who are jacked-up. We’ve been the perpetrators. We’ve been the hypocrites. What causes us to grow? People see our hypocrisy, and they move toward us, using our transgressions to love and teach. God calls His children to move into the lives of others.

Question: Can a Christian believe in evolution and still be a Christian?

Jim: Stop right now. Think of nothing. You can’t do it. There’s still something. The concept of nothing is irrational. It’s a further impossibility to believe in nothing. I can’t help you if you presuppose matter. You can still be a Christian if you believe in evolution, if you believe in random mutations and adaptations.

Ryan: It depends on how you define “evolution” and “can.” There are Christians who believe all kinds of crazy things. Is it possible and biblical to believe in some form of evolution? That’s a different question. You can, and people do, and they’re still Christians. Some people are disconnected from God. And history is moving with the steam of evolution.

Jim: Darwinian naturalism supposing no deity is called survival of the fittest. That dogma — that doctrine — prompts us to look at every event of history as acts of survival. Acts of murder are survival acts. What about the pain and evil and suffering in the world? That’s a sin issue. Survival of the fittest is a horrible belief system.

Pastor Colin: That’s all the time we have today. We will do this again. Do not hesitate to ask these questions while you’re here.

“Create, Renew, Restore, and Make”

On Thursday, November 15, 2018, Middle School Bible Teacher Missy Schrader delivered a message on sin, repentance, and forgiveness to the middle school students and staff for chapel. If you would like to read my summary of Mrs. Schrader’s chapel message, “Create, Renew, Restore, and Make,” please read on. . . .

“Create, Renew, Restore, and Make”

By Missy Schrader, Middle School Bible Instructor

Middle School Chapel

Southside Christian School

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Summary of and Editorializing by Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal (All errors are mine alone.)

Pastor Colin Urbanick, Campus Pastor and Director of Discipleship, welcomed the middle school students to chapel.

He reminded people that Thanksgiving was a week from this day, asking students to turn to each other and tell what they were doing for Thanksgiving break. [They did so for a minute or so.] He also encouraged the students to have hearts of thankfulness.

Pastor Colin indicated that we “get to” [don’t “have to”] worship together in chapel today. He expressed excitement about the opportunity. Other times, he has felt a sluggishness about worship, but “feeling” is not the point, and we need to draw into relationship with our Creator, he stated.

Pastor Colin prayed to begin the chapel.

High School Bible Teacher Ryan Donell (vocals and guitar) led the middle school students and staff in a time of worship through song.

Pastor Colin introduced Middle School Bible Teacher Missy Schrader as the chapel speaker, praying over her and praying for the open hearts and minds of the audience.

Mrs. Schrader

Good morning! I am so excited to see you today. I know you and love you. I hope you will look and smile at me for 20 minutes.

I want to start with a question: What was your favorite Christmas present?”

Student: My PS-4.

Student: A gaming computer.

Student: Super Turtle.

Student: A four-wheeler.

Student: A trampoline.

Student: A puppy.

Student: A dirt bike.

Student: Money! [APPLAUSE.]

Everyone could tell me your favorite present. Some of you may not even remember what you got last year. Newness wears off. You forget. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

We’re going to talk about David, a man after God’s own heart. He was a shepherd. He did something fabulous. He killed Goliath. The Lord helped him. He gave David the strength to kill Goliath. And God eventually made Him King.

David trusted God when Saul chased after him. He was kind to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. He relied on God’s strength and grace. He relied on God.

But the newness wore off with David. He thought more highly of himself. When he was king, he thought he could do what he liked. He saw a woman. He wanted her. He took something that wasn’t his. He did not find strength in or inquire of the Lord, did he?

The woman became pregnant. David put her husband on the front line and had him killed. He thought he had gotten away with the murder. But Nathan the Prophet came to him with a story. “You are that man!” Nathan said to David. David could have had Nathan killed. But David said he had sinned against the Lord, and he wrote Psalm 51.

David was king. He knew what it meant for humans to beg for his mercy. He went before the King of kings to beg for His mercy.

Psalm 51:10, 12

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me. . . .
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.  (English Standard Version)

He prayed that prayer.

Do you see the verbs? English students, make Mrs. Poss and Mrs. Cleminson proud. Create, renew, restore, and make.

We’re going to look at those. verbs together.

David was praying for God to do these things in and for him.

CREATE A CLEAN HEART.

What do you think of the verb, “create.” David wanted God to create in him. He was coming with a broken heart. God created us in His image. When Adam and Eve sinned, we messed that up. David knew he needed help. David wanted his dirty heart to become clean. He could not create in himself a clean heart. He asked God to do what only He could do. In God’s rescue plan, He sent Jesus to take all of our bad and give us His good. Clean. New. Pure. David needed help.

2 Corinthians 5:17

. . .if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  (ESV)

Do you hear that word, “create.” David was asking God to create a clean heart.

RENEW A LOYAL SPIRIT.

Renew is the theme for chapel this year. We remake or revive something. David wanted a loyal spirit. Some of you are loyal Clemson fans. [Applause.] Some of you are loyal Carolina fans. [Boos.] You are loyal to your team. You stand by the team. You have fun together. You don’t let anyone talk bad about your friends. On our wedding day, I promised Mr. Schrader I would be loyal to him forever as his wife. David was saying he had not been loyal to God. He knew that he had betrayed God through betrayal and murder. He wanted renewed loyalty to the Lord.

RESTORE THE JOY OF SALVATION.

Everybody’s eyeballs on me. David wanted God to bring him joy. Think about your lost excitement about Christmas gifts. That’s not what he’s asking for. He’s asking for joy of his salvation. Christian school students hear about Jesus and the Gospel all of the time, and some of us lose the joy. If such is the case, Jesus is all about “information” for you. We sometimes take things too far, and those things other than God always disappoint. David had lost his joy. What would it look like, Southside Christian School Middle School — what would that look like — if God restored the joy of our salvation. Let’s ask God to restore that joy in us! We are God’s children! Jesus is near us! He loves us! That should bring us joy! David called for restored joy in his salvation. If you have lost that joy, let’s bow our heads, and let’s be honest about losing the joy and pray for God to restore our joy in salvation. Some of you have never been asked to be loyal to Jesus. Let’s pray for you. You may not think you have ever needed help. Let’s pray for a clean heart and for sadness about our sin. If you prayed either of those prayers, please talk to somebody about that.

MAKE ME WILLING TO OBEY GOD.

Philippians 2:13

. . .it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.  (ESV)

When I love someone, I want to do what makes them happy. So why was David praying for obedience? He didn’t have the “want to.” He wanted to obey. We are covered in God’s righteousness and His good, and that should change how we live. We should live in a way that pleases God. David knew he needed God to give him a willingness to obey Him.

David didn’t have these things. That’s why he was praying for them.

Let’s read that passage together again —

Psalm 51:10, 12

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me. . . .
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

David wanted God to work in His heart. He needed help. The Holy Spirit will move in our hearts when we are yielded to Him. God forgave Him. God answered him.

I could do cartwheels over this verse —

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (ESV)

We find grace in our time of need. When we humbly come to him and ask Him, He pours out His grace.

The Christmas presents grow old. But this good news will never get old. Pray this prayer, and God will answer it.

Mrs Schrader prayed for the students with the contents of this prayer by David.

“Jesus the King”

On Sunday, November 11, 2018, Eastside Presbyterian Church Lead Pastor Mark Auffarth preached a message using Psalm 2 as his text. If you would like to read my summary of Dr. Auffarth’s message, “Jesus the King,” please read on. . . .

“Jesus the King”

From the “Jesus and the Psalms” Sermon Series

By Dr. Mark Auffarth, Lead Pastor

Eastside Presbyterian Church

Greenville, South Carolina

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Quote of the Week:

“Jesus is the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5) and the Lamb of God (Revelation 5:6). He was lionhearted and lamblike, strong and meek, tough and tender, aggressive and responsive, bold and broken-hearted. He sets the pattern for manhood.” (John Piper)

Passage of the Week:

1 Why do the nations rage[a]

    and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves,

    and the rulers take counsel together,

    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,

3 “Let us burst their bonds apart

    and cast away their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;

    the Lord holds them in derision.

5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,

    and terrify them in his fury, saying,

6 “As for me, I have set my King

    on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree:

The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;

    today I have begotten you.

8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,

    and the ends of the earth your possession.

9 You shall break[b] them with a rod of iron

    and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;

    be warned, O rulers of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear,

    and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son,

    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,

    for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Footnotes:

[a] Psalm 2:1 Or nations noisily assemble

[b] Psalm 2:9 Revocalization yields (compare Septuagint) You shall rule

(Psalm 2, English Standard Version)

Summary of and Editorializing by Bob Stouffer (All errors are mine alone.)

It was reaching a fever pitch in Jerusalem. The teachers of the law were not happy. They would quell the disturbance any way they could. They knew God. This interloper Jesus was clearly not from God. They wanted everyone to believe this. It was not that clear. Jesus had cast out demons. He had opened the eyes of the blind. He had created food for the people. The teachers of the law refused to see even the possibility of his power. Why would He show up in Jerusalem? Did He have a death wish?

Jesus was in town. He was there with the disciples to celebrate the Passover. One among him was a traitor, who would turn Him in. Jesus was at Gethsemene. He expected them. Didn’t He know they would put him to death. They arrested Him. They beat Him. They taunted Him. He dared to question their authority. He claimed to be God, which was unthinkable and unforgivable to the teachers of the law. It had been going on for 3 years, and their rage was at a fever pitch. He received the brunt of their rage.

Pilate wanted to free this Jesus. In Pilate’s mind, they were being completely irrational. But he wanted to prevent a riot. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” the people cried out. What could this man have done to have caused such anger? Pilate gave Him up. The soldiers beat Him, and they crucified Him like a common criminal. We read about Him in this Psalm. He humbled Himself from a position of such magnificence.

We found out in Acts 4 that what I have just told you is going on in Psalm 2. Peter and John, let go from prison, prayed part of this Psalm in their prayer. And God laughed at the ridiculousness of the powers to be that they believe they had authority in some way, shape, or form. People in power are full of themselves. We set our identity to the position. We are important. Most people in Jesus’ time were oblivious to what was happening. As Christianity spread, leaders saw this as a threat to their power. They did whatever they could do to put a stop to the movement.

Charles Spurgeon pointed out that opponents of Christianity predicted the extinguishing of Christianity. Christians had brought the empire “to ruin.” On the contrary, Christianity grew stronger than ever, triumphing over the emperors. All died. There were suspicious deaths, suicides, murders, combat deaths. Ruler after ruler after ruler have tried to throw off the fetters of God. But they’re all dead. They’re all dead. Rulers tried to rid the world of Christianity, but they didn’t succeed? Why? They didn’t see reality.

What is the reality? Psalm 2 holds the reality. Peons cannot stand up against God. It’s preposterous. God created and sustained them all. They are alive because of God’s sovereign mercy. These men could reign for a time. God scoffs at them — that they would think they could rage against the Lord’s anointed. He rebuked them. They acted like they had power when they had none. They were arrogant. When God speaks, He terrifies, especially if you don’t know Him. This is the picture of God in Psalm 2.

His King is Jesus. And He will not be thwarted. Do you know Jesus? I went to Baptist school. A girl told me Jesus was a Baptist. Some of us think he’s a Presbyterian. He’s not. A Republican? He’s not. A Democrat? He’s not. You can’t put him in a box.

Jesus doesn’t like religious people very much. His harshest words were for the very religious. Religious people think Jesus will be pleased by religious people. Be careful about “religion.” You may think yourself pure and serving Him when you’re not doing so. We think we know Jesus. Be careful.

Jesus reached out to. the oppressed and poor, but he also reached out to the oppressor and those who made people poor. He declared lust as as bad as adultery, but why did he spend time with adulterers? He lived in an occupied country, but he reached out to the occupiers. We want to say to Jesus that He should choose a side!

The people had crossed over the Jordan, ready to take Jericho. God said he was on neither side. The question is “whose side are we on?” Not “whose side is God on?”

Abraham Kuyper once said that there is not a square inch over all of creation over which Jesus doesn’t declare, “Mine!”

What are the implications?

First, this truth from Kuyper should bring us to our senses. He is sovereign over all and powerful over all. All things have been orchestrated by his loving command for our good. We think we’re in charge, but that’s a facade. He controls everything. He is God, and we are not. Such should change the way we live.

Secondly, time is running out. In verse 10 of Psalm 2, we learn that we must kiss the son, for his wrath can flare in a moment. There’s a time when the time will be up. His wrath will flare. Those who do not kiss Him will be dashed to pieces like pottery. We must give homage to the Son.

Our religion is private, and we’re afraid to go there with people. Do we imagine that time may almost be up?! The time is now for us to share what Jesus has done for us! The time is now to be on-mission for Christ! The time is now to be about the business of the Kingdom! Time is running out! It’s time to be in our community!

The phrase at the end of the Psalm sums it all up: Blessed are those who take refuge in Him. It’s not “Submit, or die!” The Psalmist is talking about a loving homage. Come to the Son! You can find love from the Son. The Father had let the people crucify Him. He was dashed to pieces like pottery. God’s anger was appeased in the Son’s suffering and death. This is a Psalm of strong language and strong grace. He offers refuge to those who trust in Him.

One more thing I want you to see in this Psalm. Paul told the people in Antioch that God’s promise had been fulfilled. The Father raised up the Son. In a special way, at the Resurrection, when Jesus was raised from the dead, the first-born of the dead, the Head of the church, so that in everything he might have supremacy. We too will rise from the dead, if we’re in Christ.

Here’s the deal with all of this. If we’re thinking about our church growing, it will not be done by church transfer, since there is a church on every block in Greenville. It’s a consumer market. There are too many churches with bells and whistles.

What if we were the church had massive compassion for those who didn’t know Jesus? What if we took this Psalm seriously? His anger will flare up at some point, and we don’t want His anger to be directed at our neighbors and co-workers? What if we had compassion for people in our spheres of influence? What if we were the church on-mission in our spheres? Those who trust in Him — He is a refuge for them.

What if we were a church who truly believed in [and lived-out] the power of the Gospel? What if we were the people who lived on-mission? What if we prayed prayers of boldness? The disciples had been threatened not to speak the name of Jesus. In Acts 4, they prayed and spoke with boldness about Jesus. And the place was shaken! What if we were the church that decided to be done thinking about it and be the church which was doing it. Come what may! Our God is on the throne! Let’s kiss the Son! Let’s lead other people to kiss the Son!

That’s the Gospel.

And the Gospel changes everything!