08-14-16 Lamenting and Repenting

We rejoiced for Mathew's new job in Michigan, though he will definitely be missed.  Cody & Kim are feeling blessed and grateful to those who bused tables at Pizza Ranch, with the entire show of support for Asher raising over $700.

With Pastor Kevin on vacation, our service took on a unique experiential flavor.  Instead of our standard format, Gweneth directed meditations on lamenting after each congregational song, bringing in her distinct literary/artistic perspective and profound personal experience.

There were scriptures, prayers, unconventional songs, at one point…even facing each other and acknowledging each other’s painful burdens, and a collective lamenting for racial injustice and pain and praying for widespread healing.

Some of the key points included:

·     Lamenting  is natural for Christians in this fallen world

·     Lamentations, Psalms, and the gospels have profound lamentations

·     Our father (like earthly fathers) wants us to bring our profound pain to Him

·     We can lament personal and more broader social tragedies/struggles/pain/death

·     The lamenting process can include:

1.     Invocation - Crying out to God (with a sense of incredulity at the transpired tragedy)

2.     Lamenting - Period of laying the tragedy before God and grieving and mourning

3.     Petition – Bringing to God your requests

4.     Supplication -  Pleading before God

5.     Worshiping and Thanking God- for His unchanging character, mercy, and working in our lives

·     Not lamenting may be a symptom of denial

o   Believing God is sovereign requires lamenting to Him at times

o   We are not called to wear party hats every time we approach God

o   We are not required to be joyful, thankful, or tidy enough to approach The Throne

·     Lamenting (and acknowledging others lamenting) can promote healing and growth

·     Lamenting can be a model for interacting with God, relying on being truthful at all levels, and relying on God’s justice and mercy

·     Jesus, our example, lamented multiple times, including crying out on the cross:  "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"

·     Hope comes from God’s covenants with His people, and from His mercy

·     God has not forgotten us;  He hears us; He still has plans to prosper us; He doesn’t leave us

·     What the enemy means for evil, God turns for good

Sara Stewart delivered our worship through the word, speaking on Toying with Sin.   She aptly used the analogy of weeds for sins, describing her recent combat with some pugnacious weeds.

As Christians, we tend to fall into 3 categories:

1.   Falsely believing we have sin totally under control

·       A very a dangerous notion

·       Can be rooted in

o   Ignorance

o   Pride (Proverbs 16:18)

o   Trying to give credit to God’s grace (for our sinless living)

2.   Comfortably living with sin in their life

·       Could be

o   Gradually sliding to a bad place

o   total apathy or numbness

o   Living out a lukewarm spiritual life (which is a sin that God detests)

·       Take a honest look for these 5 tells that you’re abiding sin

o   Emphasizing others sins, especially to minimize your own

o   Thinking evil thoughts….without actually doing them

o   Laughing  at sinful things (covering/ignoring/winking at sin with humor)

o   Giving in to worldly habits…not fighting back (the heart wants what the heart wants)

o   Avoiding spiritual things…(avoiding/quieting the Holy Spirit)

3.   Vigilantly working at weeding out sin in their life

·       2 Corinthians 4:8-9 gives hope for each negative  situation

o   While hard pressed on every side (like grapes in a wine press)…not crushed

o   While perplexed…not in despair

o   While persecuted…not abandoned

o   While struck down…not destroyed

·       1 Corinthians 10:13  encourages us that

o   Our faithful sovereign God doesn’t give us more than we can bear

o   He provides a path through

Lamenting and repenting married together, as we prayed for the Holy Spirit to help us face and deal with our pain, our sin, our callousness, and to face truth in all things, grow, and honor God.