Speaker: Rev. Dr. Mark Crumpler
Date: September 26, 2016
Text: Psalm 100
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
In this sermon series we're being invited to bring the biggest things in our life-what we think about most, care about most, and worry about most-to God in prayer. Many times we try to manage the difficult parts of our lives. And we forget God. We forget that He is beside us. He knows the things that are deepest in our hearts. He knows that keeps us up at night. He longs to sustain us, to provide for us, and to care for us. When we pray our big prayers to our big God, God works in us in a big way.
The word Psalm means "song," is taken from the Septuagint, the early Greek translation of the Old Testament. There are various types of Psalms in the Old Testament, categorized by their theme or purpose. There are Psalms of lament, thanksgiving, trust, Kingship, and wisdom. Christians use the Psalms as songs or prayers finding in them reference to Jesus and beautiful language with which to praise God.
1. Take a moment to thoughtfully consider what you actually pray for. How does it align with the survey Pastor Mark referenced in the sermon?
2. Scripture-especially the Psalms-command us to give God the praise that is due to him. Pastor Mark commented that if we do not fully apprehend God's greatness, holiness, and other divine attributes, we will find it difficult to pray as we ought. Why might that be?
3. In C. S. Lewis's book Reflections on the Psalms, he poses the question: why does God desire our praise? Is God emotionally needy or insecure? What do you think?
4. Lewis also makes the point: "we praise what we enjoy." What things do you enjoy? A good meal; a good concert; a good book? Do you enjoy these things when you share praise of them with others? Why?
5. Lewis also tells us that, "praise is enjoyment's ultimate consummation." In other words, enjoyment is not fully enjoyment unless there is shared praise. How do you see this working out in your own life and experience?
6. Learning to praise God requires at least two things: (1) experiencing the presence of God, and doing so (2) in the company of God's people. Look at your life: how are experiencing the presence of God in the fellowship of God's people? How might you experience this more deeply?
7. How do we learn the language and practice of praise? What are three spiritual disciplines you could take up in order to grow in your praise of God?
8. We are instructed to "make a joyful noise to the Lord." What "noise" does your life make?
9. Praise is both an act of the affections and of the intellect. How are you cultivating your mind in the praise of God?
10. The Bible is central to shaping and informing our experience of God, of knowing God. Absent the influence of Holy Scripture we may think that we know God, but we will have strayed from God as he has revealed himself in the Bible. How are you doing with meeting God in the pages of the Bible?
Having opened our bibles, we ask you to also open our hearts that these words of truth may fall upon the very fabric of our lives. May these ancient scriptures come alive within us, to inspire, to heal, to cleanse, to teach to restore and to guide our intellects and affections.
Lord, come weave your words of life in us.