Psalm 20 – Praying for Answers When we see Jesus in this prayer it is difficult to see anyone else, but until then, it is easy for the self to be distracted by the name it and claim it promise that the Lord will give us the desires of our heart and make all our plans succeed. We are tempted to read God’s promise as a blank check ready to be exchanged in the currency of our personal desires.
Pastoral Theology – Narcissism Removing a narcissitic pastor from office is very difficult to do because there is no sexual affair or bank account to use as evidence. Nevertheless a consistent pattern over time of manipulation, deception, and duplicity requires action by the spiritual leaders of the church. Churches that turn to outside experts in reconciliation only complicate matters and put off the inevitable. The danger here is to obscure the real issue and create an illusion that the church culture is to blame, when in fact, it is a single individual who has corrupted the leadership of the church. Leaders who have been supportive of the pastor and discounted the concerns of members and staff will be especially slow to act. This face-saving inertia must be overcome in order for the church to heal. If leaders hide behind a third party they will only do more harm to the church.
Psalm 19 – Listen to Jesus We find a power in the clarity and beauty of this psalm that is sufficient to silence the otherwise deafening noise of the information age. Against the din of crunching data and the sensory overload of special effects, we are called to listen to primary communication – the language of our mother tongue. One short poetic prayer to the Lord as Creator and Lawgiver refutes the world’s materialism and relativism and leads us in worship.
The God Who Prays is a forty-day meditation on Jesus’ farewell prayers. This is our third and final meditative journey into Jesus’ discipleship sermon. This study follows the The God Who Kneels (John 13) and The God Who Comforts (John 14 – 16:22). There is an escalating challenge in Jesus’ discipleship sermon. Each successive phase requires us to think deeper and prayer harder. There comes a time when we need to let go and move on from our old inquiries, doubts, and hesitancies. Like the disciples we need to shift out of training mode and move into mission. A move made possible only by the grace of Christ.
David’s Song of Deliverance Psalm 18 is a capstone psalm recounting the saving power of God. The psalm begins and ends on the theme of love: David’s love for the Lord and the Lord’s steadfast love for David. This is how the Lord loves you.