The Gift of Enemies

The first prayer-proper in the Psalms (Ps. 3) is a not a praise or thanksgiving. It’s a cry for help, “O Lord, how many are my foes!” In the Psalms–the prayer book of God’s people–enemies are everywhere. Out of 150 chapters, there are only 7 confession or penitential psalms. There are upwards of 68 psalms…

When God Seems Distant

If you’ve been a Christian for more than a day, God has seemed distant. What I’ve learned over the years of walking with Jesus (and I’m still learning, of course) is that the the emotions we feel when God seems distant are signals that God wants to do something important in our lives. What in…

The Pits and Christmas

It’s the pits. The worst, most depressing situation you can imagine. We use it playfully today, exaggerating our circumstance. The saying has lost its luster. But it was not always so. Out of the 150 chapters in Psalms, perhaps as many as 65 to 67 of them are laments or what we can call “complaint…

A Sermon for Election Day

I wrestle with posting my sermon manuscripts. Why? First of all, often I don’t preach from a manuscript but only an outline or an expanded outline that might just look like scrap notes to others. So often I don’t have one. There is a deeper reason, however. Sermons are not written communication, but oral. Sermons are meant to be…

A Sermon from a Sad Song

This is a sermon I preached last year from Psalm 88, the saddest song in the Bible. Pray Your Tears (Psalm 88) August 16, 2015 This is the sermon I think many of you have been waiting to hear. I say that because Psalm 88 is the dark, dingy, scary, unfinished basement of the Psalms….

“So this is what God’s really like.”

This summer, I’m preaching a very short sermon series from the Psalms on praying your emotions. Last week, I preached on Psalm 3, “Pray Your Fears.” In two Sundays, I’ll be preaching from the darkest Psalm, chapter 88, “Pray Your Sadness.” I’m re-reading parts of a few books as research for the sermon. One book I turned…