Monday Message

The Monday Message offers a chance to further reflect on the Sunday sermon.  This email based devotional is designed to help us continue to wrestle with God’s Word during the week. If you are not receiving this message you can sign up here.

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Tuesday
Feb092016

Lenten Devotional Series: Music helps us to focus on God

 

Lent is a season of the church life where we prepare our hearts for Easter by being aware of our need for redemption.  Traditionally, Lent has been a time of fasting.  A choice to deprive one’s life of something to remind us of our dependence upon God alone.  

This lent, we at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church have decided to focus upon musical worship.  When we worship God, we essentially fast from our own tendencies to self-absorption, control, fear, anxiety, and an assortment of other problems of focus.  Instead of focusing upon ourselves, we rightly focus on God.

So this Lent, we offer a number of devotionals centered upon music.  These devotionals are meant to invite you into moments of worship throughout your week.



I can remember the point in my life where worship music transitioned from church into my car.  Shortly after college I was working at a bank in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.  The grind of my commute, my new lifestyle of “work-all-day-every-day” was different from my “wake-up-when-you-want, study-when-you-want” college lifestyle.  It was a bit of a shock to me.  I soon found that I was getting to work each morning in less than a good mood.

One morning, I realized that the radio personalities I was listening to on my commute weren’t helping my attitude.  So I turned the radio to a local Christian music station.  I believe I would have called the Christian music at the time “a bit cheesy.”  But I was desperate for as much positive to be poured into me as I could get.  

Before long, I found my mind and heart turning to God’s goodness and grace.  My morning commute became a time of worship.  This practice not only transformed my commute but affected the rest of my day.

Today, the songs have changed but the practice is the same.  I am blessed by the gift of music to help remind me that I am defined by the God who has called me, saved me, and sent me into my every day.  Each day, he does so with singing!

We’ve created two Spotify lists with some of the music we use during our two worship services.  Click on the link below to listen!

https://open.spotify.com/user/drewhanson89/playlist/3eDumU1iiYXgUqfthj7bq8

Tuesday
Feb022016

No Fear in Love

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.  19 We love because he first loved us. - 1 John 4:18-19

Fear is the cheapest form of inspiration.  Too many of us work in situations where our motivation comes from anxiety.  Too many of us exist in relationships where fear is the stimulation for respect.  Thus, too many of us live lives that are less than God’s desire for us.

Our text tells us that God does not motivate with fear.  Even as I type this, I know that this has not always been obvious in light of how Christians have operated over the years.  The explanation for this is simply that fear of judgment is a cheaper and easier way to get people to toe moral lines, to meet deadlines, and to sacrifice.  Even though it is cheaper and easier, it is not God’s way.

God prefers the messier way of love.  It is messier because it gives each and every one of us room to discover and grow into who he has created us to be.  It gives us space to fail and use failure to learn redemption and resurrection.  It provides opportunity for worship as we boldly live into knowing our God, knowing ourselves, and knowing the authentic meeting of the two.

This morning, note the places in your life that are inspired by fear.  Where these are related to your faith, rebuke them as the false path.  Where they are related to your job, your relationships, or your self concept, ask God to fill you with his loving vision of your life.  Then ask God to walk with you on the messier way of love. 

Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me.  Thank you for loving the parts of me that seem lovable and the parts of me that seem less so.  Open my eyes today to begin to live inspired by Your love.  We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday
Jan262016

Taming the Heart

This devotional is designed to help us continue to wrestle with God’s Word during the week.  It is loosely based upon the Sunday sermon.

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And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. - 1 John 3:19-20

The author William Faulkner once wrote, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.”  If there is truth to this statement, it is because it is a conflict that every single one of us knows.  

We live in a world that constantly advises: “Follow your heart and you can’t go wrong!”  At the same time, each of us knows the experience of our hearts “in conflict with itself.”  We can all understand what the apostle John refers to in this verse about hearts that condemn.

Our God says much about our hearts.  Never does he say to follow our hearts unless we are first delighting in the Lord (see Psalm 37:4).  This is because God knows that our hearts must first be tamed by Christ.  They must be tamed because of two forms of condemnation.

First, often our hearts condemn us without right.  Our hearts become a megaphone for our own fears, anxieties, doubts, and more.  Our hearts are the place that most clearly perceive the temptations and accusations of the Evil One.  

Second, our hearts often condemn us rightly.  Our hearts are aware of the mixed motives behind even the right we do.  Our hearts are aware of the evil that colors our every hour.  Rightfully, our hearts condemn us.

Into our heart’s condemnation, God speaks his grace.  “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” -Romans 8:1.  Jesus is victorious over the attacks of the Evil One.  Jesus’ love casts out our every fear.  Jesus’ grace covers where we fall short and his Spirit lifts us to partner with the fullness of his love for our world.

So, when our hearts condemns us, let us not take the word of our hearts alone.  Instead, let us invite God into the conversation.  “God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”  There we find grace that will reassure us of God’s plans and purposes in and through us.  There we will have our hearts restored to us anew!

Lord Jesus, often we cannot begin the first step of faithfulness to you because of the condemnation we feel in our own hearts.  We confess this before you.  We ask that you would enter into our heart’s conversation. Tame our hearts in the grace of Jesus that we might be reassured of our place in you… that we might move in grace and love in the world you have called us to serve.  
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Thursday
Oct012015

Monday Message from Pastor Andrew

The Monday Message offers a chance to further reflect on the Sunday sermon.  This email based devotional is designed to help us continue to wrestle with God’s Word during the week. If you are not receiving this message you can sign up here.

 

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