FROM THE PASTORS DESK
Please read the devotion and click on the link at the bottom to access the song, where you will be redirected from this website so you can listen and watch a video of the song's performance.
I have prepared songs for the coming days. If there is a hymn that speaks to you, I would welcome suggestions.
June 4, 2020 Devotion: Scripture Matthew 28:20 and Song “Everything”
55 songs have come and gone after today since I started these devotions and songs to encourage you. We have done sacred hymns and contemporary songs and everything in between. Today I wanted to choose a song from one of my favorite contemporary Christian singers, one who has been around a long time and gone through a lot in his life. His name is Toby Mac and he has been in the news in the last 6 months because his 21-year-old son who was just coming into his own as a Christian rapper died tragically. We used to take our youth group kids to Toby Mac concerts and generations of Christian teens have been inspired by him. His lyrics focus on Jesus in a simple but impactful way. With all that has been going on, many are asking where God is. Of course, our Scripture for today tells us where he is, with us, of course. Jesus promised in his last words before ascending back to heaven in Matthew 28:20: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” As awful as things have been, the age hasn’t closed yet, so Jesus is where he said he would be, “with us.” Toby Mac’s song, “Everything” reminds us that if we look, “everything that we see, everything that happens, reminds of that fact. Jesus is with us. As we continue to struggle with the Covid-19 crisis, it’s time to, as Toby Mac” look for God in everything, in a sense to focus on the positive, that God created us and everything else, and that despite sin, he is still in control, still in charge of “Everything.” It will make a difference in your attitude. Take the time to listen to the song, and then look for God in “Everything.”
URL for Song: "Everything"
June 3, 2020 Devotion: Scripture Psalm 121:1-2 and Song “Praise You in the Storm”
By the time you read this, we will most likely have a better picture of what Governor Whitmer is going to do with the sheltering in place order and if we will be back in the sanctuary a week from Sunday. The Covid-19 crisis, the flooding in many parts of the state, the financial crisis caused by so many having to stay home, and not being able to work has been described as the perfect storm. And it has caused so much worry, so much family stress, so much depression and just about any other negative emotion you could list. The group Casting Crowns recently began performing a new song called, “Praise You in the storm” which covers a lot of those emotions and worries and they share their faith in God as they “Praise Him in the Storm.” They ask the legitimate question, where is God in all of them and they quote the words of our Scripture text for today, Psalm 121: 1 and 2” for the answer, the same answer we need to hear in these difficult times. The Psalmist says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven, and earth.” In the perfect storm that 2020 has brought on our world and especially it seems on Michigan, our help does come from the Lord. He made us and he promised to be with us every day. He is here with us through all of this and the best things we can do as Casting Crowns says is “to praise Him in the storm” for he will get us through. As I often say, heaven waits. Listen to the words of this song and be encouraged. Pray that we can gather to worship together soon but, in the meantime, praise him in the storm.
URL for Song: "Praise You in the Storm"
June 2, 2020 Devotion: Scripture Acts 2:1-4 and Song “Spirit of the Living God”
Yesterday, we heard a Pentecost hymn, today we will continue our Pentecost hymns, but we will use something a bit more contemporary, maybe a bit less formal. Pentecost flamed into being 10 days after Jesus ascended into heaven and literally it flamed as those present from all over the known world of that time saw tongues of fire on the disciples’ heads as recorded in Acts 2. And the Spirit fell afresh on the disciples in the form of wind as well. The Spirit came with power, Verse 4 of Acts 2 puts it this way, “All of them (the disciples) were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” And if you look further on in Acts 2, over 3,000 men and many women and children as well were melted and molded and believed. Our song for today, “Spirit of the Living God,” described this day clearly. The Spirit of the Living God” fell afresh on these men, women, and children and changed them, melted them and molded them into believers, something they couldn’t do on their own. Just like we can’t rescue ourselves from the Covid-19 crisis, let alone our sins. If you are remaining faithful and worshiping virtually and studying God’s Word and still have hope, it’s because this same Holy Spirit who came on the disciples at Pentecost and came on us in our baptisms. Listen to the song, “Spirit of the Living God,’ and feel the peace of the Holy Spirit fall afresh on you. God has sent his Holy Spirit to give us faith, to keep us in the faith, to help us know everything about Jesus, especially that he loved us enough to die for us. Because of that, everything will be all right. Heaven awaits.
URL for Song: “Spirit of the Living God”
June 1, 2020 Devotion: Scripture John 7:37-39 and Song “Come Holy Ghost and Lord”
Yesterday we celebrated Pentecost Sunday, virtually for the first time, which does not, of course, mean that the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) as we used to know him) wasn’t there. We still sang hymns about the Holy Spirit, though virtually. We still heard the readings about the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, predicted by Jesus in the Gospel lesson from John 7 quite a bit before he went to the cross for us. And we heard Pastors preach about the Holy Spirit from churches across the world, even though many of them were empty but for a few leaders of the service. But we rejoiced because it was the Holy Spirit who brought us to faith and continues to keep us in the faith. As John 737 and 39, our Gospel from Pentecost says, anyone who is thirsty let him come to Jesus to drink. And then he went on about us today in verse 38 “Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this, he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given since Jesus has not yet been glorified. Then it was Pentecost in Acts 2 and the Holy Spirit came in the sound of the wind and as a flame on the disciples' heads (more about that tomorrow) and the living water was flowing. And over 3,000 believed. One of the great Pentecost hymns is “Come Holy Ghost and Lord,” and the hymn I have chosen for today. And the Holy Spirit has been with us through the Covid-19 crisis and continues to encourage us so that “we in living faith abide and let none but Christ the Master be,.” as the hymn says. Not COVID-19, not the government, not Satan, none but Christ, until the crisis is over and beyond is our master but Christ. Listen and sing along with the hymn and praise Jesus that he went the Holy Spirit to bring us to faith and keep us in the faith despite all the tough changes we are dealing with now.
URL for Song: "Come Holy Ghost and Lord"