As we prepared for worship at CoastPointe this past Sunday, the unfolding events of violence and hate in the news put a pause on the plans and called us to a different place, a place of penitence and prayer. The two go together, neither is adequate in the absence of the other. So Sunday morning we lived in the pause as we opened the words of Psalm 34, a psalm of lament, and allowed the writer to lead our hearts toward God.

Our worshipped leader preceded my message, with a song that spoke to and for our thoughts, "Break Every Chain." Read the lyrics and imagine the moment of worship pause that we were experiencing.  

"Break Every Chain"

There is power in the name of Jesus [3x]
to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain. [2x]

[Chorus:]
There is power in the name of Jesus [3x]
to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain. [2x]

There's an army rising up. [3x]
To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain. [2x]

[Chorus:]
There's an army rising up. [3x]
To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain. [2x]

[Vamp:]
I hear the chains falling.

[End:]
There is power in the name of Jesus
to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.

The feel was electrifying as I shared the following insights on "Mending Brokenness."

Embracing Praise as the Path to Healing

vs. 1-4

David is in a time of conflict and must choose how to respond. Denial, anger, resentment, are all likely responses for today. He chooses something different. He chooses praise.

Praise needs to be in my voice. It reflects an understanding that I trust God with my conflict, James 1:2; and I trust God to do something beneficial in my life with my conflict, Hebrews 12:3-11 and Romans 5:3-5.

Praise needs to be part of our congregation. In other words, my response needs to inspire praise in others who believe.

My praise is both an acknowledgement of my suffering and of His ability to help.

Embracing Protection as the Promise to Those Who “respect up”

vs. 5-7

God has a proven track record of being there for His people. He also has a track record of being there again for His people even when they have failed Him. His reappearance should be preceded by penitent hearts, something that is a recurring theme in Judges, and something demonstrated by Nehemiah who returns from captivity to help Israel rebuild their wall.

His protection arrives for the dependent. So, I need to ask myself, “Am I looking to Him for protection?” How can I know? How about listening to the language of my prayers for the answer? Prayer is both the voice of and the betrayal of the intents of the heart.

His protection arrives for the seeking. I may want God’s help, but am I asking for it? Again, I can survey my prayer language to see.

Seeking God’s protection is what believers do. Respect for God’s holiness is what believers offer.

Embracing a Risk Worth Taking

vs. 8-10

Life is filled with risks. They are unavoidable. The Psalmist argues, not for a painless risk or for one that is not difficult, but for one that makes sense. He risks everything on God.

This type of risk is the one played out in the ministry of Jesus as disciples leave all to follow Him.

Embracing an Obedient Heart as the Path to Divine Nearness

vs. 11-18

Our obedience invites God’s presence into our lives. The psalmist illustrates this presence through God’s features: eyes, face, and ears. He is near enough to see every concern and hear every cry of uncertainty. 

It takes faith to believe this when life seems irreparably broken. It takes a faith in an unusual God.

Embracing a Turnaround God.

vs. 8-10

         To believe in this kind of God is to believe in one who cares. One              who is close enough to hear and see.        

         To believe in this kind of God is to believe in one who is able. The            story of the Gospel is about a God who is both willing and able.                Today, in the midst of a broken society where violence, hatred, and          racial strife fill the news, the Gospel offers the permanent solution.            It is the cross of Christ that brings us together in penitence and                reconciliation. It is the cross of Christ that transforms people who              label others, into people who wear a kingdom label. “His, You, Me,            Us.” We bleed the same: His blood.

Comment