The Unofficial Israel Tour – The Western Wall

The Western Wall is famous all over the world. We have all seen the pictures of people praying and inserting written prayers into the wall. However, there is story in the gospels about Jesus’ temptation that also took place at the “highest point of the temple”. Let’s visit the Western Wall.

The Unofficial Israel Tour::The House of Caiphas

Jesus most likely spent his last night in this hole under the house of Caiphas, the high priest. Reading Psalm 88, it’s hard not to see it as a prophecy about Jesus’ experience. That night, as the psalm says, darkness was his only friend.

I sensed this was the week that above all weeks was to be set aside for the journey into death. I knew the worship of the church would take me by the hand and lead me step-by-step into the experience of death and rebirth, if I would allow it to do so. I resolved then and there to walk in the way of the cross. I purposed to make this the week God intended it to be for me, a week of intense spiritual struggle—and reward!

-Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year

A Prayer Experience from Psalm 6

The Lord is merciful.

He is full of unfailing love.

The Lord hears our cries and hears our prayers.

He takes away our sins.

This is a prayer experience for Lent based on Psalm 6.

A Prayer Experience from Psalm 142

I wrote an arrangement of Psalm 142 for my one man musical, DAVID.  The line, “When my spirit grows faint within me / It is you who knows my way” grabbed me. As we continue this season of Lent, I thought this was a good psalm to share.  I recorded it in the desert room of the Botanical Gardens because David wrote it while hiding in a desert cave on the run from Saul.

Worship Stories: Moses

This time of year, we look to the same God as Moses.  The one who said I WILL BE WHO I AM is with you.  The one who said He would be EMMANUEL, is GOD WITH US!  This season, remember that the same God who promised to be faithful to Moses, to Israel, is faithful to you.  He is the the one who lit the bush, the mountain and the Bethlehem night skies on fire and who came as a baby to live with you.

Maybe you’ve seen the various articles going around about the 100th anniversary of WWI?  I’ve looked at various photos of the beautiful, yet abandoned, battlefields, but the most interesting thing I’ve seen is this quote about the religious impact of WWI.  It is from an interview with Philip Jenkins on his new book, “The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade”…

SO HOW DID THE PEACE AFTER WWI IMPACT CHRISTIANS WORLD-WIDE?

Between about 1915 and 1930, we are dealing with perhaps the greatest age of martyrdom and mass killing of Christians in history. That includes perhaps 1.5 million Armenians murdered, not to mention mass slaughter by the Bolsheviks in Russia.

That all had two key consequences. One was the creation of Middle East that was more clearly Islamic, with far smaller Christian minorities.

It also ended the long-familiar tripartite division of Christianity into the worlds of Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox. Although Orthodox believers and thinkers obviously survived, their influence and impact collapsed with the loss of Russia. For the first time, people began to think of Christianity as bipolar—Protestant and Catholic.

*This quote is from this article on the TCG website:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/peace-could-not-hold/

Worship is Hope

Hope isn’t just a concept.  Hope is a person and his name is Jesus.  In a world that can seem very dark and hopeless, we need to remind ourselves and each other about the grace of Jesus.  Worship is one of the places we regularly do that…let’s talk…

Worship is Lament AND Praise

6 years ago, we lost my son. Since then, we’ve been on a journey through lament (expressing our pain to God), mercy, healing, joy and praise. I think this is the process God wants for all of us. As Psalm 126 says, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.”

Also, here is a copy of the “Psalm 142 Spoken Word”:

Psalm 142 Spoken Word

Lord, I am crying aloud to you.

Lord, I am lifting my voice

Because I have no choice,

but to cry for mercy.

I am pouring out my heart,

I am pouring out my trouble,

Amidst the rubble

of confusion and complaint.

Now when my spirit is faint inside of me.

It is you who watches my way

Even when evil tries to lay

A snare for my feet.

There is no friend beside me;

Lord, look and see,
no one is concerned for me.
I have no safety for my soul;

It feels like no one cares for my life.

Lord, I am crying out to you.

Lord, you guard my heart

And I know this is all apart

Of living in your loving life.

So listen to my heart’s cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from fears that feed

On my soul, for they are too strong.

Set me free from my prison of pain,
that I may praise your holy name.

that the righteous who came

to comfort me, will praise You…

Because of your goodness,

Because of your goodness,

Because of your goodness, Jesus,

…to me.