May 2019   
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9AM Contemporary Service
Contemporary Service with our Praise band leading the worship, and message delivered by pastor or guset speaker
10AM Sunday School
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Seeing Jesus in Psalm 56 - Responding to Culture

Psalm 56:4 - "In God, whose word I praise, I God I trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can flesh do to me?"

Thanksgiving, a time of celebration.  A time of remembering the goodness of God and for simply being thankful.  That was originally the plan at least way back in 1621 as a small group of settlers and indians gathered to give thanks in what had been deemed, "the New World."  That certainly was Abraham Lincoln's intent when he instituted a national day of thanksgiving in the midst of the Civil War.  It was a reminder that even though we were in war, that God was still in control and that God was still good.
We are 150 years past that declaration of Thanksgiving and almost 400 years past the original Thanksgiving gathering, and this day for being thankful has turned into something else.  On this day we watch parades, we watch football, we eat and eat and eat (to quote my 8 year old son), and we visit family.  Stores have begun to open on this once sacred day so that shoppers might avoid the rush of Black Friday.  Thanksgiving is changing and so is the world that we are living in. You need to look no further than the Thanksgiving parades to see that, or the commercials during the football games, or just drive by your local Wal-Mart or Target store.  Thanksgiving is changing but in reality so is culture.
I watched with horror a few minutes ago as a group of men dressed up like women danced in one of the parades.  Do we really need the children of America seeing that at 9:15 on a Thursday morning?  When the football games start we will be riveted to the action, but then the commercials, many of which will feature scenes of sexual activity, will remind us that things are changing.  Then we will drive home this evening from visiting with friends and relatives and we will drive by stores that used to be closed for a day of family celebrating, which will now be open with full parking lots and ringing cash registers.  The times they are a changing.
The question must be, how do we respond? As followers of Jesus Christ in the midst of a culture that no longer recognizes Him how do we respond?  Do we respond with fear and lament, "oh woe is me, things are terrible."  Of course not but it's tempting to isn't it?  It is tempting to think the world is spinning out of control and that the culture is beyond repair.  Yet we aren't called to respond that way, instead we are called simply to trust.  In the midst of changing culture, in the midst of a culture that is no longer seemingly a "Christian culture", we just simply trust.  In the midst of these difficult days, we just simply continue to trust God and know that "He is working all things together for good."  David did that in Psalm 56, things were hard and difficult for him.  The Philistines had seized him in Gath, things were frightening, and yet he said, "I'm simply going to trust. In God whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can flesh do to me?"  David's situation was very different than our situation today, but he still tells us the antidote to fear, it is to trust God and to realize that God is in control.
We combat fear by standing on the promises of God, by trusting in God's word.  In the New Testament we are told that Jesus in the living word of God.  So we stand on the promises of God, and we cling to the living word of God, Jesus Christ realizing that He has all things under His control.  Even in the middle of changing and hostile culture we trust and we live thankfully.  David says in verse 12, "I must perform my vows to you O God; I will render thank offerings to you.  For you have delivered my soul from death."  God has done the same thing for us hasn't He?  Through the blood of Jesus Christ, through Him being the propitiation for our sins He has delivered our souls from death as well.  In fact He has given us the gift of eternal life.  In response to the goodness of God we trust Him and we thank Him and praise Him.  Our culture has forgotten about God, David reminds us however that we cannot.  Many may want to take "in God we trust" even off of our money, but David reminds us that we should live our lives "in God we trust (v. 4)", trusting Him and living every day for His glory.