FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Abide With Me
Abide with me;
falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens;
Lord with me abide.
When other helpers,
fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless,
abide with me.
I need Thy presence,
every passing hour.
What but Thy grace,
can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself,
my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine,
abide with me.
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
The Sunday Recap is a brief fly-by of what we did during Sunday worship. Did anything land with you from worship on Sunday? What did it make you think? How did it make you feel? What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word? What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?
Food For Thought!
“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” – C.S. Lewis
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” – St. Augustine
Confession of Sin:
Prayer of Confession
Father, we confess before you that we have sinned in the things we think about and in the things we choose to forget that are important to you. We’ve sinned in the words we’ve said to others, and the things we’ve left unsaid. We’ve sinned in things we’ve done to our co-workers, our family, our friends, and those you’ve placed in our path each day, and we’ve neglected to do things you command us to do out of our love for you and our neighbor. Have mercy on us though we are undeserving. Blot out our sins from your remembrance and look upon us as those who are clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ. Stir up our hearts to more fully believe that Christ died for us, rose for us, and will come again from heaven for us. It’s in Christ’s name that we pray.
Words of Grace
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1646)
Q. 27. Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?
A. Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death on the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.
[T]hough [Jesus] was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Sermon Text: Psalm 91
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge —
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
1. Dangers that we run from
2. Dangers that we run to
3. God's refuge in Christ
4. God's cross-shaped shelter
This past Sunday we had Adam Venable, RUF at UAB, preaching for us. He preached from Psalm 91. His sermon summary is below...
Psalm 91 is God's encouragement to find our true refuge in Him and Him alone. Because we either despair amidst danger - running to some escape - or we falsely assume that being a good person can help us amidst danger, God reminds us that we must take shelter in His faithfulness in Christ. Every human being because of sin assumes that God hurts us when we do evil and rewards us when we do good. However, this is a man-made image of God, a fantasy. The Bible teaches that all humanity deserves the arrows that fly by day and terror of the night.
God's good news for us is that he has promised that our refuge and shelter is as strong as the eternal nature of God himself. His faithfulness is our shield and buckler. The Son of the Most High was the only one worthy to enter the shelter of God, but Jesus Christ entered that shelter for us. Now, God promises that Christ is able to give refuge to anyone who comes to God through His perfect Son, our sacrifice. God's love for us is poured out for us in the shelter of His Son Jesus Christ.
Finally, because our refuge is in the resurrected Christ who was crucified, God does say we should expect continual pestilence that stalks in the darkness and destruction that wastes at noon day as long as we journey through this life. However, this should not discourage us. Suffering with Christ, carrying about the death of Jesus in our bodies is God's anchor so that we do not fear amidst all these dangers. Rather, God promises that these terrors are a part of our salvation in the one who experienced the terror of the cross before the glory of the resurrection. Our crucified savior, this is our sure and true refuge.
- What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
- What questions does this passage raise for you?
- Was there anything that bothered you?
- What dangers do you run from or run toward?
- How do you need God to be a refuge for you?
- How has God provided the refuge you need in the gospel?
Suggested Resources & The Week Ahead
Yesterday I attended an informal meeting on racial reconciliation with other ministers in Evangel Presbytery (the regional body of PCA churches in central Alabama). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ongoing discussions within the PCA on racism and racial reconciliation with a view to confessing and repenting as a denomination our past failures to stand up to racism and injustice in our churches and communities. This issue will come up again this year at the General Assembly (GA) of the PCA in Mobile, AL. I won't bore you with details, but one of the ways the GA will discuss and act on this issue is through "overtures." I thought you might be interested to take a look at a couple of the overtures that have already been submitted. Overture 1. Overture 4. Here is a list of all the overtures covering a variety of topics. As I am sure you will immediately notice, these overtures are awkward to read given there format. Therefore, a significant aspect of the meeting I attended yesterday revolved around an effort to write a brief pastoral letter addressing the history of the PCA and race in light of the gospel, including confession and repentance for past failures to call sin, sin. The goal is to write a letter that even our children could understand and our churches could benefit from. If you think to please pray for this effort over the coming weeks.
Songs for this week:
We Love Thy Holy Name
Jesus Cast A Look On Me
Christ The Solid Rock
There's A Wideness
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
Until next time,
Abide With Me
I fear no foe,
with Thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight,
tears lose their bitterness
Where is thy sting death?
Where grave thy victory?
I triumph still, abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross,
before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom,
and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks,
and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, Lord,
abide with me.