2020-01-08 The Psalms: Conversations with God
SMALL GROUP MATERIAL
1. What stood out to you tonight in the message? Why do you think that was
especially a highlight for you?
2. Which best describes your predominant feelings toward God right now:
A. complete adoration and praise
B. epic drama
C. wonder and confusion at God’s love for me
D. anger and angst toward other people (and also toward God)
3.Read Psalm 1: What does it tell you about you? What does it tell you about God?
4. Where are you and God on a scale of 1-10 at the moment? (1 being non-existent relationship – 10 being FIRE, SO AWESOME)
5. Where do you want to be at the end of 2020? (1-10)
6. How are you gonna get there?
INTRODUCTION – THE PSALMS: Conversations with God
WHAT’S THE MAIN POINT?
In a society that engages in great denial and grows numb by avoidance and denial, it is important to recover and use these psalms that speak the truth about us, and about God’s engagement with us and with the world. ~ Brueggemann, Spirituality of the Psalms.
What if you truly believed that this big book had something to offer you where you are right now in your faith? What if you truly believed you were capable of understanding why it was written and why it’s important to you? And what if there is an entire book in the Bible, a big one even, devoted to singing songs about how people, just like you, feel about God. This book of the Bible isn’t necessarily trying to tell you how to live, or what rules God wants you to follow, or what sorts of wisdom Jesus has to teach you. These are simply honest songs put out there to share someone’s joy and frustration, pain and love, toward God.
WORD UP: Psalm 1
The Psalms were the worship songs of the people of Israel in the Old Testament times – think Bethel or Hillsong 2000 years ago. But the Psalms have also been the prayers of Jewish and Christian believers throughout history. These are prayers that express every human emotion – hope, fear, confusion, anger, wonder and love – and that speak not only our words to God but the words of God to us.
Psalm 1 is an introduction to the whole book, giving us a picture of how we are to approach Scripture by giving us two contrasting pictures – a blessed person and a wicked person – and it tells us how to cultivate a blessed life.
If we ‘delight’ in God’s Word, we grow roots that will last a lifetime and make our faith stand strong, even in times of drought. What does it mean to delight in God’s Word? It means reading, studying, meditating (= thinking about it) and then applying it. How do you score on these four and what could you do to grow in this area? How strong are your roots right now? And what does it mean to bear fruit? This is mostly about character, a godly character that will be blessed by God.
Here are a few options to help youth wake up to idea of the devotional you are
- Christy Nockels’ song “For Your Splendor” gives a powerful image of a rooted tree https://youtu.be/DC_QCKCuAM8 (lyrics only, not a video)
- The Bible Project explains the Book of Psalms https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9phNEaPrv8
WHY DO I CARE?
Scripture can seem inaccessible, removed, or irrelevant sometimes. But the Psalms, and their honest expression of emotions, transcend time. We can pray the very same prayers that the psalmists prayed because they are raw, honest, human prayers. Excited about your faith? There’s a psalm for you. Confused about why terrible things happen to good people? There’s a psalm for you. Have you ever been overcome with awe while looking at the stars or a beautiful mountain range? There’s a psalm for you. Have you ever been so angry and mistreated that you weren’t even sure that God existed? Yep, there’s even a psalm for you.
WHAT DO I DO?
- Identify where I’m at right now. Am I in a place of…
Complete adoration and praise for God?
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. (Psalm 148: 1-4)
Epic drama and exaggeration?
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. (Psalm 22: 14)
Wonder and confusion at God’s love for me?
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way? (Psalm 8: 3-4. The Message)
Complete angst or anger toward people who are jerks?
My God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for people who are wicked and deceitful have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. (Psalm 109: 1-3)
- Read through Psalm 1 and picture a big, beautiful, lush tree planted by a river
- Bring myself before Jesus and commit to reading, studying, meditating (thinking about it) and then applying the Psalms over the next three weeks
- Verses to cross-reference:
- Psalm 119 (delighting in the law of the Lord(
- Galatians 5:22-3 (fruit of the Spirit)
- Deuteronomy 30:11-19 (I set before you, life or death…choose life!)
- Calm Psalms – Fleeting.mp4
Ideas for Corporate Worship time…
- Calm Psalms – Fleeting
- Worship Songs – Psalm 40 (Lament), Goodness of God