I love the summer! I enjoy the other three seasons, but I have a definite favorite. It is possible that I’m more excited about this summer than I have been in quite a while, at least as far as it relates to my time as Lead Pastor at The Gathering goes. I’m so ready for summer that we’re going to start a little early.
This Sunday, May 1, we’re kicking off our new summer series…
The Psalms are an amazing collection of the most interesting, relevant and Christ-exalting songs ever written. It has been said that it is all of Scripture in one book. James Montgomery Boice, in his 2nd volume of his work on the Psalms, has said of this book:
I have always thought of the psalms as the deepest and most spiritual portion of the Word of God…the psalms touch deeply on the hurts, joys, and spiritual aspirations of God’s people…they never lose their grasp on God or their faith in Him as the great, sovereign, wise, and loving God He is.
Steven Lawson, in his book, Preaching the Psalms, describes this book as having the power to comfort the afflicted, renew the soul, and magnify the Lord. He says, “From the pinnacle of praise to the pit of despair, this book captures the full range of human emotions, “ but most of all, he continues, “the psalms led God’s ancient people in worshiping Him.” (pp. 78-79)
Those are a couple of reasons I am looking forward to this new series. We all have struggles and joy and pain, and successes and the book of Psalms helps us to work through each of these and, ultimately, lead us to the throne of Christ in worship.
To me, summer has always been about taking a little time to relax, maybe travel a bit and take some away from the normal stresses of life, reflecting on what has happened in the year so far, and planning how we’re going to finish it out. That’s what I see this series being about, as well. Taking time out from our normal Sunday morning series to look at these reflections of the heart as the writers plumb the depths of their emotions as they deal with all the stresses of life and finding their way to the foot of the throne of God. That’s something that I think we all need to experience!
Another reason I have chosen to spend the summer in the Psalms is that this is the season of vacations. Everybody is on the go (as, to some extent, it should be). When the kids are out of school, that time with family should be taken advantage of if there is an opportunity to travel together. That doesn’t mean we take the summer off from gathering together as a church family, but it does take into account that some time out of town inevitably happens.
Because the Psalms can be looked at as individual units, this will be an expositional series where you won’t be lost if you miss a week. I wanted to continue walking straight through a book, but one that isn’t dependent upon the last weeks message. Psalms gives us that best of both worlds approach.
Finally, I decided to tackle this admittedly challenging book this summer because it seems everything I’ve been involved in over the last couple of months has been pushing me in this direction. For a long time, I sort of avoided the Psalms because of the sheer volume of Psalms to cover–I’m not sure we’re ready for a 150-week series! Actually, it would be even longer because there’s no way we’re covering Psalm 119 in a week! Now, I think we’re ready. So, the plan is to begin working through it this summer and, if the Lord directs, we may pick it back up where we leave off next summer and on and on. The prospect of an ongoing summer series in the Psalms is pretty exciting to me and I hope it excites you, as well.
So, take a week or two to enjoy sitting under the palms, if you get the chance, but make sure you commit the rest of the summer to sitting under the Psalms!