2016 Summer Series at The Gathering

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…

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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!

Making a Move to the HCSB

I usually don’t have a problem with change.  If something isn’t working right, I’m almost always open (if not leading the charge) towards finding a better method.  When something is broken, it’s a no-brainer.  Find a solution and fix it.  The greater challenge is when something isn’t necessarily broken, it’s just not as effective as it could be.  That’s when it’s harder to make a change and resistance is strongest.

In the early days of replanting the church that became known as The Gathering, we had to make some drastic changes just to remain viable.  Many of those changes were unwelcome by many who were here at the time and I understand why.  It was painful for all involved, including myself.  Other changes were more incremental.  They were things that needed to be fixed eventually, but could wait until we could adjust to the aforementioned hard-turns in direction.  Still, never quite easy.  Then come the tweaks.  These are things that aren’t essential, but advantageous.

Tweaks are made almost constantly.  Not a day goes by that I don’t analyze how things are going and ask whether or not they can be improved upon.  Usually, they can be and, when appropriate, our leadership starts the process of discussing how that might happen.

imageOne of those relatively minor tweaks was introduced this past Sunday at The Gathering.  For many years now, I have used the English Standard Version as the primary translation when I preach and teach.  However, over the last several months, I have referenced the Holman Christian Standard version more and more and have become a convert.  Due to a combination of its readability along with being a suberb translation, I have decided our congregation will benefit by the HCSB becoming the primary translation from which I preach.

There are many great arguments for making a change that my friend, Robby Gallaty, has written about in the past.  Rather than reinventing the wheel, I will simply point you to his excellent post here.  I know that for some, change is hard no matter how seemingly minute it is, so if you are a Gathering member who is as much of an ESV-only person as the folks who hold to the KJV only, I hope you will give the HCSB a chance.  I think you will like this little tweak.

Video: Relentless, Part 5. David Price at The Gathering, Chattanooga

Relentless, Part 5: Torn from The Gathering on Vimeo.

This is the 5th installment of a series on the book of Hosea entitled “Relentless” at The Gathering in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In this message, Pastor David looks at Hosea, chapter 6 and discusses how God will tear us and break us for the purpose of ultimately healing us. To those who have trusted in Christ and have been adopted by the Father, God will bring anything He deems necessary to purge us of the false idols and sources of hope and joy that cannot deliver. What is our response to be? Listen as your are encouraged to commit yourself to knowing God more fully and building a steadfast love for Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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