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November 3rd, 2021

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June 9th, 2021

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Physician, Heal Thyself

November 23rd, 2021

Physician, Heal Thyself

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Wisdom; Take Counsel / Acts 21:1–14

Sometimes we focus so hard trying to impart wisdom and character to others, we neglect to take our own advice. Tonight’s lesson is about not only the wisdom to give good counsel, but wisdom to listen to the counsel of others.

It is important for the servant of God not only to teach and lead, but also to learn and follow from time to time. Through out several cities Paul had been warned of impending doom in Jerusalem. He was bracing himself for the worse. Tonight we will see that he was told clearly that he should not go to Jerusalem at all. We will see that his burden for Jewish people caused him to disobey God’s direct leading.

Paul was warned directly and specifically not to go to Jerusalem.

Acts 21:1–6 KJV

And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: 

And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. 

Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. 

And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. 

And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. 

And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.

Paul knew of the coming bonds in Jerusalem.

Acts 20:23 KJV

Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

The Holy Spirit specifically forbid Paul to go to Jerusalem. (verse 4)

Acts 21:4 KJV

And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

Acts 16:6–7 KJV

Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 

After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

Revelation 3:7 KJV

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

Paul encouraged the saints on his way to Jerusalem.

Acts 21:7–9 KJV

And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day. 

And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. 

And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

 A. In Ptolemais

 B. In Caesarea at Philip’s house

  1. His daughters prophesied

  2. His daughters did not teach Paul directly, even though God had many messages to give Paul regarding Jerusalem.

1 Timothy 2:11–12 KJV

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Paul was warned by the prophet, Agabus

Acts 21:10–14 KJV

And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 

And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. 

And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 

Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. 

And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

Agabus had been used back before Paul had become a missionary.

Acts 11:28 KJV

And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

Agabus illustrated Paul’s coming bondage.

All the saints tried to persuade Paul to change his mind.

Hebrews 10:24 KJV

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Proverbs 11:14 KJV

Where no counsel is, the people fall: But in the multitude of counsellers there is safety.

Proverbs 15:22 KJV

Without counsel purposes are disappointed: But in the multitude of counsellers they are established.

Proverbs 24:6 KJV

For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: And in multitude of counsellers there is safety.


Sometimes we can find ourselves thinking and behaving like the Apostle Paul did in our passage tonight. We can have a good burden, and a passionate zeal for something. God may try to re-direct our efforts, but we could be so focused upon our own burden and idea that we do not follow the direct leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads through personal direction, through pastoral counsel, and through the counsel of wise peers. When all of those sources of wisdom seem to be saying the same thing, one should take a second look at what he plans to do, and allow himself to be taught by God’s leading. These are the lessons we can learn so we do not hear the rebuke, physician heal thyself.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:09 AM November 23, 2021.

The Shout of Praise

November 17th, 2021

The Shout of Praise

Pastor Don Carpenter

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship

Pastor Darren Whitehead tells the following story:

Brandy and I started our family in the shadow of the windy city, and though it was a great place and we were part of an amazing church, over time, we felt God calling us to contend for the future of the American church. We felt led to give the next several decades of our lives to the next generation, to plant a new church in a new city. Which city? That minor detail wasn’t quite so clear.

During a time of family prayer, I told our daughters we were considering leaving Chicago to plant a church. They asked the normal questions: Where? When? We told them we didn’t know, but we declared our trust in God. We’d go wherever he sent us. And in the meantime, as crazy as it all seemed, we’d praise him for what he’d do.

Weeks later, we put our house on the market. Our neighbors asked the same questions: Where are you moving? When? I didn’t know, I told them, but we were sure God would lead us. And in the meantime, we’d praise him.

We sold the house within months, and as the moving company loaded our boxes, they asked where we were moving. I told them, too, that I didn’t know.

Honestly, I felt like a madman, unsure where this trust in God would take us. Brandy and I were stepping out, declaring our faith in both our actions and words, and we were giving our children a front row seat to the madness.

Ultimately, God made his plan for our family clear, and we moved to Nashville, Tennessee. We learned that Nashville is home to more than one hundred thousand college students with 60 percent choosing to stay in the area after graduation.

Our children joined us in this journey of uncertainty and faith. They’ve seen how God led and provided for us, how he’s done so many miraculous things in our lives. They’ve seen how we’ve raised a shout of praise for everything he’s done. And it’s my hope that when they’re adults, when they’re making their own decisions, they’ll remember those shouts of praise. It’s my hope that when culture shouts at them, when it asks them to reject their faith and to conform, they’ll drown out those siren songs with their own declarations of faith, trust, and praise. It’s my hope that they’ll raise a shâbach.

 Shâbach, our final Hebrew word of praise, means to address in a loud tone, to shout, to commend, to glory, or to declare triumph. Quite literally, it means to raise a holy roar. The word is used sparsely in the Old Testament, a mere eleven times, but each time, it has powerful effect. 

Shout In Spite of Circumstances

 Psalm 63:1–4 (KJV)

 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: My soul thirsteth for thee, My flesh longeth for thee In a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 

 To see thy power and thy glory, So as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 

 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise thee. 

 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

 Psalm 106:47 (KJV)

 Save us, O LORD our God, And gather us from among the heathen, To give thanks unto thy holy name, And to triumph in thy praise.

Psalm 71:23 KJV

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; And my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

Shout Among the Nations

Psalm 117:1–2 KJV

O praise the LORD, all ye nations: Praise him, all ye people. 

For his merciful kindness is great toward us: And the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

This shout of praise, this shâbach, is not simply a personal declaration though. The shortest psalm, Psalm 117, calls all nations to raise a holy roar.

The most vivid “cultural shâbach” that I have ever seen happened recently. It was a gathering of more than five million people. It was reported as the seventh largest gathering in human history. At one point, that crowd gave a full-bodied, full-volume shout at the top of their lungs. It was a thunderous sonic boom. It was a unified colossal roar.

The location? Hutchinson Field in Grant Park in downtown Chicago. The occasion? The Chicago Cubs winning the Major League Baseball World Series.

As a former resident of Chicago, I can appreciate how Cubs fans have lamented 108 years without a World Series victory. Entire generations of Chicagoans have been born, grown up next to Wrigley Field, lived long lives, and died without ever seeing the Cubs win it all. This was a shout that represented a century of pent-up anticipation and disappointment.

This corporate celebration, this shout, gives us the clearest image of shâbach. Every time we gather with God’s people to praise him, one voice unites with another. Songs become anthems. Anthems become declarations. Declarations become a holy roar.

Psalm 98:4 KJV

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: Make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

Psalm 66:1–2 KJV

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: 

Sing forth the honour of his name: Make his praise glorious.

Shout From One Generation to the Next

 Psalm 145:4 (KJV)

 One generation shall praise thy works to another, And shall declare thy mighty acts.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

The holy roar of praise is not self-contained, not just for a particular people in a particular space. It’s not praise for the purpose of pumping up the present crowd. It’s for the purpose of passing on the faith from one generation to the next. The next generation, the future church, is waiting for the sound of shâbach.

The shout of praise needs your voice. Join the holy roar.

 Psalm 147:11–14 (KJV)

 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, In those that hope in his mercy. 

 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; Praise thy God, O Zion. 

 For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; He hath blessed thy children within thee. 

 He maketh peace in thy borders, And filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

Praise Was Not Optional For David – We Should Follow His Passion.

Psalm 119:164 KJV

Seven times a day do I praise thee Because of thy righteous judgments.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship Conclusion: The Practice of Praise

No matter where he was, who he was with, or what he had to do, he made space to praise God. And if David were to walk into your modern life, if he were to visit you in the coffee shop, or climb into your cherry-red Mazda RX-7, what would you observe about his praise practices? You might note how he’d stop midconversation and ask for a moment to offer praise to God. He might fall on his knees, or raise his hand, or shout right there in the coffee shop: “God, you are so good!” It wouldn’t be a onetime practice. Seven times a day you’d experience this kind of interruption from David. He’d ask you to pull over so he could kneel on the side of the road. He’d ask you to drive him to the church building so he could offer some new song of praise. Your friends might look at him as if he were crazy, might ask you why your friend David was always dancing or kneeling or shouting or singing in praise. You’d shrug your shoulders and look to him. He’d just laugh and say, “You think this is abnormal? ‘I will become even more undignified than this because of what God has done for me. He’s set me free!” (see 2 Samuel 6:22). 

David, the king of all of Israel, the great unifier of the people—we could all learn so much from his indignities.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship Conclusion: The Practice of Praise

The seven Hebrew words of praise—yâdâh, hâlal, zâmar, tôwdâh, bârak, tehillâh, and shâbach—have changed the way I enter God’s courts. In them, I’ve found complete freedom to express my praise to God. My guess is, if you explore the depths of these words, if you take them to heart, you’ll find that freedom too, and you’ll become a living expression of praise. 

Come with us on this unifying journey of praise.

Join the shâbach of God’s people.

Become a part of the holy roar.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:30 PM November 17, 2021.

Divine Intervention

November 16th, 2021

Divine Intervention

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Acts 12:1–5


A miracle is a divine intervention into, or interruption of, the regular course of the world that produces a purposeful but unusual event that would not have occurred otherwise(Geisler).

Scholar, William Lane Craig gives us an even more simple definition:

A miracle is an event which is not producible by the natural causes that are operative at the time and place that the event occurs.

SOURCE: Norman Geisler and Ron Brooks, When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1990), 79. Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 2000), 62


Tonight we are going to take a simple look at the concept of Divine Intervention. When God gets involved, often the natural course of events change abruptly. God intervenes and the entire universe must bend to His will.

God Gets Involved When The Church Prays

Things Looked Bad For Peter

Acts 12:1–4 KJV

Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 

And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 

And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 

And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.


 Acts 12:5 (KJV)

 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

Deliverance Came

Acts 12:6–12 KJV

And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. 

And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. 

And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. 

And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. 

When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. 

And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. 

And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

Matthew 18:19 KJV

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

God Gets Involved When His People Pray

Dorcas Died

Acts 9:36–40 KJV

Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 

And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 

And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. 

Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. 

But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.


Acts 9:40–41 KJV

But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 

And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.

Prayer Is Available For All Believers

James 5:16–18 KJV

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 

Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 

And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

God Gets Involved When His Son Prays

Satan Desired To Destroy Peter

Luke 22:31 KJV

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:


 Luke 22:32 (KJV)

 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

John 17:9–11 KJV

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 

And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Jesus Prayed For You Too!

John 17:15–21 KJV

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 

As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 

And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

This week when the course of events seem to be headed in a perilous direction, remember that all of creation must comply to the will of God. Drop to your knees, tell daddy what is going on and your story too will change with the narrative, but prayer was made!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:22 PM November 16, 2021.

Sunday’s Coming! See You in Church!

November 11th, 2021

S.M Lockridge preached the message, “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming! Whatever you have been experiencing this week, Sunday’s coming. Lay your trials, and pressures at the feet of Jesus and worship Him with us. God loves you more than you can ever imagine! Will you join us in celebrating that love Sunday at 11 AM? Call 860-496-8022 for more information.

The Position of Praise

November 11th, 2021

The Position of Praise

Pastor Don Carpenter

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship

Pastor Whitehead tells the following story:

Years ago, I received a phone call while driving to church. It was from an unknown number, and the voice on the other side of the line told me Rickey, a student from my days of youth pastoring, had been in a serious motorcycle accident in Franklin. He was in a coma, the voice said, and had been life-flighted to Vanderbilt Hospital. I was living in Chicago at the time, but Rickey was one of those special kids, one for whom I had deep affection. So I dropped everything and made my way to Nashville.

After a whirlwind flight, I made my way to the hospital. There, I saw Rickey lying in his bed, near lifeless. He’d been married the year before, and his wife was in the room, desperate. The doctors had told us that it would be critical to see some improvement in Rickey’s condition in the first twenty-four hours, so we made his hospital room a place of prayer. We begged. We pleaded. We cried out to God.

Despite our prayers, no change occurred. A day passed, then another. A third day, a fourth day, a fifth. Just before I was scheduled to return to Chicago, a doctor came, telling us that the chances of his survival were incredibly remote, and that with every passing moment, the likelihood of his death increased exponentially.

The doctor left the room, and a nurse came in. She looked at Rickey’s wife and said, “In situations like this, hard decisions need to be made. Sometimes it helps to talk those decisions out. I’ve been sent to have that conversation with you.” Rickey’s wife collapsed on the spot, sobbing uncontrollably. 

When it came time for me to leave, Rickey’s wife hadn’t yet made any decisions. I hugged her, gathered my things, and made my way back to Chicago. I was not hopeful.

The next Sunday, back in Chicago, I was driving to church and talking on the phone with my best mate of more than twenty years, Jon Tyson. Jon, also a pastor, had virtually raised Rickey after his dad had died when he was young. With devastated hearts, we started discussing the logistics of the impending funeral service. We talked about who would officiate it. Jon said, “I don’t know if I could get through it. He was like a son to me.” We sat with the weight of that statement for a few seconds until he broke the silence.

“Hold on. I’m getting another call.”

While he tended to business on his other line, I waited, heavyhearted. How could this thing happen to Rickey? How could I worship God in the heaviness of everything?

After a few moments, the phone silence was broken by Jon’s voice. “Rickey just woke up,” he said, and we both burst into tears.

I walked into the church, through the lobby, and into the main auditorium. There, Brandy and I entered with such gratitude, such praise. And as the music began, I looked at Brandy, now on her knees, arms outstretched, thanking God for the miracle he’d done. In that moment, I joined her, and together we wept in joy as we fixed our eyes on the Giver of life. 

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

The fifth word commonly translated as praise, the word bârak, is a word of humility. Bârak embodies the notion of kneeling before God, of blessing and adoring him, of recognizing one’s position in relation to him. It’s a word used 289 times in the psalms, and on each occurrence, it’s used to describe worshippers falling on their faces before God in reverence, adoration, and thanks. 

Scholars of the ancient Hebrew provide additional insights into the word bârak. They believe that in the original context, the term did not simply mean bowing down. Instead, it carried the connotation of bending low while keeping one’s eyes fixed on the king. To bârak is to be transfixed.


As we continue to expand our understanding of Praise and Worship by examining the 7 Hebrew words used for Praise, today we focus on BARAK.. a position of humility and dependence. Let us discover our need to fall on our face with our gaze to the heavens… a position of praise.

The Most Powerful Men Must Fall Down Before Him.

Psalm 72:11 KJV

Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: All nations shall serve him.

 Psalm 72:15 (KJV)

 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: Prayer also shall be made for him continually; And daily shall he be praised.

 2 Chronicles 6:12–15 (KJV)

 And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands: 

 For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven, 

 And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts: 

 Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.

All Things Must Fall Down Before Him

All of Creation Must Fall Down Before Him

Psalm 95:6 KJV

O come, let us worship and bow down: Let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

 Psalm 103:1–2 (KJV)

 Bless the LORD, O my soul: And all that is within me, bless his holy name. 

 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all his benefits:

 Psalm 103:20–22 (KJV)

 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, That excel in strength, that do his commandments, Hearkening unto the voice of his word. 

 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; Ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 

 Bless the LORD, all his works In all places of his dominion: Bless the LORD, O my soul.

Even Unbelievers Will One Day Fall Down and Worship

Romans 14:11 KJV

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Philippians 2:9–11 KJV

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We Fall Down When Seeking the Presence of God.

When Facing a Trial

 Daniel 6:10 (KJV)

 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

When Confessing

Ezra 9:5–6 KJV

And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, 

And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.

Because of Our Boldness to Enter His Presence

Ephesians 3:12–14 KJV

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 

Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

When Experiencing God’s Presence

 Psalm 100:4 (KJV)

 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Ezekiel 3:22–23 KJV

And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee. 

Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face.

Revelation 7:9–12 KJV

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 

And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 

And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 

Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Chris Tomlin recounts the following:

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

It was the late 1990s, a time when the modern praise and worship movement was just taking hold. I’d traveled throughout college leading worship for youth retreats and church camps, and the summer after my senior year, I’d booked twelve camps in twelve weeks. One of those camps featured a dynamic young speaker from Atlanta. 

These were the days before Louie and I were close friends, before our ministries had become so intertwined, and as I listened to him preach night after night, I was taken by the way he brought the scriptures to life. Midway through the camp, he asked the students to turn to Revelation 4, and as he read the scriptures, he brought us to the throne room of God. He showed us Christ, seated at the right hand of God, showed how people of every tongue, tribe, and nation came before that throne and presented their crowns, their accomplishments, to the King of the universe. And this, he said, wasn’t just some event that would happen in the future. This casting down of crowns happened day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. It was a present reality. One day, he said, it would be our turn to cast down our crowns.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

I often wonder how our church gatherings might feel if, Sunday after Sunday, we came with the eyes of our souls transfixed on the King. Would we complain about the music, about the song selection, about the volume? If we were bowed down, eyes on the King, would we care? 

At Church of the City, we’ve done our best to incorporate the notion of bârak, of keeping our eyes turned to Jesus in worship. When debriefing a church service over lunch, often we ask the question, “How was the worship?” We encourage people to respond with “That’s the wrong question!” The better questions are “How was your worship?” and “How was my worship?” It’s a question of self-examination, a reminder that when we come into the presence of God together, our sole focus should be on the King.

If we’ve experienced the goodness of God, if we’ve seen him at work in our lives, in the lives of our friends, in the life of our church, how can we not bârak? How can we not fall to our knees in gratitude with our eyes fixed on him?

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:19 PM November 11, 2021.

Meekness Personified

November 10th, 2021

Meekness Personified

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge

A large group of European pastors came to one of D. L. Moody’s Northfield Bible Conferences in Massachusetts in the late 1800s. Following the European custom of the time, each guest put his shoes outside his room to be cleaned by the hall servants overnight. But of course this was America and there were no hall servants.

Walking the dormitory halls that night, Moody saw the shoes and determined not to embarrass his brothers. He mentioned the need to some ministerial students who were there, but met with only silence or pious excuses. Moody returned to the dorm, gathered up the shoes, and, alone in his room, the world’s only famous evangelist began to clean and polish the shoes. Only the unexpected arrival of a friend in the midst of the work revealed the secret.

When the foreign visitors opened their doors the next morning, their shoes were shined. They never knew by whom. Moody told no one, but his friend told a few people, and during the rest of the conference, different men volunteered to shine the shoes in secret. Perhaps the episode is a vital insight into why God used D. L. Moody as He did. He was a man with a servant’s heart and that was the basis of his true greatness.”

(Gary Inrig, A Call to Excellence, (Victor Books, a division of SP Publishing, Wheaton, Ill; 1985), p. 98.

From a sermon by Eric Lenhart, Are Your Feet Dirty? 8/12/2010)

One of the reasons I believe that God used D.L. Moody in a mighty way was not only because he could preach but also that he understood Christlike meekness. His story reminds us of the one we just read where Jesus washed the disciple’s feet.  The Bible tells us that Jesus is the living demonstration of the character of God, and the character we are to emulate.

John 1:14 KJV

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Matthew 11:29 KJV

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Albert Barnes gives us the following insight on understanding meekness:

“Meekness is patience in the reception of injuries. It is neither meanness nor a surrender of our rights, nor cowardice; but it is the opposite of sudden anger, of malice, of long-harboured vengeance.”

“Meekness is the reception of injuries with a belief that God will vindicate us. “Vengeance is his; he will repay,” Ro. 12:19. It little becomes us to take his place, and to do what he has promised to do.

Meekness produces peace. It is proof of true greatness of soul. It comes from a heart too great to be moved by little insults. It looks upon those who offer them with pity. He that is constantly ruffled; that suffers every little insult or injury to throw him off his guard and to raise a storm of passion within, is at the mercy of every mortal that chooses to disturb him. He is like “the troubled sea that cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.”

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: Matthew & Mark, ed. Robert Frew (London: Blackie & Son, 1884–1885), 44.

While it may take some work to dig into the meaning of “meek and lowly in heart”, our story before us this evening gives us a living breathing example of what Grace living looks like. Let us get ready to renew our minds as we discover together the picture Christ gave of meekness personified.

Jesus Knew

That His Hour Was Come

John 13:1 KJV

Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

Who He Was in God – No Identity Crisis

John 13:3 KJV

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

John 13:13 KJV

Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

Who Would Do What to Him

John 13:37–38 KJV

Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. 

Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

John 20:24–25 KJV

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 

The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

John 13:2 KJV

And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;

John 13:11 KJV

For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

John 13:26–27 KJV

Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 

And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

If Jesus knew the grievances committed against Him, yet showed love and grace in humility, all our excuses for withholding grace and kindness are gone. This should affect how we treat:

 • Our cut throat coworker

 • The bully in our life

 • Those whose lifestyle is opposite your own

 • LGBTQ community that may visit our church.

Jesus Loved

 John 13:1 (KJV)

 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

The Sheep

John 10:11–14 KJV

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 

But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 

The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

The Lost

Luke 19:10 KJV

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

So he used this act of Grace to teach the sheep and to perform one more little act of kindness before Judas was sentenced to Hell for eternity.

Jesus Demonstrated

Matthew 11:29 KJV

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

The Look of a Servant

John 13:4 KJV

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

his outer clothing First-century Jews typically wore two layers—an outside robe and an inside robe against their skin. Here, Jesus takes off his outside robe either because He doesn’t want to get it wet or, more likely, to demonstrate His vulnerability to His disciples, which suggests that love requires a person to be vulnerable. Jesus then ties a towel around his waist, likely to use if for wiping the disciples’ feet.1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Jn 13:4.

The Action of a Servant

John 13:5 KJV

After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

wash the feet This is an act that only slaves performed. When the master of a wealthy household returned from a journey or, at times, a day of labor, a slave would wash his feet. People wore open-toed sandals in the first century, which would have made this an unpleasant task.1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Jn 13:5

The Identity of a Servant

John 13:12–13 KJV

So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 

Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

Philippians 2:7 KJV

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Jesus Taught

John 13:15 KJV

For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

By Example

John 13:15 KJV

For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

1 John 2:6 KJV

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Philippians 2:5 KJV

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

By Word

John 13:12 KJV

So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

1 Peter 5:5 KJV

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

By Position

John 13:16 KJV

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

Luke 6:40 KJV

The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.


The moment our eyes met

I knew this was the night that I would betray him The precious Lamb of God

No other disciple was aware if my plan

Til He rose from the table with something in His hand

His holy eyes pierced through me

Revealing all my sin

I knew His wrath was coming

And this would be the end

But He bowed and He washed my feet knowing that I was the cause of His grief

When He should have scolded

He whispered peace

As He bowed and He bowed and He washed my feet

Judas would fail Him But he’s no worse than I

The moment I gave into satan’s compromise

Ungrateful that Jesus had saved me from hell

I was walking so proudly and that’s when I fell

His holy eyes pierced through me

Revealing all my sin

I knew His wrath was coming

And this would be the end

But He bowed and He washed my feet knowing that I was the cause of His grief

When He should have scolded

He whispered peace

As He bowed

The king bowed

Jesus washed my feet

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:44 PM November 10, 2021.

Jesus washed Judas’ feet too!

November 9th, 2021

Join us Wednesday Night at 7 For Bible Study and prayer meeting. We will be studying the incredible love on display in John 13:1-16. This soul stirring message might just change your perspective on some things.

Expectation of Praise

November 4th, 2021

The Expectation of Praise

Pastor Don Carpenter

Based on:

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

Darren Whitehead and Chris Tomlin

 Psalm 56:11–12 (KJV)

 In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid What man can do unto me. 

 Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.

Tôwdâh, to-daw´: An extension of the hand. Thanksgiving. A confession. A sacrifice of praise. Thanksgiving for things not yet received. A choir of worshippers.

Pastor David Whitehead tells the following story in the book Holy Roar:

 A few years ago, I was invited to speak at Salem Baptist Church, the largest African-American church in Chicagoland. The church boasts twenty thousand members and is pastored by Reverend James Meeks. They meet in Chicago’s South Side, an area with a high concentration of crime. It’s an area known for its violence and gangs, and shootings taking place in the neighborhoods around the church often make their way into national headlines.I was nervous about visiting Salem Baptist Church. First, I’d never preached at a predominately black church. Perhaps more daunting, though, was the task of preaching in a community surrounded by such spiritual resistance. I thought the church must feel that resistance, that they must be weighed down by all the violence. I wondered if the tension would be palpable.I sat on the front row on the Sunday morning I was scheduled to preach, and I waited for the service to begin. The choir filed in, and even before they took the stage, they began belting out their song.“The Lord made a way when there was no way,” they sang.“Rise up, church!”“God is not done yet.”“My Deliverer is coming.”They continued to their places, singing over the church, asking them to rise up in song with them.

 The choir continued lifting praise for what seemed like an hour. They declared that their story, the story of the community, was not over yet, that they would rise up and stand in faith. They declared that they would hold to that faith, the faith that the Lord would come through. They sang for things they hadn’t yet experienced, the coming of peace and perfect freedom. They didn’t hold back. It was, maybe, the most stirring worship experience I’d ever had, and as I listened to those songs I was overtaken. I began to sing with them; and as if swept into the current of their praise, I sensed the outpouring of fresh faith filling the room, filling me.It came time for me to preach, and I didn’t walk to the pulpit; I floated up to it. There was something about this congregation’s declaration of faith. I sensed their strength. Despite all the darkness in their community, all the violence and gang activity, they would not back down. They rejoiced in the light of God, holding to his promises in expectation that he would move. In that expectation, God saw fit to pour out his blessing, his presence. He inhabited that room.This was my most vivid recollection of experiencing the power of expectant praise. This was an experience of tôwdâh.  Tôwdâh is a Hebrew word that means an extension of the hand in thanksgiving for what God has done. But it also means a sacrifice of praise for things not yet received. It is praising God with expectation. The psalmist used tôwdâh as an expression of confession, a way to convey trust in the goodness of God.

The Expectation of Praise Depends Upon Faith in God, Not Man.

1 Corinthians 2:5 KJV

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Psalm 121:1–2 KJV

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, From whence cometh my help. 

My help cometh from the LORD, Which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 20:7 KJV

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Expectation of Praise Rests Thanksgiving in the Presence of God.

 Psalm 50:14 (KJV)

 Offer unto God thanksgiving; And pay thy vows unto the most High:

 Psalm 69:30 (KJV)

 I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify him with thanksgiving.

 Psalm 100:4 (KJV)

 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Expectation of Praise Rests is God’s Track Record

 Psalm 26:7 (KJV)

 That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all thy wondrous works.

 Psalm 107:22 (KJV)

 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, And declare his works with rejoicing.

 Psalm 42:4 (KJV)

 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: For I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

The Expectation of Praise is for Deliverance Yet to Come.

 Psalm 50:22–23 (KJV)

 Now consider this, ye that forget God, Lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. 

 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: And to him that ordereth his conversation aright Will I shew the salvation of God.

 In Psalm 50, the psalmist Asaph recorded a stanza for the wicked, for those who’d forgotten their God. The stanza culminated with a promise for those who practiced tôwdâh:

 Asaph’s psalm makes it plain: Sometimes the sacrifice of praise, the act of showing God honor and praise even before the realization of his promises, precedes salvation.In most Bibles, Psalm 56 is preceded by a notation indicating it was written by David after he was seized by the Philistines at Gath. Despite his capture, despite the direst of circumstances, David wrote:

 Psalm 56:11–12 (KJV)

 In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid What man can do unto me. 

 Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

David, captured by the enemy and facing an unknown future, praised the Lord for the promise of deliverance he’d not yet received. He knew he’d be delivered, so in his imprisonment, he praised God in earnest expectation.

 Isaiah 51:3 (KJV)

 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; And he will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness shall be found therein, Thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

 Jonah 2:9 (KJV)

 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

In tôwdâh, we lift our hands in the presence of God, not only for what he has done, but also for what we believe he will do. He will bring an end to all violence, so we lift our hands in praise. He will release us from bondage, so we lift our hands in praise. He will provide what we need, so we lift our hands in praise. He will heal us, both now and in eternity, so we lift our hands in praise.

Pastor Darren Whitehead writes:

I once knew a man, Ken, who had a way of pointing to the place of ultimate hope, even in times of deep anxiety. One day he called me into his office and told me his teenage daughter had been out partying. She had not come home, and no one could find her. As he told me the story, I interrupted and said, “You must be worried out of your mind.” His answer was quick and calm.

“I don’t worry. I worship.”

I’ve never forgotten those words. Instead of focusing on the things out of his control, he turned his attention to the One who is in control. He worshipped God, believing he’d respond. He moved his worry to worship. I’ve thought about Ken many times over the years in seasons of stress and anxiety. Ken was practicing the essence of tôwdâh.

Have you raised your hands in praise, believing in faith that God will fulfill his promises to you? Have you raised your hands for your wounded marriage, your troubled career, your wayward son or daughter? Have you raised your hands believing God will give you the guidance and the direction you so desperately need? Have you raised tôwdâh to God for healing?

Our praise should embody the notion of tôwdâh; it should become an expression of faith for salvation not yet received. My friends at Salem Baptist Church in Chicago know this full well. Would you let their story of tôwdâh wash over you and lead you into a fuller expression of praise?

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 5:48 PM November 4, 2021.

The Music of Praise

November 4th, 2021

The Music of Praise

Pastor Don Carpenter

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship

 Zâmar, zaw-mar´: To make music. To celebrate in song and music. To touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument.

 Psalm 144:9 (KJV)

 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: Upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

Pastor Darren Whitehead tells the following story:

I stood over Brandy, looking into her eyes, giving her chips of ice, holding her hand, doing whatever she needed. She was deep into labor with our third daughter, Violet, and as was the tradition in the Whitehead family, music filled the hospital room.

In the weeks before delivery, Brandy and I made a worship playlist. We’d done the same thing when our first two daughters were born. More than anything, we wanted the songs of the church to be the first sounds our daughters’ tiny ears ever heard; we wanted to bring them into the chorus of God’s family from the beginning.

The worship music we played during Brandy’s labor gave us a sort of hidden strength. This music wasn’t just for our new baby. It was for us too. The people of God singing the praises of God calmed us through the moments of anxiety, bolstering Brandy’s spirits even through the labor of childbirth. The music was a conduit of God’s grace, and we felt it in that hospital room.

Praise and worship music can be a powerful tool to draw us into a personal experience with God. And this effect can be felt in the privacy of a hospital room or in the gathering of the church. Haven’t you experienced this? Consider that time you walked into church, frustrated with a friend, anxious about your finances, perhaps concerned about a new health challenge. Remember how you stood in the liminal space before the worship music began and made small talk as best you could, the things of eternity far from your mind. Recall how the chords began to fill the room, how the attention of the crowd was turned toward the praise of God. In that moment, didn’t the stuff of earth, the anxieties of life, seem to melt into the melody? As the cares rolled away, didn’t you encounter the very presence of God? 

Music is more powerful than we even understand. It can soften our hearts, soothe our troubled souls. It opens a door to the spiritual world. It paves the road for the Spirit’s coming. The patriarchs, psalmists, and prophets of the scriptures understood the power of music especially.

Zâmar is used throughout the psalms to connote the making of music, celebrating in song and music, and plucking the strings of a musical instrument. It’s a word that appears in the scriptures forty-one times, both in narrative form and in the poetry of the psalms.

n prepares the heart for the reality of an important message. This reality is captured by the third Hebrew word that’s so often translated as praise—the word zâmar.

This morning, as we continue our look at seven words for Praise, let us discover ZAMAR – to praise through singing and playing music. We will discover that this musical praise prepares the Heart.

Praise that Prepares the Heart to Hear the Word

2 Kings 3:15–17 KJV

But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. 

And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. 

For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.

 Psalm 47:7 (KJV)

 For God is the King of all the earth: Sing ye praises with understanding.

Colossians 3:16 KJV

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Praise That Prepares The Heart to Trust

1 Samuel 16:23 KJV

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

While David was hiding from Saul in a cave.

 Psalm 57:7 (KJV)

 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

 Psalm 108:1 (KJV)

 O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, Even with my glory.

Praise That Prepares The Heart to Stand

 2 Samuel 22:50 (KJV)

 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, And I will sing praises unto thy name.

 Psalm 27:6 (KJV)

 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: Therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

 Psalm 57:9 (KJV)

 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.

 Psalm 59:17 (KJV)

 Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: For God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.

Praise That Prepares The Heart to Give Thanks

 Psalm 147:7 (KJV)

 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; Sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

Ephesians 5:19–20 KJV

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Praise That Prepares The Heart To Proclaim

 1 Chronicles 16:9 (KJV)

 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, Talk ye of all his wondrous works.

 Psalm 105:2 (KJV)

 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: Talk ye of all his wondrous works.

 Psalm 101:1 (KJV)

 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.

Praise That Prepares The Heart To Rejoice

 Psalm 71:23 (KJV)

 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; And my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

The following is a testimony from Chris Tomlin:

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

In the earliest days of leading worship, I read the story of the famous composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. It’s said that as Bach composed and played music, it was as if he were praising God, even in his instrumental arrangements. “I play the notes as they are written,” Bach is oft quoted as saying, “but it is God who makes the music.” Bach was so convinced of this truth, in fact, that he penned the initials S.D.G. on many of his pieces, his shorthand for Soli Deo gloria—glory to God alone.

Bach’s commitment to creating music to the glory of God was inspirational and formative, and it put language to my practice of prayer before leading worship. Even before reading about Bach’s commitment, I’d prayed that God would be in the music that I played, that I’d simply reflect the melodies God put on my heart, whether or not those songs included words.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to play with some of the most incredible musicians, people truly gifted to lead the church in worship. There are times, though, when we gather for the purpose of simply playing. We’ll come together to play impromptu instrumental pieces without singing a word. In these moments, rare though they may be, we try our best to pay attention to each other, to the rhythms, to the melodies, and to the harmonies God puts on our hearts. As best as we can, we try to play those songs to the glory of God alone. 

There’s something about those times of instrumental worship, times when we pluck the string. They’ve been some of the most powerful times of personal worship for me. And though it’s hard to explain, they are the times I’ve most felt that I was playing the soundtrack of God. In such times I felt Bach’s truth most.

Yes, I play the notes as they come, but God makes the music. I’m his instrument, a reflection of his music, and before I step onto any stage, I ask that the touch of his presence would be on the music I play. I ask that no matter the crowd size, no matter the songs we play, no matter the time of day, may we play every song for the glory of God alone. Isn’t this the greatest privilege?

ZAMAR – Musical Praise that prepares the heart. Are you prepared?

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:10 PM November 4, 2021.

Disinterested Goodness

November 3rd, 2021

Disinterested Goodness

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Luke 14:12–14

Brad and Libby Birky opened a restaurant in Denver, Colorado. It is a 40 seat restaurant that has one thing conspicuously absent, a cash register. They serve healthy food to people in need. The Birky’s do not charge for their meals telling people “Pay whatever you can afford.” Some do not pay anything but most pay a dollar or donate an hour of work. The name of the restaurant: SAME- So All May Eat.

This kind of selfless virtue is all too rare today. In our passage today Jesus also offers a radical motivation check to help us follow in our Savior’s footsteps rather than just making soft choices that mimic virtue.

Luke 14:12–14 KJV

Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. 

But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 

And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

Jesus’s third word is addressed ‘to the man who had invited him’. It is unlikely to be a personal accusation, since his host can hardly have had a return invitation in mind when he invited the poor preacher to his house, but again it is a general principle which could apply to anyone—the danger of calculating possible rewards. Real disinterested goodness is rare indeed; so much of what we do is coloured by the hope, if not the intention, that it may in some way work out to our own benefit.

Such a concern for personal advantage is another thing that will have to go if one is to get in through the narrow door. There, more than anywhere, self-interest is inadmissible. The humble aim of the would-be entrant should rather be, in the words of the old Latin hymn-writer, 

to seek his God

not for the hope of winning heaven,

Nor of escaping hell;

Not with the hope of gaining aught,

Not seeking a reward;

But as thyself hast lovèd me,

O ever-loving Lord.

1 Michael Wilcock, The Savior of the World: The Message of Luke’s Gospel, The Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979), 145–146.

Self Interest Limits Your Reward

Luke 14:12 KJV

Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.

Luke 6:32–35 KJV

For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 

And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 

And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Matthew 6:5 KJV

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Here is a searching passage, because it demands that we should examine the motives behind all our generosity.

(1) Some people may give from a sense of duty.

He dropped a penny in the plate

And meekly raised his eyes,

Glad the week’s rent was duly paid

For mansions in the skies.

We may give to God and to others much in the same way as we pay our income tax—as the satisfaction of a grim duty which we cannot escape.

(2) Some people may give purely from motives of self-interest. Consciously or unconsciously they may regard their giving as an investment. They may regard each gift as an entry on the credit side of their account in the ledger of God. Such giving, so far from being generosity, is rationalized selfishness.

(3) Some people may give in order to feel superior. Such giving can be a cruel thing. It can hurt the recipient much more than a blunt refusal. To give like that is to look down on others. Some people may even throw in a short and smug lecture. It would be better not to give at all than to give merely to gratify one’s own vanity and one’s own desire for power. The Rabbis had a saying that the best kind of giving was when the giver did not know to whom he was giving, and when the receiver did not know from whom he was receiving.

(4) Some people may give because they cannot help it. That is the only real way to give. The law of the kingdom is this—that if we give to gain reward we will receive no reward; but if we give with no thought of reward our reward is certain. The only real giving is that which is the uncontrollable outflow of love. Once Dr Johnson cynically described gratitude as ‘a lively sense of favours to come’. The same definition could equally apply to certain forms of giving. God gave because he so loved the world—and so must we.1

1 William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001), 226–227.

 Living by the Law of Reciprocity

 Now you would think Jesus has ruffled enough feathers at one dinner: exposing the legalist’s ability to twist the law in order to protect their selfish convenience, and exposing the pride of those who crave the praise of men. You would think the party is over. But he is not done yet.

 He said also to the man who had invited him, “Whenever you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers, or your relatives or your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and it be a repayment for you. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For it will be repaid to you in the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12–14)

 Up till now Jesus has talked to the guests. Now he turns to the host. “Don’t touch that snake, lest it bite you and you die.” “Don’t climb that rope, lest it break and you fall.” “Don’t invite your friends and brothers and relatives and rich neighbors to dinner, lest you be repaid in kind.” What an unearthly argument! “Danger! Repayment ahead!” “Warning! This repayment may be dangerous to your health!” Who on earth would talk like that? Probably somebody whose kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36); somebody who knows that 1,000 years on this earth are like yesterday when it is gone (Psalm 90:4); somebody who knows that our life is but a mist that appears and in a moment vanishes away (James 4:14); who knows that he who saves his life now will lose it later, and he who loses it now in love will save it later (Mark 8:35); and who knows that there will be a resurrection unto eternal life, a resurrection of the just to live with God a million millennia of eons, if indeed he was our God on this earth. Jesus is the man. No man ever spoke like this man. And the people who call him Lord ought not to be like any other people.

 Take heed how you hear. There are some whose first and only reaction to Jesus’ words will be: “Well, he can’t mean that, because then we would have no more church suppers, no more Sunday School socials, no more family reunions, and even the Lord’s Supper would have been wrong.” Then, having thus defused the text and bent the sword of the Spirit, they move on to the next passage and right on through the New Testament justifying themselves and, just like the Pharisees, manipulating the law of Christ to preserve their unruffled tradition and convenience.1

1 John Piper, Sermons from John Piper (1980–1989) (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2007).

Selfless Motivation Reflects Christ in You

Luke 14:13 KJV

But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:

Luke 4:18–19 KJV

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

John 9:2 KJV

And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

Well-to-do persons in the Greco-Roman world usually invited people of somewhat lower social status in return for receiving honor, but these invitees would still be relatively respectable, not absolute dependents or beggars, as crippled, lame and blind people would be in that society, or peasants (although many Jewish teachers might regard inviting beggars and peasants as an act of piety). The crippled, lame and blind were not permitted on the premises of the probably Essene community at Qumran.1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Lk 14:13.

Call the poor

 In our Lord’s time, it was not considered proper to ask poor people and handicapped people to public banquets. (The women were not invited either!) But Jesus commanded us to put these needy people at the top of our guest list because they cannot pay us back. If our hearts are right, God will see to it that we are properly rewarded, though getting a reward must not be the motive for our generosity. When we serve others from unselfish hearts, we are laying up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:20) and becoming “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 230.

Selfless Motivation Enhances Eternal Reward

Luke 14:14 KJV

And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

Proverbs 3:9 KJV

Honour the LORD with thy substance, And with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

 Our modern world is very competitive, and it is easy for God’s people to become more concerned about profit and loss than they are about sacrifice and service. “What will I get out of it?” may easily become life’s most important question (Matt. 19:27ff). We must strive to maintain the unselfish attitude that Jesus had and share what we have with others.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 230.

 Our motive for sharing must be the praise of God and not the applause of men, the eternal reward in heaven and not the temporary recognition on earth. A pastor friend of mine used to remind me, “You can’t get your reward twice!” and he was right (see Matt. 6:1–18). On the day of judgment, many who today are first in the eyes of men will be last in God’s eyes, and many who are last in the eyes of men will be first in the eyes of God (Luke 13:30).1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 230.

Years ago, late on a stormy night in Philadelphia, an elderly couple walked wearily into a hotel. They approached the night clerk at the desk and practically begged him for a room. Apparently there were three conventions in town, and every hotel was filled to capacity. “Are there any rooms left anywhere?” the old man inquired.

“I’m sorry. All of our rooms are taken,” the clerk said. “But I can’t send a nice couple like you out into the street and in the rain at one o’clock in the morning. Would you perhaps be willing to sleep in my room? It may not be what you’re used to, but it will be good enough to make you folks comfortable for the night.”

When the couple declined, the young man pressed it. “Don’t worry about me; I’ll be just fine,” the clerk said. “Just take my room.” So the couple agreed.

As he paid his bill the next morning, the older man said to the clerk, “You know what? You are the kind of man who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe someday I’ll build one for you.”

The clerk didn’t think much about that, and two years passed.

The clerk had almost forgotten the incident when he received a letter from the old man. It recalled that stormy night and enclosed a round-trip ticket to New York, asking the young man to pay them a visit.

The old man met him in New York, and led him to the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. He then pointed to a great new building there, a palace of reddish stone, with turrets and watchtowers thrusting up to the sky.

“That,” said the older man, “is the hotel I have just built for you to manage.”

“You must be joking,” the young man said.

“I can assure you that I am not,” said the older man, a sly smile playing around his mouth. The old man’s name was William Waldorf Astor, and the magnificent structure was the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

You see, when we give without worrying about being repaid, we can’t foresee the rewards of our kindnesses. But Jesus guarantees they will be repaid in countless blessings at the resurrection of the righteous — at the end of the world, when he comes to take his faithful people home with him to heaven.

Because that’s where the way of grace leads us: heaven.

SOURCE: Pastor Jeff Samelson in “The Way of Grace Is Clearly Different” on

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:09 PM November 3, 2021.