Sermon – Beyond the Trivial (Psalm 129)

Beyond the Trivial: Preparing Ourselves for Yellow Grass (Psalm 129) from Alex Leung on Vimeo.

This sermon, “Beyond the Trivial: Preparing Ourselves for Yellow Grass” (Psalm 129), was originally preached on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 in Dr. Hershael York’s Preaching Practicum class at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

You can find more sermons by Alex S. Leung at http://sixsteps.org/category/sermons/

Sermon – Beyond the Trivial (Psalm 129)

Beyond the Trivial: Preparing Ourselves for Yellow Grass (Psalm 129) from Alex Leung on Vimeo.

This sermon, “Beyond the Trivial: Preparing Ourselves for Yellow Grass” (Psalm 129), was originally preached on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 in Dr. Hershael York’s Preaching Practicum class at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

You can find more sermons by Alex S. Leung at http://sixsteps.org/category/sermons/

Finding Permanence in the Light and Momentary

I recently wrote an article for Evangelical Village on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 about Finding Permanence in the Light and Momentary.?? Here’s the introduction:

Every time I read about the suffering that the Apostle Paul had to endure during his life, I am continually humbled to the point of shame.?? For I feel like I have suffered so much in the last year, having my faith put to the test by intense personal affliction and heartache.?? I often think that the difficulties I have had to go through could not be any worse, that there could not be a darker abyss of despair than the valley I found myself in.???? But the Scriptures tell us that the Apostle suffered even worse, and yet he did not despair.

Paul was a man who had truly experienced hardship in ministry: beaten and whipped; stoned and shipwrecked; lost and adrift at sea; attacked by Christians and unbelievers alike; and??facing death threats from Gentiles and even his own Jewish people (cf. 2 Cor 11:16ff).?? In all these respects, he was no ordinary disciple of Jesus Christ.?? And yet, he was just a regular minister of the gospel in many respects.????The only thing different between Paul and??me was that he understood the necessity of suffering in gospel service and in his personal spiritual pilgrimage.

Read the entire article.

Finding Permanence in the Light and Momentary

I recently wrote an article for Evangelical Village on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 about Finding Permanence in the Light and Momentary.  Here’s the introduction:

Every time I read about the suffering that the Apostle Paul had to endure during his life, I am continually humbled to the point of shame.  For I feel like I have suffered so much in the last year, having my faith put to the test by intense personal affliction and heartache.  I often think that the difficulties I have had to go through could not be any worse, that there could not be a darker abyss of despair than the valley I found myself in.   But the Scriptures tell us that the Apostle suffered even worse, and yet he did not despair.

Paul was a man who had truly experienced hardship in ministry: beaten and whipped; stoned and shipwrecked; lost and adrift at sea; attacked by Christians and unbelievers alike; and facing death threats from Gentiles and even his own Jewish people (cf. 2 Cor 11:16ff).  In all these respects, he was no ordinary disciple of Jesus Christ.  And yet, he was just a regular minister of the gospel in many respects.  The only thing different between Paul and me was that he understood the necessity of suffering in gospel service and in his personal spiritual pilgrimage.

Read the entire article.

When trials come…

When trials come, no longer fear,For in the pain our God draws nearTo fire a faith worth more than gold,And there His faithfulness is told;And there His faithfulness is told.Within the night I know Your peace;The breath of God brings strength to me,And new each morning mercy flowsAs treasures of the darkness grow,As treasures of the darkness grow,I turn to wisdom not my ownFor every battle You have known.My confidence will rest in You;Your love endures; Your ways are good.Your love endures; Your ways are good.When I am weary with the cost,I see the triumph of the cross;So in its shadow I shall runTill He completes the work begun,Till He completes the work begun.One day all things will be made new;I’ll see the hope You called me to,And in Your kingdom, paved with gold,I’ll praise Your faithfulness of old;I’ll praise Your faithfulness of old.???Keith & Kristyn Getty

When trials come…

When trials come, no longer fear,
For in the pain our God draws near
To fire a faith worth more than gold,
And there His faithfulness is told;
And there His faithfulness is told.

Within the night I know Your peace;
The breath of God brings strength to me,
And new each morning mercy flows
As treasures of the darkness grow,
As treasures of the darkness grow,

I turn to wisdom not my own
For every battle You have known.
My confidence will rest in You;
Your love endures; Your ways are good.
Your love endures; Your ways are good.

When I am weary with the cost,
I see the triumph of the cross;
So in its shadow I shall run
Till He completes the work begun,
Till He completes the work begun.

One day all things will be made new;
I’ll see the hope You called me to,
And in Your kingdom, paved with gold,
I’ll praise Your faithfulness of old;
I’ll praise Your faithfulness of old.

—Keith & Kristyn Getty

Blessing the Name of the LORD: When He Gives & then Takes Away

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.?? And he said, ???Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.???

–Job 1:20-21

The people of God have always had their laments. The Psalms are filled with a whole host of intense emotions and expressions towards God. So many of them were birthed in times of suffering and struggle. Psalm 3 was written as King David fled for his life from his own son Absalom. Psalm 56 was inspired when the Philistines seized him in Gath. In Psalm 57 he’s on the run again, this time from King Saul, and wrote the song whilst hiding in a cave. These are songs formed in the fire of affliction. They are the desperate cries of a worshipper on the road marked with suffering. In fact, Eugene Peterson estimates that around 70% of content in the Psalms is lament-based.

Blessed be Your name:In the land that is plentiful, where Your streams of abundance flow;When I’m found in the desert place, though I walk through the wilderness.When the sun’s shining down on me, when the world’s ‘all as it should be’;On the road marked with suffering, though there’s pain in the offering.Every blessing You pour out, I’ll turn back to praise.When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say:blessed be Your glorious name.

Clearly therefore, songs of lament are a very biblical thing to sing in worship. Yet they are also a relevant thing to sing, for we live in a world full of anguish and heartache. As Christians, yes we live in victory, but in paradox we also exist as strangers in a foreign land, aching for home, and knowing deep within us that the world we see before is not as it should be. So the question is this: if songs of lament are firstly thoroughly biblical, and secondly extremely relevant, then why on earth are there not more songs to help us voice these heart-cries? As Frederich W. Schmidt Jr. writes, these Psalms do three things:

They give us permission to ask our own questions about suffering. They model the capacity to ask questions we might otherwise suppress, but can never escape. And they model how those questions might be asked without fear of compromising our relationship with God or with other people.

--Matt Redman