On the Christian Practice of Lament

Jonathan Leeman at 9 Marks interviews Mark Vroegop on the subject of lament. Mark recently published a book on lament called Dark Clouds Deep Mercy.

Crawford Loritts says in an endorsement, “Mark Vroegop reminds us that grief and sorrow are not the denial of God’s presence or a lack of faith in God’s sovereign care. God calls us to lament, to give expression to our pain and sorrow, which in turn leads to authentic hope, healing, and health. Vroegop shepherds our hearts and shows us the path to discovering ‘deep mercy in dark clouds.’ This book is a hope-filled treasure!”

In this 9 Marks podcast Jonathan and Mark talk about the necessity of lament, it’s healthy place in the Christian Life, and provide some careful marks that distinguish godly lament from complaining at God.

Interview with Mark Vroegop >>>

Sermons on the Psalms: Dale Ralph Davis

Dale Ralph Davis is widely regarded as one of the most gifted Old Testament expositors today. His commentaries on the Old Testament are treasures of expositional teaching.

Monergism has put together a collection of 15 sermons by Davis on the Psalms. If you’ve never heard Davis preach I can think of no better collection of sermons to begin with.

Prayer for a Dark Morning – Psalm 5:1-12

God’s Lullaby – Psalm 4:1-8

Praying on the Run – Psalm 3:1-8

God Is Mixed Up in Politics – Psalm 2:1-12

Thanksgiving in July – Psalm 116:1-19

When the Bad Guys Win – Psalm 73:1-28

When Everything Falls Apart – Psalm 11:1-7

Relief Begins with an “F” – Psalm 32:1-11

Teach Me the Patience of Unanswered Prayer – Psalm 88:1-18

The God Who Is There – Psalm 139:1-24

Amnesia and Praise Don’t Mix – Psalm 105:1-35

Faith – From Crying to Confidence – Psalm 13:1-6

Praying Among the Ruins – Psalm 74:1-23

A God To Be Thankful For – Psalm 104:1-35

A Few Years in God’s School – Psalm 2:11-25

Sermons on Psalms >>>

The Gospel Coalition 2011 Plenary Sessions on Video

The plenary sessions of TGC 2011 are now available on video. I am still working my way through the TGC 2011 conference audio and will post about it when finished, however, I would like to say that so far the sessions I’ve listened to are stellar.

The subject itself is one that has been in desperate need of attention, and that is, how we are to preach the Gospel in the Old Testament. Carson’s look at Psalm 110 is a must listen to. That message alone sums up the importance of this conference. In it, Carson expresses how important many Old Testament threads are for our understanding of God and his plan of redemption — threads such as priesthood, atonement, sacrifice, Yom Kippur, Passover, year of Jubilee, kingship, covenant, and the like.

We so quickly dismiss these things, or we deal with them as a matter of caricature that we don’t fully apprehend the breadth of revelation and significance behind them. Carson exposes this reality by pointing to how we commonly divide the law into 3 parts: the ceremonial, the civil, and the moral, and how we dispense with the ceremonial and civil and embrace the moral. And in Carson’s look at Psalm 110 he demonstrates how supremely important Melichizedek is in understanding Jesus Christ.

TGC 2011 videos >>>

Eric Alexander Basics 2002

Eric Alexander gives two messages followed by a Q& A.

Eric Alexander first looks at Samuel’s ministry recorded in 1 Samuel 12 as his role shifts from Judge to Prophet, and he mediates between God and the people who sinned by demanding a king. Alexander looks at the subject of prayer in Samuel’s life and demonstrates how intercession played one of the most critical roles in his ministry.  This principle is dramatically illustrated by Israel’s battle with Amalek, where Joshua and Aaron hold up Moses arms, and when his arms fall Amalek prevails, but when Moses arms are held high Israel prevails.  As Eric sees it, this is God etching the truth that the battle does not belong to the warriors, but to the intercessors in spiritual warfare.

His second message is a phenomenal look at Psalm 63, and he asks 3 questions:  1.  What is this thirst? 2. Where does it come from? and 3.  How does it satisfy?

“It is a mark of spiritual barrenness in the church when people come to worship to fulfill a duty and to keep a habit rather than to satisfy an appetite.”

The Psalmist looks to his thirst for God as an indicator of the condition of his soul.  Do we see this thirst in the people in our churches, or in our own lives?  We burn with thirst for material things, knowledge, pleasure, status, achievement and all manner of things.  If we truly thirst deeply for God he will truly satisfy.  And the only way we get this thirst is supernaturally.  It is a supernatural thirst.  It is not a natural human thirst.

The Q&A is a marvelous session between Eric Alexander, Derek Prime and Dick Lucas.  This Basics conference is a gem.

Eric Alexander Basics 2002>>>

Psalms Project

Union University Chapel has begun a series of guest chapel lectures to focus on the Psalms.

Ray Ortlundt kicked off the series with a very thoughtful and impassioned look at Psalm 1. I really enjoy Ortlundt’s preaching, and this one was a real treat. One great quote (paraphrase) to whet your taste buds, “What we delight in will shape our eternity.”

Ray Ortlundt: Psalm 1 – The Word and Worship>>>

Craig Blaising looks at how the Psalms were used in the early church as a part of the worship.

Craig Blaising: The Psalms in Early Christian Worship >>>

John Witvliet takes a fresh, and very stirring, look at the Psalms as a guide to exercise our interaction with God.  He makes a special point for worship leaders not to get too hung up on style, but on content.  Our musical worship should give us voice to say things to God that we don’t normally say.

John Witvliet: A Gymnasium for the Soul >>>

Don Carson on Psalms

Don Carson gave 4 exceptional messages on the Psalms at the UCCF Staff Conference.  Don’s main goal in choosing these 4 Psalms was to demonstrate how the Psalms contribute major themes that help us put the storyline of the Bible together.   Psalm 1 examines the contrast between good and evil.  Psalm 2 examines the Davidic-Christologic typology. Psalm 40 is about God our deliverer, and in this message Carson is particularly helpful in demonstrating how the difficulty of translation needs to be considered in our hermeneutic.

Psalm 110 examines the Melchizedek priesthood which puts together the place of the law of the Levitical priesthood in relation to the new priesthood of Jesus Christ.  This message in particular is stellar, and is one of the best messages I’ve listened to this year.  If you’ve been fuzzy about the relationship of the Old Testament Law to the New Testament, this one is for you.

Psalm 1 mp3 >>>

Psalm 2 mp3 >>>

Psalm 40 mp3 >>>

Psalm 110 mp3 >>>

Psalm 138 series by Alan Cairns

Pastor of Faith Free Presbyterian Church, Dr. Alan Cairns, preached a fascinating and in depth series of 9 sermons on the 8 verses of Psalm 138. 

138:1  One Hundred Percent Christians
138:2  Christ Centered Worship
138:2  God Magnifying His Word Above All His Name
138:3  Timely Answers to Urgent Prayers
138:4-5  The Universal Triumph of Christ & the Gospel
138:6  The Lord’s Regard for the Humble and the Rejection of the Haughty
138:7  Personal Revival
138:8  All’s Well That Ends Well
138:8b  A Cry from the Heart

Alan Cairns on Psalm 138 page >>>

Don’t Waste Your Kids

Gregg Harris, father to Joshua Harris, the pastor of Covenant Life Baptist Church, spoke at Josh’s church on Psalm 127.  And Oh, by the way, he is also father to twin boys, Alex and Brett Harris, who at 19 have written a widely selling book and hold large conferences across the country called ‘The Rebelution’, which is one of the best things going for teenage Christians today.

My youngest will become a teenager later this year, so I’m off to a head start and thankful for the resources of the Harris clan.

Gregg Harris, Psalm 127, Don’t Waste Your Kids page >>>

Psalms: Thinking and Feeling with God, John Piper

John Piper spent 6 weeks going through a selection of Psalms in a very powerful series of sermons.  The theology and practical Christian life application that comes from this is priceless.  I would love to see John Piper produce a sermonic commentary on the entire book of Psalms.  He has a gift for making them come alive.

Songs that Shape the Heart and Mind: Psalm 1
Spiritual Depression in the Psalms: Psalm 42
A Broken and Contrite Heart God Will Not Despise: Psalm 51
Bless the Lord, O My Soul: Psalm 103
Pour Out Your Indignation Upon Them: Psalm 69
Declare His Glory Among the Nations: Psalm 96

Psalms: Thinking and Feeling with God page >>>

Reading the Psalms Messianically, Ethically & Canonically

Gordon Wenham has taken a wonderful look at the Psalms in this series. We tend to view the Psalms as stand alone bits of poetry and prayer, but Wenham helps us to see the Psalms as something more as each plays a role in the larger context.

I recently learned from one of my client’s who is an orthodox Jew that they read the book of Psalms completely through each month, 12 times a year. Some of the more diehard Hasidics read the whole book each week, 52 times a year. The Psalms plays a major role in their lives.

Wenham reminds us that in the evangelical church the Psalms constituted the entire worship of singing. It was only in recent church history that hymns have taken their place. Overall we have lost the importance of the Psalms. We have lost the theological significance they have in providing instruction on ethics, and ignore their contribution in foretelling of the Messiah.

One note I found very interesting is that the Psalms no where speak of keeping the Sabbath.

Gordon Wenham delivered this series of messages atthe Jay B. Gay lectures at Southern Seminary last year.

Reading the Psalms Ethically mp3 >>>

Reading the Psalms Messianically mp3 >>>

Reading the Psalms Canonically mp3 >>>