Saturday, November 20, 2010

BOLD Outreach Reflections from Psalm 13

Subtitle: Waiting on the Lord

"How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I make decisions alone with sorrow in my heart day after day?" Psalm 13:1-2 (God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society,

This Psalm is hitting me a little too close to home. Ever since I was laid off from my full-time ministry staff position I have been waiting for the Lord to show me the next steps in my ministry service. Over the past two years I have taken on several part-time positions in the community that would not be considered to be church work or "ministry" in the eyes of most people. I have had to work at entry-level positions and at jobs that have a high rate of turnover for very little pay. During this time I completed my Masters of Arts in Christian Outreach degree and expected to receive a "call" to serve God in a fulltime ministry in a community, but it has not happened.

I often find myself crying out to God with David, "Look at me! Answer me, O Lord my God!" (v3). On my own I continue, "Speak to me, show me your will, give me direction, open a door for me to serve you in ministry," and I hear silence....
     more silence...
          nothing...      nothing...      nothing...     
                    then these words come to me...
    "Shhh, be still and know that I am God."

Outreach ministry takes time. We cannot by our own reason or strength bring someone to believe in God or come to faith in Christ. It is the work of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God that calls, gathers and enlightens God's own to come to Him in faith. Our role in that activity is to proclaim God's good news to those with whom we work and play or otherwise engage in activities as we go about life and living.

We can count on God's mercy and salvation. That is what David did! When everything else is stripped away – every material possession, everything that might give us security, meaning, or identity (all those false idols in our life), nothing is left but God's promise to be merciful and grant us salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. God rescues the broken hearted. The humble He does not despise. Those who call out to Him for mercy are saved! We can BOLDly count on this outreach promise as we share the good news of Jesus Christ with others.

"But I trust your mercy. My heart finds joy in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord because he has been good to me." Psalm 13:5-6 (God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society,

####Check out other related Bible resources at for user-friendly outreach materials.

BOLD Outreach Reflections from Psalm 12

Outreach Promises - Pure as Silver Purified Seven Times

Have you ever worked with someone who "knows it all"? This person is a self-proclaimed expert in every field and on every subject, regardless of the topic of conversations. Their personal experiences trump the experiences of everyone else in the conversation. They are loud, proud, and boastful. They shout down anyone who remotely challenges them or doubts their story. They are considered by others to be arrogant. The truth isn't enough for them. They have a desperate inner need to pad their stories and to build themselves up in the presence of others.

David must have met his share of these people. He was sick of being lied to. He was tired of having to sift through the lies of those looking out for their own interests and trampling on everyone else, especially those who took advantage of the poor. He called out for God to cut off the tongues of such people. I detect a little righteous anger in this Psalm. He wrote, "Help, O Lord, No godly person is left. Faithful people have vanished from among Adam's descendants! All people speak foolishly. They speak with flattering lips. They say one thing but mean another. May the Lord cut of every flatting lip and every bragging tongue that has said, 'We will overcome with our tongues. With lips such as ours, who can be our master?'" Psalm 12:1-4 (God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society,

As with most of the Psalms this one has a second side. David's anger is turned toward his reliance on and faith in the promises of God. David states, "The promises of the Lord are pure," not only pure, but comparable to silver that has been refined multiple times in a furnace, "like silver refined in a furnace and purified seven times."(6). This is the ultimate in purity of silver, the number seven reflecting the essence of holiness.

This blog is about God's outreach promises found in the Psalms. It is easy to see the reference to God's promises, but a little more difficult to see the connection to outreach promises. That is, God's promise to open doors of faith in the hearts and minds of people (by the power of the Holy Spirit) as they hear the good news of Jesus Christ and message of salvation. But, it is there.

In verse 5, David states God's response to those who are oppressed and needy. "'Because oppressed people are robbed and needy people groan, I will now arise,' says the Lord. 'I will provide safety for those who long for it' ... O Lord, you will protect them. You will keep each one safe from those people forever."(5,7). When people are convicted of their sin and helplessly call out to God – He responds. In Christ, he has provided safety and forgiveness – forever.

This Psalm is a good example of a passage that speaks of both God's Law and God's Grace. God's Law – destroys the proud. God's Grace – lifts up the humble. The braggart receives condemnation. The broken receives forgiveness. Those who look to God for salvation will receive it – "forever"(7). This is a BOLD Outreach promise from God.

Check out God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society and other related Bible resources at for easy to use outreach materials.