Praying at the Edge

Sermons are different on paper than when they are preached on Sunday.  How will this be heard?  Does this connect with people?  How should I say this?  Those are all questions I continually ask myself in sermon preparation.  Lament is a topic that is generating considerable discussion these days.  But how big of a role should it have in public worship?  I know there are times for communal lament such as when something terrible happens to the nation, city, or church community.  But how much room should we have in our weekly service for those who are hurting and in need of personal lament?  Perhaps Dr. Pemberton’s suggestion of publically reading a Psalm a week would be a good start.  I don’t know the answer, but I do know that every Sunday we have people deeply struggling with their faith, their health, and their emotions.  Perhaps a joyful service is just what they need.  Who could say that a weekly celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is a bad thing?  But shouldn’t we also leave at least some room for people to grieve and mourn what they’ve lost?  What do you think?
For more information on the two books I mentioned this morning click below:
Megan’s Secrets by Mike Cope

Hurting With God by Glenn Pemberton

If you want to watch the interview Mike Cope did with Glenn Pemberton that I showed this morning click here.

On a different note, I am thankful for the privilege I have had of serving with Paul Arnold as a shepherd of this church. He has provided wonderful guidance in the years he has served and will be missed. Of course he will still be here at church and I am extremely grateful for that.

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.


One Response to “Praying at the Edge”

  1. Lamenting is relatively new in how I worship God, and I never really took lamenting seriously until one small group meeting. A brother (who will remain nameless for his privacy) expressed his disconnectedness to how sin has torn apart this world and why God (in our brother’s perspective) never does anything about it. Murderers go free, child molesters run rampant, and families are thrown into chaos, all because of (in his words) Gods lack of participation.

    It became obvious that many in the group were caught off guard by his statement of lament…I was taken off guard. I'm not saying here wither or not his comment was wrong, what I’m saying here is that his comment was honest, transparent, and yes, holy. After this particular and eye opening small group meeting, I started reading the book of Lamentations, for the first time. Why did I not read Lamentations before?

    Lamentations is hard to read. I think this is so because of its brutal honesty. We have expectations of God; however, many of those expectations are never met. Lamenting through the Psalms, or be it, Lamentations, forces us to deal with these emotions. Why I never considered reading through Lamentations or the lament Psalms as an act of worship can be summed up in the reality that I never really considered lamenting an act of worship. I thought worship was supposed to be sunny and happy and carefree, and if you came before God with a lamenting heart in worship, it should be considered an act of selfishness. But this just isn’t honest worship, and God knows it. Lamenting ought to have a rightful place in the order of how we worship God because lamenting in itself is an expression of worship. Lamenting is the giving of our emotions to God, be that as it may. Building a lasting relationship requires honesty, even when it hurts. God’s unconditional love isn’t conditional. Smiling isn’t required in prayer.

    The most interesting part of lamenting is that even though we are bringing before God our doubts, sufferings, questions, and our shaky faithfulness; we are still bringing prayer before God. At the very core of lamenting, we remain in deep relationship with God. And I can only assume that God wants all of me, not just the parts I think are appropriate.

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