The “traditional” summer is winding down, and with it, our summer preaching series is drawing to a close as well. We have three more weeks in our “Summer of Psalms” series. Over these three Sundays we will consider Psalm 19 and the “two books” of God’s revelation, Psalm 137, one of the more difficult of the imprecatory psalms that call down God’s wrath on adversaries, and Psalm 32, a great psalm of thanksgiving for forgiven sins.
I have enjoyed this summer series a great deal. So much so that we will do it again soon, maybe even next summer, and look at fifteen or so more of the great hymns of the psalter. There is so much to tap into in these 150 songs/prayers of Israel. I have learned a great deal and been encouraged and challenged in multiple ways during both my sermon preparation and while sitting under the teaching of our other pastors as they have taught from the psalms this summer.
Because we have gifted teachers right here on our own staff, we do not often open the pulpit to guest preachers. However, we did so two weeks ago when we invited Dr. Nicholas Piotrowski, the new president of Indianapolis Theological Seminary, to come and share with us from Psalm 72. I was encouraged by his teaching and enjoyed sitting through the message twice. I received a few cordial emails concerning his belief that David, the author of the psalm, held out hopes that his son Solomon (the king who would reign after his death) might be the anticipated Messiah. Although we may agree or disagree with Nicholas’s assumption (it was merely a speculation based on the fervency and theme of his prayer), I was pleased again that so many are listening to the words of the sermons that are preached here at LifePoint and checking them against the Scriptures. This is what we all need to be doing, actively listening not only so that we may be taught and challenged accordingly, but so that we may follow the apostle Paul’s exhortation to us in 1 Thess. 5:21 to “test everything; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” I am never upset about responding to questions from a sermon, whether it is mine or someone else’s, when the intent is a better understanding or checking it against the teachings of Scripture.
Dr. Piotrowski spoke some about Indianapolis Theological Seminary. I am excited about this new seminary right here in Indianapolis - so excited, in fact, that I agreed (with the elders’ permission) to serve as a volunteer on its inaugural board in an attempt to get things up and running in the right direction. Indianapolis is my adopted home now, and it is in great need of a solid, evangelical and conservative seminary to train and equip not just future pastors and missionaries from this region, but laypeople as well. I agree with the vision of the seminary - to equip men and women from every racial and ethnic background not only in theological education but also in the work of pastoring and shepherding by working closely with local congregations. Nicholas said that LifePoint supports the seminary not only prayerfully but also financially, and that is true. We support two local ministries that we believe are making a vital impact on our city through our general giving – ITS and Rod and Staff Counseling Ministry. Both are supported at $300 per month. This is not part of our missions giving. The elders felt that our missions giving should be focused primarily on those ministries that are non-profit and have as a stated goal the proclamation of the gospel. Although these ministries qualify as gospel ministries, they are not technically missions oriented. As always, if you have any questions about how your tithes and offerings are being utilized at LifePoint, stop by the church office and ask for a church budget. It is updated and available at the end of each month. LifePoint continues to practice good, biblical approaches to funding both missions and general ministry expenses.
The elders, including our three prospective new elders (Dave Oakley, Ron Gibson, and David Denny), will be spending a couple days together this weekend praying together, preparing for 2019, and discussing issues related to LifePoint’s ministry. Please be praying for us as we gather together at our elders retreat.
Grace and peace,