Thursday, April 14, 2005

No Holds Barred

Alright skiing fans, we are back from Mammoth. The snow was wonderful, the weather great (two days of sun and 50 degrees, one day of snow and 35 degrees), and the laughter abundant. We ran into about 15 or 20 different friends from South Pasadena, and had a generally stupendous time. Thanks be to God for the beauty of His Creation around us, and the precious gift of friends and family.

While on our trip, I finished reading Mark Robert’s latest book, “No Hold’s Barred”, a candid look at the deeper meanings found within the Book of Psalms. By way of a disclaimer, Mark has been a dear friend for more than 20 years. He is a follower of Christ, a husband, a father, pastor, friend, outdoorsman, and perhaps one of the most pathetic golfers I have ever seen. That is ok though, Mark has not yet seen me ski. Pathetic is a relative concept.

On to the book. Have you looked through the Psalms and found them to be difficult to fathom, obscure in terms of our modern world, and perhaps written in a way that doesn’t connect to the places where you live? And yet, do you long for a deeper relationship with God, or maybe even find yourself wondering if He exists in the first place? And when you pray, do you find yourself using the language you used in church as a child; not sure how to express your longing, or whether you can be really honest with the Creator of the Universe? Is all of this just too confusing, too unreal. Can you be mad at God, can you really confess to him the saddest, most tragic and lonely parts of your life? In short, can you, can I, can we be real in our relationship with God?

Mark Roberts takes us on a journey of discovery in “No Holds Barred”. This is done via a variety of ideas and concepts found within the Psalms.

Asking – being unafraid to approach God with our needs.
Remembering – using the Psalms to remember God’s faithfulness
Silence – what, you mean no noise??
Physical Expression – using all of who we are to praise God
Desperation and Doubt – where God comes to be beside us
Vengeance – is it ok to be really mad at others in front of God?
Thanksgiving – living lives that reflect profound thanks for God’s grace?
Praise – what does it mean to give God praise?
Confession – ut oh, telling God about our “dark places”!
Worship – using the Psalms as a source of worship

Without boring you to tears (I have heard that many readers of this blog weep frequently upon reviewing its contents), I will share with you the portions of this book that resonated the most with me, in hopes that you will get a copy, and find parts that will resonate with you – drawing you closer to the heart of God, and in turn, deepening your love for him, and adding joy and grace to your relationships with others.

More on this soon……
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