Pastor Mark walks us through Psalm 1 and how it invites us to live a Holy, full life in God.
Thank you, Pastor Terry. I’ve enjoyed being a part of Cornerstone and moving up here. It’s been a great experience. We moved here on June 1st. We’ve been here for six or seven weeks now. It’s been great getting to know many of you. We feel very welcome by everybody introducing themselves and loving on us. Sometimes I’m bad with names, so if I forget your name, please tell me it again, and hopefully I’ll remember from that point on. But I enjoy being a part of the Cornerstone staff. It’s been a great experience being a part of a team of people who are very well-connected and very focused on reaching our community. Focused on a relationship with God. We start each Monday and Tuesday with a time of prayer, song, and devotion. It’s great to see a team united in that way doing some great ministry here in the city. So, I’m very excited to be in this place.
We’ve just been moving in. We moved into the outer Richmond area. Our family, my wife and youngest are with me. It’s been a fun experience of moving where you’re trying to still find things that are in boxes somewhere. I know that I have a shirt somewhere. It’s got to be someplace. We’re still digging through that stuff. We are doing a lot of building with Ikea furniture. There is some assembly required for that stuff. Luckily, I enjoy putting those things together. So it’s been a process of unpacking and getting settled in. We are loving it here in the city and being a part of what is going on here at this church.
I want to give you a little background of where I come from. I grew up in Orange County in Southern California. For the last 16, 17 years, I’ve been an executive pastor. You may wonder what in the world is an executive pastor. An executive pastor is typically, in larger churches, a person who will come alongside the lead pastor and work in a lot of the business areas just like as Pastor Terry was talking about. Also working in developing staff by encouraging, recruiting, and building them up, and helping them become better leaders in themselves. Over the last 16 years, I’ve enjoyed that position because I feel that’s where a lot of my strengths and my gifts are. I’ve loved being part of a couple of different churches that I have helped in those areas of ministry. I’m looking forward to being able to help here at Cornerstone with some of my gifts and can’t wait to see some of the exciting stuff that we’re going to do.
Before that, I was in youth ministry for about 12 years. I was invited to the youth ministry at a young age, right when I was in high school. I was going through a period in my high school years where I was disengaging from my relationship with God and other people. Some other circumstances were going on that had me starting to head down the wrong path. I had a friend who was in the youth ministry at the church I was at and invited me to come and help with junior high students. If you know junior high students, most people wonder, “How could you ever spend time with junior high students?” Such an awkward stage. They’re crazy, loud, and they smell. There are lots of things. But he invited me to go on this junior high trip. I went. I loved it. I had a lot of fun with these kids. We were out on a beach camp. I was invited to continue doing ministry. I said goodbye to my old life where I was being distracted from God and I joined the ministry.
I would never have thought as a high school student I would be in the ministry. I was a very shy kid. I did not necessarily know my giftings. I never thought I’d be a pastor up here on a stage speaking or anything along those lines. It was amazing to see how God developed in me, gave me spiritual gifts that I didn’t know I had, and the ability to do different things I didn’t know I could do. I loved doing youth ministry for many years. I stayed involved with that and developed a fairly large youth program with lots of leaders. We had all of our students in small groups. It was life-changing to have that connectedness with those kids. It helped to disciple them in their walk.
I eventually got married after I was a pastor there for a while. I was so busy in youth ministry because I loved it so much. I was living with guys that were also in the youth ministry, and we would spend pretty much all our time at church. If I was going to ever find someone, they were probably going to have to walk in through the doors at the church at some point. Sure enough, one Sunday, I’m finishing up a message to our high school students. It’s like in the movies and TV and stuff, where they make everything sound quiet even though it’s business as usual going on. You see the focus of that person walking in through that back door. I was like, “Who is that?”
I wrapped up, prayed, and made my way through the students in the back and said, “Hey, it looks like you’re looking for someone.” She said, “Yeah, I’m looking for the person who’s putting on this youth musical that you guys are doing.” I said, “Oh, okay, let me put you in the direction of that person.” I sent her on the way. You know how it is when you find someone attractive, you’re looking at them, and you watch them walk away, you think, “Yeah, that’s nice.” She started helping out in this play and then I had a part in it too. I was the MC for it and had to memorize all these lines to do it. I would be at the rehearsals and we were exchanging glances back and forth. It was fun, that little beginning stage where you’re really interested in each other and looking at each other.
I had one of the other leaders that were there who was one of my small group leaders on our team talking with her. She said, “It looks like you like Pastor Mark. You should date Pastor Mark.” She said, “Well, who’s Pastor Mark?” “That’s that guy.” “He’s a pastor? What?” Back then, I had some earrings in my ear at that time. She said, “What? I’m not going to date this guy.” We went through the play. We exchanged glances back and forth and she reconsidered that idea of dating a pastor. Through the end of the play, I thought, “Gosh, I gotta ask this gal out. How do I get her information?” I thought, “Hey, I’m a great recruiter. I’m always looking for new leaders and bringing them in.” I thought, “Hey, would you be interested in helping out in our youth program? Here’s an application. Would you fill it out, put your information there?” I got her phone number. It was really cool. It was a roundabout way.
I got that from her on a Sunday morning. Afterward, of course, I decided, “I’m going to call and ask her out.” So I called. She wasn’t there. I left a message on her answering machine and said, “Hey, I’d like to get together some time, go to the Cheesecake Factory and hang out, blah, blah, blah.” I waited and waited and waited all afternoon, and no response. In the evening, I happened to be back at church. She had come back as well. She was with someone else. I saw her get into her car and was like, “Oh, well, there she is.” I ran over and she was starting up her car. I was knocking on her window. She was like, “What do you want?” I said, “Hey, I left a message on your machine. I want to see if you want to go out sometime and have a bite to eat or something like that.” She’s like, “Oh, cool,” rolls up the window, “I’ll go check my machine at home.” I’m like, “Okay.”
She starts to back out very quickly. I’m literally still standing there by the door. She almost runs over my feet as she backs out. I’m like, “Whoa, what was that?” She goes home, listens to the message, calls me back, and says, “I would love to have dinner with you anytime.” I thought, “Oh, awesome.” I made her dinner that next night and we started dating after that period of time, and here we are today. We’ve been married for almost 22 years and have two daughters. Our oldest Hannah is 20 years old. My youngest is Emily and she’s 18. We’ve had an exciting life together, lots of fun things. Growing up and being a youth pastor, you experience lots of fun, crazy stuff that goes on.
I thought of this Psalm today because of the different situations in my life. Pastor Terry asked, “Hey, would you preach on a Psalm?” He gave me an opportunity to pick one. I kept racking my brain, “Which one do I want to preach on?” I’ve always come back to Psalm 1 because I find it different from the rest of the Psalms. To me, it was an opportunity to take a look at that Psalm. As I go into that today, I want to give you a little background of my time in ministry and my way of thinking. I think that God has placed some things on my heart, and the Apostle Paul expresses this very well in 1 Corinthians 9.
I love being able to go wherever it is I go in ministry to understand who it is that I’m working with. Who are the people that are there? Who it is that we’re trying to reach and try to reach them where they’re at. I feel like that’s such a powerful thing. It was like that in youth ministry, understanding the youth culture for what was going on at that time, and doing those kinds of things. Being in these different places is understanding all that. I like this portion of scripture because the Apostle Paul talks about this but then takes it into, “Hey, I do this. I go to reach these people. I give a lot. I sacrifice a lot for it, but one thing I’m not going to do is sacrifice my own life for Christ. I’m not going to give up living it well and doing the right thing.” I think it’s a great opener to talk about. It’s been a theme verse for my life in ministry.
I want to take a look at that with you. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, the Apostle Paul says, “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel that I might share in its blessings.” How appropriate is this section today for the marathon we just had? “Do you not know that in a race that all runners run, only one gets the prize? Run in such a way that you get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly. I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I will not be disqualified for the prize.”
It’s always been a theme verse to think, “Okay, yeah, I’m in ministry. I have to do these things, but I have to make sure my life is in check. I have to make sure I’m living it well and following God as best as I can.” Now, I’ve made mistakes. I’ve gone down past that I haven’t wanted to. There are times I’ve looked back at my life and said, “How did I get there?” Even during those high school years when I went off in a different direction, I thought to myself, “How did I get to this place?” I’d imagine for many of you in this room too, sometimes you look back on things and you think, “How did we get there? How did we get to this place? How did I find myself there?”
It reminded me as I was preparing this, for some reason, of one song from the Talking Heads. You probably remember the song, Once in A Lifetime? They say, “And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack and you may find yourself in another part of the world. And you may ask yourself, ‘Well, how did I get here?'” And it says, “Who’s this wife? This is not my wife. This is not my house. How did I get to this place?” Sometimes I think that when we go through difficult circumstances or things that tempt us or places where we make mistakes, in the end, we wonder how we got there in the first place. We might even see it with our friendships and people that we’re close to. We wonder, “How did that happen? How did that affair happen? How did they fall off on that part of the road?” We question it, and I think Psalm 1 answers that question for us.
So as we take a look at it today, one of the things that interest me about the Psalm is that Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 are almost a completely different style than the rest of the book of Psalms. I have a feeling that David probably wrote this. We believe David wrote this Psalm, but he probably wrote this later on in life. We’ve talked about King David a lot in the Psalm series here. He was a man after God’s own heart, but he made a lot of mistakes. He would go back to God each time, which is awesome. I had a feeling that later on in his life, he probably sat there and thought, “What could I have done to prevent this? What could I have done differently in my life to not go down those paths? How could I recognize what those things are?” I think that’s where his heart was when he wrote this Psalm to think about, “How could I have done my life differently and how could I have lived it well instead?”
I want to read Psalm 1 together. “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever they do prospers. But not so the wicked. They are like the chaff that blows away. Therefore, the wicked will not stand in judgment nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.”
What I like about this verse is at the beginning of it, he sets up some stanzas there and talks about them. For years, I had read through this and thought, “Yeah, this is a great verse. He’s given some different examples of things to not fall into.” Over time, I’ve come to understand it’s a progression. When we go in, make mistakes. and blow it, there’s a progression to it. When you fall into this thing or make these mistakes, usually there’s something that happened right in the beginning that got you there. I think that’s what David is expressing to us here; that there are these steps. When he starts, he talks about, “Okay, if you can avoid these things, blessed.” So blessed means happy many times over or an ode to joy. You are blessed if it’s possible that you can avoid these kinds of things in your life.
In that first stanza, he first talks about walking. He says, “Walk in the step of the wicked,” and some translations use the word counsel instead of step, which I find interesting. You get this visual of walking along, listening, and getting counsel from those around you. Maybe counsel from people who are giving you encouraging Godly advice. We allow this kind of counsel to come in through things we read, see on the internet, see on the TV, movies, or listen to. Sometimes that counsel is entering our mind and heart. It’s entering a place. It may be even something that’s tempting us to think, “Wow, that’s cool. What about them? Let me entertain that thought for a little bit longer.” Yet, we know somewhere down deep inside that path is not the right way to take.
In the next stanza, he says, “Taking a stand in the path of sinners.” It’s as if you’re walking along and all of a sudden, instead of walking, you’ve decided to stop. Now you’re standing. You’ve taken a stand there and you’re listening even more. You’re following deeper into this mistake. This thing is not going to be great for your life. You decide at that point, “Am I going to follow this further? Am I going to follow this temptation even further down the road? Am I going to allow it to invade my heart? Am I going to be there?” In the next stanza he says, “We go walk, we stand, and then finally we sit.” So you sit in the seat of mockers. It’s almost like you’re taking your place. You’re living them on it now. You’re right in the middle of it all and decided to just live in it. I like the phrase that he uses here, “mockers,” because mocking is this idea of a person who is making fun and light of a life that is well-lived. It is mocking God, so to speak. We get this illustration of that as progression. I think that’s when we can look back in our and other people’s lives and say, “Wow. Now, I can see how that took place.” It starts small. Things invade our lives. We start to compromise and think about these ideas of what it would be like. We think, “Well, if I do it this one time, nobody’s going to see it, nobody’s going to catch it. It’s not going to hurt anybody else.” We start to rationalize our decisions in this area of our life. I think David gives us an answer. He says, “Blessed if we can stay out of that mess if we can do that.” He gives us an example of how we can stay out of it.
For me, there are times I’ve gone down in situations like this. You have to see the warning signs as you go down to avoid it. But then, what David talks about here is, “Okay, how do we stop that from taking place?” He goes into the next portion of the passage and says, “But whose delight,” you are blessed if, “Whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruits in season and whose leaf does not wither. And whatever they do, they prosper.” I like it. He gives an example. He says, “Okay, blessed if you do not do this, but blessed if you do this.” The idea is you are blessed if you can spend some time meditating on God’s Word. Not only just meditating on His Hord, but he also says delight. We get this idea that it is such a pleasurable thing to sit and think about God’s Word.
Back then at this time, they only had the first five books of the Bible that they studied that Moses had written. Now, we have the whole Bible that has lots of encouragement and direction for us. You get this idea that if we spend time meditating on God’s Word, that it’s going to strengthen and make us like that tree that is by the streams of living water. When the river rises and the storms come, that tree is so well-planted that it’s not going to fall over. It’s not going to be washed away. It’s going to be bearing fruit regularly. Its leaves do not wither and it lasts a long, long time. I love the picture that it gives us. It makes us think about being planted in what God plants in such a way that we become so strong.
Psalms 119 is a great passage that illustrates this point for me. Psalm 119:9-11 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your Word. I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I may not sin against You.” It’s this idea that we are spending so much time in the word that it’s written on our hearts. When we come to these circumstances and start walking down the path, we start hearing these things that come to mind because we’ve written them in our hearts. We’ve taken it and applied it to what’s going on. We can think about it and remember it when it comes up in those times. When we’ve become that tree planted by the water, it results in that we become something. It’s not about doing something, it’s that we become something. We become stronger in the Lord. We become rooted in Him. It’s not about a process of dos and don’ts, but a process of who we are in the Lord. We’ve become that kind of person. In doing that, it is a spiritual growth exercise. It’s thinking about how we grow daily or having a proper diet, so to speak, of God’s Word in our life. Being in the right surroundings for us for Spiritual growth. There’s no real shortcut to it. It takes time. It takes concentrated effort for us to think through how we grow spiritually in our lives.
The question is, “Are we happy that many times over? Are there some times that we may think, ‘I’m not that happy? I’ve struggled through stuff. I’ve gone through situations, and I can see how I could be blessed if I would avoid that.'” I want to encourage you too. Each one of us has made mistakes. God loves us. He sent His son, He died on the cross for us, He forgives us. Those mistakes that you’ve made are in the past. It’s time for us to start living life well, look to the future, and say, “How can I do it? From this point forward, how can I live it well? How can I avoid these traps, get into these things and do that?”
I want us to take a look at Psalm 2. As I read through it a couple of times, I thought it was interesting to me that David starts off saying blessed and then comes from the negative. It is giving you an example of how you don’t fall into it. I want to take a look at it. I want to literally flip it over a little bit to think, “Okay, what if we were to come for the positive aspect of it and look in this direction?”
If we were to say he’s walking in the counsel, instead of walking in the counsel of the wicked, we walk in the counsel of the good. What would change in our life if we had that kind of relationship with people around us where we can start walking in the counsel of the good? Or the advice that we’re getting from others, the things that we’re seeing, the input that’s going into our life is a good thing, that’s encouraging us, and moving us forward? Maybe from that point on, we take time and stand in the path of the virtuous people around us. Who have been strong people in our lives following God? They have done things successfully. We stand with them. It may even come to a point that we’re back and sitting, but this time, we’re sitting in the seat of the defenders instead of the mockers. It’s literally the opposite of defender of the faith. Someone who believes in God defends Him, talks about Him, and would be the person right next to us. We’re sitting with those people who are building us up in Christ.
Can you imagine the opposite of that going on? As we talk about living it well, there are three things I want you to walk away with today that would help you live it well in this life and apply these verses. First, I think to live it well, we need to start recognizing the warning signs of when we start going down the wrong paths. We have to start seeing what’s there, question what it is we’re doing, and question what it is we’re listening to. What is it we’re putting into our minds? What kind of input do the people we are hanging out with have? I want to caution you on this because sometimes I think we can take this and think, “Oh, I should separate myself from all other people who are not followers of Christ,” but that’s not what it’s saying. No matter where we are in our walk, I think each one of us needs to have a redemptive relationship. What I mean by that is we’re always connected to people who are not connected to God. We have input in their lives. We’re encouraging them, but we have to be careful when we take advice or counsel from them that might lead us down the wrong path. Does that make sense? It’s not an idea of separation, but it’s being aware of what’s put into our lives and making that clear so we don’t go down that road.
The questions that you can ask yourselves, “Am I allowing thoughts of thinking badly of people or doing things to them? Am I going down this trail that can be discouraging?” I know, for me, an example of this is there was a time where I worked for another pastor. I started working for him and noticed that there was a little bit, it was odd to me, of a different relationship. He had a little bit of a different spirit about him. For some reason, he liked to talk negatively to people, other churches, and things. I thought it was odd at first, and it was very similar to this. I saw a warning sign, but I kept walking with him. I walked in his counsel and eventually, I was standing, listening to him, and participating. I became stationary and started mocking other people.
It’s a part of my life that I look back on and I think, “How did I ever get there? I made such a huge mistake.” Sure, it started in small steps. I look back and I think, “I could have stopped at these different points.” What that did to me in that time period affected my relationships. It affected my relationships with my family and wife. It was damaging that it was going on, and it was with other people. Not until I removed myself from that situation did I see, “Man, I blew it there.” I think it can creep in in many different areas of our life. Sometimes we think it’s those black and white things that are out there, but it can be something so simple as talking badly about others. We have to be able to see those warning signs of not going down those paths.
Second, I think what helps us to avoid those kinds of situations or traps is by taking time to meditate on God’s Word. Sometimes we ask, “Okay, well, what’s meditation?” I like this verse in Joshua 1. He says, “Meditate on the Word day and night, so you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you’ll be prosperous and successful.” You get this idea that if we spend time meditating on God’s Word, that we are going to do a lot better and we’re going to understand it a lot better. This doesn’t come quickly. It takes some intentionality to go about it. I find it interesting that the word we get for meditating also is the same root word for the word worry. If you can worry, you can meditate. Most of us can worry in this room. I know from my experience, I grew up in a house that was filled with worry. I didn’t understand it until later. My mom grew up in the Great Depression in New York City. She worried about a lot of things, and that transferred on to me. In my marriage, my wife noticed, “Man, you worry about a lot of stuff.” It’s good that our spouse is usually able to see those things in you, isn’t it, and point them out. What I found was the cure to worry was meditation. To take a look at verses and meditate on those things.
One habit we have in our house is we have verses that we switched around all the time. We have one board where we do a monthly verse. When you walk by it, you read it. It’s something you think about in your mind. You churn, chew on it, and think about it. One of the verses that my wife put out for me was the verse that Jesus says, “Do not worry. The lilies of the field don’t toil, and the birds, God takes care of the birds of the air.” To me, it was a way to change my thinking in that area. We all need to spend some time meditating, which is focused thinking, so is worry. If we worry and focus our thoughts on the worry, it gets us nowhere. However, meditating has a huge benefit if we take time to do it.
What does it mean? Take some time to read God’s Word. As you’re reading it try to picture it. Try to visualize in your mind as you’re reading it, “What is it that’s going on? What’s the scene?” Maybe take some time and go through that phrase of scripture, pronouncing it differently, highlighting different words that are in it, and making it a little bit stronger to give you a little more meaning. Another great thing to do is take time to paraphrase it. Write it in your own words and your own experience. This reminds me of what we’re doing on the Psalms wall. It’s to take our own experiences and some of the things that we’ve read. Rephrase them and write them as a song to the Lord. It’s a great way for us to meditate on scriptures. Maybe it’s taking some time to personalize a piece of scripture. If you were to look at 1 Corinthians 13, could you go through it and change the word love; “Is Mark this way? Is Mark loving? Is Mark kind? Is he considerate?” It’s changing the word and putting your word in it, your name instead, and thinking about how I can do something different and how this can be better for me. Take time to pray about it. Turn that verse into a prayer and give it back to God.
As you’re reading through scripture and doing those things, you’re meditating. It can ask questions like; What does it say? What does it say to you? What are the facts that are going on? What did it mean to the original people that it was written to, to the heroes that were there? Another question you might ask is what does it mean? Dig into it a little bit deeper. What do the facts mean? What are the timeless principles that are in this passage that I’m reading? The third question would be what does it mean to me, to take it and apply it to my life? Where and how could I make this a practice in my life? What are the implications of the facts for me today? Write out a sentence of steps I’m going to take this week or today to move forward in this area of my life.
What will it take for us to be able to spend time meditating on God’s Word? Meditating is spending and scheduling a time in your day to think about where I can place this and spend time meditating. Sometimes it helps that we can change our location. Find a place that has some meaning to you in God’s nature. Maybe it’s going to the park, the ocean, woods, or whatever it is that’s seeing God’s beauty, reading it, and meditating. It takes intentionality on our part to say, “I’m going to schedule this. I’m going to make this a part of my day. I’m going to go to this location where I can connect to God and move forward in my life.”
Third, what can help us move to be better at living well in our life is by being connected to other followers of Christ. A great illustration of this is if King David lived here in California at the time, I think one of the illustrations he might have used is the sequoias or the redwood trees instead of the tree planted by the water. Many have probably experienced going up in your woods or maybe over to Yosemite, Sequoia, or up the coast and seeing these trees. But one interesting thing about the trees is that they live for almost 2,000 to 3,000 years. They are some of the oldest creatures that are on this planet and they grow up to over 300 feet tall, which is taller than how long a football field is. Can you imagine? That’s huge.
How do they live so long and how do they stay there? How do they go through times of wind, rain, fire, and all the things that go on? One thing you’ll notice about redwood trees and sequoias is that they never grow by themselves. They always grow together in a grove. What happens with them is the roots are connected like their fingers or arms are almost interlocking with each other. When the rain and winds come, they don’t blow over easily because they are holding onto each other. I think it’s a great illustration for us to take a look at what we do in our lives to avoid some of these traps that we fall into. I think it’s being connected to other followers of Christ.
Similarly, how we turn that verse around at the beginning of chapter one. We said let’s look at this positively, let’s walk in the counsel of the godly and good. We become people connected to one another. When we allow those who are other Christ-followers in our lives to be connected to us, it helps to keep us strong. It helps us to weather those times. When we start going down a path, if we’re in relationships with others who are holding us up, they’re going to stop us and say, “Hey, do you see what you’re doing there? Do you see what’s going on?” They’ll pray for us and we will talk about it. These become people in your lives that you are such good friends with, they help you out and you help them out. If you had an emergency at 3:00 in the morning, you would be able to call and say, “Hey, I need your help.” For me, this has always been an important theme in my life.
I can see the times in my life that I’ve struggled the most is when I was out of fellowship with other followers of Christ. When I isolated myself from them. When I’ve taken time to make sure that I’m in a relationship. I’ve been in a small group that I haven’t been in and the situations haven’t been as difficult for me. Even back into youth ministry, I believe, small groups are huge and important for teenagers and us as adults. I’ve been participating. My wife and I have always hosted small groups in our home. I’ve done small men’s groups, she’s done small women’s groups. Every time that we have been a part of one of those groups that have gone well, our lives have run better.
If you have not been a part of that, I encourage you to seek out a small group of other followers of Christ. You can spend time together. It doesn’t have to be reading the Bible. It’s spending time doing life together, talking about what’s going on and encouraging one another, holding each other accountable, and growing together. If you’re not a part of a small group here, we’d love to get you connected. Just connect with one of the staff and we will help you do that. But we want to see everybody be like the sequoia that grows. Or the redwood that grows where roots are growing together so we can weather those hard times that are there.
In closing, I just want to wrap up by thinking about, “Hey, if we were living it well, if we were really taking time to see the warning signs and avoid those things, if we were taking time to meditate on God’s Word and being with other followers of Christ, what would our life look like?” I can’t imagine if each one of us took this to heart and started doing it, how our relationships with the people around us would change, with our kids, our spouse if we’re married, and our friends. What would happen in our lives if we were to take this to heart and say, “I’m going to live it well.” What would happen in our church if every one of us was living it well? What a difference it would make in the lives of everybody in this room and everybody who comes here to Cornerstone? What if our whole church who comes and participates are all living it well? I can’t help but think that the rest of the community and city would see, “Wow, what is going on there? I want to be a part of that.” I think it gives us an awesome opportunity to show who Christ is in other people’s lives because they see the way that we are living it well. They want to be a part of it too. I encourage you today, this week, to think about, “How am I living it well? Am I taking time to get in God’s Word? Am I getting in a group? Am I seeing the signs that are going on?”
I want to close with a prayer, Heavenly Father, thank You for today. Thank You for the example that You’ve given us here in scripture from David about this idea of how we can be blessed. We can be happy many times over, God if we avoid these pitfalls. God, if we put Your words in our hearts and study them, understand them, and apply them to our lives and live it out. God, that we can live it well along with other followers of Christ. Our life can make a huge difference in the lives of the people around us. The people in this world will see how much we love Jesus and what a difference that light has made in our life that it becomes so attractive that they want to be part of that as well. So I pray, God, that You had strength in each one of us as we walk out of here today thinking about how we can live it well. We love You. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.