Pastor’s Blog

Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Saw my first robin today.  I’m reminded of the promise God gave Noah after the flood:

“Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.  And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.  As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”  Genesis 8:21-22

This gives me great comfort, even as our world is filled with omens, rumors and dire predictions.

God is in control of our world, not us.

God makes promises and He keeps them.

I can believe, completely and without reservation, the things God has said.







Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Couple of things coming up:

Dads Breakfast:  Saturday, March 20.  8:30-10AM.  We’ll be talking about time management and priorities.

Good Friday Service:  Friday, April 2.  4:30-5:15PM.

IF Women’s Conference:  Friday-Saturday, April 9-10

Sportsman’s Banquet:  Friday, April 30.


Acts 13:36

“For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep. . .” Acts 13:36

I read this verse in one of the books I’m reading for the Colson Fellows program.  It resonates with me a lot.

You and I were made by God and put here on this earth.  We were created to have an impact in the times in which we live.  Look up Ephesians 2:10 and Acts 17:26.

Do you know God’s purpose for you in your generation?  You are created to do good works.  You are placed here and now by your Creator.

God is doing powerful and wonderful things all around you. (Habakkuk 1:5)  He asks you to join Him in this great work.    Are you?







Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Sue and I will be heading down to Arizona for the next week plus.  We’ve started to go down every year at this time.  I have lots of family who spend several weeks there.  We catch up on old times and watch spring training baseball.  As an added bonus the past couple of years, I have second cousin (maybe – he’s my cousin’s son) who pitches for the Seattle Mariners.  Seattle trains in Arizona, so we get to watch Joey pitch.

So I won’t be sending out a Daily until we get back mid-March.

Couple of things to keep on your calendars:

  • Dads Breakfast.  Saturday, March 20.  8:30-10AM
  • Good Friday Service.  Friday, April 2 at 4:30PM
  • Sportsman’s Banquet.  Friday, April 30 at 5PM

I’ll leave you with this song.   It goes along with the message from Sunday about faith – how we are sure of things we can’t see.  This song probably wasn’t written to be a worship song, and it probably gets some theology wrong.  But it’s a good song:





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Finding God In Your Family Situation

On Sunday, we talked about family.  We spent time laying out how our culture gets family wrong, and we spent most of our time talking about God’s perfect plan for family.

But as we see those things, it becomes clear pretty quickly that none of us have an ideal family.  God says it is wonderful and important, that we all need it for so many things.  But we all know that we don’t have it, at least not as God intended.

If that’s where it’s left, we are all in a place of disappointment and perhaps despair – seeing what could be, longing for it, but never having it.

God doesn’t leave us in that place.  On Sunday, we briefly laid out three things we and God do in response to our family situations here on earth:

  1. Find God in the place you are in
  2. Strengthen your family
  3. Understand and love your role

This week we’ll explore more fully these things.


Ruth and Esther were in hard family situations that were pretty much out of their control.  But God was still in control.  He blessed and used those two women as they sought for Him in the situations they were in.

David is different.  His hard family situation was largely his own fault.  David married too often (he had half a dozen wives or so).  His first wife hated him (Michel).  Another wife had been married to one of David’s enemies (Abigail).  Still another wife had been married to one of David’s friends, but David raped her, killed her husband, then married her (Bathsheba).

David didn’t do well with his children.  Amnon raped his sister Tamar.  Absalom killed Amnon in retaliation.  Absalom then rebelled against David and tried to kill him.  Solomon killed his brother Adonijah.  David was upset by all of this, but never stirred himself up to do anything about it.

”Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?”  1 Kings 1:6

Yet in this broken family situation, God worked.  Even though David failed greatly as a father and husband, God used him and blessed him

“As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a son on the throne of Israel.’”  1 Kings 9:4-5



Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Finding God In Your Family Situation

On Sunday, we talked about family.  We spent time laying out how our culture gets family wrong, and we spent most of our time talking about God’s perfect plan for family.

But as we see those things, it becomes clear pretty quickly that none of us have an ideal family.  God says it is wonderful and important, that we all need it for so many things.  But we all know that we don’t have it, at least not as God intended.

If that’s where it’s left, we are all in a place of disappointment and perhaps despair – seeing what could be, longing for it, but never having it.

God doesn’t leave us in that place.  On Sunday, we briefly laid out three things we and God do in response to our family situations here on earth:

  1. Find God in the place you are in
  2. Strengthen your family
  3. Understand and love your role

This week we’ll explore more fully these things.


Esther had it even worse, I think, than Naomi.  Esther was living in exile as an orphan.  Her parents were dead, possibly killed in the invasion that had led to Israel’s captivity.  She had no rights of her own, so when the king decided he wanted a large harem of beautiful young women, Esther was forced to become his concubine.  She could never marry, never have a family of her own, and she was at the will of a man whose only interest in her was his own sexual appetite.

”Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful girls into the harem at the citadel of Susa. . .When the king’s order and edict  had been proclaimed. . .Esther also was taken to the king’s palace. . . In the evening she would go there (to the king’s chamber/bedroom) and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines.”  Esther 2

Yet in this seemingly terrible place God was good to Esther.  She became the Queen of the kingdom.  God used her to save her people, the Jews, from annihilation.  God was close to her and good to her.  God used her situation for good.

”And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Finding God In Your Family Situation
Naomi (Book of Ruth)

On Sunday, we talked about family.  We spent time laying out how our culture gets family wrong, and we spent most of our time talking about God’s perfect plan for family.

But as we see those things, it becomes clear pretty quickly that none of us have an ideal family.  God says it is wonderful and important, that we all need it for so many things.  But we all know that we don’t have it, at least not as God intended.

If that’s where it’s left, we are all in a place of disappointment and perhaps despair – seeing what could be, longing for it, but never having it.

God doesn’t leave us in that place.  On Sunday, we briefly laid out three things we and God do in response to our family situations here on earth:

  1. Find God in the place you are in
  2. Strengthen your family
  3. Understand and love your role

This week we’ll explore more fully these things.

Naomi – Book of Ruth

Naomi was a Jewish woman who lived in the days before King David.  Her story is found in the book of Ruth.  Naomi was married and had two sons.  Life seemed good.  But in rapid succession, Naomi lost her husband and both of her boys.  She was also in a foreign land with no help, no means of support.  She went back to Israel with her two daughters in law, but along the way one of them returned home.  Naomi came back to her hometown in a desperately sorrowful, empty state.

”’Don’t call me Naomi,’ (which means ‘pleasant’) she told them.  ‘Call me Mara, (which means ‘bitter’) because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.  I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.  Why call me Naomi?  The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.’”  Ruth 1:20-21   (I added the definitions from the footnotes)

Naomi was lost in the misery of her family situation.  She had been full, but was now empty.  She didn’t hide her hurt, from those she knew or even from God.

But she began to see other things that were also true and real.  Ruth (Naomi’s daughter-in-law) gleaned in the field of a man named Boaz, who took special notice and care of Ruth.  Naomi said:

”’The Lord bless him!’ Naomi said to her daughter-in-law.  ‘He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.’  She added, ‘That man (Boaz) is our close relative; he in one of our kinsman-redeemers.’”  Ruth 2:20

Naomi began to see God in her family situation.  There was a close relative whom God moved to care for Naomi and Ruth.  And God was still moving.  Boaz eventually married Ruth.  This meant that Naomi now had a family to be part of.  And that family grew in size and in joy.

”So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife.  The he went to her, and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.  The women said to Naomi: ‘Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!  He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.  For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven son, has given him birth.’  Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him.  The women living there said, ‘Naomi has a son’”  Ruth 4:13-17

God gave Naomi great, unbridled joy in a family situation that was very different than normal, very different than Naomi




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, February 19, 2021
Ephesians 5:25-26; 6:4

Tomorrow morning we’ll gather as Dads to talk about that magnificent, impactful role.  Thought today I’d just give a little reminder of why we’re focusing on that role.

Ephesians 5:25-26:

     “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”  Ephesians 5:25-26

As Dads, we are first husbands.  Our relationship with our wives is foundational in how we are as Dads.  Look at the comparison here:  Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church.  The cost is high – lay down your life for her.  The reward is incomparable – she is helped to be holy.  Lay your life down so your wife will thrive.

Ephesians 6:4:

     “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”  Ephesians 6:4

As a Dad, we have a command to bring up our children.  We do that through training, instruction and understanding.  The cost is high – give the time and emotional energy needed.  The reward is joyful – your kids are men and women loving and serving the Lord.

There is a lot to talk about.  There is a lot of uncertainty.  I get that.  We’ll spend time talking about all of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘yeah, buts’ and ‘how do you do that’.  They are valid and helpful to chew on.

But let’s start with this:  We are called to a noble and impactful task.  The costs to us are high.  The rewards are wonderful.





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, February 18, 2021

Today just want to point out a couple of things coming up here at Cedarcreek.

THIS SATURDAY, February 20, 8:30-10AM.

We’ll have the first of four Dad’s Times.  We’ll make breakfast and eat together.  We’ll hear and talk about the epic adventure God asks us to follow Him in:  Being a Dad.

I’m really  not exaggerating when I say epic adventure.  It is that, and we can go on it side by side with our heavenly Dad.  I hope and pray that we in the Cedarcreek family are understanding and growing in this critical role.

GOOD FRIDAY, April 2.   4:30-5:15

We will have a Good Friday service this year.  The crucifixion is huge moment in the story of God and mankind.  It addresses all of history that came before it, and it changes all that will come after it.





Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Romans 14 Bonus
Colossians 3:15-17

We finished Romans 14 yesterday.  This morning I read another small passage that sums up a lot of what we said.  We’ll take a look at it today, then move on.

Colossians 3:15-17

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your heats, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  Colossians 3:15-17

-MEMBERS OF ONE BODY YOU WERE CALLED TO PEACE:  We belong to each other.  We need to be at peace with each other as we stand together before God.

-BE THANKFUL:  It’s harder to be snarky and grumpy when we are being thankful.  We have much to be thankful for, both from God and from each other.

-WORD OF CHRIST DWELL IN YOU RICHLY:  Make sure your convictions are aligned with God’s Word.  Scripture must be our authority, nothing else.

-SING:  Remember that we serve and worship an awesome God.  Praise and revere Him.  It makes me less eager to praise and worship myself, my ideas, or someone else.

-DO IT ALL IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST:  Remember, we will all stand before God.

-GIVING THANKS TO GOD:  It is very good to stand before God, because we are His children.  So is the person in the church with whom you disagree.

I want to say again that I am so proud of each of you, so glad to be part of this church.  We have been navigating difficult, confusing, tumultuous times.  I’ve watched you do so with grace and love and patience.  We all have our moments, but we have done well, I think.

2021 will be much of the same.  As we get weary of the struggle, let’s all remember that the work of loving each other in the face of differences is a very hard, but very good work.  I’m glad to do it with you all.






Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Romans 14

We’ll finish up Romans 14 today.  We’ve spent a lot of time on this.  I think it’s important for us as a church.  Our love for each other is a picture to the world of what it means to be a Christian.  This is hard work, especially so when we disagree about issues that are meaningful to us.

God is good.  He knows that we are in these days, and He knows how to help us.  I hope and pray that this passage helps us all to live well together as a church family, even though we disagree about some things.

Romans 14:22b-23

            “Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.  But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.”  Romans 14:22b-23

-DOES NOT CONDEMN HIMSELF BY WHAT HE APPROVES:  I think what Paul means here is this – If you approve something, conduct yourself with love toward others, or what you approve will be taken as bad or harmful.

-NOT COME FROM FAITH IS SIN:  Again, we all stand before God.  I will answer to God for my beliefs and actions.  You will as well.  God will ultimately be the one who tells us who is right and wrong.  In the mean time, we will have conversations, even disagreements.  But our goal is to help each other stand before God.





Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, February 12, 2021
Romans 14

We’re walking through Romans 14 as we continue doing the good but hard work of loving each other well in the midst of substantial differences of opinion.

Romans 14:22a

”So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.”   Romans 14:22a

We’ve talked a lot about how we live together well with people who have different ideas about contentious issues.  Most of what Paul has been saying so far falls might be summed up like this:

“You may be right, but that’s not the most important thing.  Treating each other with respect and honor and love is much more important than being right.”

But this begs the question:  Do we ever talk about our differences with each other?  Today’s verse might make us thing that the answer is No.  Just keep it to yourself.  I don’t think that’s what Paul means here.

Take a look at a couple of other verses that speak to this:

“No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.”  1 Corinthians 11:19

Paul anticipated and welcomed disagreements.  By talking through them, we learn.  God gives each of insight, and when we talk about contentious issues, we can learn more fully God’s wisdom.

“I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”  Romans 15:14

Paul also anticipated that these conversations about contentious issues would happen.  We all hear God in different ways, and we all have something to add to the discussion.

“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.  And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.”  2 Timothy 2:23-25

But how we have these conversations is important.  This is a great passage that I use to test my discussions about contentious issues.  Here are some bullet points we can use to gauge our conversations to see if they are going to helpful or harmful:

-Does it become a quarrel, with raised voices, angry looks and talking over each other

-Am I kind in my words and actions

-Is my goal to explain myself in a way you can understand, and listen so that I can understand you

-Do I leave angry

-Am I believing that you are listening to God, or am I wishing you would just listen to me

-Am I trusting God to teach both of us if we need it, or am I sure that I have to teach you and you can’t teach me

Tomorrow we’ll finish Romans 14 by jumping off of this spot.






Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Romans 14

COLD WEATHER BONUS:   Last Sunday we talked about ice rings around the sun.  Don Bredle took the attached picture over Lake Altoona.  There is beauty all around us, put there by the hand of God.

We’re walking through Romans 14 as we continue doing the good but hard work of loving each other well in the midst of substantial differences of opinion.

Romans 14:20b-21

”All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.  It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”  Romans 14:20b-21

Paul keeps restating the same basic themes:

-ALL FOOD IS CLEAN:  Paul is very convinced of the rightness of his position

-IT IS BETTER NOT TO EAT MEAT:  Paul is willing to act differently than his convictions would lead him to act.

-WRONG FOR A MAN TO EAT ANYTHING THAT WILL CAUSE HIS BROTHER TO STUMBLE:  Paul’s willingness to act differently is based on someone else’s convictions and well-being.

To restate all of the:  Paul believes himself to be right when it comes to this meat issue.  But he recognizes that others think differently, and struggle with the whole thing.  Paul decides that being right isn’t the most important thing.  Instead, the well-being of the people around him is most important.  So he modifies his behavior to help them, not to match his beliefs.

This is tricky.  We’ll talk about the practical ways we can do that in the days to come.





Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Romans 14

I had some questions about yesterday’s email.  I’ll try to address them today.

Specifically, I was asked about this statement in Monday’s email:

-ANYONE REGARDS. . .FOR HIM IT IS UNCLEAN:  If someone is convinced of one thing, but they act in a different way, they are doing wrong.  In other words, if someone truly believes wearing a mask is wrong before God, but they wear one because they are afraid of push back, they are sinning  (see v. 22)

The question was, basically, “How could someone truly believe before God that wearing a mask is wrong?”  If I understand the question, another way to state it might be, “Can a conviction against wearing masks be reasonable or right?”

I’ll give a little background on why I included that statement yesterday.  Then I’ll try to respond to the question in two ways.

Background:  Romans 14 is dealing with people who have differing convictions.  Paul is convinced all meat is fine; others are convinced eating meat sacrificed to idols is a sin.  As we apply this passage to today, we can apply it to Covid responses (masks, social distancing, vaccines, etc.); we could apply it to politics (election results, future of the country, etc.)  Yesterday, I was suggesting a conviction someone might have that another might disagree with.  I wasn’t affirming or denying that conviction – it was just an example of a possible conviction.

So to answer the question:

1. I can think of many reasons why someone would have that conviction.

    • Perhaps someone sees it as an issue of trust.  God says our days are written in His book and He will fulfill them, so it is almost idolatry to think I can lengthen or shorten them.
    • Perhaps someone sees it as an issue of fear.  God says to be anxious for nothing.

I can also think of many reasons a person would have a conviction to wear a mask.

    • Perhaps someone sees it as an issue of kindness and respect.  Jesus says to do to others as you would have them do to you.

But the point is that I would be speculating as to anyone else’s motivations for their convictions.  The only way to really know is to ask them.  One of the BEST, BEST, MOST HONORABLE, MOST HELPFUL, MOST LOVING, MOST WONDERFUL things we can do in these situations is to ask the other person.  (Like my emphasis? ????)  Ask them without the goal of changing their mind; rather, ask them with the goal of understanding their position, whether you agree with it or not.

2. Don’t stop there.  In Romans 14, Paul has already done that.  He understands the other conviction and he disagrees with it.  Romans 14 really is what we do AFTER that point.  It is good and helpful to seek to understand each other.  But understanding doesn’t automatically lead to agreement.  After I understand you, I still may disagree with you.  It is that situation that Romans 14 mostly speaks to.  So seeking to understand another’s conviction is good and helpful.  But then keep going – choose to love and honor the other person even after you more fully understand, and now more completely disagree, with them.

Hope that helps.





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Romans 14

We’re walking through Romans 14 as we continue doing the good but hard work of loving each other well in the midst of substantial differences of opinion.

Romans 14:19-20a

”Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.”  Romans 14:19-20a

-MAKE EVERY EFFORT:  Peace is worth our best effort.  If I edify you, I am edified and vice versa.

-DO NOT DESTROY THE WORK OF GOD:  This is a powerful statement.  If I understand this in the context of the whole passage, I can actually be fighting against God if I cling to disputable ideas even if they hurt peace and edification.  I don’t want to be fighting God.





Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, February 5, 2021
Romans 14

PROGRAMING NOTE:  This Sunday, in our series on Swimming in the Cultural Sea, we are going to talk about sex.  The conversation won’t be graphic, but it will be direct.  We want parents to be aware so that you can make arrangements for your kids if you would rather they not be in the meeting room

PROGRAMING NOTE ADDENDUM AND APOLOGY:  This email was all typed up and ready to go Friday around noon.  I just wanted to make some minor tweaks, which I would do that afternoon.  I then totally forgot about it until Sunday morning.  I apologize.  I am not good with details.  That comes out in many ways.  It can be kind of funny and even endearing, for a short while.  Then it quickly becomes annoying and frustrating.  I fear that I have long past the stage of funny and endearing.  So I apologize to all who are rightly annoyed and frustrated by my lack of attention to detail.

We’re walking through Romans 14 as we continue doing the good but hard work of loving each other well in the midst of substantial differences of opinion.

Romans 14:14-18

”As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself.  But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.  If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.  Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.  Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.”  Romans 14:14-18

Lots in here.  Let’s break it down.

-I AM FULLY CONVINCED:  Paul believed he was right.  You and I likely believe we are right about these disputable topics.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  We think and talk to God and consider and come up with an opinion.  That’s all very good.

-ANYONE REGARDS. . .FOR HIM IT IS UNCLEAN:  If someone is convinced of one thing, but they act in a different way, they are doing wrong.  In other words, if someone truly believes wearing a mask is wrong before God, but they wear one because they are afraid of push back, they are sinning  (see v. 22)

-KEY POINT:  Being right isn’t the main issue.  Paul believed he was right.  Others believed something different.  That wasn’t the most important thing.  The most important thing was how everybody responded to God and to each other

So how do we respond well?


All of these things refer not to whether we are right or wrong.  Rather, they refer to how we are thinking about and responding to someone who thinks differently.  The whole point of this Chapter is to remember that being ‘right’ is not the only thing, or even always the most important thing.  Ideas are important.  Thinking correctly is important.  But alongside of that, at the same time as that, is the importance of loving each other in our differences, accepting each other, honoring each other, submitting to each other.





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, February 4, 2021
Romans 14

We’re walking through Romans 14 as we continue doing the good but hard work of loving each other well in the midst of substantial differences of opinion.

Romans 14:13

”Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.  Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”  Romans 14:13

-STOP PASSING JUDGMET:  We’ve explored this a lot so far.  If any of us or thinking or acting incorrectly, God can and will let us know.

-KEY POINT:  This doesn’t mean we can’t have discussions.  This doesn’t mean that we never seek to correct someone.  We can and should, as brothers and sisters, talk about these hard things.  This issue here is how we respond when we don’t agree, even after we’ve discussed.  Here the issue is judging, not talking.

-NOT PUT STUMBLING BLOCK:  This is a tricky thought.  What does it mean to ‘put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.’?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Don’t pressure someone to do something they have a problem with.  You can tell them what you think, but give them the freedom to choose for themselves.
  • Don’t flaunt your choices.  If you like the outcome of the past election, don’t rub it in to someone who doesn’t like it.
  • Be willing to act differently if you can without violating your conscience.  I may have many valid reasons for not wearing a mask.  But if I don’t feel that God has told me that wearing one is a sin, I will wear one when others around me are blessed by me wearing one.





Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Romans 14

We’re walking through Romans 14 as we continue doing the good but hard work of loving each other well in the midst of substantial differences of opinion.

Sorry I missed yesterday.  I was traveling to Iowa to see Becca.  I’m hopefully going to get a laptop that can travel with me.

Romans 14:12

”So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”  Romans 14:12

This verse goes in two directions.  One is that the people we disagree with will give an account to God; that is, God will let them know if they were thinking incorrectly.

But I think it’s also true that I will give an account to God for how I respond to those with whom I disagree.  Am I being kind?  Am I being patient?  Am I being humble?  God will ask me all those things, I think.






Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, January 29, 2021
Romans 14

We’re walking through Romans 14 as we continue doing the good but hard work of loving each other well in the midst of substantial differences of opinion.

Romans 14:9-11

”For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
You then, why do you judge your brother?  For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.  It is written:
‘”As surely as I live,” says the Lord,
    “every knew will bow before me;
         every tongue will confess to God.”’”

            Romans 14:9-11

-FOR THIS VERY REASON:  I think Paul is talking about how weak and uncertain we are; how much we need a Savior.

-CHRIST DIED AND RETURNED TO LIFE:  This is first and foremost for us as Christians:  We are saved from our sins by Christ’s loving, sacrificial death.  This is what defines us.  This is what unites us.  This must be the first and central idea that we rally around.  Heath and masks and governments pale in comparison to this.

-STAND BEFORE GOD’S JUDGMENT SEAT:  We will be found righteous because of Christ.  Our names will be written in the book of life.  That is the most important, most joyful, most powerful, most magnificent, most impactful thing that will ever happen to us.  Only God can make that happen, and He did through Christ.





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, January 28, 021
Romans 14

We’re walking through Romans 14 as we continue doing the good but hard work of loving each other well in the midst of substantial differences of opinion.

Romans 14:5-8

”One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike.  Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord.  He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains does so to Lord and gives thanks to God.  For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.  If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.  So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”  Romans 14:5-8

-DOES SO TO THE LORD:  This is key.  Make sure your convictions are solid before the Lord.  I think what this looks like is that you can comfortably be in God’s presence and hold your conviction.  This requires us to be working hard at being in God’s presence.  I truly believe that we will understand our world better if we spend more time in the Word and prayer than we do watching the news, reading articles on the internet, or listening to podcasts.

-HE WHO EATS; HE WHO ABSTAINS; DOES SO TO THE LORD:  Give your brothers and sisters the benefit of the doubt.  Believe that they are also practicing standing in God’s presence with their convictions.  Here we clearly see that two people can both be confident before God with different ideas.  Expect the best from each other.

-WE BELONG TO THE LORD:  Never forget that what defines us is the Lord.  Not our ideas or convictions.  Not or political leanings.  Not our medical knowledge.  We are God’s sons and daughters first.  That means that we are brothers and sisters first.  Everything else must follow that.






Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Romans 14

We’re walking through Romans 14 as we continue doing the good but hard work of loving each other well in the midst of substantial differences of opinion.

Romans 14:2-4

            ”One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.  The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.  Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?  To his own master he stands or falls.  And he will stand, for God will make him stand.”  Romans 14:2-4

We have different ideas of what is right and wrong, of what is prudent and foolish.  When we see these differences in each other, we are prone to have one of two really bad responses:

-LOOK DOWN: We can feel superior.  We can dismiss someone else as silly or foolish.

-CONDEMN: We can feel self-righteous.  We can decide someone else is sinful, even evil.

What will stop us from falling into one of those traps?  Paul tells us.

-GOD HAS ACCEPTED HIM: The other person’s relationship with God is far, far more defining than what they believe about health or politics.

-WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE: Other’s don’t answer to me.  I am not someone else’s conscience.  I need to remember that I am in the exact same boat as them – trying hard to honor and follow God in a confusing, difficult world.

-TO HIS OWN MASTER HE STANDS OR FALLS: God is the one to correct them, and me, if needed.

-GOD WILL MAKE HIM STAND: The ultimate goal is not getting this particular issue ‘right’.  The goal is standing with God in eternity.  That will happen because of Christ’s sacrifice, not because we hammer out all of these details here on earth.





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Romans 14

Sunday was the State of the Church Address.  We talked about the past year, and about what 2021 might look like.

Obviously, one of the biggest things last year for us as a church was practicing loving each other in the face of very different ideas.  The pandemic made us live closely with people who responded to it differently.  The election made us live closely with people who had different ideas about the outcome.

We did well, I think.  Really.  I thought many times over 2020 that we as a church body were doing well living with, loving and accepting each other.

But as the year turned and none of those issues seem to be abating, I think we all suddenly felt weary.  And a little uptight, maybe.  And perhaps more inclined to stop trying so hard to get along with each other.

I understand that feeling of weariness.  But I also think that there is nothing better we can do at the start of 2021 than keep working on loving each other in the face of our differences.

This month I’ll just walk through Romans 14, bit by bit.  Not necessarily to teach us anything new; rather, to remind us and strengthen us to keep doing that good, hard work of loving each other.

Romans 14:1

  ”Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.”  Romans 14:1

ACCEPT:  This speaks to how we see someone as a person, not what we think about their ideas and decisions.  We accept each other because we are brothers and sisters in Christ.  I have sisters with whom I disagree.  But they are welcome in my home; they are accepted into my inner circle because of who they are, not what they think.

FAITH IS WEAK:  This is tricky, because we are all pretty tempted to think to ourselves, ‘I am the strong and right one.  You are weak and wrong.’   The point here is that we accept each other whether we are convinced the other one is right or not.

DISPUTABLE MATTERS:  Again, this can be tricky.  We are tempted to think that the truth is crystal clear.  We have to surrender that thought.  It’s easier when we put things in perspective.

-God doesn’t tell us how much we need to protect against disease.  You and I have good reasons for what we do, and we could argue about whose ideas are ‘better’.

But the reality is that this is a ‘disputable matter’; that is, there are different sides to the issue and God doesn’t sign off on one versus the other.

-The same is true about politics – God does not dictate that we vote Democrat or Republican.  God has not given any of us absolute understanding of what happened or didn’t happen in the past election.  We have our thoughts, beliefs and understandings.  There is a different side.  It is a disputable matter.






Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, December 25, 2020
Christmas Story:  Simeon and Anna
Luke 2:22-40

The Law of Moses required certain things for first born sons.  You can read about them in Exodus 13:1-16 and Leviticus 12.  Joseph and Mary traveled to Jerusalem from Bethlehem to fulfill the requirement of the law.  While they were there, we see two more characters in the story of the birth of Jesus.  Two old people whose lives had been spent longing for God.

First is Simeon.  Here is how he is described to us:

            “He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.”  Luke 2:25

All Jews had heard the story of the coming Messiah.  Many likely ignored it; many probably doubted that it would ever come.  But Simeon believed what God had promised, and he expected it to happen.  So much so, that when he saw its fulfillment, he was ready for is life here to be over.  Nothing could ever be better – he had seen God keep His promise.

Then there is Anna. She was either 84 or older than 91, depending on how you do the math.  Either way, very old.  She had been a widow for a long time.  Her life is described to us in a nutshell:

            “She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.”  Luke 2:37

But she didn’t look at her life with regret, at least now.  Instead:

      “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward
            to the redemption of Jerusalem.”  Luke 2:38

God filled these two old people with joy.  That’s what happens to all of us when we see the Savior.





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Christmas Story:  Shepherds
Luke 2:1-20

The shepherds are integral to the Christmas Story.  Every nativity scene and every children’s Christmas program includes the shepherds.

And rightly so.  These men were the first to know that the Messiah had arrived.  They were personally told by God’s special messengers that the Christ had been born.  We perhaps don’t grasp the weight of this.  The Jews had been waiting for the Messiah for hundreds of years.  Godly men and women had searched for clues, had prayed for speed, and had longed for the day of the coming of Immanuel.

Yet when it happened, God chose to announce it, in phenomenal and grand style, to these humble men in the fields outside of Bethlehem.

I think the most wonderful part they play is their response.

           “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, they shepherds said to one another, ‘Le’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that
            has happened, which the lord has told us about.”  Luke 2:15

There was no pride, no doubt.  Their first response wasn’t to go tell others what God had done for them.  Rather, they ran to find God, to find the Messiah.  Only after seeing him did they tell others, and then it wasn’t to brag about being first to know, it was to let the others join in their joy.  And finally, they returned, unable to stay away from their King and God.

           “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they
           had been told.”  Luke 2:20






Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Christmas Story:  Wise Men
Matthew 2:1-12

The Christmas story is filled with people of low position.  Joseph and Mary were young, unimportant, relatively poor people.  The shepherds were outcasts – the bottom of the social ladder.  Jesus came humbly, and it shows His great love that He uses and honors those who may not have honor from this world.

But the Christmas story is for everyone, including the rich and famous.  Today we look at the Wise Men.

     “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of king Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where
      is the one who has been born king of the Jews?'”  Matthew 2:1-2

The Magi were ‘Wise Men’.  They studied the world around them.  They were the college professors and PhDs of their day.  And these particular ones were wealthy, at least if we judge by the gifts they gave.

    “then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”  Matthew 2:11

But these men also had an eye and a heart toward God.  They weren’t Jews, yet they wanted to worship the King of the Jews.  They somehow knew from God that the King’s star was rising.  They were moved to follow that star.

     “We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  Matthew 2:1

And when they responded to what God was showing them, their hearts were filled with joy.

         “and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star,
         they rejoiced with exceeding great joy!”  Matthew 2:9-10

Jesus didn’t come for the poor and downtrodden.  He didn’t come for the wealthy and powerful.  He came for anyone with a soft heart.






Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Christmas Story:  Mary
Luke 1:26-56

Mary is obviously a central figure in the birth of Jesus.  But most of what we see of her is not the actual birth.

We see her first as a young girl visited by an angel.  The angel told her that God was about to fulfill a promise that Israel had been expecting for generations.  The Messiah was coming – the King that would sit on David’s throne and save Israel!  But much more remarkable, from Mary’s point of view, was that the angel told her that SHE would be the Messiah’s mother.

       “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called
              the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over
             Jacob’s descendants forever, his kingdom will never end.”  Luke 1:31-33

Likely nothing in Mary’s life had led her to think that this would be her role.  Yet I love Mary’s response:

     “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered.  ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.'”  Luke 1:38

And just like Joseph yesterday, her response to God is one I hope I have.

       “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”  Luke 1:46-47





Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, December 21, 2020
Christmas Story:  Joseph
Matthew 1:1-24; 2:19-23

Joseph sometimes gets lost in the Christmas story.  Yet he played a huge part in God’s plan.

Joseph was in the line of King David, which made his earthy son, Jesus, the rightful King of the Jews

“David was the father of Solomon. . .and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”  Matthew 1:6,16

Joseph spent a lot of time listening to angels in dreams.  It would have easy, I suspect, to discount some of the wild things he was told:

-your fiancée is pregnant by the Holy Spirit  (1:20)
-your son will save Israel (1:21)
-the current king wants to kill you so flee to Egypt (2:13)
-it’s safe to go back to Israel (2:19-20)
-go live in Nazareth (2:22-23)

But we are told one thing about him that explains much:

“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man. . .”  Matthew 1:19

This man knew God and wanted to obey God.  Someday I hope that is said of me.

This good, godly man was the father of our savior as a boy.  Joseph taught the Messiah how to be a man.  I can’t wait to meet him






Cedarcreek Daily
Sunday, December 20, 2020
Christmas Story – Zechariah, Elizabeth and John
Luke 1:5-25, 57-80

The story begins about two years before Jesus is born, and many miles away in Jerusalem.  An old priest named Zechariah learns that he will become the father of John the Baptist.

God had foretold John, just as He had foretold Jesus.

            “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord'”  Isaiah 40:3-5
            “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.”  Malachi 3:1
            “Behold, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord.”  Malachi 4:5 

All of these prophecies are directly attributed in John in the New Testament.  (Mathew 3:1-3, Matthew 11:7-10, Matthew 11:13-14)

Why is the story of John and his parents significant to Christmas?  Here are a couple of reasons:

One, God always tells us before something major happens.  There is a preparing that happens.  I think as people we need this.  God knows how we are made, and does what is necessary and helpful for us to see and accept.  God stepping into our world, Immanuel coming to be with us, Jesus coming to save, all of this is perhaps the most significant event in human history.  God gave us a heads up before it happened.

Two, the story of Zechariah, Elizabeth and John introduces a whole bunch of things that we’ll see in the rest of the Christmas story.

-angels begin to show up all over!
-baby boys are miraculously conceived.
-people are faced with choices to believe some things that are hard to believe
-God asks ordinary people to join in His great work





Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, December 19, 2020
Christmas Story: The Prophets

Isaiah 7:10-17; Isaiah 9:1-7; Jeremiah 23:5-8; Micah 5:2-4

In this week before Christmas, I thought it would be fun to look at the cast of characters in the Christmas story.

We’ll start many, many years before Mary and Joseph and all the other familiar characters of the Christmas story.  God started to tell this story when it was still far in the future.


“Then Isaiah said, ‘Hear now, you house of David!  Is it not enough to try the patience of men?  Will you try the patience of God also?  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:  The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.'”  Isaiah 7:13-14

We see why Christmas was necessary – why God had to come to us.  We are stubborn, disobedient, lost children.

“And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

This is who is coming – this is what Immanuel will do for us!


“This is the name by which he will be called:  The Lord Our Righteous Savior.”  Jeremiah 23:6

Who is coming?  The Lord Our Righteous Savior!  What an incredible name!  What a wonderful gift!


“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”  Micah 5:2

Yet our King and Savior would come humbly, from a small town, with no pomp and ceremony.

The stage is set!  We’ll watch the curtain come up in the days ahead.





Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, December 18, 2020
Cedarcreek Daily Crew

Sorry about the last strange Daily you just got.  I save drafts so I can send them from home during the weekend.  But I sometimes his ‘SEND’ instead of ‘SAVE’.  I am not technologically astute, and I’m becoming less so as I get older.  Pray for Justin who has to deal with my computer incompetence.  ????

I’m going to take some time off between now and the new year.  I’ll send Dailys occasionally through the next couple of weeks, but not every day.

I hope and pray that you have a great Christmas season.

            “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
                   and they will call him Immanuel –
                      which means, ‘God with us.’”    Matthew 1:23





Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Psalm 119-Taw

Last of the Psalm 119 sections today.  Not sure what we’ll do next.   If anyone has a suggestion, let me know!

Psalm 119-Taw

This whole long Psalm has been about God’s Words.  But five times in this section the author refers to his words:

       “May my cry come before you,”
           “May my supplication come before you”
           “May my lips overflow”
           “May my tongue sing”
           “I may praise you”

The two great relational acts that we can do to know God better are to listen to Him and to talk to Him.  We listen first through the Word.  We talk through Prayer.

Read and Pray.  Do it every day.  Relationships are built on communication over time.  Spend time today communicating with your King, your Father, your God.





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Psalm 119-Sin and Shin

Halfway through December.  It finally feels cold, and we’ve got a tiny bit of snow on the ground!  I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. . .

But white or brown, remember the point of the celebration:  Christ came into our world.  He took on a physical body and lived among us.  Then, years later, he willingly sacrificed that body to pay for our sins.  That’s the greatest gift we could possibly dream of.

Psalm 119-Sin and Shin

This is a verse that gives me courage:

            ”Princes persecute me without cause,
                 but my heart stands in awe of thy words.”  v. 161 (NKJV)

So many of the things we believe as Christians are ridiculed and dismissed.  If you believe that God made men and women with differences, you are told that you are wrong.  If you say that homosexuality should not be embraced, you are told you are ignorant and maybe dangerous.  The ‘princes’ of this world, those with power and influence, scoff at God’s word.  But my heart trembles at His word, and I will believe it.





Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Psalm 119-Resh

Kids’ Christmas Program tomorrow at church!  Looking forward to it!

And we’ll continue our series:  Immanuel – God With Us.  Last week we looked at what the world and our lives were like when we were close to God before sin.  This week we’ll look at how we are still receiving God’s goodness, even in a world without God’s closeness.

Psalm 119-Resh

We need reminders.  We saw this yesterday, and here is another promise from God about His Word.   As we live in a world that chooses not to see, we can hold fast to God’s eternal, true Words.

  “All your words are true;
                   all your righteous laws are eternal.”  v. 160





Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, December 11, 2020
Psalm 119-Qoph

This year there won’t be any ‘in person’ conference for us to go to over the holidays.  But there is going to be an online Faithwalkers conference.  We’ll stream it here at church, and everyone is welcome to come and take it in.  Here are some details:

DATES:  December 27-30 (Sunday-Wednesday)
TIME:     7PM each night
COST:     Free

We’ll pass on more details.

Psalm 119-Qoph

God says things to us in the Word that are anchors for us in an unbelieving world.  Here’s one of those things for me:

              “Long ago I learned from your statues
                     that you established them to last forever.”  v. 152

We may be tempted to think that God’s Word is dated; that the Bible was meant for a different time and different culture; that God doesn’t speak through Scripture anymore, that we can’t trust the Bible to be accurate.  When you confront those thoughts, remember this statement of fact from the God who created the world and stands as King and Master of every word ever spoken.  His Word is sure, established, permanent and meant for us today.







Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Psalm 119-Tsadhe

I am learning how to live with joy and sorrow side by side.  We all experience both.  Often we recognize and live in one or the other.  Then something happens and we recognize and live in the opposite one.  I’m learning that I very often have both inside me, both working, at the same time.  I’m learning how to recognize and live in both simultaneously.

The first time I really recognized that phenomena was when my Dad died.  He got so weak toward the end that I had to pick him up and carry him outside so he could feel the fresh air.  I was filled with deep, terrible sorrow that I had to do that – that he couldn’t walk himself.  And I was filled with swelling, unending joy that I could do that – that I could be there to serve and love him.

We are complicated beings.  We are created in God’s image.  Only as we seek Him and draw close to Him can we really understand ourselves.

Psalm 119-Tsadhe

Couple of thoughts today:

One of the great joys and strengths of my life with God has been hearing and clinging to promises God has given me through His Word.  As you read, know that God wants to speak to you – He knows you intimately and has plans and promises for you.

          “Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
                   and your servant loves them.”  v. 140

In times like ours, when we are perplexed and frustrated and uncertain, seeing and obeying simple commands from the Lord is clarifying and delightful.

        “Trouble and distress have come upon me,
                   but your commands give me delight.”  v. 143





Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Psalm 119-Pe

Becca, my oldest, and her husband Brock are expecting their first in April.  That makes me a grampa in training!!!!  Super exciting.  They are having a little boy, but they aren’t telling what his name will be.  I (seriously) advocated for Haskil Boggs Baumgarn.  It got shot down instantly and repeatedly.  In the meantime, we’re referring to him as ‘Tank’.

More about names as we get into Psalm 119.

Psalm 119-Pe

This Psalm has been nearly exclusive in its focus on God’s word.  Every verse except 2 (by my count) have the basic format of:

-focus on God’s law/word/precepts/commands/etc – things that come from God’s mind and mouth;
-relate something God does in response to His word; or
-relate some attitude or action on the part of the author in response to God’s word.

This passage contains one of the verses that deviates from that pattern:

            “Turn to me and have mercy on me,
                  as you always do to those who love your name.”  v. 132

Here there is not mention of God’s word.  In its place, the author refers to God’s name.

That could mean many things, but here’s one thing I take from it:

Our response to God should not be based solely on what He says.  Some of our response must be based on who He is.  We see God’s power and beauty and wonder all around us (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:19-20).  What we see and feel and know about God, apart from the Word, is enough to generate praise, worship, love and joy.





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Psalm 119-Ayin

This Sunday is the kid’s program at church.  We’ll also have our Christmas Eve service again this year.  In a year of lost routines and delayed traditions, it can be therapeutic to keep a few, at least as much as we can.

Psalm 119-Ayin

            “Because I love your commands
                  more than gold, more than pure gold,
              and because I consider all your precepts right,
                     I hate every wrong path.”  vs. 127-128

We often struggle to do what’s right; we struggle with sin.  One of the things that I have observed with stubborn sins is that I secretly cling to them.  I often need God to give me a healthy hatred for my sins that I wouldn’t otherwise have.  One of the ways God does that is to give me a love for what is right, for His Word.   I can’t love them both.  If I want to hate sin, I can learn to love God’s Word.




Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, December 5, 2020
Psalm 119-Samekh

Don’t know if we’ll have a white Christmas this year.  Maybe.  It’s looking pretty brown right now.

I just read Dicken’s A Christmas Carol tonight.  It’s such a good, quick read.  I read it every year at Christmas.

Psalm 119-Samekh

            “Sustain me, my God, according to your promise,
                 and I will live;
                    do not let my hopes be dashed.
              Uphold me, and I will be delivered;
                 I will always have regard for your decrees.”  vs. 116-117

God gives us promises in His Word.  Finding them and putting your hope in them is powerful and wonderful.  I pray that you see promises  made to you from your God.  I pray that you believe them.  I pray that you see their fulfillment.





Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, December 4, 2020
Psalm 119-Nun

I watched a December sunset last night.  The sky in winter turns a paler shade of blue.   Across that pale blue sky were spread sheets of wispy, thin clouds.  The setting sun was filling those clouds with color; pink far from the horizon, salmon and orange closer to the horizon, then deep red, all the way to fiery yellow on the horizon.  Amazing.

In the past, I would never have been able to see that sunset from my neighborhood.  But the tornado last year took down so many trees, that now I can watch the sun set.  A sweet, unexpected blessing coming from a terrible, fearful event.

Psalm 119-Nun

I like this verse.  I think there is something powerful about speaking your convictions; taking an oath.

            “I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
                 that I will follow your righteous laws.”  v. 106

I also like this verse as I think about God’s Word:

            “Your statutes are my heritage forever;
                    they are the joy of my heart.”  v. 111

If you struggle to regularly read God’s word, perhaps do one of these things:

  1. Pray that God would stir your heart for his Word.  His Spirit can and will do that
  2. Make a commitment and say or write it out – I will read your righteous Word!





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Psalm 119-Mem

I’m looking out my window at a very non-December looking landscape.  Green and brown.  The temperature is a balmy 38.  I’m hoping for some snow soon.

Psalm 119-Mem

Three interesting statements all in a row in this section:

”Your commands are always with me
        and make me wiser than my enemies.
  I have more insight than all my teachers,
         for I meditate on your word.
  I have more understanding than the elders,
        for I obey your precepts.”  vs. 98-100

God is all knowing.  God is all powerful.  When God speaks, it is always true and always right and always pertinent.

That is the Word that we read.  That is the Word that God’s own Spirit reveals to us.

We must, as Christians, trust that word when we hear it.  We must trust it even if it is contradicted by humans and human wisdom.

While a medical doctor knows much more about my pancreas than I do; I, as a student and son of God, know much more about the human condition than he or she does.  While a politician knows way more about constitutional law than most of us; we all, as God’s children and disciples, know way more about what makes a good society than he or she does.  Not because we are smart, but because we can and do hear the one who truly is smart – God Himself.

       “I have not departed from your laws,
              for you yourself have taught me.”  v. 102

Don’t judge God’s words by what you hear from this world.  Do it the other way around.  You and I, as Christians, have the incredible privilege to be taught by God himself.   Our understanding, even from God, is not absolute and it must be submitted to other Christians for confirmation and verification.  But look to God and His word first and most.




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Psalm 119-Lamedh

If you missed the message this past Sunday, I’d encourage you to listen to it.  Matt gave three responses we as Christians can and should have in response to the recent election:

  1. Our mission remains the same:  Share the Gospel
  2. Our God remains in control
  3. Our love for each other remains based on something other than our political differences.

I think those things are so powerful for each of us to dwell on, regardless of what we thought about the election.  Those three things transcend a political party.  They transcend corruption in the world.  They transcend nations.

Those three things describe us as citizens of heaven and members of God’s family.  That’s what a Christian is first.

Psalm 119-Lamedh

The author compares God’s Word to creation.

 ”Your word, O Lord, is eternal;
    it stands firm in the heavens.
  Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
     You established the earth, and it endures.”  vs. 89-90

This whole Psalm is a treatise on the power and impact of God’s Word in our lives.  We’ve said that it comforts us, protects us, directs us, reveals us.  It is a supernatural thing in our practical world.

This is so much like creation.  The physical world we live in reveals a spiritual Creator.  Our natural world cries out of the existence of a supernatural God.

If you fail to see God the Creator in the physical world we live in, I believe you will struggle mightily to see and hear and feel God in His Word.  If the earth is just another physical, chemical event, the Bible will become just another book





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Psalm 119-Kaph

It occurs to me that I never let folks know that I would be off the grid last week.  I was in the woods hunting deer.  We got three, so we’ve got venison for another year!

I also decided to NOT do a Daily Email on Mondays.  That’s my sabbath, and it works out better to not have the Daily on my docket.  But, I will do one on Saturday, so we’ll keep going with five per week.

Psalm 119-Kaph

This section contains many phrases that convey struggle, even anguish:

”My soul faints. . .”
“My eyes fail. . .”
“I am like a wineskin in smoke. . .”
“How long must your servant wait. . .”
“dig pitfalls for me. . .”
“men persecute me without cause. . .”
“almost wiped me from the earth. . .” 

As with most Psalms, it ends with hope

“Preserve my life according to your love,
    and I will obey your statutes.”  v. 88

But remember that this whole Psalm deals with God’s word.  Each of those laments is followed by an appeal and commitment to the Word.  The statement of hope is also tied to God’s word.  What I take from that is this:   God’s word is part of His provision in my life.  I will not see His hope, I will not feel His comfort, I will not know His direction, unless I am appealing to and committed to His Word.  Your Bible is a portal to God’s heart, His mind and His hand.  The author of Psalm 119 believed that.  I do too.







Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, November 20, 2020
Psalm 119-Yodh

As we all wrestle through the pandemic and how we respond, we interact with people about it.  Yesterday we talked a little about our interactions with each other; that is, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

But we also interact with unbelievers.  There are things that we need to remember as God’s ambassadors while we are interacting with unbelievers about Covid.

One of the big ones for me is this:

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.”  1 Peter 3:15

As I talk with people who don’t know the Lord, I realize that so much of my response to the pandemic is based on my hope in God – that He is strong, that He is good, that He has a place prepared for me in heaven.  My hope in the Lord shapes my understanding of and response to the pandemic.

I can share that hope with others.  People long for something to hope in now.  I have something to hope in, and I have opportunities to tell unbelievers about that hope.

But I must do it with gentleness and respect.  I must give them the dignity and freedom to make their own choices.  I must trust God’s spirit more than my own understanding or emotion.

We have opportunities to speak about God these days.  In fact, the pandemic may give us more opportunities.  I’m exited to take them.

Psalm 119-Yodh

There are a couple of interesting statements in this section.

            “May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
                  for I have put my hope in your word.”  v. 74

            “May those who fear you turn to me,
                  those who understand your statutes.”  v. 79

As we seek the Lord and follow Him, the people around us will see it.  That’s good.  When we honor God, God often uses it to influence others.




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Psalm 119-Teth

I’ve found myself in more and more conversations about Covid-19 and the way we could or should respond to it.  It’s been going on for so long, and rather than abating it is ramping up at the moment.  We are all face to face with it every day without any break.

So we talk about it.  We think about it.  We react to it.  We see others react to it.  We think about and talk about what others think and do.  All of that is normal and expected and good.

But when we talk, while we think, if we engage with others, we must keep other things in mind – priorities and privileges and responsibilities that come with being a Christians.

One of the things we must keep in mind is this:

“Who are you to judge another man’s servant?  To his own master he stands or falls.  And he will stand, for God is able to make him stand.”  Romans 14:4

When you are talking to another believer about all of this, you must allow them to have convictions and thoughts that are different than yours.  We are not the judge of what another thinks or does. That’s God’s job.  And God will do it well and at the right time.  God will judge me well and at the right time.

So it’s good and helpful to share our convictions and our understanding.  It’s good to hear another believer’s convictions and understanding.  But in the end each of us will answer to God for our behavior.  Our goal can’t be to be ‘right’.  Rather, our goal must be to hear and follow God ourselves, and help those around us do the same thing, even if they hear and follow God somewhat differently.

Psalm 119-Teth

This is a verse to memorize and think about when times are hard.

     “It was good for me to be afflicted
             so that I might learn your decrees.”  v. 71





Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Psalm 119-Heth

I got to share the gospel twice last week.  One was planned, one was spontaneous.  It’s so sweet and satisfying to be sharing my faith.  I pray each of us sees and takes the opportunities we have to join God in influencing souls.

  “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”  Philemon 6

PSALM 119-Heth

The author makes statements of action – his own action – in the first 7 verses of this section:

I have promised. . .
I have sought. . .
I have considered. . .and have turned my steps. . .
I will hasten. . .
I will not forget. . .
I rise. . .
I am (choose to be) a friend . . .

The last verse makes a statement about a truth, and a statement about what God will do:

   “The earth is filled with your love, O Lord;
            teach me your decrees.”  v. 64

So much of our relationship with God is like this.  God makes certain things true in the world.  God does certain things.  We need to do certain things.  We need to see and understand all of those realities.  We need to recognize truth; expect God to do what He says He will do; do what is required of and good for us.






Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Psalm 119 Zayin

We’ve been asking some questions regarding how we as Christians can think about and respond to the pandemic our world is enduring.

Maybe one more thought about this.  We mentioned this in the message on Sunday.

We don’t have a realistic expectation of ease in this life.

         “Cursed is the ground because of you;
                through painful toil you will eat of it
             all the days of your life
                 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
              and you will eat the plants of the field.
           By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food
                until you return to the ground,
            since from it you were taken;
                 for dust you are and to dust you will return.”  Genesis 3:17b-19

The hardships of life are not because we don’t know enough or we don’t try hard enough to overcome them.  Rather, the hardships of life are the direct result of our sin.

       “To Adam he said,
                 ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
             about which I commanded you,
                      ‘You must not eat of it.’”  Genesis 3:17a

Nothing we do can change that.  Science won’t cure our sin problem.  Good intentions and desires won’t heal our broken world.  No amount of knowledge or effort will eliminate the consequences for our historic and ongoing sin.  Christ’s sacrifice healed our hearts and redeemed each individual from the consequences of sin, but this world will not be redeemed until heaven.

“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”  Romans 8:19-22

Which brings us to today’s Psalm:

PSALM 119-Zayin

The author sees the troubles in this life, but also sees God’s closeness and promises in the midst.

    “My comfort in my suffering is this:
          Your promise preserves my life.
             The arrogant mock me without restraint,
           but I do not turn from your law.”  vs. 50-51




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, November 16, 2020
Psalm 119 Waw

We’ve been asking some questions regarding how we as Christians can think about and respond to the pandemic our world is enduring.

The questions are:

  1. Can I trust that God is strong – does He understand what is happening and can He do something about it?
  2. Can I trust that God is good – will He use His strength for my welfare?
  3. How can I practically hear God’s voice to me – how can He give me clarity on what to think and do

We’re up to question 3:  How can I practically hear God’s voice to me?

First, I think it’s important to have an expectation that God wants to communicate with you.

          “Call to me and I will answer you
                and tell you great and unsearchable things
         you do not know.”  Jeremiah 33:3

           “I will instruct you and teach you
                in the way you should go;
              I will counsel you
                 with my loving eye on you.”  Psalm 32:8

            “Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
                  He will instruct them
                in the ways they should choose.”  Psalm 25:12

             “Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
                   your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
                ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”  Isaiah 30:21

God does all of that through the Spirit – God Himself lives in you and speaks to you.

         “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,
              will teach you all things and will remind you
                       of everything I have said to you.”  Joh 14:26

           “But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes,
                 He will guide you into all truth.
              He will not speak on His own;
                   He will speak only what He hears,
                and He will tell you what is yet to come.”  John 16:13

The starting point for us to hear the Spirit is Scripture – the Bible.

         “All Scripture is God-breathed
               and is useful for teaching, rebuking,
            correcting and training in righteousness.”  2 Timothy 3:16

         “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture
             came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.
                For prophecy never had its origin in the human will,
              but prophets, though human, spoke from God
                   as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  2 Peter 1:20

Which brings us to today’s Psalm:

PSALM 119-Waw

      “For I delight in your commands
             because I love them.
          I reach out for your commands,
               which I love,
           that I may mediate on your decrees.”  vs. 47-48

I think the reason the author loved God’s decrees so much was because they drew him near to God – helped him hear God’s voice.  And those decrees from God’s voice gave him clairity and direction as he lived his life.




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, November 13, 2020
Psalm 119-He

We’re looking at how we as Christians can wisely understand and respond to the pandemic.  Yesterday we asked and answered the question:  Can I trust that God is strong – does He understand what is happening and can He do something about it?

Today we ask the question:  Can I trust that God is good – will He use His strength for my welfare?

God’s nature is one of love – He is our perfect Father.  My heart is drawn to my children.  I long for their good.  God is much more perfect than I as a Father.

          “The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
               slow to anger, abounding in love.”

           “As a father has compassion on his children,
               so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”  Psalm 103:8,13

His love is fixed on you and me specifically.  Not because we are perfect or because we have earned it, but because we are His.

            “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
                 He rises to show you compassion.
               For the Lord is a God of justice.
                   Blessed are all those who wait for him.”  Isaiah 30:18

This is true all of the time for us, His redeemed.  It’s true no matter what else is happening around us.  It is true even when we are false and disobedient children.

         “Is not Ephraim my dear son,
              the child in whom I delight?
           Though I often speak against him,
               I still remember him.
          Therefore my heart yearns for him;
                 I have great compassion for him”  Jeremiah 31:20

God sent us His only son – Jesus willing died for us.  That kind of love doesn’t just end – it has no limits.

         “He who did not spare his own Son,
              But gave him up for us all –
           how will he not also, along with him,
               graciously give us all things?”  Romans 8:32

God sees all that happens to us; His heart is drawn to us as His children; He longs for and works for our best.

Which brings us to today’s Psalm:

PSALM 119-He

The author assumes that God has made promises directly to him.  David often recited the specific promises God had made to him, and he relied on God keeping them.

   “Fulfill your promise to your servant,
          so that you may be feared.”  v. 38

We can trust that God desires and works for our welfare.  We are the apple of His eye because we are his children.  As a perfect Father, He works tirelessly and powerfully for our good.




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Psalm 119 Daleth

Yesterday we asked some questions relevant to how we as Christians can think about and respond to the pandemic our world is enduring.

The questions were:

  1. Can I trust that God is strong – does He understand what is happening and can He do something about it?
  2. Can I trust that God is good – will He use His strength for my welfare?
  3. How can I practically hear God’s voice to me – how can He give me clarity on what to think and do

Today let’s look at the first question – Can I trust that God is strong:

God sees all that happens on earth.  Nothing is hidden from Him.

          “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? 
              Yet not one of them will fall to the ground
             without your Father’s knowledge.”  Matthew 10:29

God also has the absolute and complete ability to control our world.

         “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth
              by your great power and outstretched arm.
            Nothing is too hard for you.”  Jeremiah 32:17

He uses that ability in human history as He determines.

         “Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind,
              the crippled, the mute and many others,
            and laid them at his feet;
                and he healed them.”  Matthew 15:30

God sees all that happens to us; He has the ability to impact it; He uses that ability in His time and way.

Which brings us to today’s Psalm:

PSALM 119-Daleth

Three times in this section the author appeals to God to intervene for him.

   “I am laid low in the dust;
          preserve my life according to your word.”  v. 25

    “My soul is weary with sorrow;
           strengthen me according to your word.” v. 28

      “I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
           do not let me be put to shame.”  v. 31

We can trust that God sees our circumstances.  We can trust that He is not helpless in the midst of them.  We can trust that He can and does use His power in our world and our lives.





Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Psalm 119 Gimel

The world we live in gives us context for the thought in Psalm 119 today.  We have been living with the spectre of a pandemic for many months.  During this time, we have all heard a myriad of thoughts, warnings, predictions, instructions, cautions and ideas.  We’ve heard experts tell us what the virus will do, how the virus will spread, how dangerous or benign the virus is, how we can protect ourselves, if we should protect ourselves, etc. etc.

We have to sort through all of this information and make decisions about how we will live.  As Christians, we can take all of this to God and let Him give us perspective and wisdom.  God’s Spirit lives in us and communicates with us continually.

This is both a privilege and the obligation.  It is a privilege to have God Himself close to us, concerned about us, and connected to us.  It is an obligation to honor Him, to live our lives by His priorities, commands and wisdom.

To do this; to really hear and live our lives by God’s word and wisdom, we must first trust Him.  Then we must listen to Him.  So for the next three days we’ll look at those issues:

  1. Do I trust that God is strong – does He understand what is happening and can He do something about it.
  2. Do I trust that God is good – that He will use His strength for my welfare.
  3. How do I really hear God’s specific thoughts for me in a very practical way.

Which brings us to today’s Psalm.

PSALM 119-Gimel

As we seek to live our lives by God’s word and wisdom, we will at times find ourselves going against the grain of the world.  All of the opinions and ideas we hear from men and women are just that; opinions of man.  These will always fall short of God’s wisdom and understanding.  You and I need prioritize God and His word over men and their words.

   “Princes also sit and speak against me,
       but your servant meditates on Your statutes.”  v. 23

This verse in Isaiah has been a comfort and confirmation for me over the years.  It isn’t that we pay no attention to what doctors, friends, pastors, loved ones, experts say.  Rather, we filter what they say through what God says.  God’s word and perspective and wisdom come first.

   “Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils.  Of what account is he?”  Isaiah 2:22 






Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Psalm 119 Beth

I apologize for being AWOL for the last week.  I developed a slight cough, so I’ve been staying away from folks.  If I don’t come in to the office, I don’t have a good way to access this email list.  The days I was here I just got caught up with other things.  I’m sorry about that!

PSALM 119 Beth

Psalm 119 has many verses like these:

   “I have hidden your word in my heart
          that I might not sin against you.”  v. 11

     “With my lips I recount all of the laws
           that come from your mouth.”  v. 13

      “I meditate on your precepts
          and consider your ways.”  v. 15

God’s word is worthy of our dedicated attention.  Memorizing, reciting, meditating – these are studious words.  We do well to be students of the Bible, not just consumers.  We will see in Psalm 119 the other side of the coin; that being in God’s word delights our soul, stirs our imagination.  But we can’t miss the call to study, the need to work exceedingly hard at getting God’s word into our hearts and minds.




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, November 2, 2020
Psalm 119 Aleph

For the next several weeks let’s go through Psalm 119.  This is the longest Psalm by far.  Couple of things about it:

  1.  It is an acrostic poem.  It is divided into 22 sections, one section for each letter in the Hebrew alphabet.  Each section has 8 verses that begin with that Hebrew letter.
  2. Every verse (or almost every verse – we’ll see) speaks about God’s word in some way.
  3. We don’t know the author.  Many assume David, but it’s uncertain.
  4. We will take one section per day for 22 days.
  5. Each day we’ll focus on one verse or thought from the section

PSALM 119 Aleph

At the very beginning, the author sets the theme for the Psalm:

   “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
         who walk according to the law of the Lord.”  v. 1

He tells us why we are blessed.  There are two reasons.  One, obedience is an obligation

   “You have laid down precepts
         that are to be fully obeyed.”  v. 4

Two, walking with God in His ways is a joy.

   “Blessed are those who keep his statutes
         and seek Him with all their heart.”  v. 2

It really isn’t one or the other.  Sometimes I lean more into obedience as an obligation.  Sometimes I lean into following as a joy.  I don’t think one is better than the other.  Both are good and right and honoring and sweet.




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Trevor Lawrence is the quarterback for Clemson.  He will likely be the first pick in next year’s NFL draft.  He is a strong Christian young man.  Recently he was asked about his future plans.  He responded, in part, with the statement, ‘God has a plan’.

A sports commentator (who is normally very reasoned and wise) made a point of saying that God didn’t really care about whether or where Trevor Lawrence played football.  He reasoned that God is too busy with really big issues, like racism and hunger, to care about something as trivial as football.  He said that it was arrogant for anyone to assume that God would be engaged in an individual life that much.

I disagree.

God isn’t like you and me.  God is big enough to deal with the big issues and our lives at the same time.  God holds the universe together in His hand.  But He also walks with each of us through our lives.  He is bigger and more intimately involved than we can imagine.  So while it’s true that He has big things to attract His attention, He has the capacity to pay attention to us at the same time.

  “Where can I go from your Spirit?
               Where can I flee from your presence?
                   If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
                 if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
            If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
                   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
               even there your hand will guide me,
                      your right hand will hold me fast.”  Psalm 139:7-10

God is not only big enough to pay attention to us, but He wants to as well.  God created us to know Him and be known by Him.  His great desire is intimate relationship with us.  It isn’t arrogant for a child to assume that his parents will be extremely interested and engaged in his life.  It is natural and expected.  We don’t have to demand that God pay attention to us; rather, He longs to and does.

            “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
                He rises to show you compassion.”  Isaiah 30:18

             “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
                 I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”   Psalm 32:8






Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Psalm 81

Becca (my oldest) got married last May, but we had her reception on Sunday.  It was a bit of a smaller group, but so much fun.  Being with people who know me and my family well is such a joy.


Many of God’s promises are unconditional; that is, He will do something regardless of what else happens.  Other promises are conditional; that is, He will do something in response to us.

This Psalm deals with conditional promises.  God promises to care and provide for us abundantly.

   “I am the Lord your God,
       who brought you up out of Egypt.
    Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”  v. 10

“But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
       with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”  v. 16

But in this Psalm those promises depend on us.

   “If my people would only listen to me,
        if Israel would only follow my ways,
      how quickly I would subdue their enemies
         and turn my hand against their foes!”  vs. 13-14



Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, October 5, 2020
Psalm 80

Sue and I will be going on a little vacation beginning Wednesday of this week.  I’ll write a daily through Wednesday, then I’ll take off during the time we’re gone.

When we get back, we’ll actually have gone through Psalms (mostly).  We started with Psalm 84, and Wednesday will be Psalm 82.  We missed a few here and there, but we’ve hit most of them over the course of the past 5 months or so.


This is another in a series of Psalms that are somewhat dark and depressing.  One thing I take from Psalms like this is that God is very willing to hear our groans.  You and I can tell God everything going on in our hearts and minds.  I like that freedom and security.

     “Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
          at your rebuke your people perish.
   Let you hand rest on the man at your right hand,
        the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
    Then we will not turn away from you
          revive us, and we will call on your name.”  vs. 16-18





Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, October 2, 2020
Psalm 79

I just finished my Job Performance Review.  In the past couple of years we have created written job descriptions for the pastors.  I was reviewed based on my job description.  It’s a good thing to do. I’m grateful for the feedback and the suggestions.  I like pastoring here.  I like being part of the church with all of you.


Asaph starts this Psalm with an anguished lament over the terrible situation that he and his country is in:

 “O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;
        they have defiled your holy temple,
     they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.
        They have given the dead bodies of your servants
    as food to the birds of the air,
         the flesh of your saints to the beasts of the earth.
    They have poured out blood like water
           all around Jerusalem,
     and there is no one to bury the dead.
We are objects of reproach to our neighbors,
         of scorn and derision to those around us.”  vs. 1-4

Asaph cries out to God to intervene, and longs for God to deliver them:

“Help us, O God our Savior,
     for the glory of your name;
       deliver us and forgive our sins
   for your name’s sake.”  v. 9

What Asaph DOESN’T do is blame God for what has happened:

 “Do  not hold against us the sins of the fathers;
     may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
  for we are in desperate need.”  v. 8

This Sunday we’ll talk about this – how do we understand the hard, even tragic things that happen to God’s people.





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Psalm 78

It’s October.  This year is slowly moving on.  It’s been a doozy.  It seems like a long time ago that we began Covid restrictions.  It seems like a long time ago that the racial tensions exploded.  Now we are in the heat of a difficult presidential election.  One crisis seems to blend into the next; one set of tensions gives way to another, then comes back again.

Yes in all of it, I hope you find strength and peace in God and His people.  They are constants of good in a fading, failing world.


Other than Psalm 119, this is one of the longest Psalms in the Bible.

What I felt as I read it this morning was the goodness and power of our history.  Not just our history with each other, but our history together seeing and following God.  The experience of seeing God together, of experiencing God’s power together, of walking through difficult times looking for God together, all of these create a bond between each other and the Lord.  I like that.  I need that.

“O my people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter hidden things, things from of old –
what we have heard and known,
what our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done.”  vs. 1-4



Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Psalm 77

Finally home.  I’ve been gone since Sunday morning.  There really is no place like home.  Times like this always remind me that I’m not home – my home is heaven.  Someday I’ll be there, but not now.  In the mean time I long for it.

I say a spectacular full rainbow this morning early as I was driving north.  It is a sign of a promise God made.  I’m glad God keeps His promises.  Jesus promised that he is preparing a room for you and me and that he’s coming back to bring us home.


This Psalm speaks of that longing I mentioned above.  Asaph (the author) is recognizing that his world is not as it should be, not as he longs for it to be.

“Will the Lord reject forever?
      Will he never show his favor again?
   Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
        Has his promise failed for all time?
    Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?  vs. 7-9

But he reminds himself that God has made promises, and God will keep his promises.  There is comfort and patience and peace in that.

   “Then I thought, ‘To his I will appeal:
       the years of the right hand of the Most High.’
   I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
        yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
   I will meditate on all your works
          and consider all your mighty deeds.”  vs. 10-12



Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Psalm 119

I just got to my hotel room.  I am making my way back from Columbus Ohio.  One of those travel days that you don’t want.  Twice today I was standing on the interstate next to my car, looking at several miles of stopped traffic in front of me.  It’s construction season.

The way the day unfolded, I didn’t have time to read Psalm 77.  Let’s save that for tomorrow.  I wanted to talk about Psalm 119 during the message on Sunday but didn’t have time.  Let’s look at it a little today.


Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm by far.  It’s one that you can spend a month or two on, and it would be worth it.

In this Psalm, every verse (except perhaps 2-3) talk about God’s Word.   Different words are used, like command, statutes, word, law, etc.  But they all refer to God’s revealed, spoken, written word to you and me.

Take a month to read this Psalm a little at a time.  Let God stir you with the magnificence of His Holy Word.

“I run in the path of your commands,
        for you have set my heart free.”  v. 32




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, September 28, 2020
Psalm 76

I’m writing this from a hotel in Columbus Ohio.  I’m here for a couple of days talking with other GCC pastors from around the country.  It’s been good – stimulating and fun.  But also exhausting.  I’m glad to relax a bit.


Israel existed in a dangerous time and place when this Psalm was written.  But it is an invitation to not worry.  Here’s why:

First, Asaph (the author) Reminds Israel that God is their God.

“In Judah God is known;
     his name is great in Israel.”  v. 1

Then Asaph tells Israel one of the things that means:

   “At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
        both horse and chariot lie still.”  v. 6

As Christians, we live in a dangerous time and place spiritually.  Yet God is our God, and no enemy can stand against Him





Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, September 25, 2020
Psalm 75

This Sunday we’ll continue our series called Christian Non-Negotiables (In A Vacillating World).  We live in a world that is working very hard to move us off of our foundation in the Lord.  Your faith is under attack.  I don’t mean to be alarmist or reactionary, but it’s just a simple truth.  It’s been true for all of God’s people all through time.  You might want to listen to the first two messages if you haven’t been able to up till now.  They are on the church website.


This Psalm is really an answer to the big question in yesterday’s Psalm.  Psalm 74 lamented the rise of mockers – evil men and women who disdained God and flaunted their own foolish sin in the world.  Asaph (the author of both Psalms) focused on the problem in Psalm 74.

Here in Psalm 75, Asaph focuses on the solution.  First, he states what the solution is:

   “You (God) say, ‘I choose the appointed time:
           it is I who judge with equity.
       When the earth and all its people quake,
             it is I who hold its pillars firm.
      To the arrogant I say, “Boast no more,”
          and to the wicked, “Do not lift up your horns.
        Do not lift your horns against heaven;
              do not speak so defiantly.”‘”  vs. 2-5    

Then Asaph does what is so wise and helpful.  He chooses to rest in the truth he just stated.  He releases the problem to the God who promises to fix it in His way and time.

   “As for me, I will declare this forever;
          I will sing praise to the God of Jacob,
       who says, ‘I will cut off the horns of the wicked,
            but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.'”  vs. 9-10





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Psalm 74

I love seeing babies here at church.  They are such a joy for so many reasons.  They are people that we get to watch grow and learn.  They are souls loved by God.  They are physical miracles that remind us of God’s power and majesty.  So much about them is marvelous, fun and wonderful.  Whatever work they bring is so, so worth it.  I’m glad we have lots of babies and more coming all the time.


This Psalm speaks what has been on my mind these days:

“How long will the enemy mock you, God?
      Will the foe revile your name forever?’  v. 10

But the answer resonates with me too:

“But God is my king from long ago;
        he brings salvation on the earth.”  v. 12

I can wait for God’s timing.  He is King, even over those who don’t acknowledge Him.




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Psalm 73

Just a reminder:  On Sunday we talked about how God created all we see.  I know that that’s a controversial statement in our world.  If you are interested, we put links to a couple of messages that lay out the evidence for creation on our website.  Click the All Sermons tab; click on God Created, and scroll down.  You’ll see links to two messages titled An Expert Opinion.  We also put links to the power points for those two messages.


This Psalm contains one of my most cherished promises from the Lord.  So much so that I had it tattooed on my arm.  I want to be reminded, regularly and in real time, of the truth of this promise:

“Yet I am always with you;
      You hold me by my right hand.”  v. 23





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Psalm 72

I’m watching the maple tree in my front yard turn brilliant colors.  This year it looks like it will be mostly deep, dark red.  But there are some fringes of brilliant orange mixed in.  Each year it’s a little different.  It’s like God does a different painting in my front yard each fall.


This is the only Psalm attributed to Solomon.

On the surface, it seems a bit confusing.  Solomon writes it in the third person, but seemingly about himself as king.  It has lots of verses that seem grandiose and self-centered, like these:

“May he (the king) endure as long as the sun,
       as long as the moon, through all generations.”  v. 5

“May all kings bow down to him
        and all nations serve him.”  vs. 11

But it is also filled with humility and service:

   “May he defend the afflicted among the people
         and save the children of the needy;
      may he crush the oppressor.”  v. 4

“For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
       the afflicted who have no one to help.”  v. 12

It could be, and in some ways certainly is, Solomon talking about himself.  But I think the best way to understand this is to see it as a prophecy of Jesus.  Read the Psalm again, this time replacing ‘the king’ or ‘he’ with ‘Jesus’.  It makes perfect sense.





Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, September 21, 2020
Psalm 71

Sam got the Army Achievement Award for organizing and leading worship for the Skymaster Chapel at the base he’s stationed at.  Yep, I’m bragging.  I’m proud of him.  Can’t wait to see him in a few weeks.  He’s been gone since late February.


I read this Psalm Sunday morning, before I headed to church to deliver the God Created message.  I had been thinking and praying a lot about that message.  I knew it might be controversial; I knew I had more to talk about than I had time to do it; I believed it was very important to do this message and do it well.  The more I worked on it, the more I wondered if I was ready; if I was the one to do it; if I had thought it through clearly.  This verse gave me confidence:

   “My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
            of your saving acts all day long –
      though I know not how to relate them all.
         I will come and proclaim your mighty acts,
                Sovereign Lord;
           I will proclaim your righteous deeds,
                   Yours alone.”  vs. 15-16

That gave me confidence and excitement to go do the message.  I love how God can speak to us in the moment; how He knows just what we need to hear and gives it to us.

I pray that you read the Word with that expectation.




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, September 18, 2020
Psalm 70

This time of year I get very interested in storing up food.  We butchered hogs last week.  We’ll butcher a beef in a month.  We’ve been canning and preserving.  I wonder why.  We certainly don’t need to – we can go Festival and buy everything we need.  It might just be something I’ve gotten used to from my boyhood.

But I like to think there is something good and righteous about it.  Compare Proverbs 20:4 to Proverbs 21:20.  I know we aren’t agricultural like they were back then, but there is something good in looking forward to the winter and preparing.


David never lost his dependence on the Lord.  Even as a king who took over much of the world around him, he didn’t get full of himself.  That is very different than most of the kings we see in Israel’s history.  Even those who did fairly well struggled as they got older to stay soft to God.  David didn’t.  I think that’s what made him such a great king; why he was ‘a man after God’s own heart.’

   “But I am poor and needy;
          hasten to me, O God!
      Thou art my help and my deliverer;
            O Lord, do not tarry!  v. 5  RSV




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Psalm 69

Today Justin and I are driving down to LaCrosse to have lunch with pastors from our sister churches in LaCrosse and Rochester.  I like spending time with other pastors.  It helps give perspective, and it helps stimulate ideas.  Next week I’m praying with several pastors here in Eau Claire.  It’s a blessing to be around other men who are committed to serving the Lord this way.


The Psalms are so helpful in many ways.  This Psalm helped me a lot a few years back.

Psalms speak to and give voice to our emotions.  When we as a church, and me as a pastor, were going through a very, very hard time a couple of years ago, this Psalm seemed to cry out exactly what I was feeling in many, many ways.  As I read it, I felt the thoughts and emotions pouring out of me toward God.

   “I sink in the miry depths
         where there is no foothold.
      I have come into the deep waters;
           the floods engulf me.
      I am worn out calling for help;  vs. 2-3

But Psalms also teach us and remind us of truth, apart from what we are feeling or experiencing.  This truth rang true for me during that time:

“You, God, know my folly;
      my guilt is not hidden from you.”  v. 5

Psalms also give us hop and speak about God and His plans for the future.  This Psalm reminded me of what I know is God’s call on my life:

“For zeal for your house consumes me.”  v. 9

Let these Psalms be a conduit for you to cry out to God and to listen to His voice.




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Psalm 68

Brad Blomberg and I are enrolled in the Colson Fellowship.  It’s a 10 month program of fairly intense study in Biblical Worldview.  It’s much like being back in college.  I’ve really enjoyed the reading.  Some of it is a little dry, but most of it is stimulating.  I’m about to start a book on the history of Western worldviews.  That might sound horrible to some, but I’m really excited about it.


This Psalm has a warning for me that I take to heart:

   “Trample under foot those who lust after tribute
       Scatter the peoples who delight in war.”  v. 30 RSV

Much of my life I have ‘lusted after tribute’; that is, I long to be praised.  It has gotten me in trouble and caused much heartache for me and for those around me.

I love when God speaks to me.  I love when He comforts me; I love when He instructs me; and I love when He rebukes me, like He does here.

Let God speak to you through His Word.




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Psalm 67

Maybe the last really warm day of the year!  Go out and enjoy some sun and 80 degrees.


There’s an interesting thought in the first couple of verses of this Psalm.

   “May God be gracious to us and bless us
            and make his face shine upon us,
      that your ways may be known on the earth,
        your salvation among all nations.”  vs. 1-2

God blesses us because He loves us and because we are His.  But He also wants the world to see it and to turn to Him.  Never forget that God is on a mission here in our world.  He asks us to join Him; He asks us to be used by Him in that mission.




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, September 14, 2020
Psalm 66

Football season started.  It was fun to have some ‘normalcy’ in the midst of this strange year.  And the Packers won, so that was fun too.

The older I get, however, the more I enjoy things like football without getting caught up in them.  Learning to take gifts from God’s hand, without demanding them, or without letting them define how your day goes, is a good thing.


David starts and ends this Psalm with familiar thoughts:

   “Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
           Sing the glory of his name;
       make his praise glorious”  vs. 1-2

“Praise be to God,
          who has not rejected my prayer
     or withheld his love from me!”  v. 20

But in the middle is something that doesn’t seem to fit:

“For you, God, tested us;
      you refined us like silver.
         You brought us into prison
    and laid burdens on our backs.
            You let people ride over our heads;
         we went through fire and water,
     but you brought us to a place of abundance.”  vs. 10-12

How can David say both of those things?  It gets to what David’s son Solomon wrote many years later:

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
      and do not resent his rebuke,
   because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
        as a father the son he delights in.”  Proverbs 3:11-12



Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, September 11, 2020
Psalm 65

I’m pretty sore this morning.  Dan and I paddled about 30ish miles yesterday.  My respect for Lewis and Clark grew quite a bit!


As God’s children, we are the beneficiaries of His great, powerful goodness.

   “When we were overwhelmed by sins,
         You forgave our transgressions.
       Blessed are those you choose
            and bring near to live in your courts!
        We are filled with the good things of your house,
            of your holy temple.”  vs. 3-4

It can be easy to forget that as we go through life day to day.  But God gives us constant pictures of it.  Take a drive down any country road this week.  Here’s what you’ll see:

“You care for the land and water it;
      you enrich it abundantly.
    The streams of God are filled with water
        to provide the people with grain,
      for so you have ordained it.
  You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
          You soften it with showers and bless its crops.
      You crown the year with your bounty,
        and your carts overflow with abundance.
    The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
          the hills are clothed with gladness.
       The meadows are covered with flocks
    and the valleys are mantled with grain;
         they shout for joy and sing!”  vs. 9-13




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Psalm 64

Years ago my Dad and I would float down the Chippewa River almost every weekend.  We’d start doing it in the summer and go right through the fall, almost to deer season.  Those are good memories for me.

Today I’m going to float 35 miles down the Chippewa with Dan Hedrington.  It’s going to be a ton of fun, and probably pretty nostalgic for me.  Memory and emotion are gifts from God.  They are part of what it means to be made in God’s image – He has memory and emotion.

Today will be a day to think and feel.  I’ll do it with God.  That will be very good.


We can find ourselves at the mercy of powerful people who do not have our best interest in mind.

   “They plot injustice and say,
       ‘We have devised a perfect plan!’
      Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.”  v. 6

But God is better and stronger.  He is our protection, just like He was for David.

    “The righteous will rejoice in the Lord
           and take refuge in Him;
        all the upright in heart will glory in Him!”  v. 10




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Psalm 63

It’s 48 degrees and raining.  I ain’t gonna lie – I love this weather.  I like being out in it, and I like coming in from it.  Working in the cold makes me feel good.  Curling up with a blanket makes me feel good too.


This Psalm was written when David was in the Desert of Judah.  This was likely when he was running from Saul, although it could have been when he was running from his son Absalom.  Either way, David is in a barren place, running from powerful people who want to kill him.

The Psalm starts with David comparing his situation to the desert he finds himself in.

  “O God, you are my God,
        earnestly I seek you;
     my soul thirsts for you,
         my body longs for you,
     in a dry and weary land
          where there is no water.”  v. 1

Once out in the Nevada desert I found a little spring of water coming out of a rock.  In the middle of rock and sand, that water created life – shrubs and grass and animals.

I think David isn’t lamenting so much as being thankful.  He knows that a little bit of God in the midst of this hard, cold, dry world is enough to bring life.

   “Because your love is better than life,
      my lips will glorify you.
        I will praise you as long as I live,
      and in Your name I will lift up my hands.
    My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
        with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”  vs. 3-5




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Psalm 62

Travis Waltzer and I made habenero hot sauce yesterday.  Hmmmm!  If anyone happens to have empty hot sauce bottles, I could use them.  If you like, I’ll fill them up with my next batch and give one back to you full.


We live in strange times.  Most of us haven’t lived through a period with as much turmoil on so many different fronts.  It’s easy to get confused or frustrated or afraid.

But it’s very good to remember that our times really aren’t much different than others.  David experienced similar things – catostrophic life events that threatened to take his life, his well being, even his sanity.

This Psalm was likely written at a time when David’s own son was leading a rebellion against him.  Though David had been a good king, the people joined several of David’s closest advisors and even David’s family in attempting to kill him.  The pain and anger and hurt and confusion David felt must have riveled anything we feel today.

These words, written by David so many years ago, can resonate with us now.

   “Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
          my hope comes from him.
       Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
              he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
         My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
           Trust in him at all times, you people;
      pour out your hearts to him,
            for God is our refuge.”  vs. 5-8




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, September 7, 2020
Psalm 61

I got to see Becca (my oldest) and her new husband this weekend.  They stayed here for a couple of nights while they went to a wedding.  I remember when she was tiny.  It was so much fun to cuddle her and play with her – to be the daddy of a little girl.  Now she comes home as a young woman, with strong young man who loves her, and I get to talk with them like adults.  I am so blessed by the joy that God gives on a daily basis.  Everyday miracles are the norm with Him – wonderful things that come straight from His hand.


Years ago I memorized the last verse of this Psalm.  It was a time when I was struggling with depression.  It was becoming clear that a big part of my struggle was that I was pushing myself too hard – I was laboring for God but not resting in God.  I needed to find a balance between the two.  This verse seemed to speak to that balance:  I am praising God and doing what I need to do at the same time.

   “Then I will ever sing praise to  your name
         as I fulfill my vows day after day.”  v. 8



Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, September 4, 2020
Psalm 60

One week left in our Romans series.  Then we’ll start a three week series titled “Christian Non-Negotiables (In a Vacillating World)”.  We’ll look at three core beliefs of Christianity that we need to cling to.  Increasingly, these beliefs are being challenged.  We need to be reminded of them and encouraged to hold tightly to them.


The story behind this Psalm is in the 2 Samuel 8.  At this point, David is king and is beginning to become powerful, not just in Israel but in the world around him.

But David never takes credit in himself.  He know that he is king because of God.  He knows that success comes from God.

   “Give us aid against the enemy,
        for the help of man is worthless.
     With God we will gain the victory,
          and He will trample down our enemies.”  v. 12





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Psalm 59

School started today, at least at Robbins Elementary down the road.  Lines and lines of cars bringing kids to school.  Everyone in masks.  Life and living must go on, in spite of dangers.  Really, that’s been true for all of human history.


The story behind this Psalm is in the second half of 1 Samuel 19.  Saul (the King) was jealous and afraid of David.  All David had done was believe the Lord and step out in faith to follow God.  This made Saul hate him, even though David was Saul’s son-in-law and one of his best military commanders.

You and I, if we believe the Lord and step out in faith to follow God, will have enemies for no reason.  I think this is part of what Jesus meant when he told his disciples that to follow Him meant taking up their cross daily. (Luke 9:23).

“See how they lie in wait for me!
Fierce men conspire against me
for no offense or sin of mine, O Lord.
I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
Arise to help me; look on my plight!”  vs. 3-4




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Psalm 58

The maple trees are starting to turn.

Did you ever wonder why leaves turn brilliant colors in the fall?  Why don’t they get black and slimy like a bananna peal?

I think it’s because God knows that it will delight us to see the colors.  He paints the world every fall.


There is a very real conflict between good and evil in our world.  And individual people line up on one side or the other.  This Psalm speaks of ‘the wicked’; men and women who have given their lives to evil.

We don’t like to think of people like that, but they are real and in this world.  David implores God to deal with them.

It’s good for us to join God in his good plans.  But by doing so, we will find ourselves opposed, sometimes violently opposed, to people who have rejected God and His plans.

   “The righteous will rejoice when he
         sees the vengeance;
      he will bathe his feet in the blood
            of the wicked.”  v. 10





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Psalm 57

I am on my way to Cornucopia this afternoon.  I try to get away once per month for a time alone – reading, studying and praying.  It’s been a huge blessing over the years.  I’m very grateful for the chance to spend concentrated time with the Lord.

**CORRECTION FROM YESTERDAY.  I said that the story of David in Gath could be found in 1 Kings.  I mean 1 Samuel.  Sorry ‘bout that!**


The time when David fled from Saul into a cave is in 1 Samuel 24.  God had promised the kingdom to David.  But Saul, the current king, was trying to kill David.  Read this story.  David could have taken matters into his own hands and killed Saul.  David certainly had reasons to do it, and David could easily have justified it before God.  But David didn’t.  This Psalm gives us insight into why David didn’t.

First, David trusted that God would do what God wanted.  If it was God’s will for David to be king, God would make it happen in His own timing.

   “I cry out to God Most High
       to God, who fulfills His purpose for me.”  v.  2

Second, David was content with where he was, with what God was giving him at the moment.  I don’t think David needed anything else to feel loved and cared for by God.  David’s great desire wasn’t to be king, it was to be with God.  That was happening, and I think David was content.

“My heart is steadfast, O God,
      my heart is steadfast;
   I will sing and make music.
       Awake, my soul!  Awake harp and lyre!
   I will awaken the dawn.
        I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
     I will sing of you among the peoples.
  For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
      Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”  vs. 7-10




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, August 31, 2020
Psalm 56

There’s an autumn rain falling as I write this.  Autumn rains fill the ground with moisture.  It stays in the ground until spring, when the seeds need it to germinate.  God made and remarkably complex and efficient world.


This Psalm is when ‘the Philistines seized him (David) in Gath.’  David was in Gath twice.  You can read about it in 1 Kings 21 and 1 Kings 27.  I suspect this Psalm is from the first time.

David repeats a phrase twice in this Psalm:

   “In God, whose word I praise,
        in God I trust without a fear.
     What can man do to me?”  vs. 3-4; 10-11

When David was in fear for his life, he remembered who held his life in His hands.  It wasn’t the men who seemed to be powerful.  God is in control, no matter how much people seem to be.

I think it’s hard to believe and rely on that.  My prayer is that I and all of us will live our lives relying on God’s power and goodness.





Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, August 28, 2020
Psalm 55

I’m sitting in my living room listening to the approaching storm.  Storms can be exhilarating, and they can be terrifying.  Knowing that they are coming heightens both feelings.

God sometimes warns us of coming storms, sometimes not.


We’re in the middle of many Psalms written by David in response to specific events in his life.  One of the great things about these Psalms is that at different times, they can reflect events in our lives.  This Psalm is one of those for me.

2018 was a very hard year for many of us at Cedarcreek.  This Psalm spoke to me during those hard days.

Rightly or wrongly, I felt very much like some of this was happening:

“If an enemy were insulting me,
      I could endure it;
    if a foe were rising against me,
         I could hide.
But it is you, a man like myself,
     my companion, my close friend.”  vs. 12-13

The pain of that made me want what David wanted:

“I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
        I would fly away and be at rest.
    I would flee far away
          and stay in the desert;
      I would hurry to my place of shelter,
   far from the tempest and storm.'”  vs. 6-8

But like David, I found my refuge somewhere else:

“As for me, I call to God,
      and the Lord saves me.
   Evening, morning and noon
        I cry out in distress,
    and he hears my voice.”  vs. 16-17

The God who walked with David through his hard times is the same God who walks with you through yours.

“But as for me, I trust in you.”  v. 23




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Psalm 54

We’re working on adding a full band once per month to our Sunday repertoire.  But we need either a rhythm guitar player or a drummer.  If you are skilled at either of those instruments and would like to play, let me know!  Music is such a powerful thing.  With it we honor God and bless each other.


Another Psalm tied to part of David’s story.  You can read about the Ziphites in 1 Samuel 23 and 26.  They kept turning David in to King Saul, who was trying to kill David.

David had people who hated him.  That’s a hard thing to live with.  When someone hates me, my tendency is to hate them back, or defend myself against them, or build up a coalition to support me, or something.  David did all of those things at different times, and all of them might be appropriate.

But one thing David always did was to throw himself into God’s arms.  He called out for and depended on God’s protection.  That is always appropriate.

“Save me, O God, by your name;
         vindicate me by your might.
    Hear my prayer, O God;
            listen to the words of my mouth.”  vs. 1-2





Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Psalm 53

Sue has been watching the conventions on TV; first the Democratic convention, and now the Republican convention.  God has given us a great gift by allowing us to live in a place where we can elect our governmental leaders.  I don’t take that for granted.  God may someday take that privilege away, but for now I will gladly and humbly take it and use it.


The Bible is an amazing document.  Written by so many people over so many years in so many settings, it still agrees with itself and speaks to us today.  Compare verse 3, written by David generations before Christ, with Romans 3:23, written by Paul years after Christ.

 “Everyone has turned away,
     they have together become corrupt;
  there is no one who does good,
        not even one.”  v. 3




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Psalm 52

Yesterday was the We Care Eau Claire event in town.  Many of you donated or volunteered for it.  Sue and I hauled backpacks from Bethesda Carson Park.  It’s fun to serve with other Christians in town.  You see people from other churches that you know, and you meet some that you didn’t know.  And we’re uniting to show Christ’s love to the world.


Some Psalms are the writer’s response to specific events.  Psalm 52 is one of those.  The introduction tells us what that specific event is.  You can read about what happened in 1 Samuel 21-22.

“But I am like an olive tree
      flourishing in the house of God;
  I trust in God’s unfailing love
          for ever and ever.”  v. 8






Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, August 24, 2020
Psalm 51

If you missed any of them, I’d encourage you to listen to the past three messages on Romans (Romans 12, 13 and 14).  There is really good instruction and help for us as we navigate all of this Corona struggle as a church family.


This Psalm highlights what I think is one of the most powerful and honorable aspects of David’s life.

The introduction to this Psalm tells us it was written by David after Nathan (a prophet) confronted David.  To get the full story, you can read 2 Samuel 11-12

What is so good is not David’s sin, but his response when he is confronted with it.  David doesn’t argue or defend.  He lets himself be rebuked.

You and I will sin and fail.  That’s a given.  Our failures don’t define us.  Our response to failure does.

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
     a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”  v. 17






Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, August 21, 2020
Psalm 50

The past few weeks the messages on Romans have likely left many of us uncomfortable for one reason or another.  I get that.  God often talks to us in uncomfortable ways.

This week I’m excited to hear Mark talk through Romans 14.  God begins to help us know how to interact with Christian brothers and sisters who think differently than we do. These days, that’s a really good thing to learn to do well.


This Psalm has an uncomfortable truth in it:

“He summons the heavens above,
       and the earth, that he may judge his people:
   ‘Gather to me my consecrated ones,
           who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.’
     And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
             for God himself is judge.”  vs. 4-6

As Christians, we rest in the lavish love God has for us.  That’s good and right.  He is our loving, forgiving, gentle Father; our loyal, good Friend; our devoted Lover.  But He is also our righteous, holy King; our just, unwaivering Judge.

I am forgiven, I will spend eternity in God’s presence, feeling His love and intimate care for me.  I believe nothing will change that.

But I also believe that God will look at my life, my words, my motives, my obedience and will judge it.  That judgment won’t result in my death, since Christ paid for that already.  But I will stand before God and be rewarded or not rewarded.





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Psalm 49

I am very grateful that God has given me a mission here on earth.   I am very blessed to give my life to the things my Father has set in front of me; to follow Jesus on a great cause.

We can all say that.  If you have accepted Christ, I believe that God is calling you to join Him in His great work here on earth.

I’m glad I can be part of Cedarcreek, to run with all of you as we follow hard after God.


The author of this Psalm tells us he’s going to give us wisdom; that is, we’ll learn something that maybe isn’t obvious.

 “My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
     the utterance from my heart will give understanding.
  I will turn my ear to a proverb;
      with the harp I will expound my riddle”  vs. 3-4

What he tells us should be obvious, but I think we, like those folks back then, miss it.  Here’s the truth we might miss:

“Do not be overawed when a man grows rich,
       when the splendor of his house increases;
   for he will take nothing with him when he dies,
        his splendor will not descend with him.
    Though while he lived he counted himself blessed –
           and men will praise you when you prosper –
      he will join the generation of his fathers,
             who will never see the light of life.”  vs. 16-19

Life for a Christian is much more than food and clothes and possessions.  We live for a different place.  Our reward is elsewhere, not here.




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, August 18, 2020
Psalm 48

It’s a beautiful summer day!  If you’re free tonight come on over to the church for a campfire.

I’ve been reading through Isaiah lately.  If you’ve never read it, maybe pick it up.   Read it slowly.  I’m actually reading it in two versions (NIV and RS) just to make me slow down.  It is filled with God’s love and God’s justice, living and operating side by side.


I don’t know exactly what it will look like, but I think that God’s ultimate plans include Jerusalem.  I don’t know if that means in this world or the next, but Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular seem to take a prominent place.  The Psalm speaks of that.

“Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,
consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them to the next generation.”  v. 13





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Psalm 47

I love music.  Someone once told me that if the Holy Spirit had a physical body, its music.  I think that might be right.  Music touches our soul, emotions, mind and body – often all at the same time.  It is God’s creation.  Just pondering music will convince us of a Higher Being – a Great Creator – our God!

Look at all of the references to God’s rule and majesty in this Psalm.  Take a minute and list them all.  Let the power and power of God sink in.

“How awesome is the Lord Most High,
     The great king over all the earth.”  v. 1




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, August 17, 2020
Psalm 46

Sue and I just got back from North Dakota, visiting Katie (our middle daughter).  While we were there, we visited the church she goes to.  It is so sweet to hear other Christians share God’s truth.  We are really not alone in this world.  God’s people are all around, and God is speaking to them just like He’s speaking to us.

The beginning of this Psalm describes our world today:

“God is our refuge and strength,
     a very present help in trouble.
   Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change,
       though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
  though its waters roar and foam
          though the mountains tremble with its tumult.”  vs. 1-3

In the midst of such times, God promised Israel that He was in control and would care for and protect them.  The promises that God gave to Israel, we can claim today as His church, His chosen ones.

“God is in the midst of her,
      she shall not be moved;
   The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
       He utters His voice, the earth melts.
    The Lord of hosts is with us;
         The God of Jacob is our refuge.”  vs. 5-7

In the midst of our current troubled times, our response needs to be the same as Israel’s response so many generations ago:

“Be still, and know that I am God.
     I am exalted among the nations,
        I am exalted in the earth!
   The Lord of hosts is with us;
         the God of Jacob is our refuge.”  vs. 10-11




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, August 14, 2020
Psalm 45

As we head into the home stretch of our summer series, Luke and I filmed a catch up summary.  Since Romans is so systematic and logical, it helps to keep abreast of where we’ve been as we move through the book.

Here’s a link to that summary.


This Psalm was a wedding song, according the the title.  Yet it was also a prophecy of Christ.  We know this because it is quoted in Hebrews  1.

There are many parts of the Bible that serve more than one purpose, like this Psalm.  The Bible is an amazing thing.  God’s Spirit can use the same passage to speak to the past, to the present and to the future.

When you read this amazing book, ask God to show you what He wants you to see.  This book is a window into God’s heart and mind – the God who knows you and the world and history and the future.

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
      a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
   You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
        therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
    by anointing you with the oil of joy.”  Psalm 45:6-7, Hebrews 1:8-9






Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Psalm 44

I suspect that all of us are feeling unsettled these days.  I know I am.  It feels like something is subtly ‘off’ all of the time.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, and I can’t quite change it.  I don’t like that feeling.

But the only way I have to do deal with it is to go to God and talk to Him about it.  I can pour out my heart and mind in prayer, and I can hear His heart and mind through the word.


This Psalm reminds me how easily I can be fooled.  Or maybe how much my sinful nature can confuse me.

The writer looks back on Israel’s history and sees God doing mighty things.  Then he looks at the current times and sees the opposite – God has given Israel’s enemies power.

“With your hand you drove out the nations
       and planted our ancestors.”  v. 2

“But now you have rejected and humbled us;
      You no longer go out with our armies.”  v. 9

This confuses the writer.  He doesn’t understand why God’s treatment of Israel has changed.  The writer says to God, ‘We are the same, but you are different.’

“All this came upon us,
      though we had not forgotten you;
   we had not been false to your covenant.”  v. 17

That statement is ABSOLUTELY FALSE.  If you read Kings and Chronicles you see a long history of Israel forgetting God and being false to the covenant.  If you read Isaiah and Jeremiah you see God continually telling Israel of their failure, inviting them to repent, and warning them of these exact consequences if they don’t.

God is always right.  When I’m sure He is acting unfairly, I’m always wrong.




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Psalm 42 & 43

I am increasingly grateful for all of you, my church family.  Last night we had Life Group.  Sue and I spent several hours with good friends, talking about life and the Lord.  This is what I want my life to be.  You folks are all great!

PSALM 42 & 43

These Psalms likely go together.  At least they are extremely similar, so I lumped them together.  These Psalms, and several upcoming Psalms, are attributed to The Sons of Korah.  Korah was a descendant of Levi.  The ‘Sons’ are probably not direct sons, but descendants of Korah.  They were temple musicians.

These Psalms were likely written during the Babylonian captivity of Israel.  They are a cry to God in a terrible time for the nation of Israel.

We see three things in these Psalms:

One, a recognition that things are not as they should be, and a longing for better times.

“These things I remember
     as I pour out my soul:
  how I used to go with the multitude,
      leading the procession to the house of God,
  with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
        among the festive throng.”  v. 4

Two, a recognition that God is still close in the midst of unsettling times.

 “By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me –
      a prayer to the God of my life.”  v. 8

Three, a reminder to trust the Lord, even if some of His provision is in the future.  The writer reminds himself of this three times.

 “Why are you downcast, O my soul?
      Why so disturbed within me?
   Put your hope in God,
       for I will yet praise him,
   my Savior and my God.”  v. 11





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Psalm 41

I’m looking out my back window at an explosion of color.  Over the years, Sue and I have had different flower gardens.   Whenever we dig out a flower, we just pitch it into the woods.  We call it the flower graveyard.

But the flowers don’t die.  Many of them flourish.  That’s what I’m enjoying right now.

I’ve been reading Genesis 1 a lot.  God created each of those flowers to have the color and shape that they have.  He put them in an environment designed to make them grow.  Completely apart from us they provide beauty for us and food for birds and bugs.

God made an amazing world.  He is an amazing Creator.


This Psalm follows a familiar pattern for David.

Psalms like this one are hard for me to know how to take.  Particularly parts like this:

“But may you have mercy on me, Lord;
      raise me up, that I may repay them.
    I know that you are pleased with me,
         for my enemy does not triumph over me.”  vs. 10-11

David seems to freely express a desire for revenge against those who are his enemies.  I’m curious if anyone has a thought about that.





Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, August 10, 2020
Psalm 40

Yesterday in my message, in order to illustrate living out Romans 12, I mentioned that we should evaluate why we do what we do, in light of the fact that being a Christian takes precedence over anything else that we might be. The example I used was coming to church in person versus staying home or wearing or not wearing a mask. It was not my intention to criticize anyone’s particular decision, but to point out that any decision we make should be made relying on God’s Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I want to clarify that each of us needs to make that decision before the Lord.  What you decide might be different than what I decide, and both of us might decide differently than the next guy.  My goal wasn’t to imply that one specific decision was the Christian one.  Rather, I want us to recognize that a Christian will make those decisions from a different mindset.  We are God’s eternal children and not just temporary lives here on earth; we are citizens of heaven before we are citizens of the USA.

If you missed the message I’d encourage you to listen to it.  If you listened to it and have questions, please give me a call.  I’d love to talk it through.


This is a Psalm that I have memorized many parts of, but at different times.  There are so many great thoughts that would strike me at different times.  Here’s a sample of the best of Psalm 40:

It’s good for me to recite God’s goodness to myself.  This verse helps.

“None can compare with you;
      were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.”  v. 5

I memorized this one as a young man.  It reminds me of God’s call on my life, and of my response to that call.

“Then I said, ‘Here I am, I have come –
      it is written about me in the scroll.
   I desire to do your will, my God;
     your law is within my heart.”  vs. 7-8

I quote this one to myself sometimes before I speak.

“I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
      I speak of you faithfulness and your salvation.
   I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
            from the great assembly.”  v. 10

Make your own list of the greatest hits of Psalm 40!






Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, August 7, 2020
Psalm 39

You may have heard of changes to GCC, the national organization that Cedarcreek is affiliated with.  We’ve drafted a document laying out what those changes are.  You can see it here:

I’ll put some copies on the white board as well.


I think this Psalm speaks to us today.  At least it speaks to me.

David saw things that concerned him, but he was afraid to speak.

“So I remained utterly silent,
   not even saying anything good.
       But my anguish increased.”  v. 2

I feel this.  It seems to me that our world is denying God, saying that right is wrong and wrong is right, making extremely bad decisions.  I want to speak, but am afraid I’ll do it poorly and I’m afraid of the push back.

 “Save me from all my transgressions;
    do not make me the scorn of fools.”  v. 8

But like David, I think I need to trust God and speak.

“My heart grew hot within me.
      While I meditated, the fire burned;
   then I spoke with my tongue.”  v. 3


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Psalm 38

Hoping to pick blueberries this afternoon.  I’ll make jelly and coffee cake.  Yum.


David recognized his own failures and his desperate need for God’s mercy.  He knew that what he deserved from God was wrath, and he looked for God’s compassion.

 “Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
    my bones have no soundness because of my sin.
       My guilt has overwhelmed me
   like a burden too heavy to bear.”  vs. 3-4

But David didn’t have the certainty of God’s mercy like we do.  David foresaw Christ, but we know Him personally.  David looked ahead to Christ’s sacrifice for his sins, but we have the assurance that it is finished.

“O Lord, do not forsake me;  be not far from me, O my God.
     Come quickly to help me,  O Lord my Savior.”  vs. 21-22


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Psalm 37

In case you hadn’t heard, we will be complying with the statewide Mask Mandate here at Cedarcreek.  The pastors wrote a short explanation of what we’re doing and why.  You can read it here:


I think of this as the Edge Psalm (The Edge was the name of our college ministry for years).  I shared parts of this Psalm again and again with college kids.  That’s a time of life when people are looking to the future, longing for things to happen, unsure of exactly what’s next.

 This Psalm is filled with phrases like ‘trust in the Lord’, ‘wait patiently’, ‘wait for the Lord.’

 We still need to do those things.  In a world that wants things right now, God often asks us to wait.  He is good, but not always quick.  Here’s a verse from Psalm 37, and a bonus verse from Psalm 84.

 “Be still before the Lord
     and wait patiently for Him” Psalm 37:7

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
     the Lord bestows favor and honor;
  no good thing does he withhold
      from those whose walk is blameless.”  Psalm 84:11




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Psalm 36

We will have communion this Sunday at church.  We will have the bread and cup combined in individual containers.  You can come up, take a container with the bread and cup, and throw the container away when we’re done.  If you watch the service online, perhaps you want to get your own bread and cup ready so you can take it along with everyone else Sunday morning as you watch.


Our own sin is sometimes hard to know how to think about.  This Psalm helps me.

First, it’s good to recognize that I am a sinner.  It reminds me of God’s gracious forgiveness; Christ’s sacrifice for me; my own humble state.  Only by acknowledging my sin can I really understand God’s love and forgiveness.

“In their own eyes they flatter themselves
      too much to detect or hate their own sin.”  v. 2

But then I need to let the recognition of my sin disappear in that love and forgiveness.  God doesn’t dwell on it; neither should I.

“Continue your love to those who know you,
     your righteousness to the upright in heart.”  v. 10




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, August 3, 2020
Psalm 35

We got corn from the Filla kids on Sunday.  Today Sue and I cut it off the cob in preparation for freezing.  I love this time of year when we are putting up food for the winter.  Everybody is happy:  the pigs and cow got corn husks, the dogs each got a cob to chew on, and Sue and I get a freezer full of corn.  God is awfully good to all He created.


David often fills his prayers with desires for his own deliverance and his enemies’ downfall.  It probably shows something good about David and something not so good.

The not so good is that David seemed to hold grudges and be somewhat vindictive.  On his deathbed he instructed Solomon (his son) on how to take vengeance against old adversaries.  This Psalm has some of that as well.

“Let them be put to shame and confusion altogether
who rejoice at my calamity!
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
who magnify themselves against me!”  v. 26  RSV

I think these prayers show something good about David too.  David listened to God, believed God’s promises to him, and never forgot them.  He completely expected God to to what God had said He would do for David.  David remembered that God had promised him he would be king, and that his sons would be king after him.  David lived his life in the expectation that this promise was true and would happen.  So what sometimes seems like self promotion on David’s part is really just trust in what God had said to him.

“Let those who desire my vindication
shout for joy and be glad,
and say evermore,
‘Great is the Lord  who delights in the well being of his servant!'”  v. 27



Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, July 31, 2020
Psalm 34

As the Covid wheel continues to turn, we in Wisconsin are responding to another development.  Governor Evers issued an Executive Order mandating masks statewide.

The short version of what that means at Cedarcreek is that we will all need to have masks this Sunday.  Justin, Mark and I wrote a short explanation of that which is available here.

Strange days we live in.  It’s a chance to seek God in new ways.  I hope and pray we all step into that – hearing and experiencing God in new ways.


There is an appropriate promise in today’s Psalm.  Whether you fear loss of health or loss of civil liberties, this promise is for you:

“I sought the Lord and He answered me;
       He delivered me from all my fears.”  v. 4




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Psalm 33

Got to catch some really nice rainbow trout today.  God knows the things we like and I think He likes to give them to us.  Plus, I’m fairly certain my sweet wife was praying I’d be able to fish, and I think God likes to answer our prayers, too.

Something as simple as catching a fish points us back to our good, good Father.


Couple of thoughts:

The other night a few of us were outside looking up at the stars.  We were pointing out and naming the constellations we knew.  One guy pointed out a new one I’d never seen; the Northern Cross.  The stars are His handiwork.  He counts them and sets their path through the universe.  Look up and contemplate the unfathomable vastness of the universe.  God holds it all in His hand.

“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,
      their starry host by the breath of his mouth.”  v. 6

As you navigate the Covid landscape, remember that God also knows and controls you and me.  We can’t move the stars; most of our life is outside of our control as well.  But God not only knows and controls your and me, He loves us.  I don’t think He loves the stars, but He loves us.  You are more important to Him than all of the heavens.  You don’t need to fear what is happening around you.

“A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
   despite all its great strength it cannot save.
     But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
   on those whose hope is in his unfailing love;
       to deliver them from death
   and keep them alive in famine.”   vs. 17-19





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Psalm 32

Still in the Colorado.  It’s beautiful here, and good in lots of ways, but I don’t like being gone from home.  I don’t feel comfortable.  I don’t know the routines and I don’t know all the people.  I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and I always feel a little, or sometimes a lot, out of place when I’m somewhere else.  I love coming home after I’ve been gone for a while.

That’s what we need to feel as Christians.  We were born and raised citizens of heaven, children of God.  We’re not home right now.  We are at least a little, and often a lot, out of place here.  No matter how beautiful God’s creation is; no matter how good some things are here, it’s not home.  We won’t feel really at home until we see God face to face.


This Psalm shouts and sings a truth that thrills my soul!

“How blessed is he
whose transgression is forgiven;
whose sins are covered.”   v. 1

That is speaking to me!  That is speaking to you if you have received Christ!

My transgressions, no matter how many, no matter how terrible, are forgiven.    The stain of my sins is covered and cleansed by the blood of Christ!!

I am blessed!!!  Insanely happy!!!!


Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, July 27, 2020
Psalm 31

I am in the mountains in Colorado at a pastor’s conference right now!  If you think of it, pray for my time here.  I’ll spend three days with nothing on the agenda but listening to the Lord.  I think a lot about Cedarcreek and what God has in store for us.  I know that God speaks; I want to listen and hear.


Scripture is an amazing thing.  God’s word really is living and active.  Reading it with a humble heart changes us.  It’s like medicine for your soul.

There are many passages in scripture that change my mind, my mood, my outlook just by reading them.  Here’s one in Psalm 31:

“But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in your hands.”  vs. 14-15

These are tumultuous times that we live in.  But they are our times – the time God has given us to live in.  And they are in His hands.

I don’t need to fear, no matter what is happening around me.


Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, July 25, 2020
Psalm 30

I’m heading to a pastor’s conference for 3 days next week.  It will be good to listen to men speak.  I’ll get to see some guys I don’t see very often.  I’m looking forward to it.

The problem is that I might miss the blackberries and blueberries.  They don’t ever seem to wait for me 😉


In this Psalm David looks ahead and behind.  The Psalm was written for the dedication of the temple.  But that event didn’t take place until after David was dead – Solomon build and dedicated the Temple.  In the Psalm David talks about the troubled periods in his own and in Israel’s past.

But the main theme is neither man’s works (the Temple) nor hard times.  The main theme is God’s presence and goodness through all of it.

 “For his anger lasts only a moment,
but His favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for the night
but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  v. 5





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Psalm 29

As Christians we live in uncertain times.  Our world is experiencing some tumultuous events at a time when it is also distancing itself from the Lord.  What that means for us as Christians is that our response to will often be different at a time when the world doesn’t want or like different responses.

That makes me feel excitement and dread at the same time – boldness and fear.  There is great opportunity to see the Lord work, and I want to be part of that.  But there is much opposition and that scares me.

Those conflicting feelings make me run to the Lord.  He helps me sort out my emotions.  He helps me know what to think.  He helps me step forward in what I need to do.  Without Him I think I’d run in circles.


This Psalm is a picture of God’s awesome strength.  Last September when the tornado went through my neighborhood I saw first hand one of the pictures God uses to display His power:

“The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
      and strips the forests bare.”  v. 9

The forests here were totally cut down, like a lawn mower went through.  Massive oak trees, three feet wide at the base, were twisted and mangled.

Yet we needn’t fear.  God tells us at the end of this Psalm what that power is for.

“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
      the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
   The Lord gives strength to his people;
        the Lord blesses his people with peace.”  vs. 10-11






Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Psalm 28

Our small group is heading down to the land the church owns along Otter Creek.  We hope to get some campsites built down there. It a nice place that we as a church family can use for the Gospel.


I love this promise at the end of Psalm 28:

 “The Lord is the strength of his people,
     a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
   Save your people and bless your inheritance;
       be their shepherd and carry them forever.”  vs. 8-9

In these turbulent, disconcerting times, I rely on God to lead and protect us.  That’s a good place to be.






Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, July 20, 2020
Psalm 27

I’m up in Minocqua.  We have come here every year for about 25 years.  This is the first year Sue and are here with none of our kids.  Very, very strange.  Kind of sad, and kind of sweet.  I am so proud of my kids and so happy for them.


One of my all time favorites.  I memorized this Psalm in law school 30+ years ago.  I would recite it to myself on my walk home from school every afternoon.  It is filled with promises and sentiments that resonate with me still.  Here’s one:

“One thing I ask of the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
        That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
     all the days of my life,
  to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
        and to seek Him in His temple.”  v. 4

This is still the prayer of my heart, just like it was when I was a young man.  I want to see God.  I want to be close to Him.  I long with everything in me to walk closely with Him in this life, then see Him face to face in heaven.






Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, July 17, 2020
Psalm 26

After I sent the email today, Deb Wells responded with some good points that I thought would be helpful to pass along.

She pointed out that we definitely do associate with people who don’t know the Lord.  We love and serve them as Christ did.  We hope for and work for their best.  We care what happens to them.  Ultimately we pray for them and share the love of God and the gospel with them.

The difference David was talking about, I think, probably dealt with his closest and most intimate companions, the ones who influenced him most.  These were people who were seeking and loving the Lord.  Those who had rejected God were not part of David’s core people.




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, July 17, 2020
Psalm 26

I spent the last two days meeting with other pastors.  On Wednesday I met with several pastors from Eau Claire.  We try to do that via Zoom once per week.  Later that day I talked with pastors across the county who are part of our association.

Yesterday I traveled to Rochester and LaCrosse to meet with pastors in our region of churches.

It’s sweet and helpful to spend time with other men who are striving for the Lord’s kingdom.


David saw two types of people in the world:  Those who loved and pursued a relationship with God and those who didn’t.  He wasn’t afraid to make that distinction and to interact differently with the two groups.

“I do not sit with the deceitful,
       nor do I associate with hypocrites.
    I abhor the assembly of evildoers
         and refuse to sit with the wicked.”  vs. 4-5

“Lord, I love the house where you live,
    the place where your glory dwells.”  v. 8

“My feet stand on level ground;
     in the great congregation I will praise the Lord.”  v. 12

Our world is no different than David’s.  The only human distinction that matters is a person’s status with God.  Yet that distinction is huge, with massive and weighty consequences.  With whom do you associate most closely?





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, July 16, 2020
Psalm 25

I totally forgot to send a Daily yesterday!  I’m sorry!  I got caught up in lots of phone/computer calls and it just slipped my mind.  I must be getting old.  I apologize.  (Not for getting old – I can’t seem to help that 😉


David had many enemies that caused him much sorrow and trouble.

“See how numerous are my enemies
      and how fiercely they hate me!”  v. 19

David’s response in this Psalm was to talk to God about himself rather than his enemies.  He asked God for forgiveness and guidance.

“For the sake of your name, Lord,
     forgive my iniquity, though it is great.”  v. 11

“Show me your ways, Lord,
     teach me your paths.
   Guide me in your truth and teach me,
       for you are God my Savior.”  vs. 4-5

David knew that his vindication would come not from his own effort, but from God in God’s good time.  So David’s efforts were spent in sinking himself deeper into God.

“No one who hopes in you
     will ever be put to shame.”  v. 3




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Psalm 24

I’m feeling sad today.  There are times when I want to disappear into the woods.  But I know God has asked bigger and better things from us.  I thought today of Psalm 73:15:  “If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people.”    The writer was discouraged, but knew he had a chance to honor God and serve others, so he sucked it up and kept going.

We all have a call on our lives from God.  We have the privilege to honor God and serve others here in this life.  It costs us though, and we can get weary.  Let’s all keep walking with the Lord.


I pray that this verse describes me.  I want to honor my Lord and my Father.  In this world we have to fight sin.  It’s a fight I want to fight.

“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.”  vs. 3-4




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, July 13, 2020
Psalm 23

We are nearing the mid point of summer.  The corn is getting high and will head soon.  The oats are ready to harvest.  The ditches and fields are taking a new look as a different set of wildflowers bloom.  The strawberries are done and the raspberries are ripe.  All around us summer is following the course set for it and the pattern that it has always followed.

Don’t miss things like this.  It teaches us so much about God.  Here’s one thing it teaches us:  God has a plan for our world that will not be thwarted.  It’s easy to look at race riots and Corona pandemics and presidential elections and feel like the world is out of control.  It isn’t.  God is in control.  He always has been and He has not relinquished.

Simple things that a child can understand teach us deeply wise truths.  Don’t miss them.


Perhaps the most famous Psalm of them all.  Much has been written about it.  I’ll say only one thing.

It strikes me this morning that I am a lamb who needs a shepherd.  I need one who is in total control over my life.  David, the King and warrior, submitted to and rejoiced in his total dependence on God.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.”  v. 1-2  RSV




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, July 10, 2020
Psalm 22

The blackcaps are ripe.  I’ll go pick a bucketful and make jelly this weekend.  It’s amazing how much food grows right in the ditch.


This Psalm contains many prophecies and references to the coming Messiah, particularly about His death.  Spend a half hour and compare this Psalm to the 4 accounts of Christ’s death in the Gospels.

 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  v. 1




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Psalm 21

It rained this morning.  That’s good.  We take rain for granted, but we shouldn’t.  Without it our earth would die.  Yet we can’t create or stop the rain.   God created our ecosystem to provide water for us and the plants.  It happens apart from us.

Whenever it rains, remember a couple of things:  One; God is very, very powerful.  This is His foolproof, wildly amazing system to sustain life  (Psalm 147:8-9).  Two; God is very, very good.  He remembers us and cares for us (Leviticus 26:4-5).


Sometimes David looks back on his life and talks to God about it.  Sometimes he looks ahead and asks God for something.

In Psalm 21, David is looking at his life in the present and seeing God in it.

“You have granted him (David) his heart’s desire
      and have not withheld the request of his lips.
   You came to greet him with rich blessings
          and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.”  v. 2-3

It’s easy to miss God in the present, especially when things are going well.  You and I can be like David – we can learn to recognize the current blessing and joy in our lives, and we can bask in it knowing that it comes from the hand and the presence of God.




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Psalm 20

Don’t forget the campfire tonight at Cedarcreek!  Come around 6:30.


Here’s a famous verse that I am praying for our country as we celebrate its birthday:

“Some nations boast of their chariots and horses,
      but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.”  v. 7  NLT

I pray that we will be a nation that sees and loves and follows and boasts in the Lord.  I pray He will truly be the Lord our God.




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Psalm 19

We recorded a podcast on racism last week.  It’s a discussion amongst the pastors (plus Matt Novacek) about how we as Christians might think about racism.

This is a candid, unscripted conversation.  It isn’t meant to be a teaching.  Our hope is that as we share our thoughts and questions, you will be stimulated to go to God and develop your own thoughts.

You can find the podcast here:


The Psalms are different than other parts of the Bible.  The Psalms weren’t meant to be primarily informational.  The goal isn’t necessarily teaching.  So the Psalms often tend to be less linear.  Psalm 19 is one of those Psalms.  It starts with a discourse on how nature reveals God to the world.   Then it moves into how God’s laws and commands are very good.  It ends with a prayer for help to avoid sin.

I’m not exactly sure how that all fits together.  But I do know that it contains a prayer that I have prayed over the years:

“Who can discern his errors?
     Forgive my hidden faults.
  Keep your servant also from willful sins;
      may they not rule over me.
  Then I will be blameless,
        innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
      be pleasing in your sigh,
  O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”  vs.  12-14




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, July 6, 2020
Psalm 18

On Mondays Sue and I take a Sabbath.  The four things we incorporate into the day are:  Stop (don’t do normal things), Rest (lots of down time), Contemplate (read and pray at different times during the day), and Delight (do stuff you really like).  It’s been a good thing for us.


Psalm 18 is a reflection for David.  As he looks back on his life, he is recognizing that he has successfully come through many troubled times – times of uncertainty and fear and danger.

 “The cords of death entangled me;
       the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
   The cords of the grave coiled around me;
         the snares of death confronted me.”  vs. 4-5

David seems to acknowledge two ways that God brought about his deliverance in those terrible times.  The first was God’s direct, overwhelming and perfect help when David was helpless.  In those times God protected David and fought the enemies for him.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
     He drew me out of deep waters. 
 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
       from my foes, who were too strong for me.”  vs. 16-17

The second was God’s strengthening of David, so that David could fight the fight himself.

“I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
       I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
    I crushed them so that they could not rise;
         they fell beneath my feet.
     You armed me with strength for battle
   You humbled my adversaries before me.”  vs. 37-39

What are the enemies that you face?  Look to God.  He can defeat them for you, or He can strengthen you to defeat them.




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, July 3, 2020
Psalm 17

It’s a good exercise to read the Bible in different versions.   The NIV is my go to version.  But from time to time I’ll set it aside and read out of a different version.  Right now I’m reading the Revised Standard Version.

Reading different versions makes us think about what we are reading.  I’ve read NIV so much that I almost know what’s coming next.  I can almost turn off my brain and just skate through it.  Reading the same thoughts in different words forces me to consider what I’m reading.

Maybe invest in a different translation.  I quoted RSV for our Psalm today.


Sometimes it’s hard to know how to take David’s Psalms.  This Psalm is one of those for me.

David seems to make extreme statements that are at least only partially true, if not completely false.  For example:

“If thou triest my heart, if thou visitest me by night,
     if thou testest me, thou wilt find no wickedness in me;
         my mouth does not transgress.”  v. 3   RSV

Yet in other places (Psalm 51 for example) David acknowledges and frets over his sin.

Another example:

“I have avoided the ways of the violent”  v.4

Yet God would not allow David to be the one to build the temple since David had ‘shed so much blood.’ (1 Chronicles 22:7-8)

I think it shows some of how David was wired; that is, I think he was an extremely emotional man, whose emotions sometime took control of his thinking.

But regardless of the reason, I think David’s great strength was that he always came back to something like this:

“As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness;
      when I awake, I shall be satisfied with beholding thy form.”  v. 15

We are all different in our temperaments and in our life histories.  But all of us, no matter what we are good at or what we struggle with, can rest in God’s presence.  That’s what made David great.  Not his accomplishments or perfection or natural abilities, but his diligent seeking and resting in God.  That’s what makes us great as well.




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Psalm 16

We will have a virtual communion this Sunday at 9AM.  If you would like to participate, please email Rob.


This is one of my favorite Psalms.  I memorized it as a young man.  I would walk home from law school and recite this Psalm to myself.  Over the years, God has used the lines of this Psalm to speak to me in many times and places.   It has been a comfort when I’m afraid, a guide when I’m confused, a promise when I’m hopeless, a joy when I’m content.

These Psalms were used as songs, and probably memorized.  Committing scripture to memory is a powerful, helpful thing.  I’d encourage you to find a Psalm that resonates with you and memorize it.

 “ You have made known to me the path of life;
      You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
   with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”  v. 11



Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Psalm 15

Don’t forget the campfire tonight at church!

Also, the plan is to record the first of our podcasts dealing with race, power, etc on Friday.  Assuming all goes well, it will be available sometime this weekend.  We’ll keep you notified.


Even as forgiven Christians, how we conduct ourselves matters.  The Psalm lists several things that someone who longs to be close to God should do or should not do, as the case may be.

This person will enjoy a closeness to God; a relational joy and intimacy that comes from obeying your Father, your King.

“ Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
      Who may live on your holy hill?”  v. 1 

This person will enjoy satisfaction and stability here in this life.

“He who does these things
      will never be shaken.”  v. 5





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Psalm 14

Hope everyone is staying cool.  As I get older, the heat bothers me less.  But I still don’t like it a lot.  My daughter Katie LOVES the heat.  It was 94 in Jamestown ND where she lives the other day.  She was outside soaking it up.  I’m glad for her!  If you are a person who like the heat, I’m glad for you too!


David again divides the world into two groups:  Those who know and acknowledge God and those who don’t.  We don’t like those kinds of distinctions, but they are real.   How you respond to God defines and shapes you more than any other thing.

 “There they are, overwhelmed with dread,
      for God is present in the company of the righteous.”  v.. 5




Cedarcreek Daily
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Psalm 13

Hot!  Looks like it will be hot for a while.  This is the time that we get drought if it’s coming.  An old farmer told me that it will always rain in August (because of hurricanes in the Atlantic), but July was the critical month for rain and crops.

Don’t know if he is right, but I know that in these hot summer days, God is in control.  Job 37:14-18


I suspect that David wrestled with some form of emotional distress.  In our days these are often given an official diagnosis, but I suspect that all of us have some form of emotional trauma and dysfunction.  Human struggle is not new.  When I read this Psalm, I hear that deep, painful struggle in David.  I hear the sorrow and agony of not being able to fix it himself.

“How long must I bear pain in my soul,
     and have sorrow in my heart all the day?”  v. 2  RSV

“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
      and day after day have sorrow in my heart?”  v. 2  NIV

But David did have a solution.

“But I have trusted in thy steadfast love;
      my heart will rejoice in thy salvation.
  I will sing to the Lord,
         because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  vs. 5-6

That same solution is there for you and me.  David sought God, not because he had no other options, but because he knew it was his best option.




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Psalm 12

I’m on my way to Cornucopia this afternoon.  My sister has a rental house on Lake Superior that I go to regularly.  I’ll spend the night, then spend all morning reading, praying and studying.  It’s one of the best practices I’ve developed as a pastor and a Christian.  Those uninterrupted, dedicated hours listening and talking to God are so good.  It’s not that God is more present there than here; rather, it’s that I’m making an effort to be more aware of His presence.


Another Psalm that speaks to me about the world you and I live in now.  I think it helps answer the unanswered question from yesterday.

Again we see the degenerate state of the world:

“Help, Lord; for there is no longer any that is godly;
     for the faithful have vanished from among the sons of men.” v. 1

But David sees something else that is real, and it’s real for us as well.

“The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
      silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
          purified seven times.”  v. 6

Those promises give David confidence in the midst of a wicked world.

“Do thou, O Lord, protect us,
     guard us ever from this generation.”  v. 7   RSV

Do you have promises from God?  Can you name them?  You can and should





Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Psalm 11

Don’t forget about the campfires here at church every Wednesday beginning at 6:30.  Bring some meat to grill over the fire, or just come to hang out with some of your church family.  Call Jonas Bates or Dan Gruenig for more info.


This Psalm asks a question that I don’t know how to answer.  The question is:

 “When the foundations are being destroyed,
      what can the righteous do?”  v. 3

It feels to me that the foundations of our society are being destroyed.  We, as a country and a culture, seem to be systematically eliminating God and His Word from our thoughts and actions.  As I read the newspaper, I increasingly feel frustrated and helpless.  I have a desperate desire to do something, but it feels like the pushing against a tidal wave.

This Psalm doesn’t specifically answer the question.  But it does remind me of another truth.

 “For the Lord is righteous,
      He loves justice;
   upright men will see His face.”  vs. 16-17 

I need to do what God has put in front of me today:  Love those close to me, speak when I have opportunity, serve God and His people.  God will do what He does.



Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Psalm 10

I’ll have a Performance Review in July.  I get a yearly review from a panel made up of the other Pastors, one Deacon and one Trustee.

This is part of our Pastoral Leadership and Authority document.  You can see it here:


This Psalm could have been written this year.  Some people think the Bible is outdated.  I say no.  It speaks to the human condition which doesn’t change.  As people, our needs, our desires, our struggles don’t change through the years.  Individually and as societies we need the same things.  God knows our needs and meets them.

Seeking and following God is the greatest need of our time, just like it was for David’s time.

“The Lord is King for ever and ever;
      the nations will perish from his land.
  You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;
         You encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”  vs. 16-17



Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, June 22, 2020
Psalm 9

Couple of things:

  1. Our own special Cedarcreek hacker is still at it.  He sends emails with my name and asks people to contact him about a ‘special favor’.  If you respond, he asks you to buy gift cards and send them to him.  They don’t come from either of my email addresses.  Don’t fall for it!!!!!
  2. I will (hopefully) have the document dealing with the Minneapolis events finalized by Wednesday morning.  I’ll send it out to those who have asked for it then.
  3. Going to pick strawberries this afternoon!!!!


This Psalm seems to speak to many of the issues that are being debated in our country.  Social justice, power, oppression, etc.

This may sound trite, but no matter where you are in the debate or in social status or in chain of command, your first response as a Christian MUST be the same:  I will seek and trust God.

“The Lord reigns forever;
    He has established his throne for judgment.
        He will judge the world in righteousness;
   He will govern the peoples with justice.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
     a stronghold in times of trouble.

Those who know your name will trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”  vs.  7-10




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, June 19, 2020
Psalm 8

I’ve had several requests for the document we as pastors have prepared that lays out some core Biblical understanding related to the current events in Minneapolis.

As with all written documents, edits are inevitable.  We sent the document to the Advisory Council here at church and have received some suggestions for edits.  Nothing major, it’s  more wording to make things more clear.

So we will let a few more folks take a look at the document and comment on it before we send it out.

Thanks for your patience.


We often go to the Psalms to speak to our emotions.  But they are also very instructive; that is, there is much in the them to help us understand God’s creation.

Psalm 8 is one such Psalm.  It lays out for us the chain of command for God’s physical creation – the earth that we live on.  In basic terms, the chain of command I see is this:  God is the King and Creator of this physical earth.  Humans are God’s special creation, valued highly by God as His sons and daughters.  The rest of creation, all animals and plants – the earth and seas – have been put under mans’ dominion.

How we are to exercise that dominion is a topic for another day.

This understanding is echoed in many places in Scripture.  Psalm 8 just boils it down into a concise form.

“You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
       and crowned him with glory and honor.

  You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
        You put everything under his feet.”  vs. 5-6




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Psalm 7

We (the pastors) have been impacted by the events in Minneapolis, just like many of you.  The death of George Floyd and the ensuing unrest has raised many issues.  We are wrestling with those issues as a nation and as individuals.  We need to wrestle with those issues as a church and as Christians as well.

To that end, we have drafted a paper laying out what we believe to be some core Biblical issues that need to inform our understanding of what has happened and how to respond going forward.  There are copies of that paper on the white board at church.  If you’d like, let Justin or me know and we can email you a copy.

We are also planning a series of audio and/or video discussions between the pastors.  These discussions will get more specific and deal with some of the more practical, and often more difficult, issues.  We’ll record our first one next week and make it available online.


David had a lot of enemies.  Some were enemies through no fault of David’s.  Other enemies David created for himself.  David sometimes treated his enemies well.  Sometimes he held a vindictive grudge.  But one thing David always did was go to God and talk to Him about those enemies.

(If you really want to understand the Psalms, spend some time in First and Second Samuel.  You’ll see David’s life.  It will give you perspective and background into what David writes in the Psalms.)

 “O Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
      save and deliver me from all who pursue me.”  v. 1




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Psalm 6

Went to my first farmers market on Monday.  Yesterday and today we are eating fresh greens.  Mmmmm.  God is good.


A cry from David’s broken heart.  At David’s most vulnerable, broken times, he bared his soul to the Lord.

We can do this as well.

“I am worn out from groaning;
all night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.

Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer.




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Psalm 5

The strawberries are beginning to ripen.  The blackcaps aren’t far behind.  Pretty soon it will be jelly season!

I love the rhythm of God’s creation.  The world follows predictable patterns.  This is God’s doing.  Yet within those patterns, we see infinite variations.  That is also God’s doing.

Some of us love routine, and God gives it to us.  Some of us love variation, and God gives us that.


The Gospel is not just a New Testament idea.  God had planned it for generations.  He spoke of it often in the Old Testament.

Here in Psalm 5, David recognizes that he stands righteous before God, not by his own works, but by God’s doing.

He knows that sinful men cannot be with God

“The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
      You hate all who do wrong.”  v. 5

Yet, David stands peacefully and confidently before God:

“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
     In the morning I lay my requests before you
  and wait in expectation.”  v. 3

How can David, a sinful man, stand righteously before God?

“But I, by your great mercy,
      will come into your house;
   in reverence will I bow down
        toward your holy temple.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness. . .”  vs. 7-8

David trusts God’s love for him; he humbles himself, before God; God makes him righteous in a new way; then God brings him home.  That’s the Gospel!




Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, June 13, 2020
Psalm 4

It is a beautiful day.  Get outside and watch God’s amazing creation.  As you do, remember that He caused the sun to come up this morning; He caused the grass and flowers to grow.


There is a powerful phrase at the end of this Psalm:

“Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.
     You have filled my heart with greater joy
   than when their grain and new wine abound.
       I will lie down and sleep in peace,
           for you alone, O Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.”  vs. 6-8

This Psalm could be, and likely is, speaking about David’s physical safety and well-being.  But it is just as likely, and I think probable, that David is thinking about his mental and emotional safety and well-being as well.

We spend billions of dollars and thousands of hours seeking professional help for our emotional and mental struggles.  And there is surely some help in medicine and counseling.  But David recognizes the ultimate source of his peace – it is ‘The Light Of Your Face.’

Look at the things that David finds in God’s presence:  relief from distress; mercy; freedom from shame; joy; sleep; peace; safety.

God is better, stronger, more present and loving than we know.  I want to seek Him more and more.




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, June 12, 2020
Psalm 3

Jonas Bates and Daniel Gruenig are coordinating weekly campfires here at Cedarcreek.  Starting THIS WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17 there will a campfire here at our fire pit.  Bring meat to grill over the fire if you like.  Starts at 6:30PM.  This will be every weekly event.  Contact Jonas or Daniel if you’ve got questions.


This Psalm was written by David at perhaps the worst time of his life.  He had been betrayed and chased from Jerusalem.  Much of the nation was now seeking to kill him.  He was on the run, with few allies.  His kingdom was in turmoil and on the brink of civil war.  But the real agony must have been that all of this had been orchestrated and executed by his own son.  (This is all found in 2 Samuel 15-17)

On top of all that, David knew that all of this was his own fault.  He had sinned terribly some years earlier with Uriah and Bathsheba.  (You can read that story is in 2 Samuel 11-12.)

Yet David remembered God’s promises.  He trusted God and relied on Him in his most desperate time.  His faith and confidence in God’s love was strong, even though David knew his own sin had brought him to this place.

 “But you are a shield around me, O Lord;
     You bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
  To the Lord I cry aloud,
       and He answers me from His holy hill.”  vs. 3-4




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Psalm 2

We video the weekend message on Saturday morning so people who aren’t at the service can still see the message on Sunday morning.

If you would like to hear the message live, but want to avoid larger gatherings, feel free to come and be part of the ‘studio audience’ on Saturday morning.  We film at 10AM, and anyone is welcome to come and hear the message then.

If you do come Saturday, please enter by the OLD FOYER since the new foyer will be used by another group.


I read this Psalm with fear for our nation.  It appears to me that we as a nation are rejecting God’s Word and God’s Kingdom.  We have replaced His standards with our own; we have sought our own pleasure and enrichment on this earth rather than a reward in heaven.  We look for what we can get for ourselves, as opposed to seeking God’s favor.

God judges nations, just as he judges individual.  But I think nations are judged more harshly.  This Psalm speaks of that.

I pray that we as a nation will turn to God.  As a church we play a big part of that.  We are the light of the world.  I pray that we at Cedarcreek will be a beacon of truth and grace.  I pray that God will use us to bring people to Him, and as people draw near to God, our nation will as well.

“Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
and you be destroyed in your way.”  vs. 11-12




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Psalm 1

Two things:

  1. Still looking for feedback on whether or not to continue the Daily emails.  So far feedback has been positive, but please let me know your thoughts.  Of course, if you don’t want them, always feel free to unsubscribe by contacting Justin.
  2. MANY OF YOU ARE GETTING EMAILS THAT PURPORT TO BE FROM ME asking for gift cards, etc.  These don’t come from either of my email addresses, and the are not from me.  PLEASE DON’T RESPOND TO AN EMAIL THAT ASKS YOU FOR GIFT CARDS, MONEY OR ANYTHING ELSE.  If you’re not sure, just give me a call.


This Psalm reminds us again that there are really just two ways to live your life:  Loving, obeying, drawing close to God; or not.  The Bible is clear that regardless of whatever choices we have, whatever differences there are between us, the most foundational and defining choice and difference between people is this one.  Are you seeking, loving, obeying God, or are you not.

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
      and on His law he meditates day and night.”  v. 2

“Not so the wicked!
   They are like chaff the wind blows away.”  v. 4




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Psalm 150

Two things:

  1. I have been in contact with an organization in Eau Claire that is collecting items for distribution in Minneapolis for people impacted by the riots.  It’s made it hard for many families to get the daily care things that they need.  I’ve attached a copy of an email detailing what we can donate and where to take it (it’s downtown Eau Claire).  If you have a desire to help out, please do s
  2. I’m looking for feedback on whether to continue these daily emails.  I’m inclined to keep going through the summer.  That would allow us to get through all of the Psalms.  But I’d like to know if this is something you folks are interested in continuing.  Please let me know your thoughts one way or the other.


Praise God!

“Praise the Lord. 

    Praise God in his sanctuary;
       Praise him in his mighty heavens.
    Praise him for his acts of power;
      Praise him for his surpassing greatness.
   Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
      Praise him with the harp and lyre,
   Praise him with tambourine and dancing,
      Praise him with the strings and flute,
   Praise him with the clash of cymbals,
     Praise him with resounding cymbals.

    Let everything that has breath Praise the Lord

 Praise the Lord!”



Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, June 8, 2020
Psalm 149

Hot day.  90+ degrees this afternoon.  But the high temperature on Wednesday is forecast to be in the low 60s.  In between those temperatures we’ll likely have a big storm.

The weather always reminds me of God.  If you want to read about it, look at Job 37 and 38.  The first chapter is someone watching a storm role in while he reflects on God’s power and control over the weather.  The second chapter is God himself speaking about that power.


There is an interesting flow to this Psalm.  It goes from the joy the writer feels while praising God to the joy he feels when he joins in God’s judgment.  Sometimes we think that Christianity is only peaceful – only gentle.  Yet God often reminds us of His terrible judgment.  The problem with us is when we take it into our own hands or use it for our selfish ends.  But meeting out justice, wielding the sword, is the privilege of God’s people.

“May the praise of God be in their mouths
       and a double-edged sword in their hands.”  v. 6




Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, June 6, 2020
Psalm 148

For the past two weeks we’ve all been watching and hearing about the events in the Twin Cities.  The shock of the initial video footage showing the police and George Floyd has been replaced by the shock of the riots.  We probably all wrestle with trying to understand the reasons behind it all.  We probably all wrestle with trying to know how to respond.

As pastors, Mark and Justin and I don’t have all the answers.  We have discussed this at length.  We feel much of the same shock and anger and confusion as others.  Yet we also increasingly feel confidence in the Lord.  His comfort helps us, His power leads us, His words counsel us.

In the days to come, we hope to begin sharing our discussions and thoughts.


I look forward to the day when, as I stand with you all praising God, I can hear the angels praising Him too.  I can’t imagine the joy and wonder of the stars and mountains joining with us as we sing praise to our loving Creator.

“Praise him, all his angels,
       praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
   Praise him, sun and moon,
        praise him, all you shining stars.”  vs.  2-3




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, June 5, 2020
Psalm 147

I apologize for the past few days.  Seems like something different happened each day that kept me from getting a Daily out.  I’m sorry.  Much of it was my own fault.

THIS SUNDAY:  We will again be meeting at church for Sunday Service at 10AM.  We’ve rearranged the chairs to create space for more households.   As more families come back to service, we are exploring options to create more space.  We’ll keep everyone posted as we go.

I had mentioned last week that the nursery rooms would be available for parents to be in with their kids, BUT I MISSPOKE.  We won’t be ready for that for a while.


This is another song we used to sing at Cedarcreek.  The first stanza has always stirred my soul, and I can’t necessarily explain why.  I’ll let you read it (and the rest of the Psalm).  Let God stir you.

“He heals the brokenhearted
      and binds up their wounds
   He counts the stars
        and gives names to them all.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
         His understanding has no limit.”  vs. 3-5





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Psalm 146

Back from North Dakota.  It was good to see my daughter.  It’s odd to have my kids live somewhere else.  I have to get used to that. . .

We had our first live church service last Sunday.  It went well!  We are talking about what to do the same, what to do differently, what to add, etc.  If you have thoughts, please let Justin, Mark or me know!


In this Psalm God tells of His great power – a power that is far, far beyond the power of any man or government.

“Do not put your trust in princes,
     in mortal men, who cannot save.
  When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
       on that very day their plans come to nothing. 

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
     whose hope is in the Lord his God,
        the maker of heaven and earth,
   the sea, and everything in them –
         the Lord, who remains faithful forever.”  vs. 3-6

But it’s interesting to see where God directs that power:  In this Psalm, it is mostly directed toward those who have no power – the weak, the foreigner, the widow and orphan.  Given the recent events in Minneapolis, this Psalm seems particularly powerful to me.

“He upholds the cause of the oppressed
        and gives food to the hungry.”  v. 7




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Psalm 144

Good morning folks.  I know I said I’d be done with Dailys for the week, but I’ve got time this AM and I really like today’s Psalm.

I’ll be off with the men of my small group for the next few days.  I’m excited to spend some time with them.  God’s church is a great thing.  I’ve developed many of my best friends right here at Cedarcreek.


In this Psalm is a prayer that I have prayed for Cedarcreek for years.  First the prayer:

“May our sons in their youth
    be like well-nurtured plants,
  and our daughters like pillars
       carved to adorn a palace.
   Our barns will be filled
         with every kind of provision.”  vs. 12-13

I pray often that God will use us at Cedarcreek to win and build souls – that we will be a place where He can transform lives.  This prayer at the end of Psalm 144 catches that for me.  Our sons and daughters, both physical and spiritual, will be healthy and growing.  Our family will be full and growing.

But this Psalm also shows the blueprint for making it happen.  First, there is stuff God asks of us:

“Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
      who trains my hands for war,
           and my fingers for battle.”  v. 1

God asks us to work – to go to battle with him for those souls.  But once we do, there are things only God can do:

“Part your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
        touch the mountains so that they smoke.
    Send forth lightning and scatter the enemies.”  vs. . 5-6

I think if we choose to work and fight with God, He will do great things with and through us.




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, May 25, 2020
Psalm 143

Becca got married yesterday.  It was a sweet day.  But for this dad it was and is very emotional.  Good emotions.

I’ll be gone after today.  I will be in North Dakota until Friday night.  I won’t be around a computer or the internet, so I won’t be able to send emails.

When I get back, we’ll be one day away from our first service at church since early March.  I will continue these daily emails, probably through the summer.


As I read this Psalm today, I noticed a verse that I never really noticed before:

  “Teach me to do your will,
        for you are my God.”  v. 10

I want to do God’s will.  I very much want that.  But often I  don’t or can’t.  But God is MY God; He wants me to do His will even more than me.  And He will help.




Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Psalm 141


That’s not this week, but next.  We’ve worked hard to come up with a plan to re-open that is both safe and welcoming.  That’s hard to do, and we certainly won’t do it perfectly.  We know some folks are anxious TO get back together, some folks are anxious ABOUT getting back together, some folks are in between.  We recognize that everyone must make their own decisions, and we respect those decisions – we truly do.  We pray that we will all honor and respect each other’s preferences in this unprecedented time.

Attached is a document spelling out what to expect if you come on May 31.  Also, here’s a link to a short video Justin and I did, walking you through the building to help everyone know what will be different when we get back together for the first time.


In this Psalm David chastises the wicked.  He calls on God to judge and punish those who do evil.

Yes his heart is not proud.  He recognizes his own sin and doesn’t ignore his own struggles.

In one place he asks God to protect him from those sins:

“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
         keep watch over the door of my lips.
     Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil.” vs. 3-4

A bit later he asks God for the humility to be corrected by others – other men and women who are also flawed like him:

“Let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness;
      let him rebuke me – it is oil on my head.
       My head will not refuse it.”  v. 5





Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, May 22, 2020
Psalm 140

Two days until Becca (my oldest) gets married!  Kind of hectic, kind of fun.  It feels like Christmas – lots to do, but all of it against the backdrop of excitement and gladness.  God is really good!


David was a king and a warrior.  He fought and won battles.  He ruled nations.

Yet he got afraid.  Just like us.  When he felt that fear, he didn’t trust his own strength.  He called out to God.

This Psalm is David crying out to God in his fear.  He finds comfort in God’s goodness; God’s strength.  We can too.

  “Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
       protect me from men of violence
     who plan to trip my feet.”  v. 4




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, May 21 2020
Psalm 139

This morning I walked outside very early.  The day had the feel of early summer.  It took me back to being a boy at the beginning of summer vacation.  What a sweet feeling!  All my cares and struggles behind me, and only a sweet summer of fun and joy stretching endlessly ahead!  Remember those feelings?

I went back inside and sat down to have my quiet time.  As God and I spent some time together, He reminded me that I have that feeling to look forward to again.  Someday I’ll leave this world and step into heaven.  All of my cares and struggles will be behind me.  Sweet, beautiful eternity will stretch out before me, filled with joy and fun.  The Lord Himself will be there – something better than any summer vacation ever.


This is such a personal, intimate Psalm.  God’s closeness and intimacy with us rings out through it all.  God sees and holds our past, our present and our future.  So many sweet promises and truths.  I think verse 3 catches and summarizes the Psalm:

  “You discern my going out and my lying down;
          You are familiar with all my ways.”

As you read this Psalm, maybe ask God to draw out one verse that you can carry with you.  When God does that for me, I will actually physically carry the verse with me on a note card.  Here’s one that I have clung to for years:

“How precious concerning me are your thought, O God!
       How vast is the sum of them!
   Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
           When I awake, I am still with you.”  vs. 17-18




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, May 20 2020
Psalm 138

The birds sing every morning as the sun comes up, then again every evening as the sun goes down.  I don’t know why God made them that way.  But it reminds me of David, who said that he would awaken the dawn with his praise to God.  I think the birds are praising their maker, just like David.


One of my favorite Psalms, mostly because of two promises that I cling to.

The first is a promise for when I am afraid or hesitant to do what God is asking me to do.  David faced much opposition, and he got afraid.  I remember this promise when I’m in that place.

  “When I called, you answered me;
        you made me bold and stouthearted.”  v. 3
(the actual translation is ‘You made me arrogant in my soul with strength!’)

The second promise is more long term.  It gives me confidence that as I follow the Lord, He will take care of the results.  I don’t have to fret the outcome of my life; I just need to follow Him right now.

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
       Your love, O Lord, endures forever –
     do not abandon the works of your hands.”  v. 8




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Psalm 137

We’ve been working for some time to create a timetable and procedures for re-opening Cedarcreek.  We have talked with many people, gotten lots of counsel, and sought out a lot of information.

At this point, our plan is to re-open Cedarcreek for live Sunday services, in a limited form, on Sunday, May 31.

This obviously raises many questions.  By the end of this week we will have finalized a timetable and distributed detailed information about what the initial re-opening will look like.

These are unprecedented times.  We are all trying to sort this out together in real time.  It’s not likely that any re-opening plan will exactly fit with anyone’s thoughts or desires.  I’ll include an excerpt from our soon to be distributed Sunday morning re-opening document:

“We recognize that there are a myriad of perspectives on how to best accomplish this goal and understand that we all have individual responsibility in determining how to best reintegrate ourselves.  As a staff we encourage everyone to extend grace to each other and love our neighbors even when ideas and viewpoints do not match our own.”


This is a confusing and disturbing Psalm  It was written by exiles in Babylon – Jews torn from their home and forced to live in a pagan world as captives.  They rightly longed for home, and rightly resented their captors.

But the vitriol and anger is disturbing.   I won’t try to say whether this is righteous or not.

But it does remind me of this:  God’s anger and retribution IS righteous.  When I think of my sin, this Psalm reminds me of what I justly deserve.  But then I am sweetly, powerfully reminded that Christ took that terrible judgment so I wouldn’t have to.



Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, May 16, 2020
Psalm 135

This morning Sue read to me the end of Psalm 9, which says:

    “Strike them with terror, O Lord; let the nations know they are but men.”  v. 20

The current medical crisis can be fearful, even terrifying.  But fear isn’t always bad.  God will use it to show Himself to us: His glory, His truth.  When we are afraid we are more willing to call out to a God who controls the universe.  When we are weak we are more willing to call out to a God who is strong.  When we are confused we are more willing to call out to a God who knows all.  And when we call out to Him, He answers and we see and hear him.


We see God’s control over the physical world in this Psalm.

“The Lord does whatever pleases Him
      in the heavens and earth,
         in the seas and all their depths.”  v. 6 

We also see God’s control over governments and rulers.

 “He struck down many nations
        and killed mighty kings.” v. 10 

And we see why; the purpose and goal of His control.

   “For the Lord will vindicate his people
      and have compassion on his servants.” v. 14




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, May 15, 2020
Psalm 134

I admit to getting increasingly frustrated with the back and forth of all the Covid regulations.  It seems that rules change daily and from place to place.  It all has a tendency to make me angry and tense.

But when I stop and pray, it truly changes my mood.  God reminds me that he rules nations, not the other way around.  I may disagree or agree with the Governor, Supreme Court, legislature, County Health Director, whatever.  But none of them can overcome God’s love for me, His plan for my life, His goodness.


Another very short Psalm. It talks to those who minister by night in the house of the Lord.

I get the picture of someone serving in the Temple when no one else is around – only him and God.  That image makes me smile.  When no one else is watching, you can draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  Here’s the whole Psalm in New King James:

“Behold, bless the Lord,
All you servants of the Lord,
Who by night stand in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hand in the sanctuary,
And bless the Lord!
The Lord who made heaven and earth
Bless you from Zion!”




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Psalm 133

Given the Supreme Court decision that was announced yesterday, we want to let everyone know where we’re at with re-opening the church.

We’ve been working on a re-opening plan for a while.  We are waiting to finalize a plan until Eau Claire County lets us know what local restrictions might be in place.

WE WON’T HAVE SERVICE THIS SUNDAY, MAY 17.  We just don’t have the time to communicate and coordinate all of the volunteers to have a good, safe service before this weekend.   Plus, we don’t know what might happen legally between now and then.  We are working on a clear timeline and plan for re-opening.  We’ve been talking with several of you about it.  We’ll hopefully be able to let everyone know the plan very soon.

In the meantime, we’ll keep things as they have been for this weekend.


This Psalm has imagery that is unfamiliar to us.  Oil pour on Aaron’s head and dripping down; dew of Hermon falling on Mt. Zion.

Both of these things speak to God interacting with His people.  The anointing oil was part of the Levitical priesthood (See Exodus 29 and 40).  Mt. Zion was the resting place of God’s glory – the Temple in Jerusalem.

They are likened to us living in unity with each other.  What I take from it is that, just like the temple or the priest in all of his glorious attire, our unity and love for each other is a picture of God’s goodness to us, and an honor to Him

“How good and pleasant it is
       when brothers live together in unity!”  v. 1



Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Psalm 132

We’ve been working for a while on a revamp of our Core Values at church.  We’ve worked with the Advisory Council to finish it up.  You can see the edited Core Values here:

This is more of a reorganizing and clarifying than a change to our Core Values.  Take a look.

I’ll put some copies on the white board at church.


I like this Psalm because it shows a couple of things that are true of David that I want to be true of me too..

First, his passion for God and God’s glory and God’s work on earth are on display.

“I will not enter my house
    or go to my bed –
     I will allow no sleep to my eyes,
  no slumber to my eyelids
      till I find a place for the Lord,
   a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”  vs. 3-5

Second, he remembers and banks on God’s promises to him.  They give him comfort and courage.

“The Lord swore an oath to David,
      a sure oath that he will not revoke:
    ‘One of your own descendants
           I will place on your throne.’”  v. 11




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Psalm 131

We’re beginning to plan for the eventual reopening of the Church.  Obviously there are still a lot of unknowns, but we are working on preliminary plans for how we will all get back together again.  I meet (via Zoom) weekly with other pastors in the Chippewa Valley, and this is a conversation we have regularly.  Each church will do things a bit differently, I’m sure.  We’re looking to God to give us a good plan for Cedarcreek.  If you have thoughts, don’t hesitate to let Mark, Justin or me know.


This is a Psalm I come back to often.  I tend to overestimate my own abilities and my own importance.  This is  Psalm I memorized and repeat to myself a lot.

God has given all of us a place; a job to do; a field to tend.  It’s different for all of us.  How we go about it is different.  I ask God a lot to show me my place and to help me focus on it.  I ask for help to remember that the place He has given me is enough – I don’t need to clamor for more.  I ask for help to honor Him as I tend my field.

  “But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
      like a weaned child with its mother,
   like a weaned child is my soul within me.”  v. 2



Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, May 11, 2020
Psalm 130

Happy Mothers Day!  (yesterday!)  Sue got to see all of our kids.  Becca and Katie were both in town for wedding preparation.  And Sam is out of basic training, shipped off to AIT, and has his phone.  So we all got to see each other and talk.  It was great!


This Psalm presents one of the great mysteries of Christianity:  How can God be completely loving and completely fearful at the same time?  How can he be filled with grace and forgiveness at the same time He is filled with wrath and judgment?

We don’t have the time or space in this email to dive into that.  But I’d encourage you to think about two things in this Psalm

One, ponder the fact that God’s forgiveness makes him worthy of our fear.

  “But with you there is forgiveness;
            therefore you are feared.”  v. 4 

Then, remember that as you and God find the truth of that, the next thing that happens is that you are drawn closer to Him.  You long more deeply for Him.

“I wait for the Lord,
        my soul waits,
    and in His word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
       more than watchmen wait for the morning,
   more than watchmen wait for the morning.”  vs. 5-6



Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, May 8, 2020
Psalm 129

In yesterday’s email I said it was April twice.  I’ve struggled knowing what day it is lately.  I guess I’m struggling with the months too.


Another short ‘song of ascents’.  They would sing these songs on the way to the Temple.

This Psalm reminds us that no matter what our past is, God’s good will come.  No one can take God away from me, or take me away from God.  No one.  God is too strong for that.  And if I cling to God, I will see and feel His power and goodness in this life.  No one can stop that.

It reminds me that being close to God and experiencing Him is a function of what I’m doing now, now what someone else did before.

“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth –
     let Israel say –
        They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
   but they have not gained the victory over me.
         Plowmen have plowed my back
     and made their furrows long.
            But the Lord is righteous;
      He has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.”  vs. 1-4




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 7, 2020
Psalm 127-128

Don’t forget to pick up flowers for Mom at church this Sunday!  We’ll have daisies for all of the church moms.  You can come pick yours up in the parking lot from 10AM to 1PM this Sunday, April 10 (Mothers Day!)

We WON’T have virtual communion this week so folks can do this instead.

PSALM 127-128

We would read these two Psalms during pre-marriage counseling with young couples about to be married.  We’d ask them to list all of the things God says about children.  You should do that too – list out the words that God uses as he talks about kids.

We have lots of little ones at Cedarcreek.  That’s a wonderful thing!  They certainly cause more commotion and require more effort from the adults, but they are a blessing from God.

 “Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
     children a reward from Him.”  127:3



Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, April 5, 2020
Psalm 126

Looking forward to seeing you all again.  I miss the interactions that we can’t have given the current state of things.  But it will come.


I don’t know for sure, but this Psalm seems like it might have been written after the nation of Israel returned to the promised land after 70 years of captivity in Babylon.  You can read the story at the end of 2 Samuel, and in Ezra and Nehemiah.

It is an amazing story.  Israel had turned away from God for generations, and though God had warned them again and again, they stubbornly refused to repent.  So God did what He had told Moses He would do if Israel turned away.  He sent a foreign nation to overpower and enslave them, just like Egypt had done generations earlier.

But also as He said He would do, God remembered Israel and returned them to their homeland after His discipline had ended.

I can imagine the writer of this Psalm, who had perhaps seen Jerusalem as a boy, or perhaps had never seen it, being filled with joy as he now is returned to the land he has dreamed of for years.

No amount of time it too long to wait for God to fulfill His promises.

“The Lord has done great things for us,
      and we are filled with joy!”  v. 3



Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, May 4, 2020
Psalm 124 and 125

Sue and I have been doing a sabbath for the past several months.  It’s on a Monday.  It’s a full day of rest, contemplation, stop and delight.  Rest = let your body and mind move slowly or not at all.  Contemplate = spend time reading/praying/walking/musing/talking with the Lord.  Stop = don’t do the things you normally do; don’t make it a day of chores.  Delight = do things you love to do.  I think the sabbath is a gift to us from the Lord.  It was a command to the Israelites, but to us it is an invitation to bask in God’s love and glory.

PSALM 124-125

Two Psalms that speak to God’s sovereignty (our Sunday morning topic for the next couple of weeks.)

Specifically, both Psalms remind us that no person is powerful enough to thwart or change God’s plans for us.

“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
    when men rose up against us,
  then they would have swallowed us up alive.”  Psalm 214:2-3

“Those who trust in the Lord
      are like Mount Zion,
   which cannot be moved
         but abides for ever.”  Psalm 125:1



Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, May 2, 2020
Psalm 123

I mowed the grass for the first time yesterday.  The seasons roll on under the control and hand of our great King.  Nothing can stop His plans.


This little Psalm fits well with the message for this week.  We’re talking about God’s sovereignty.  This Psalm speaks to that.

God sits on His throne in heaven, and the ruler to whom we look for everything good.  God doesn’t owe us mercy.  He chooses to give it because of His love.  Therefore we can’t demand God’s mercy.  Rather, we look to Him and wait humbly and hopefully.

“I lift up my eyes to you,
     to you whose throne is in heaven.
  As the eyes of slaves took to the hand of their master,
     as the eyes of a maid look to the heand of her mistress,
  so our eyes look to the Lord our God
         until He shows us his mercy.”  vs. 1-2




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Psalm 121

Last day of April.  The sun is out and the world is getting green.  If you’re in to this kind of thing, spend the next couple of weeks looking at all the different shades of green in the world.  God is an amazing artist.


This is a powerfully comforting Psalm.  I think it ranks with Psalm 23.

It starts with a cry for help.  Twice in the first two verses we see that word.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. 
       From whence does my help come?
   My help comes from the Lord,
           who made heaven and earth.”  vs. 1-2  RSV

The rest of the Psalm is God’s response to that cry.  In the Revised Standard Version, six times it says that God will ‘keep’ us.  That same word is translated ‘watch’ in the NIV.

I love both words.

-God is strong – He will keep me.  I am safe in His arms.

-God is close – He will watch me.  He never looks away or loses interest in me.

 “The Lord will keep you from all harm –
      He will watch over your life.”  v. 7  NIV





Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Psalm 120

I ‘meet’ via Zoom with half a dozen other local pastors every Wednesday.  It’s really a highlight of the week.  I love those men.  It’s good to hear their heart and their ideas.  It’s good to unite in this town for the Lord.


I have to admit, I really don’t know what to make of this Psalm.  Clearly the person who wrote it is distressed by the people around him.  They are liars and they hate peace.  Maybe this is an example of someone merely pouring out his heart to the Lord, without any effort to make sense of it.  Purely baring his soul before his God.



Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Psalm 118

I see my days and dates have been off for a little while 😉  I don’t know about you folks, but I can never tell what day it is anymore.  Routines are all out of whack and I’m never sure where in the week we are!


This Psalm is interesting in that it repeats phrases all through it.  For example, verse 1 says:

 “Give thanks to the Lord,
     for He is good;
        His love endures forever” 

The phrase ‘His love endures forever’ is repeated three times in the next three verses.

The same things happens  in vs. 8-9, where the phrase ‘It is better to take refuge in the Lord’ appears twice.

 “It is better to take refuge in the Lord
     than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
      than to trust sin princes.”

As you read this Psalm, look for the repeated phrases.  Pick out the one that strikes you the most.  Then read everything around that phrase.  What does God say to you?

If you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day, do that with each repeated phrase.  It won’t take all that long.



Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, April 26, 2020
Psalm 116

Normally I take Saturday’s off, but I like this Psalm a lot.


This Psalm has many statements that I have clung to over the years.  Here are a few of them:

“Be at rest once more, O my soul,
      for the Lord has been good to you.”  v. 7

-I mentioned yesterday was a hard day.  In some of my hardest days this has been a prayer I would say again and again.  God has been good to me!  My soul can rest.

“I believed; there I said,
     I am greatly afflicted.”  v. 10

-This reminds me that being a Christian isn’t the path to trouble free living.  It’s the path to eternal joy and satisfying, God honoring labor.  But it can be hard.

“I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.”  v. 14

-Whatever work God has for me will be done in the context of His people, the church.

“I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call upon the name of the Lord.”  v. 17

-Thanking God is so sweet and powerful.  I’ll do it today.




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, April 25, 2020
Psalm 117

Many of you have perhaps heard me mention that I struggle with depression.  God has walked me out of the worst of it over the years, but it’s still there.  Every once in a while I have a really bad day.  Today was one of those days.


Today should be Psalm 115.  But I don’t have it in me to write all the thoughts I have on that Psalm.  Maybe another day.  Today, I’ll just type out Psalm 117, the shortest Psalm.

“Praise the Lord, all you nations;
     extol him, all you peoples.
       For great is his love toward us,
   and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
            Praise the Lord!”  Psalm 117




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Psalm 114

We’ll have a Zoom Communion again this Sunday.


I talk a lot about seeing God in the physical world around us.  We can see His hand, recognize His character, hear His voice in the world He made.  We can also see His power demonstrated in His complete control over it.  This Psalm speaks to that.

“Tremble, o earth, a the presence of the Lord.
       at the presence of the God of Jacob.
   who turned the rock into a pool,
            the hard rock into springs of water.”  vs. 7-8

But this Psalm also reminds us that the physical earth isn’t what God loves.  He wants a relationship with us.  The earth will burn someday, but God will take us home to be with Him forever.

“Judah became God’s sanctuary,
    Israel his dominion.”   v. 2




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Psalm 113

You can check out the third (and possibly last) Covid Conversation here:


This Psalm does three things in order.

First, it tells us to praise the Lord!  Five times in the first three verses that phrase or some form of it calls us to worship and honor our great Lord.

“Praise the Lord.
     Praise, O servants of the Lord,
           Praise the name of the Lord.”  v.1

Next, it tells us why.  God made and rules over all of creation.  He is above and better than anything we will ever see or could ever imagine.

 “The Lord is exalted over all the nations.
        His glory above the heavens.”  v. 4

Finally, we’re told an unbelievable thing.  This awesome God, who created and rules over the farthest bit of the universe, who governs nations throughout time, this powerful King, sees and cares for you.  No man made religion creates a mighty God who is loving and humble.  The real God, the one we serve, is better than anything we can create.

 “who stoops down to look
      on the heavens and the earth?
  He raises the poor from the dust
         and lifts the needy from the ash heap;”  vs. 6-7





Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Psalm 111 & 112

Yesterday my email wouldn’t work.  I think the internet is getting a workout these days.  So today I’ll do Psalm 111 and 112


“Great are the works of the Lord;
       they are pondered by all who delight in them.”  v. 2

There’s a lot in that little verse.  It all comes alive to me when I go outside and watch the spring unfold.  I watched two robins do their mating dance in my front yard.  Those beautiful, intricate birds were created by God.  They will build a nest and lay eggs and have babies.  It happens every spring, but it’s no less great and delightful and amazing to ponder.  You and I are surrounded by God’s great works that will delight your heart and stir your mind.  Don’t miss them.


This Psalm is filled with promises for the man who fears the Lord.  The promises are wonderful, speaking to life right now and for generations to come.  I believe them.  We can sometimes question whether promises like this can be true since we all have struggle and hardship.  But these wonderful promises live alongside the difficult things in our life.  They are there for those who fear the Lord.

This Psalm also helps us know what ‘fear the Lord’ means.  Look at some of the characteristics of such a  person:

-finds great delight in his commands;
-gracious and compassionate;
-conducts his affairs with justice;
-trusting in the Lord;
-gives gifts to the poor;

It’s a lot about how we live.  Fearing the Lord is most evident in our conduct.

“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
      who finds great delight in his commands.

His children will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.”  vs. 1-2




Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Psalm 109

A beautiful day in Wisconsin!  I went fishing today.  I sat on the bank in the sun, smoked my pipe and watched the water flow south.  Solomon says that all rivers flow into the sea, but the sea never gets full.  It was fun to ponder that this afternoon.


David often pours out his anger on ungodly men in the Psalms.  This is one such Psalm.  He calls on God judge and severely punish his enemies.  David’s anger is evident, and his calls for punishment can seem cruel.  It’s easy to think one of two things:  One, that David is right and that we are justified in longing for and taking revenge on our enemies; or Two, that David is totally wrong and shouldn’t even have these feelings.

Here is how I think of it.  You can go to God and wrestle with this Psalm.

First, God will bring a terrible punishment on those who don’t accept Christ.  Hell will be worse than anything David or I can conjure up.  God’s judgment will be righteous – there will be no evil in it, no matter how terrible it seems.  But, David rightly calls on God to take vengeance.  As King, David could have done some, or maybe all, of these things himself.  But he didn’t.  He left that to God.

God is a good judge.  We aren’t.  We can look forward to God’s righteous judgment, but we need to leave it there and not take it into our own hands.

“But thou, O God my Lord,
      deal on my behalf for thy name’s sake;
    because thy steadfast love is good, deliver me!”  v. 21




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, April 17, 2020
Psalm 108

The snow is melting again.  Get outside.  Walk around the block.  Go for a bike ride.  I really thing the sun and trees and movement are necessary for our physical, emotional and spiritual health.  We’ve all been inside more than normal because of the weather and restrictions.  I suspect that a long, brisk walk will make the world a better place for most of us.


All of the Psalms were meant to be sung.  Over the years, many of these Psalms have been put to music.  God has given music some amazing powers.  It sinks deeply into us in ways other things don’t.  It can open up our understanding and emotions in deeper ways.

Psalm 108 is a song that we sang at Cedarcreek not long ago.  Here is MercyMe singing it in the version we sang.




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Psalm 107

Hope you are all well.  Justin, Mark and I have been comparing notes as we talk to as many of you as we can.  It’s good hear how people are doing.  Please feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email.  I’d love to chat.


This Psalm has become one of my favorites – one that I go back to again and again.  It’s a description of God’s care for us in different situations and life stages.  The Psalm is divided into several sections.  Each section describes people in a different set of circumstances.  It then describes God’s love and care for those people.  I’ve gone here when I’m at different places in my life.  This Psalm speaks to me in different ways depending on what’s going on around me.

As you read it, look for yourself, your life stage, in the descriptions.  See the promises God makes to you in that place.

Come back to this Psalm as life changes.  It speaks in different ways each time.

“Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
      and consider the great love of the Lord.”  v. 43



Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Psalm 106

Justin and I did another ‘Covid Conversation’  We’ve linked it here for you to listen to.

Just a quick disclaimer on this one:  We’re still learning how to do this kind of thing well.  As I said last time, we’re really just practicing, but the content of these seem pertinent and timely, so we’re putting them out there.

This one, to me, seems pretty long winded and rambling.  But we get to some really good points, I think.

So listen at your own risk 😉


Third Psalm in a row where God points to Himself.  This time it’s His righteous judgment.  All three of these Psalms, if we listen to them, point us toward God’s holiness.  A big part of that is here is Psalm 106.  God reminds the nation of Israel (and us) of their sins.  He points to His judgments and disciplines of those sins.  We love God’s mercy and His forgiveness, and rightly so.  We celebrate Christ’s payment for our sins, as we should.  But we mustn’t forget our desperate need for that forgiveness.  Only when we remember that God can justly and righteously condemn us because of our sins do we really understand and value forgiveness.

“Therefore the Lord was angry with his people
      and abhorred His inheritance.
         He handed them over to the nations,
  and their foes ruled over them.          

          Their enemies oppressed them
   and subjected them to their power.

Many times He delivered them,
    but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sins.”  vs.  40-43




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Psalm 105

Another snowy day.  I’m longing for warm weather and sun.  I suppose we’re all longing for something different these days.  I think I’ll go for a long walk talk to God.


Yesterday we saw that when God wants to give us a quick, direct reminder of who He is, He points to nature.  Another thing He does is remind us of the promises He made to us in the past.  That’s what happens today in Psalm 105 (and tomorrow as well).  As I read this Psalm, I thought about promises God has made to me.  I went back and re-read passages that I feel God has spoken to me over the years.  It’s a good place to be, firmly in His plans.

“Remember the wonders He has done,
      His miracles, and the judgements He pronounced.”  v. 5




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, April 13, 2020
Psalm 104

It was good to see so many of you yesterday on the Zoom Communion time!

After Easter, I like to read the end of John.  Specifically I love the story of Peter and some of the other disciples going fishing.  Jesus meets them on the shore.  There’s so much about that story that is sweet to me.  After all of the trauma and emotional ups and downs of Holy Week, this seems like a comfortable, familiar, intimate time.  Jesus makes them breakfast after they do something that they know well (fishing).  He speaks personally and confidentially to them.  It makes me long to see Jesus after I leave the trauma and turmoil of this world.


Very often when God wants to give us a quick, direct reminder of who He is, He points to nature.  That’s what happens in this Psalm.  He reminds us that the physical world we live in and see every day is a picture of His holiness and power.  He doesn’t do it for His own sake, but for ours.  We need to be reminded, and we have in front of us all the time a clear picture of God’s creative genius, His loving provision, His unmatched understanding and His magnificent power.  That’s why, I think, the devil works very hard to subtly and not so subtly convince us that the world wasn’t created by God at all.  If we don’t believe that all we see is the result of God’s hand, we will miss seeing much of the everyday reminder we need of who He is.  God knows what we need.  He’s given it to us.  Don’t mistake it for something else.

“O Lord, how manifold are they works!
       In wisdom hast thou made them all;
    the earth is full of thy creatures.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever
   may the Lord rejoice in his works.”  vs. 24,31  RSV




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, April 10, 2020
Psalm 101

I just sent out a separate email with info and instructions for the congregational communion that we’ll have on Easter Sunday via Zoom.  Looking forward to seeing as many of you as can make it!  Our Life Group has been meeting via Zoom, and even though I can’t wait to get together in person, seeing each other on the computer is a nice second best!


This Psalm is attributed to David.  He talks here about with whom he associates.  David loves God’s people and distances himself from the ungodly.

He does it as a king:

 “he whose walk is blameless will mister to me!”  v. 6
“Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land;”  v. 8

He also does it as an individual:

”My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me;”  v. 6
“No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house.”  v. 7




Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Psalm 100

Just a reminder that on Easter Sunday we will have a chance to gather via Zoom as a church family to break bread together.  We’ll send out a link in the next day or two.  Make plans to join everyone.


Very sweet Psalm.  Our part is joy and worship and gladness and thanksgiving.  God’s part of goodness and love and faithfulness.  My favorite line (from the NIV) is:

“It is he who made us, and we are his!”  v. 3



Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
Daniel Chapter 6

Good Morning Folks,

It’s the last 10 Minute Devotional on the book of Daniel!  I plan to do another series of these soon and if you have thoughts on what you liked or things I could improve please let me know!

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The seventh ‘10 Minute Devotional’ on the book of Daniel is available [here].




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Psalm 99

I miss all of you folks.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again.  We can keep the ‘business’ of the church running via the internet and zoom.  But it’s harder to keep the relationships strong and vibrant and growing without seeing each other.

This is a time to pray.  I’m praying for a few specific things:

One, that we would grow in our relationship with God.  I think a time like this is a wide open, unparalleled opportunity for that.  Whenever you feel the strangeness or tension or whatever, go talk to God about it.  Ask Him to show you something in the Word.  Lean in to Him.

Two, that we will work hard to keep in touch with each other, to love and care for each other as much and as well as we can.  It’s not the same and I don’t think it’s at all what we want long term, but for now I pray that we’ll reach out to each other and stay as connected as we can.

Three, that we would take the risk to talk to someone who doesn’t know God.  Many people are more open to hearing about God now.  Let’s plant seeds and see if this storm causes them to grow.


Three times in this Psalm it says some variation of ‘God is holy.’  God is lots of things:  loving, righteous, wise, compassionate, powerful, etc.  But here it focuses on ‘Holy’.   Think about what that means.  Think about how to respond to a holy God.

“Exalt the Lord our God

    and worship at his holy mountain,

     for the Lord our God is Holy.”  v. 9




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Psalm 98

We’ve been experimenting with podcasts for a while.  One of our experiments was Justin and me having a conversation about the current Covid-19 responses.  Not the actual health crisis as much as the ‘shelter at home’ responses.  The initial thought was that we would just do it, share it with a couple folks, learn from it, and keep experimenting.  After we listened to it, though, we thought it might be interesting or helpful for others to hear.

Here’s the link.  As you listen, remember that we aren’t trying to answer every question.  Rather, we are having a candid conversation about our thoughts and questions.  We might do another of these ‘Covid Conversations’ in the near future.


This is another Psalm that we used to sing a lot at Cedarcreek.  It was one of my favorites!  Ask me someday and I’ll sing it for you ????

When I read it today I was struck with a couple of things, both from the last stanza.

 “Let the sea roar, all that fills it;

     the world and those who dwell in it!

       Let the floods clap their hands;

   let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord

        For He comes to judge the earth

    He will judge the world with righteousness,

         and the peoples with equity.”  vs. 7-9

When Christ returns, the entire creation will rise up to greet Him.  The sea and the hills will sing for joy at the presence of their creator.  Even the ground and the water is blessed by God’s presence!

But according to this Psalm, one of the things that will make the sea and the hills rejoice is that Christ is coming to judge.  We probably don’t think of judgment as a joyful thing.  But when the perfect Judge returns, justice and love will meet and we will join the sea in shouting our thanks and praise!



Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, April 6, 2020
Psalm 97

In this time of uncertainty, I think we have a great opportunity to be witnesses for Christ.  People are often afraid or confused these days.  In that place, they are often more willing to look to God.  You know God – introduce Him to people who are recognizing, maybe for the first time, that they really do need Him.


We are in a group of Psalms that we used to sing at Cedarcreek.  The Psalms were originally set to music.  For much of the early years, we sang these Psalms on Sunday mornings.  Psalm 97 actually had two Cedarcreek songs come from it.

I’ll just comment on the first line:

“The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice;

       let the many coastlands be glad!”  v. 1

I read an article in the paper today about how the current Covid-19 restrictions will affect the economies of many poor African nations.  But God is God there as much as He is here.  He sees those people and loves them.  He is the strong King of the whole earth.  The NIV says, ‘Let the distant shores rejoice!’  Amen!




Monday, April 6th, 2020
Daniel Chapter 5

Good Morning Folks,

Yesterday my family and I sat in front of our computer and watched Mark’s message in the Holy Week series.  Changing our Sunday routine has been weird and we miss seeing all of you but it’s also given us more opportunities to do things as a family.  I hope and pray that you have started to settle into some new routines as we all work to figure out a different way of life.

This morning the a 10 Minute Devotional on Daniel Chapter 5 was posted on the church website.

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The sixth ‘10 Minute Devotional’ on the book of Daniel is available [here].




Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Psalm 95

If you can, set aside next Sunday morning to celebrate Easter with the church family.  Justin will finish the Holy Week series with a message on the crucifixion and resurrection.  We will have video of a small band doing worship music.  Afterward, we will all join together live via Zoom to take communion together.


I wrote out the first seven verses.  This is the Revised Standard Version, which I am reading this year.

It’s a joyful, satisfying call to worship our great Creator and King.

“O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it;
for his hands formed the dry land.

O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.” vs. 1-7




Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, April 3, 2020
Psalm 94

Cedarcreek Family

On Easter, we will all join together (online) to break bread as a church family.  We’ll send out a link to a Zoom meeting.  Anyone who wants to can join.  We’ll spend a little time hearing from families, then we’ll share communion together.  If you’re around and able, please plan to join your church family after the online service.  More info to come!


I suppose we all do this, but these days I filter things through the lens of Covid-19 and the effects of it that we are all living through.

I will admit that I have questions about the current medical/political/social responses.  I’ve been trying hard to make sense of all of this.  It’s left me uneasy.  I don’t claim to understand all of the information; nor do I claim to know exactly and perfectly what to do.  Part of what makes me uneasy is that other people seem to claim much more clarity and understanding than I think they should.

“The Lord knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile.  Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law; you grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.”  vs. 11-13

The reality is that no one knows exactly what’s going on or exactly what to do.  Only God does.  In fact, left to ourselves, our thoughts are futile.  Only by letting God discipline and teach us, can we escape the day of trouble.

I pray that we as God’s people and as a nation will look to God for answers, rather than first to our own understanding.




Friday, April 3rd, 2020
Daniel Chapter 4

Good Morning Folks,

Today is the first rainy day in quite a few.  As I’ve been working on my yard I’ve been seeing the snow melt and the lilies beginning to pop up from beneath the ground that was frozen not long ago.  It’s amazing how quickly our world can change!  Seasons change every year and it’s easy for me to miss the beauty in it when I’m wrapped up in what I’m doing.  This change of pace has been difficult but in many ways it can also be good.

This morning the next 10 Minute Devotional on Daniel Chapter 4 was posted on the church website.

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The fifth ‘10 Minute Devotional’ on the book of Daniel is available [here].





Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Psalm 93

I am feeling more drained as the restrictions go on.  I suppose all of us are.  I don’t like this much.  I don’t know quite what to do about it.  This afternoon I’m going to go fishing.  I’m going to enjoy the warm weather and God’s cool creation.  I’m also going to go on a walk and do some praying.  Being close to God gives me peace.

“When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God”  Psalm 73:16-17

Tonight we have our first virtual Life Group.  Our group spends an hour chatting and snacking, then an hour studying Romans.  Gonna do that tonight, except that we’ll all have our own snack.


A short Psalm.  The writer uses the earth to paint of picture of God’s kingdom.

“The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.’  v. 1; 

compared to:

“Your statues stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O Lord.”  v. 5

As lasting and as firm as the world seems, God and His words are more lasting and more firm.  As majestic and mighty as the sea and waves seem, God and His ways are more majestic and mighty.




Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Psalm 92

Howdy Folks

I’ve been meeting via Zoom on Wednesdays with other Pastors in town.  We used to meet monthly in person, but lately we’ve been getting together weekly.  It’s sweet to talk to other men who love the Lord and are trying to shepherd churches.  This town has many great congregations, shepherded by many great guys.

Hopefully you are working hard at staying connected with the Cedarcreek family through this.  It’s harder, but we need each other.  Make an effort to touch base with your friends and Life Group members.  Use the phone or Skype or whatever, but make contact.  If you haven’t had close relationships with people in the church up to now, make the effort to begin building a couple.  We need each other – that’s how God made us.  We need the social contact; we need to spiritual charge that only comes from another believer; we need proximity.  Basically, we need friends.  Cultivate and lean in to your friends now.


This Psalm, like many, makes a distinction between God’s people and those who reject God.

“For surely your enemies, O Lord, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered.  You have exalted my horn (strength) like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured upon me.”  vs. 9-10

We sometimes feel wrong in making a distinction between Christians and non-Christians.  It seems ‘us vs. them’.  But God definitely makes the distinction.  The trajectory of a Christian’s life is different than the trajectory of a non-Christian’s life.  God wants that for everyone, but people need to accept Christ to enter into the place where they can receive it.




10 Minute Devotional
Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
Daniel Chapter 3-4:3

Good Morning Folks,

The last few days have just been beautiful.  It’s been the perfect time to get out and do some yard-work around here.  I’ve been cutting up a number of downed trees at my house and with the help of my kids we’ve hauled most of the brush into a pile and stacked up the logs.  I hope that you’ve been able to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather too!

This morning I posted the next 10 Minute Devotional on Daniel Chapter 3-4:3.

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The recording on the book of Daniel is available [here].




Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Psalm 91

Howdy Folks

Beginning Week 3 of the Covid-19 restrictions.  Lots to say about it, but right now I just miss you folks.  Can’t wait to see all of your smiling faces.  Those of us who like physical touch are struggling a bit with social distancing.  When I see you next, I might give you a big hug.  Feel free to shove me away 😉


I read much of this Psalm two weeks ago when Justin, Mark and I did the Sunday message together.  Rather than go over it again, I would encourage you just to read it.  As you do, talk to God about the current state of affairs in our world.  Tell Him what you feel about it.  Ask Him questions about how you should perceive all of this.

And above all, be thankful.  In the midst of all of our internal and external turmoil, God is good to you.

’Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him;  I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.’”  vs.14-16

Do you believe that God is powerful enough to do this, or do events just happen and God is unable to do anything about it?  Do you believe God sees and loves and cares for you, or is He looking somewhere else?




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, March 30, 2020
Psalm 90

Hello Cedarcreek Family

The current situation can stir many different feelings in us.  Many of us likely feel frustrated or afraid.  This Psalm helped me ease both of those feelings.

I think we can get frustrated because we want to fix this – make it go away.  We at least want to understand it.  Both of those are really us wanting control.  We want to know what’s going on, we want to know what to do, and we want the chance to make it right.

But in this world, we are very limited.  All of us have been on the earth only a short time.  In that time, we are confused and hampered by our own sins.  The reality is that we control or understand very little.

“You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning – though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.”  vs. 5-6

“The length of our days is seventy years – or eighty, if we have the strength;  yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.”  v. 10

I think we can get afraid because we see that something bad could happen to us.  We might get sick.  Someone we love might get sick.  The thought of death is  terrifying.  We hope that we don’t deserve anything like that.  But in our most honest moments, we know that God owes us nothing.

“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.  All of our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.”  vs. 8-9

But though difficult times come, the eternal, powerful, wonderful God will watch over us.

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”  vs. 1-2

“Relent, O Lord!  How long will it be?  Have compassion on your servants”  v. 13

When we give up the illusion of control and remember that God, who is in control, loves us, then we are living in wisdom, and so much better able to be content in the midst of these troubled times.

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  v. 12

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”  v. 14




Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, March 30th, 2020
Daniel Chapter 2:31-49

Good Morning Folks,

Today it’s looking to be a warm and pretty sunny day.  My family and I are really looking forward to getting outside and going for a bike ride today.  I hope you’re able to make use of this beautiful weather!  Today we’re continuing Daniel Chapter 2 and finishing off the second half of the chapter.

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The third 10 Minute Devotional is available [here].

Have a good Monday!



Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Psalm 88

Hi Cedarcreek Folks

In the first 57 years of my life, I think I’d been on less than 3 video conferences.  In the past 2 weeks I’ve been on a dozen.  Life takes strange turns 😉

The crocuses bloomed in my yard this week.  Two shades of purple.  The rhubarb is coming up, as well as the lilies and hosta.  The robins, red-wing blackbirds and marsh hawks are all back.  Spring is creeping in.


I think this is the darkest Psalm of them all.  Many Psalms have cries of anguish, expressions of deep sorrow, pleas for help in desperate times.  But every other Psalm also has statements of faith, expressions of hope, confident assertions of God’s goodness and salvation.  This one has only sorrow and anguish.  After a brief cry to God, it begins with, ‘For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave’ and ends with, ‘You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend.’

Strangely I find great comfort in this Psalm.  In many of the hard times of life, we are able to see the good; we are able to find hope in God; we are able to find comfort.  But I think all of us will experience what San Juan de la Cruz called ‘the dark night of our soul’ – a time of sorrow that seems unending, unrelenting and unbearable.  I think this Psalm is the cry of our heart during the dark night of our soul.

What I find encouraging is that in the midst of it, we are still in God’s presence.  We can still call out to him.   Too often I have gone to God with my pain, but tried to mitigate it or solve my own problem.  My conversation with God can be about what I think I should be.  This writer had no ability or strength or desire to do that.  Instead his conversation with God was about what he was in that moment.

In the past few years I have experienced some of those dark nights of the soul.  I have learned that in my hardest, darkest most hopeless time, I can let God hear my heart; not as I think it should be, but as it is.  He hears, he weeps with me.   And even though I can’t see it at the time, He also prepares the dawn.

‘Weeping may remain for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.’  Psalm 30:5



Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, March 28th, 2020
Daniel Chapter 2:1-30

Good Morning Folks,

It’s a wet, spring Saturday morning as I look out my dining room windows and watch the sunlight begin to peak through the tree line overlooking Otter Creek.  I’m enjoying this peaceful way to watch the world wake up.  This morning’s 10 Minute Devotional is on Daniel Chapter 2:1-30.  This chapter just had too much good stuff in it, so I broke it into two parts (the second part will be available on Monday).

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The second recording on the book of Daniel is available [here].

I hope and pray that you have a great Saturday.



Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, March 27, 2020
Psalm 87

Good Morning Cedarcreek,

This morning Mark and Justin and I will have our weekly Pastors Meeting.  Even though life is very different in some ways right now, in other ways nothing has changed.  We are planning for the future, knowing that we’ll get back to normal at some point.

In the meantime, the goal is to stay connected with each other.  That means finding ways to communicate with our church brothers and sisters.  Take the time to make phone calls, facetime, snap, whatever you do to interact.  Look for ways to serve each other.  Yesterday Sue was going to the grocery store, so she took a couple of minutes and asked a few people who might not want to go out if she could get something for them.

A short Psalm.  In the Old Testament times, God’s chosen people were the Jews.  God has chosen Jerusalem out of all of Israel to be His resting place.  This Psalm sings the praises of God and His choice.

When I read Psalms like this, my mind quickly replaces the Church with Jerusalem, and replaces Christians for the nation of Israel.

Either way you read it, I see here that wherever God is working, it is beautiful!


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Psalm 86

Hi Cedarcreek Folks

We are learning how to operate in a virtual world!  Some of us like this, others not so much.  But at least for the time being it’s our reality.
The church purchased a Zoom subscription.  We used it last night for the Trustee meeting.  It is available for your Life Groups if you would like it.


This Psalm was written by David.  David was great at pouring out his heart to the Lord, then letting God flood back in.

In this Psalm, David seems to do three things, that he repeats several times:

  1. Recognize/acknowledge that there is danger and pain
    ‘The arrogant are attacking me, a band of ruthless men seeks my life’ v. 14
  1. Remember/acknowledge God’s goodness and closeness
    ‘But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God.’  v. 15
  1. Ask for help in both areas
               ‘Teach me you way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;
                  give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.’  v.  11



Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Daniel Chapter 1

Hi Cedarcreek Folks,

As Rob mentioned in a daily email we are both working to send out daily emails (though my emails will look a little bit different and be a little less frequent).  I plan to record a few short audio clips each week called “10 Minute Devotionals”.

Those devotionals will be available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and will be roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

In the first series of 10 Minute Devotionals we will work through the first six chapters of the book of Daniel.  I hope and pray that these short devotionals are encouraging, challenging and uplifting to us as a body of believers.

The first recording on Daniel Chapter 1 is available [here].



Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Psalm 85

Hi Cedarcreek Folks

Yesterday the Governor issued Emergency Order #12 – Safer At Home.  It basically closes all businesses that aren’t deemed an ‘Essential Business’.  The order lists ‘religious entities’ as an Essential Business (Paragraph 13(h)).  What that means is that Cedarcreek will continue to function as we did this past week.  All gatherings are cancelled, but the staff will be here during the weekday, 9-5.  Feel free to call or email us at the church.

This morning Luke and I recorded the second message in the Holy Week series.  It covers Mark 12-13 and is entitled ‘Teaching and Confrontation.’  That message will be online in audio version in the next 24 hours.

This coming Sunday we will again video the message and provide links for worship songs.  Our Sunday plan going forward is to include video of a smaller band doing live worship which would be included with the video teaching.

It’s strange not seeing all of you.  I’m looking forward to gathering together again!


This Psalm was written by the Sons of Korah.  This is in a series of Psalms which are part of Book III (Psalms 73-89).  While King David get credit for many of the Psalms, these Psalms in Book III are mostly written by others.  The Sons of Korah and Asaph are the ones with the most Psalms in this section.

Many of these Psalms follow a consistent pattern.  There is a recounting and remembering what God did in the past, followed by an acknowledgment that God doesn’t seem to be doing those things now, and ending with a confident plea for God to intervene again for His people.

Most of these Psalms were written many years after David reigned.  The nation of Israel had gotten increasingly apostate, and God has brought discipline to them in many forms, including foreign nations invading and taking territory away from Israel.

This Psalm follows that basic pattern.  As you read it, think about your own life:  What has God done in the past; What is He doing now; What do you long for in the future.  As you contemplate that, remember verses 8-9:

“I will listen to what God the Lord will say;
he promises peace to his people, his saints –
but let them not return to folly.
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that His glory may dwell in our land.”



Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Psalm 84

Hi Cedarcreek Folks

As we move through the Covid – 19 pandemic and all of the attending restrictions, Justin and I will be sending out daily emails.

My emails will include a brief thought about the Psalm I read that day, along with some pertinent information of what’s happening at church. If you would rather not receive these emails, just let us know.  If you don’t get and would like to, let us know that.  Feel free to forward these to anyone you think might want them.

This coming Sunday, March 29, we will do basically what we did last week.  We’ll have a link to a video of the Holy Week teaching, along with links to worship songs.  We will also have a Discussion Guide online.  As time goes on, we are exploring a live feed Sunday morning service.


I love this one.  Here are a few thoughts on it:

‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!  My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.’ vs. 1-2
Our greatest desire really is to be with God – to see him face to face.  Whatever this world and these days bring, they are only a prelude until we go home.

‘Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young – a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.’
‘As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.’  vs.  3,6
God’s natural world is a picture to me of His strength and goodness.  In the midst of our uncertainty, spring has returned.  The buds are forming, the robins have come back, the sap is running.  I find comfort in God’s consistent power.  He rules the world – I can trust Him.

 ‘For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.  O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.’  vs.  11-12
God loves you and me.  No good thing does he withhold.  I can walk with Him because of Christ.  I can trust in Him because of His great strength and goodness.