Our P.S.A.L.M. - M. is for Just ONE MORE

Preached by Andrew Ruth
Pastor Andrew Ruth preached this sermon on June 29, 2016 at Oakland Presbyterian Church. It is part of a 6 part sermon series called, "Our P.S.A.L.M - Oakland's Core Values." We abbreviate the values with the acronym P.S.A.L.M. because they are our worship of God in action. P. = “We Prize Presence.” S. = “We Serve Hard.” A. = “We’re Always Growing.” L. = “We Leave Legacy.” M. reminds us that we are all about ONE MORE. We always want to reach ONE MORE person, family, and neighborhood, and we reach them one at a time. That every single, individual person matters to God and so they do to us, one at a time.

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If you heard the sermon Sunday, you know that we’re studying Oakland’s P.S.A.L.M. – Oakland’s Core Values.
P. is for “We PRIZE PRESENCE,” by which we mean:
  1. We Prize the Presence of God above all else, so we prioritize individual and group worship through prayer, song, preaching, and Bible Study.
  2. We Prize the Presence of other believers at Oakland, and so we prioritize meeting together weekly. We do not follow Jesus alone.
  3. We are intentionally Present in the Cleveland Community, and so we try to be present to love and serve our neighbors and our community.
Here is one of the quotes our Session reads at least annually, by Henri Nouwen. It reminds us that being present to our community and to each other is vitally important and the heart of ministry.

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time and the freedom to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or be a part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around the urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social or spiritual progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and to tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”

– from Gracias! By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Weekly Bible Reading Plan – May 15-22

The center column holds the main text for each day, while the right column includes secondary texts.

Basic Tips:1.) Use a translation you can understand. If new to the Bible, try the NIrV or The Message, which are both available online. 2.) Use a kids Bible with kids. 3.) Keep a pencil and notebook around to write down questions, observations, and conclusions. 4.) Have fun. Use your imagination and your brain.

Our PSALM - PS - Reading Plan -  May 15-22.2016 - Prize Presence and Serve Hard

Questions to Guide You:

Slight change of plans this week. We’re stepping away from Matthew for 6 weeks to remind ourselves of Oakland’s Vision and Values, which we abbreviate our P.S.A.L.M. because it is our worship of God in action. P. stands for “We Prize Presence.” We value the presence of God more than all. We are not a social club or country club, we are ravenous to know and experience God. But God promises to meet us “where two or three are gathered,” and so we’re committed to being present to one another and intentionally present to our community. S. stands for “We Serve Hard.” Saved people serve people, because we were served by Christ. We want to be a people with Soft Hearts and Calloused Hands.

  • Hebrews 10, says because of Jesus, we can now enter into the very presence of God. Have you ever felt God’s presence intimately? Would you say you “know about God” or “know God”?
  • What does it mean to you to experience the presence of God? When has God felt closest to you? Why do you think that was?
  • Psalm 73 contrasts those who prize what the world values, and those who prize God’s presence, what is the difference? Is one hedonistic and one ascetic?
  • John 14, promises that Jesus will not leave us as orphans but will be present to us by the Holy Spirit. What does that mean? How do we recognize the Holy Spirit?
  • What two things does Paul share in 1 Thess 2:8? Why are both important? How can we love Cleveland and our literal neighbors with “not just the gospel of God, but our very lives as well”?
  • How can you be more present to God and present to the people God has put around you for you to love?
  • Our second principle is SERVE Hard. Why did Jesus come according to Mark 10, and how should that affect us? How does it motivate us?
  • What was Jesus’ attitude according to Phil 2, and how should we have the same attitude? What does it mean to “look to the needs of others” and “consider others before yourself”? Why don’t people do these regularly?
  • How does service result in “God being praised in all things through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11)?
  • Where are you serving? Where can you be serving?

If you are new to reading the Bible and would benefit from a brief orientation, download this How To Use This Book. If you want dig a deeper into the Bible, download this Guide to Inductive Bible Study.