The Article Archives
Topic: Senior Pastor Weekly Letter Archive
January 24, 2013
Pastor Steve Mathewson
Pastor Steve’s Weekly Letter for Thursday, January 24, 2013
Today I am in tropical Denver. Alright, it’s not tropical, but with temperatures pushing close to sixty degrees, the air is quite a bit warmer than the Arctic air which descended this week on the Chicago area. I am in Denver to teach a doctoral course at Denver Seminary on “Preaching Old Testament Narrative Literature.” The interaction with pastors from around the country is stimulating. My class runs from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Each evening, I’ve had dinner with my brother’s family or other friends from the Denver area. I finish at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow (Friday) and will arrive home in the evening.
Next Sunday, January 27, will be a big day for our church family. We will have a baptism at 10:10 a.m.—right between our 9:00 and 10:45 a.m. worship services. During our worship services, I will continue our study of the “grand finale” of Luke’s gospel with a message from Luke 20:9-19 on “The Parable of the Wicked Tenants.” Then, at 6:00 p.m., we will have a Congregational Meeting. It will be an opportunity to reflect on the past year and look ahead to what God might do in the new year.
In last week’s letter, I promised to share with you seven ways to deal with doubt. These come from Gary Habermas in his book, The Thomas Factor: Using Your Doubts to Draw Closer to God. Here they are:
1. Pray through the doubt. Paul (Philippians 4:6) and Peter (1 Peter 5:7) both command prayer during troubled times. God’s answers to our prayers will encourage our faith and will serve as a preventative measure against the common form of doubt that questions God’s involvement in our lives.
2. Meditate through the doubt. As opposed to the Eastern way of emptying the mind, biblical meditation is thinking deeply and single mindedly on God’s truth. Psalm 119 encourages this practice about a dozen times. We can also practice this corporately. In fact, we did this last Sunday when Brad invited us to share aspects of God’s character for which we are thankful as well as the Scriptures which describe them.
3. Worship through the doubt. Giving thanks and praise to God frees us to look behind our immediate problems towards God. It is very difficult to thank and praise God and remain engulfed in our troubles. Here we may want to write out our own words of adoration, or we might want to sing a favorite hymn or song of praise. Corporate worship is also important. There is something powerful about worshiping God with other believers who love God and want to honor him as we do.
4. Memorize through the doubt. Take note of your most bothersome doubts. What statements in Scripture best apply to them? Which biblical truths address your misbeliefs? Write out these Scriptures on note cards or in an application on your smart phone. Review them over and over.
5. Journal through the doubt. Keep a record of your daily spiritual walk with the Lord. What doubts have troubled you today? How did you respond to them? What promises from Scripture relate to your specific doubts? What is God teaching you through your difficulties? As you wrestle with these questions, you can also write out prayers, Scriptures, and personal thoughts. Processing your thoughts and emotions can help you see your situation for what it is—and see God for who He is!
6. Recall through the doubt. Many biblical texts encourage believers to review past history in order to see what God has done (Psalms 105, 106, 114). How has God worked in your life and answered prayer in the past year or even the past decade? As the old hymn says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
7. Talk through the doubt. Do not bear the burden of doubt yourself. Talk to a brother or sister in Christ and let them carry the burden with you (see Galatians 6:2). Their perspective and encouragement will help you through your doubt.
Alright, that’s all for this week. I’ll see you on Sunday!