Shear Shave Shine: Styles for the Soul
Do Something Good For Your Soul
Maybe you hit the barbershop, or maybe you prefer the salon. Possibly you even visit the spa from time to time. Whether it’s for a trim, a shave, a color, a style, or any other matter of personal grooming, all of these establishments are designed to freshen up, clean up, and spruce up your outward appearance and how you feel about yourself. But how long has it been since you did a little soul grooming? A little cleaning, trimming, sprucing up, or just good ole pampering? For our Fall worship series at UBC, we’re going to spend some time on our individual, spiritual walks with God and how living our lives with God can strengthen and sharpen our inner selves. Join us as we consider how the Old Testament people of God viewed living with God, not just as an add-on to their lives, but as the central, overarching force for every faithful follower.
Nov 18–Thanks! For Everything! (Ps 21:1-7; Ps 136; 1 Sam 2:1-10)—Giving thanks to God is one of the most prominent themes in all the Psalms, and not just among those in the book of Psalms. Moses, Deborah, and Hannah, just to name a few, sang songs of thanks to the Lord for his deliverances, victories, and miracles. If we have eyes to see the hand of the Lord in all of our blessings, and especially if we petition him for help on behalf of ourselves or others, then how could we NOT offer him thanks? And how could we not do it often? God continues to be gracious, merciful, and generous with his people, and we ought to extend thanks through prayer, worship, giving, and serving in response to him.
Nov 11–Could You Please Help My Friend? (1 Kgs 17:20-22; 2 Kgs 4:32-35; Amos 7:1-9, 8:1-3; Ps 12)—If sometimes asking for help for ourselves is a bit challenging, asking for help for others is a task we generally embrace today. This could be in our neighborhoods or workplaces, but it applies just as strongly to our prayers. The majority of Christian prayers today are likely intercessory ones. We pray for others with great ease, believing that God hears our prayers and can be prompted to act on behalf of our family, friends, and people we may not even know. And the good news is, the experience of the people of Israel in the OT confirms this very idea! We SHOULD pray for the needs of others and we SHOULD pray for God to intervene in our city, our state, our country, and our world.
Nov 4–Guest Speaker Trevor Downham —Welcome Guest Speaker Trevor Downham from Norwegian Settlers Church in Port Shepstone South Africa. Trevor and Genesis Trust, the mission arm of NSC, have been long standing partners with UBC through the Love Africa mission project. Genesis Care Centre serves the community holistically, meeting the physical, psycho-social and spiritual needs associated with hiv/aids, chronic illnesses, poverty and other social needs.
Oct 28–Better Than All the Rest (Psalm 13; 6:8-10; 69:32-36; 23)—A regular element of Old Testament prayer, as revealed in the Psalms, was drawing upon God’s character and past deeds. This practice illustrated the person’s trust and confidence that God was both capable and willing to help, as well as encouraged God to act in ways consistent with how He had acted in the past. In this sense, the Prayer of Confidence is both a praise and a plea. It fits the bill of glorifying God for his many attributes and powerful actions, while requesting that he put those attributes and power to work on our behalf once again.
Oct 21–I Can’t Do This On My Own! (1 Sam 1:9-18; Ps 7)—A second common area of prayer seen throughout the Old Testament is the Plea. Whereas the protest cries out for God’s attention and action regarding something in the world around us, the plea primarily does the same for something uniquely personal to us as individuals. We cry out to God for help, be it for deliverance, provision, restoration, relief, mercy, or something else, hoping and believing that our prayer will draw God’s attention and move him to action on our behalf.
Oct 14–A Little More Off The Sides, Please (Exod 32:11-14; Josh 7:7-9; Judg 21:3; Ps 4, 12:1-5, 13, 22:1-5, 74:1-4)—One of the greatest aspects to living life with God is the access we have to communicate with him. Throughout the Bible, prayer is exemplified in many different forms, all of which illustrate the possibility that God’s people have to speak to and hear from their loving Father. Over the next five weeks, we’ll consider five different nuances of communication with God. First up: Protest! Does that seem strange to you? And yet, throughout the Psalms the people of God rise up and call on their God to action in areas where they see injustice or evil having a place in their world. God always listens, sometimes is moved to action, and sometimes allows consequences to play out. But his people are always invited to bring their protests before him.
Oct 7–Praise Him With the Harp, the Cymbal, and the Barbershop Quartet (Ps 34:1-3, 33:1-3, 92:1-4, 95:1-7, 98:4-9, 135:1-8, 145:1-7, 150; Neh 12:27-3)—Singing has been a part of the life of the church for its entire history, and a part of the community of God even longer than that. It continues to be the chief manner in which the people of God corporately express their thanks, adoration, and amazement to God for the wonderful things he has done, the incredible God that he is, and their hope for what he will do in the future. Praise, in its many manifestations, is a practice and a discipline for all who live life with God.
Sept 30–A Reciprocating Relationship of Generosity (Isa 58:1-10; Lev 1:1-4; Prov 22:9)—For Israel, life with God was full of blessings. Over and over the Old Testament speaks about all the things God gave his people: land, protection, manna, deliverance, torah, and children just to name a few. But Israel’s relationship with God was never to be one-sided. In as much as they received, they were to be givers to God. Examples of Israel’s giving can be found throughout the laws, in the forms of the sacrificial system, the tithe, and the benevolence with one another. The wisdom writings affirm this type of lifestyle. And the Prophets chastise Israel over and over again for choosing to be selfish instead. An exceedingly generous God expected his people to be exceedingly generous.
Sept 23–Just Passing Through (Gen 23:1-4; Ps 39:7-13, 119:17-19; Lev 19:33-4; 2 Kings 8:1-2; Exod 2:21-22)—The story of the Israelite people in the Old Testament paints a vivid picture of transience: from nomadic Abraham, to refugee Jacob, to imprisoned Joseph, to the people enslaved in Egypt, to wandering in the wilderness, to war in the Promised Land, to settlers, to defenders, to exiles, to returning home! The story is one of traveling, wandering, sojourning and the people were constantly identified as aliens, strangers, and visitors. The Psalmists recognized in this a spiritual truth for all people: We are all just temporary residents here. The Earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it, and we are only here for a short while. So how do we sojourn with God through this life, making the most of every opportunity and enjoying all of God’s good creation, while at the same time remembering that we are only aliens here? Our permanent residence awaits us elsewhere.
Sept 16–Courageous Obedience (Joshua 1:1-9) Obedience, discipline, meekness, submission…these are words we don’t like to talk about. They make us feel uneasy; they dispossess us of our own independence and personal strength. However, in the Bible, we see that these terms are overwhelmingly used to describe a faithful believer. In particular, the term obedience is noted as an essential trait of some of the strongest names of the Old Testament: Joshua, Ruth, Abraham, and Deborah to name a few. As we look at these styles for our soul, today’s discussion is on obedience. How do we weave it into our lives, balancing the distance between legalism and lawlessness, grace-filled lives find obedience to be a pathway to a life more fully lived.
Sept 9–In Your Capable Hands (Isa 2:6-9, 22; Isa 51:1-8; Ps 119:81-88, 78:1-8)—There are a few people who can cut their own hair, trim the back of their neck, or give themselves a pedicure. Sure, you can do it yourself, but it is easier to trust someone else to help. The same can be said for life in general. We can go through life making our own way and trusting fully in our own strength and abilities, but the people of God in the Old Testament recognized that a life lived with God should bring about TRUSTING God. You wouldn’t go back to a stylist or a barber if you don’t think they are trustworthy. You want to be in capable hands. As we navigate life, the most capable hands in which to place ourselves are the hands of our Lord.