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This second Theology Camp week will emphasize Apologetics as well as…

January 13, 2014

1aPsalm 116: 1 I love the LORD, because He hears My voice {and} my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call {upon Him} as long as I live.

This week at camp we are going to have a time of thanking God.  Many people would assume that I’m going to bring a band to the Theology Camp, and that’s not true.  You don’t need to have a band in order to praise; in fact, in my years of hosting Theology Camps, I have never had a band – in fact, I’ve never even had a music service of any kind.

I really don’t need one.  Music is secondary to the testimonies from students and leaders alike.  Campfire time gets mighty powerful, brother.

It’s actually quite easy as it is explained in passages like Psalm 116, known as a Thanksgiving Psalm, (in the Hebrew tongue the word is todah.) This powerful type of psalm is an exclamation of praise as well as a confession of gratitude.

Psalm 18: 17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my stay. 19 He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.

In a Todah Psalm, you praise God for something He has done for you, and then you offer thanksgiving in the form of worship.

In a Todah Psalm the wild and cheerful celebration in worship is based on some immediate experience of God’s goodness and grace. It’s kind of hard to explain, but the word “todah” that we find in these psalms (and other Psalms like 21, 32, 65, and 100) is in the  Hebrew tongue much fuller than the English word “thanks.” It summarizes the singer’s explanation of the direct response to prayers of need (“God, please heal my baby”, “Father, please help me to finish this work by the deadline”, “Lord, please help me to confront the wrongdoer and show love”, etc.) It’s kind of like a praise-filled explanation not only of WHAT God has done but WHY He did it and WHAT AUTHORITY He has to do it. Todah pinpoints the fact that God is the source of all the great stuff in life. This is a “billboard ad’ of who He is, and it comes from personal experience as in “I WAS THERE AND I SAW IT WITH MY OWN EYES.”

Yes, that’s one of the goals of this week’s Theology Camp.

Todah Psalms! Psalm 124: 2 “Had it not been the LORD who was on our side When men rose up against us, 3 Then they would have swallowed us alive…”

In other words, my thanks and testimony should not only be for what He has done for me but Who He is in the first place, overall in my life and what He means to me.

How do I relate this to the campers?  By showing that it is a reality in me.  It is part of my life, my soul, and my strength.  Lectures only go so far.  Observations and inquisitiveness reach deeper.  When my students see that God is true and active within me, they’ll find the teaching is much easier to comprehend.

In my life, it’s not difficult to thank God.  He has carried both me and my family through many a trial.  He brought my oldest boy Nicholas out of a near-death event.  He keeps my wife Jill joyful in the midst of crippling fibro-myalgia.  He sustained us in the midst of my writing career when an unscrupulous employer stole tens of thousands of dollars from us.  And, in one of my most enjoyable thoughts, He has given me a great ministry right here at Grace Christian Academy among a sharp administration, fine fellow teachers and scores of students whom I love dearly.

I don’t need to play-act this praise for Jesus.  God has done so much that I enjoy sharing His many blessings.

It makes teaching Bible very, very easy.


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