North Church - Albuquerque, NM


Jesus' Playlist: A Look Into Our Next Sermon Series

I sat down to talk with Pastor Dave about the upcoming sermon series he was preparing for our church. Dave's intentionality in leading the people of North left me relaxed, comforted and challenged. 

But, the conversation didn’t start that way.

Our time together began with me, frantic, scribbling notes in my left-handed script that looks like a pen exploded on the page. I tried to record every word he spoke, massively regretting my choice not to record the conversation with my iPhone.

All the while, Dave is collected - chill - passionately relaying the gist of his heart behind "Jesus’ Playlist: Study of Psalms 114-118." I cannot actually engage and process what he is sharing because I am scattered, trying to focus on tweetable nuggets of pastoral wisdom. This all happens while Drew takes photos likely to portray a more tranquil person than the internal disaster within.

So I just had to STOP. I had to call it out. Admit the chaos occurring in my mind. With grace and without hesitation, Pastor Dave and Drew said that they trusted me. Trusted my perspective to capture something honest and real. Dave reminded me that the point wasn’t to talk about him or quote him verbatim. It was about capturing a moment. Telling a story. 


My heartbeat slows. I chill out. I'm thankful for encouragement from my brothers, and remember that storytelling is what I love and why I am here in this coffee shop to begin with.

So I hang out, relax in my chair and have an effortless conversation with my pastor.

We talk about the Psalms. We talk about those songs so embedded in our memories, and in the depths of our hearts. The lyrics that shatter you in the blink of an eye. Bring you to your knees or build you back up from the deep of darkness. You know what I mean. You can recall some of those songs right now. You likely have those songs in a Spotify playlist with a profound title, to break out when the mood strikes.

It is worth stating that my aim is not to make some trivial cliché parallel that Jesus had his own playlist of songs that he sang to the Father. But I do think that, given the context of Psalm 114-118, it is gravely comforting to know that the Savior of the world worshipped. He worshipped with song. He worshipped with conviction, honoring the multifaceted character of God, the Father. He worshipped with lyrics that revealed the agony he was experiencing knowing the weight of the sacrifice set before him. He leaned into the Father.

Pastor Dave's hope for this series is to provide an opportunity for every person - believer, new believer and non-believer - to experience a robust sense of who God is. The desire, as we go through these psalms, is that our church can grow together in the fullness of worship. If your faith is stale and everything seems spiritually distant and ambiguous, or if you're in a season of refreshment of faith, there is much to learn from Jesus.

Two things that Dave mentioned during our conversation struck me at my core. The first: 

“Worship should stir your heart; it should lead you to feel or experience something. Or, at least, it should produce angst that you don’t feel anything. If we don’t have a grasp on the fullness of worship then we are unable to fully know God. Our ability to comprehend his character in full is limited by our human capacity, but the discomfort we feel leaves room for exploration and worship of our God as we navigate it. That is the sermon series.”

And second, “Worship is God revealing himself and us responding to him. He is always present, glorious and magnificent - even if we don’t pay attention.”

We discussed my current spiritual plight. Woe are my heady, theological ideologies without feeling the relational closeness and intimacy of the Father. Instant conviction. The far but familiar kind. The kind I’ve been begging God to produce in me.

Our God is invisible, but through these psalms, he uses vivid imagery to make himself visible. He is super creative in the ways he chooses to show himself to us. The hope is that this imagery elicits an emotional, deep-in-the-heart response from the receiver.

We have a tendency to reduce God to our own experiences and understanding in ways that we ought not. We are so limited by that. In our time in the Psalms together, we will see that God is portrayed differently from psalm to psalm. He is multifaceted. The hope is that as we study, we would have an amplified understanding of who God is. 

We will see him as merciful, compassionate and near to us. And we will see him as just, powerful and mighty enough to make the Sandia’s tremble.