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KI Update:

Q&A/Open Mic and Living in the Psalms

by Dan Stolebarger

Director of Koinonia Institute

Last month Koinonia Institute launched its new Campus Access Pass (CAP) and we were blessed by your initial response! Along with offering FREE tuition for all our courses that use K-House materials, we also began taping two weekly programs to put on our website for those who have CAPs.

Each week we tape a session that we call Q & A, and it is an open mic time with me and Chuck, where Chuck responds to questions that our KI students have submitted for that particular week. Currently we have twelve classes in session, so we have a number of questions that we are sifting through each week.

Make sure to get plugged in, and if you have any questions you would like to submit, just send them to the Teaching Assistant assigned to your class.

The other taping that we do for our KI CAP members is our Monday morning weekly devotional, which we have with all of our K-House volunteers. A couple of months ago I began to walk through the Psalms with this community whose service not only blesses us but makes K-House possible! (We can never thank our Monday morning volunteers enough! They are the greatest!)

This weekly time together has become very meaningful for me"not just the koinonia time with our volunteers, but also the time marinating in the Text. There is something very special for the believer in the Psalms.

I know that when approaching the Word of God, it is important to have a two-step hermeneutic where, to the best of ones ability, it is important to glean what we can from the sitz im leben (life situation) of the writer. As David is the author of the vast majority of the Psalms, it is important to know something about him and the times in which he wrote.

David, as a Biblical figure, is often listed as a favorite among those who immerse themselves in the Text. I also know that today on the streets of Israel, David is highly renowned and still the folk hero among the people today! Why is this? Let me give you some brief thoughts about David and why we love him so much.

First, he had such a heart for God ...a man after Gods own heart! Secondly, as we read the account of his life we know that David often stumbled"he was by no means perfect"but in his heart he always returned, broken and contrite before God. This quality is one that todays believers can relate to because we all know what it is like to fall short and to stumble.

Finally, David tells it like it is. There is no doubt whats going on in the heart of David, and when we read the Psalms, we get it!

So when we read a Psalm that speaks of being on the run and being attacked by our friends, we know that King David was writing from first-hand experience, and we can be encouraged by the Lords care and concern and deliverance for this man who had such a heart for God.

The next part of the hermeneutic deals with the importance that the book of Psalms had in regards to our Lord. Jesus himself quotes from this one book more than any of the other Old Testament writings. One thing that is noteworthy amongst the Jews both past and present is their commitment to the Text (the People of the Book) and this commitment is seen in the fact that much of the Tanach is committed to memory, especially when it comes to the book of Psalms.

Many Jews"even today"have much of the Psalms memorized. As one reads through the Psalms it really is amazing how often a verse strikes you in terms of its Messianic implications.

Recently, we studied Psalm 31. Within this Psalm we read about being in a pit, being abandoned, and questioning and pleading that God will deliver. In fact, it is in this Psalm where we read the following verse that David, Jesus and even Stephen quoted: Into your hands I commit my spirit. This Psalm reminded me of one of my very special places in Israel. Let me take you there.

This place is outside of the walls of Jerusalem and is possibly the place where Caiaphas dwelt. It was here on our first trip to Israel that our guide brought us and showed us the cistern that was located down a series of steps in the bowels of this dwelling.

As we got to the bottom, we could look up through a narrow opening and see how one might be lowered into this pit. Before we left, our guide indicated that this might be the place that Jesus was incarcerated after Gethsemane and before He was taken to Pilate.

In the darkness of this cistern my friend, Jane Ben Ari, our guide, suggested that I read aloud Psalm 88. As I read, I realized that she was silently quoting the Psalm without the benefit of having the Bible in front of her"in other words, she was quoting from memory and I was reading the Text.

It was in this place that I realized that Jesus lived the Psalms and it has caused me, as I read them, to look for His life in the midst of the writings! I cannot tell you how rich this has made the Psalms for me. Take a moment and read both Psalm 31 and Psalm 88 and envision Christ in this place!

Finally we come to the last part of our hermeneutic, but first allow me to provide the following Psalm as a foundation:

The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works... Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him. - Psalm 33:13-16, 18

Take a moment and let these words sink in. They remind me of a song that we sing in our Fellowship He knows my name, He knows my every thought, He sees each tear that falls and He hears me when I call!

What makes the Psalms so great is that, just like David and Jesus, I too can live the Psalms. The Word of God is not just a historical account or just great poetry"it is alive and active and can speak to me exactly where I am at! Because God knows me and has fashioned my heart; I am not a clone! He knows me by name and He wants me to walk and talk and live the Psalms as well! That, my friend, is the last step of the hermeneutic"to ask what this verse is saying to me! Today!

Let me encourage you to join us and listen to our CAP devotional each week as we walk our way through the Psalms!

Our KI Registrar

Patrick Poole joined the Koinonia Institute family this spring and was installed as Registrar in August. He has served with the Oregon State Police and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington D.C.

After three decades in law enforcement he worked as an operations manager in the technology field and then taught in the Criminal Justice Department at Corban (formerly Western Baptist) College in Salem, Oregon. He has served for many years as a Bible teacher and in church leadership.

Pats passion is to see Christians equipped for service to God. According to Pat, the Koinonia Institute Registrar has quite a unique perspective in this regard. He is able to see this vision come to fruition in the lives of Christians as they involve themselves in the solid academic instruction and practical training that is offered to students and Teaching Assistants here at KI.


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