A brother in Christ said it during a church business meeting about the legal challenges facing the church. We were talking about whether the church could continue to preach on the subject of biblical marriage. For transparency’s sake, allow me to disclose that the topic was whether preachers could still declare that gay marriage was not biblical marriage, whether the church would come under legal pressure to not say so.
Christians are, as it turns out, already responding to this challenge. Continue reading “Meeting in a cabin by the creek”
I ran across an excellent definition of worship the other day. It comes from the pen of William Temple:
“Worship is the quickening of the conscience by the holiness of God, feeding the mind with the truth of God, purging the imagination by the beauty of God, opening the heart to the love of God, and devoting the will to the purpose of God.”
Continue reading “Quickening the conscience”
“After we tore ourselves away from them, we put out to sea, and sailing a straight course, we came to Cos, on the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went aboard, and put out to sea. After we sighted Cyprus and left it behind on our port side, we sailed on to Syria and put in at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. After we located the disciples, we stayed there seven days” (Acts 21:1-4 NET).
One thing that becomes very apparent as we read about Paul’s travels is that he desired to be with Christians. It wasn’t that Paul wasn’t with Christians all the time – he was travelling with a group of at least seven other Christians (see Acts 20:4 and the “we” statements in Acts 21, indicating that Luke was also with him). Continue reading “The need for fellowship”
You know, I heard it again just this week. A young person pointed to the “dead” worship and “uninvolved” manner of his older brethren, and used this as the reason for leaving the church. Though we might deplore his judgmental attitude, we also need to ask if there is any truth in these charges.
Could we do better? Continue reading “Crumbs from the table”
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25).
Did Paul sing lead and Silas bass? Or was one of them a monotone? I’m sure the listeners had never heard freshly beaten prisoners singing and praying to God! Perhaps curses to the gods but not praises to God!
Notice that the prisoners were listening to them sing and pray: Why were the prisoners listening, you ask? Well, they were … a captive audience! Continue reading “Songs in the night”
What if I was to say that the preacher and the song leader had similar responsibilities in worship? Would that assertion surprise you? Many song leaders would probably say, “No, I don’t want to speak in public. That’s one of the reasons I lead singing! All I have say is the numbers when I announce them!”
Still, the song leader bears much the same responsibility as the preacher for the congregation’s spiritual and nutritional health. Just as the preacher ought to preach “the whole council” of God, that is, a healthy and balanced spiritual diet (Acts 20:27), so must the song leader be conscious of feeding his congregation an edifying and biblical diet of songs. Continue reading “Richly dwelling”
First, I need to be clear. When worship is done to be seen by men, it is not worship; when its purpose is to titillate, to entertain, then it has not reached deeply enough to be worship.
One does not evaluate worship the way a movie critic evaluates a Hollywood film. Worship is far more about self-evaluation than performance. Our worship would not be improved if the singing was done by Celine Dion, or if the sermon was delivered in the mellow tones of James Earl Jones. The purposes of worship, its benefits, are deeper, more abiding, more relevant than mere showbiz. Continue reading “Think about it”
I think all of us have found ourselves “going through the motions” when we sing hymns in worship. Perhaps we are distracted by something in the auditorium – a restless child, or perhaps it is a song that we have sung so often that it is possible to allow our minds to go into “neutral” as we sing the familiar words.
Of course we know this is wrong, and we try to wrest our attention back to the matter at hand – worshiping God. It is worth asking how we might make our worship in song more meaningful. Continue reading “Speaking to one another”
Rather than going to worship, young people often use the term “devotional.” I actually like what that term implies. It comes from the word “devoted,” and refers to an act that is completely committed to some cause or person. In these sessions, our young people devote themselves thoroughly to the Lord.
The reason I mention this is because so many, so often, enter into times of worship with apparently little intention of devoting themselves to anything that is said and done. Rather than devoted, they are disinterested. Continue reading “Devoted”
After Jesus and his disciples observed the Passover, they sang a hymn and went out toward the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane.
One commentator said the hymn Jesus and his disciples sung was probably “The Hillel” or Psalm 136. Though it has 26 verses, it is a fairly easily memorized Psalm because each verse ends with the same last words: “For his lovingkindness is everlasting.”
Do you think the disciples understood what they were singing with Jesus? Continue reading “His lovingkindness is everlasting”