One at a time, please

Back in the early days of our work in Brazil, we did research into the culture and religion of the area where we worked. Among other things we did, several of our mission team visited different religions and denominations for a better sense of their teachings and practices.

One day several of us visited a large denominational church near the downtown area of our city. I think I sustained permanent hearing impairment there.

At one point, I recall all of the denomination’s adherents praying at the same time. Four hundred people speaking simultaneously — and most of them did not speak in a low volume — made it impossible to understand anything. Continue reading “One at a time, please”

Bring a big bucket

Has worship become stale? Do Sundays sometimes leave you wanting? The solution is not to jazz up the worship assembly but to reassess your attitude toward God. Perhaps you just want to get more out of worship. An adjustment in action may be warranted.

Worship is primarily about God. But in His wisdom, God made worship beneficial to us as well. We should all want to make worship mean more. But how?

Worship begins far from the meeting place. Every day helps to shape the next. Every decision informs the subsequent choice. Weekly worship of God is modeled after our daily devotion to him.

Continue reading “Bring a big bucket”

Worshiping intentionally

The Lord’s church met one Lord’s day in a grand city in Greece. They sang together, prayed together, opened the word together, and did not commune together.

Paul told them, “When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat” (1 Corinthians 11:20 ESV). The first-century church came together every week in order to eat the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2). How is it that Paul could say that they did not eat the Lord’s supper when they gathered?

Continue reading “Worshiping intentionally”

Relying on God

There is an interesting anomaly that took place while David was king. It is found in the list of the men who were his advisors or, perhaps we might say, his cabinet.

“So David reigned over all Israel, administering justice and righteousness for all his people. Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was court historian; Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was court secretary; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief officials” (2 Samuel 8:15-18 CSB). Continue reading “Relying on God”

Active listening

Active listening. Do you see the apparent contradiction in terms? Yet it is true: Good listeners are active listeners.

I imagine it is because of the low premium most of us place on the art of good listening.

  • Pray that the Lord will help you to be a good hearer of the word: Far be it from us to actually encourage the preacher by showing him that we care about what is taking place!.

Continue reading “Active listening”

Zeal

Jesus went after the money changers.

They had set up shop in the Temple where they did not belong. The Temple was a place of sacrifice, reflection, prayer, and worship to God; it was not a place for unscrupulous men to make a fortune exchanging currency.

The Lord took a whip of cords, overturned the money changers’ tables and drove them all out along with the sheep and the oxen (John 2:14-17). Continue reading “Zeal”

Church should make you feel good

“Church should make you feel good” (Tammy Faye Bakker Messner).

Well, yes, Ms. Bakker. When we look at the cross and see the love of the Lord exhibited there, that feels good. Being forgiven feels good. Having someone listen to our prayers feels good. Being with other people of faith feels good. Is there something to celebrate when we worship God? Absolutely everything! No Super Bowl national championship compares with the grandeur of being in God’s presence.

Church should make you feel good. Continue reading “Church should make you feel good”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 7)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 7)

Three passages are critical to our understanding of the miracles about which our New Testament speaks. One of them is the passage above, with which this series of articles began, and around which it is based. The other two will be discussed below.

This being the final of a 7-part series, we will give a brief summary of the previous articles. We have thus far argued that: Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 7)”