Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
"He Should preach of things that are out of his control"
Doug Wilson--from the Desiring God conference last weekend.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
When relationships are built around the truths of the gospel—the truth that we are walking in light even though we are still sinners in need of cleansing by his blood—we can be free from feelings of inferiority and the demanding spirit that is born of pride. We can pursue relationships without fear of being discovered as the sinners we are. This kind of open relationship rests solely on the realities of the gospel. We are more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe, and so is everyone we know. Because of this, we won’t be surprised by other’s sins. They won’t expect us to be sinless either, so we don’t have to give in to self-condemnation and fear when they see us as we really are. We don’t have to hide or pretend anymore.
The gospel also tells us that we are loved and welcomed without any merit on our part, so we can love and welcome others whose merits we can’t see. We can remember the circumstances under which we have been forgiven, and we can forgive in the same way. We don’t deserve relationship with the Trinity, but it has been given to us. We can seek our relationships with others because we know that we have been sought out by him and that he is carrying us all on his shoulders. (Yes, he is that strong!)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Recently I saw a video of some folks talking about worship. They were apparently asked “What does worship mean to you?” or “Why do you love worship so much?”, etc. . Their answers were heartfelt and I appreciated their sincerity and heart of love for God. Some of their answers were:
“When I worship, I forget where I am, . . . . . . . I don’t even know that I’m doing this or that when I’m up there. . . . . I feel like I’m saying, “God, can I talk to You?” . . . I love worship, it fills me up so much to sing to God”.
I resonate with a lot of those emotions. There is a felt benefit to leading God’s people in worship, and in the presence of God there is “fullness of joy”.
However, these feelings that leading the singing (I’ll stop using the term “worship” now, since worship is our life’s response to God, and singing with our church body is only one, important, outlet for that) produce are not the most important thing about our times of corporate worship together.
The most important thing when we get together is God, who He is, what He has done, and what his Son, Jesus, has done for us. It was a bummer that no one referenced anything objectively true about our great God in that video,. . . but only their subjective feelings about Him.
Unfortunately, many worship songs lead us to those responses with mainly subjective lyrics (not just “new” songs. . .how about “I”ll fly away”. . . now there’s a theological masterpiece J )
That’s why I make it a priority to sing objective truths about our God with songs like “The Solid Rock”, “Creed”, “In Christ Alone” and “Jesus, Messiah”. It’s these truths that we can hold onto no matter what our circumstances are like. And, yes, when our corporate worship is not going so well, and we’re missing notes, and we’re not feeling it. . . .these things are still true, and always will be.
These are the truths that I want to celebrate and “lose myself’ in. As Rich Mullins once wisely stated. . .
“Someone came up and said to me ‘ I really felt the Spirit at that one point of the song when you guys hit that crescendo’ . . . I said, no, I think that was the kick drum”
Let’s build our faith, and our gathered, musical worship on The Rock, and not on the subjective “sand” of our feelings, or the emotional effects of the music.
Let’s use all of that to glorify great truths about God and help folks to know and treasure Jesus in all of His Greatness and Grace.
Worshipping with you,
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
There are two things in the present church culture that are too easily accepted and not called out. Church hopping (attending more than one church at the same time) and inconsistent attendance at your church of choice.
Most folks these days celebrate the ethic of variety, choice, and the different emphases two non-related churches might have. Also, folks celebrate meeting with God "when I go to the mountains" or "when I'm sitting at coffee with a friend." (nothing wrong with that, . . but not a full spiritual diet)
Let's tackle the first one, first.
When you attend more than one church, you lose out on many things that are important in your spiritual life,. . . .accountability/authority and humility, to name a few.
If you say, "I go to this church for the music, this church for the biblical teaching. . .and this small group, because it's my friends" etc. . . . you are not under any consistent biblical authority, teaching, or accountability. We need to be under a biblical body of elders that are praying for us, teaching us, and yes, disciplining us. I grieve over the guy who decides to leave his wife, while they attend two different churches. . . and no one is there to call him out, or to walk through this season with them. Yes, we need spiritual authority in our lives (the horror of it all). Yes, we need to hear the bible taught from our elders and need the same folks who know us to be able to speak into our lives with the gospel.
Also, in the humility area, if you're church hopping, you're making yourself the judge of all that is good and right (and wrong) about each church you attend. You're a consumer. . . .God calls us to be a Body. If the pastor says something you don't like, you hop churches the next week. . .if the band sounds bad, you go somewhere else the week after that. This is not a healthy spirituality. We need to plug in somewhere, commit, be under authority, accept correction from our elders (and friends) and encourage others.
Now, onto inconsistent attendance. . . . I"m not speaking here about things we can't control, like illness, lack of transportation, or sudden need for travel, etc. . . . But, I live in Colorado. Everyone seems to have a house in the mountains, they visit it frequently. . . they like to visit it on Sundays. I also had someone tell me this week, "I won't be there that weekend because I know my son has a soccer tournament". Even our occupations at times can take precedence over a commitment we've made to be together with God's people.
Am I saying all of this because I just want alot of people to show up at church. . . big numbers? No, . . I'm saying it because our priorities are out of whack. And, in the case of soccer, for instance,. . we're passing on that ethic to our kids.
Why is it important that you attend church regularly? Because that's your family, that's your authority, that's the folks that need you to serve them, and those are the folks that need to serve you. The other choices of things to do are not as important.
Even in the case of work, sometimes our work makes us come in on Sunday. That's ok. But, I find that it usually leads to the folks not showing up even on other weekends, when they're off. They aren't fighting for that time. Unless folks are busy in personal study with an elder or having intercessory prayer for the Nations once a month (which you could do another day), they probably aren't doing something as important as hearing from the Word and fellowshipping with other believers.
Am I asking for 100% attendance like school or something? No. I just want to see folks fighting for that time. They fight for "family" time by going to a movie on the weekends. They fight for "me" time by reading a book, going for a hike, etc. . . I want to see folks fighting for "Body of Christ" time. The Body needs you, read 1 Corinthians 12.
So, please don't hear me being a legalist on church attendance. I don't want that. I just want to see folks fighting. Remember, we have an enemy who is fighting against us. Are you fighting back? Do you think it's a coincidence that it's always hard to get your kids out the door, or make the schedule work on Sundays? So, fight for that time,. . . .it'll be great for your spiritual life. And, it will free you up from the tyranny of choices on Sunday that battle against you. Choose church. Prioritize getting together with your local Body of believers. Then, there will be less choices to make.
Let's stop assuming that the folks who attend more than one church are really mature believers, . . or really want "the best" from many different churches. Let's stop celebrating folks getting away or being busy with their kids on Sunday morning. Let's celebrate faithfulness and hunger for God's Word. Let's celebrate folks fighting to arrange their schedules so that they can be at church, as a family.
Let's meet together and celebrate Jesus.