We are beginning our annual anniversary blogging break today. But here’s a 2016 post I hope you find encouraging on this day of worship.
Christians find spiritual strength in many ways. Bible study. Prayer. Fellowship. But one way in which we can derive strength on a regular basis that touches all of our senses is through worship.
One writer defined worship as “an encounter with the living God.” I like that better than “worship experience.” Sometimes too much emphasis is placed on a subjective experience, or a manufactured or contrived experience. It is possible to have an experience, but not experience true, spiritual worship.
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As August ends and September begins with Labor Day just around the corner, I’m reminded that much of 2020 has been consumed by various crises.
Many of the challenges we’ve faced seem to be centered around COVID-19 which have contributed to health care crisis, financial crisis, and national and international crisis. This has affected families, churches, businesses, colleges, sports and our most cherished institutions.
Additionally, issues of racism have been reignited with the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands (or more specifically, the knee) of a white Minneapolis cop. Since then there have been other deaths that sparked further racial unrest. Continue reading
Chris Kelly tells a story about an American Indian who left the reservation to visit downtown New York. Walking down a busy street with his friend, he suddenly stopped and said, “I hear a cricket”.
His friend said, “You’re crazy! There’s no way you could hear a cricket in all this noise!”
The native American persisted, “No! I hear a cricket… I’m sure of it!” Continue reading
Today is Sunday. It’s the day Christians meet to honor Jesus.
We take communion and remember “the crucified Christ.” Prior to partaking a song will be sung that is often cross-centered. Someone will read a passage about Jesus’ death, or the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Remarks will be made that remind us that the bread represents His body, and the fruit of the vine His blood. Continue reading
“Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God–it whets our appetite,” wrote the late American author and theologian, Eugene Peterson.
Think about that a bit as you go to worship services today.
We speak of “going to church.” Or “attending worship.” How about going to worship and praise God? Of coming into His presence in a unique way? Continue reading
The church is full of hypocrites.
White people are racists.
Black people hate white people.
Men are all afraid of commitment.
Poor people are lazy.
Rich people are greedy. Continue reading
The final hymn at the Kalispell church, where I preached yesterday, was a new one to me– “Instruments Of Your Peace” written by Nashville artists Kirk and Deby Dearman.
It opens and closes with this refrain
Lord make us instruments of Your peace
Where there is hatred let Your love increase
Lord make us instruments of Your peace
Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease Continue reading
Wednesday night we visited the church in Kalispell, Montana, for a thought-provoking devotional study on the spiritual battle we are currently fighting.
The teacher, Bill Moore, spoke of the current unrest we are experiencing in our country and how the Devil stirs the emotions of people to further foment strife, division, controversy, and confusion.
Think of the negative emotions so many are feeling right now in our country. Continue reading
Thomas Donelan, a Florida minister, offered this description of tolerance.
To tolerate means I can disagree with you while still respecting you.
One person is a Republican, another Democrat. We put aside our differences and get along.
One person is a (Florida) Gator, another a (FSU) Seminole. We put aside our differences and get along.
Some of us are NY Yankee fans, the rest of you hate baseball. I love you anyway, and we get along. Continue reading
“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary,” once wrote Paulo Coelho de Souza, the Brazilian lyricist and novelist.
For the past three days we’ve been enjoying our grand kids, Miles and Katherine, and showing them and their parents around the Smoky Mountains. It has been a pure delight to witness their excitement.
The evening they arrived it was raining, but Miles wanted to go down to the creek he saw at the bottom of the mountain. We explained it was too late. It was raining. Plus the creek ran through the golf course and they probably didn’t want us on it. Continue reading