Tag Archives: Worship

Preparation and Progress

July 9, 2014

Comments Off on Preparation and Progress

Even simple tasks like removing these retaining rings need thought and preparation

Even simple tasks like removing these retaining rings need thought and preparation

First, finish your outside work
and prepare your fields.
After that, you can build your house. – Proverbs 24:27

If you have ever tried to remove a retaining ring from some machine without an extractor, you already have the sense of what is being taught here.

Removing this looks easy.
A pair of pliers should work.

At some point, you might give up even though the correct tool costs $5 at Walmart. Having the correct tools and proper preparation makes the task at hand manageable.

In the same way, staying faithful to the Lord’s work requires daily preparation.





These are the things that help us meet the challenges that we will face.
They prepare us for the work.

Continue reading...

How Does God Like Your Worship?

February 24, 2014

Comments Off on How Does God Like Your Worship?

Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees - between 1886 and 1894 - James Tissot (1836–1902)

Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees – between 1886 and 1894 – James Tissot (1836–1902)

“The way I like to worship is ______”

“My favorite part of worship is ______”

“Worship is a personal thing with me …”

These statements and their variants are common in any conversation about the worship service and church attendance.

If we are going to have a conversation about worship, it should certainly should include a discussion of Mark 7. Here, we get to witness Jesus and his disciples running afoul of the Pharisees because the disciples chose not to do the ceremonial washing before eating. (Mark 7:1-4)

Jesus responds with a prophesy from Isaiah:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. – Mark 7:6-7

When we read these passages and compare what they are teaching to the typical comments we make about our worship, we should realize the danger! Is God telling us he doesn’t care about traditions and what we like when it comes to proper worship?

Take a look at Cain and Abel for a minute. (Genesis 4) We can assume from this event a couple of things:

  • Abel obeyed God with his sacrifice
  • Cain did not please God with his sacrifice

God goes on to ask Cain, “…if you do well, will you not be accepted?” The take away from this is that God is rather particular about how we worship him. The Hebrews writer praised Abel for having enough faith to worship exactly the way God told him to. (Hebrews 11:4)

To restate that: Obeying God in our worship is a measure of our faith!

Jesus equated the forming of new traditions to the rejection of God. (Mark 7:9) In light of his teaching, it sounds like a good idea to review how we worship. Today I challenge us to ask ourselves:

Are we offering God what he wants?

Are we putting what we want before his commandments?




Continue reading...

Economical Worship

September 20, 2013

Comments Off on Economical Worship

Humans have a knack for making things efficient and economical.

Someone once told me about how their church had added an early worship service so they could go ahead and “get it done.” I have even had a sister at my congregation tell me how upset she was that nobody told a guest speaker what time he had to stop.

While I suppose it is good that folks like these are in the service and know they are where they are supposed to be, I wonder if that kind of attitude isn’t what Jesus was talking about making it difficult to enter the “narrow door.” (Luke 13:22-30)

Psalm 50 is a warning that both Israel (who had the practice of worship down to a science) and the wicked are in the same boat if they don’t remember God and glorify him. (Psalm 50:22-23)

God expects us to be fully engaged with him. Efficiency isn't always the best choice!

God expects us to be fully engaged with him. Efficiency isn’t always the best choice!

Jesus made no bones about following him being expensive and that it requires a complete rethinking of one’s life. (Luke 14:25-33) He said those wanting to get through the narrow door must “strive” to get in. (Luke 13:24) The word strive has connotations of agony in its definition.

While being economical is a good trait for saving time and money, what risk do we face when we apply that thinking to our worship? How can it affect our daily lives?

The narrow door may close on us because of:

  • Pride (1 Peter 5:6)
  • Procrastination (2 Corinthians 6:2)
  • A lack of urgency (Luke 13:24)

That last one is pretty complex. If we approach the narrow door in a casual manner we may:

  • Attempt to bring contraband
  • Not arrive before the door shuts
  • Never really ever get around to trying

The challenge offered today is to sing, pray, give, serve and live like our souls depend on it.

It does.

Continue reading...

Take a Rest Day

September 1, 2013

Comments Off on Take a Rest Day

It is difficult to fit everything we need to do in our lives these days. From the looks of it, the more modern conveniences we have, the busier we get. In a 24 hour connected world, we have become a people that never truly rest.

Just yesterday, my boss and I were in contact most of the day working on some side projects. This is supposed to be a three day holiday weekend!

As we prepare for worship today, our challenge is to tune out the world. We are passing up our rest, but stay in the right mindset for worship! Our temptation is to let the world in through our gadgets and devices. There are some important events going on in worship that are supposed to have our full attention, but the beeps, buzzes and flashes have trained us to stop what we are doing – Even at the expense of worship to our Lord.

It is now acceptable to bring my smartphone into worship and have it out because “my Bible is on it.” But what else is on it that might pull my attention away from the worship – if even for a second?

Our task – our urgent task – is to snap out of the trance like state that the smartphone addiction has brought upon us. This is true not only for Sunday, but so much of the world is passing by every day while we sit in front of our devices. Friendships, family, our mates. So many flesh and blood experiences are being passed over for the digital.

Let’s try to do it old school today. Even if only for the sake of Sunday rest.

Continue reading...

Prepare For Worship

August 25, 2013

Comments Off on Prepare For Worship

As we prepare for worship today, let us really prepare.

Before Worship

As you are getting ready, be deliberate about the setting yourself up to be in a positive mood.

  • Stretch or exercise lightly
  • Eat something
  • Dress well
  • Sing some hymns – just the parts you know by heart

These are all things that set you up to have a great day, every day. They also show your intention of worshiping God rather than that you just barely made it.

During Worship

When you get to worship, make sure you are fully involved. Put away the world for a couple of hours. A complete worship should look something like:

  • Bible class – listen, participate, ask questions. The teacher spent a lot of time preparing for you.
  • Singing – bring your heart to this part of the worship, it is your instrument (Ephesians 5:19)
  • Praying – listen to every word as they are offered up to God. Prayer is powerful (James 5:16)
  • Communion – contemplate the love of God shown through the gift of his Son. (John 3:16)
  • Giving – You should have already planned the portion of you earnings you will return to the Lord (1 Corinthians 16:2)
  • Sermon – Again, someone spent a lot of time preparing. Takes notes. Write good points in the margin of your Bible. Try to understand.

Part of worshiping in spirit and in truth is actually being there in your whole heart, mind and body. (John 4:24) Start today looking for ways to improve that.

Continue reading...