Did you have a super Sunday, or did you exchange it for an evening sitting in front of the TV?
If your congregation doesn’t have evening services that’s one thing, but if you belong to a congregation with elders who have deemed it fit to have an evening service and you skipped it to watch a game – well, you need to consider your spiritual priorities and obligations.
And by the way, I had a super Sunday…and I was still able to make it home in time to watch the entire second-half of the game.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV)
An over-the-top worship “experience” is what many churches are trying to sell today. Bright lights, sharp cameras and a lot of action is cooked-up in order to attract interested “worshipers” of the God of Heaven. But is such beneficial, necessary or profitable for the seekers, or even desired by God? I don’t believe so.
Obviously the first century didn’t have the same impressive technology that we do today, but the first century was well-acquainted with dramatic skits, various orchestrations of musical instruments and the desire of the general public to be entertained. And yet we read nothing about these avenues being employed when it came to the church’s worship service toward God.
Am I saying that worshiping God is supposed to be a sensory-dulling experience? No. I believe John 4:24 says something about the spirit being used with the truth, and by default the truth being used with the spirit. But if you read the “1st letter” to the Corinthians that we have then you will find several corrections being given to the church when it comes to the out-of-control behavior that was being displayed during their worship services…corrections which seem to contradict any modern-day notion of a lights, cameras and action-packed worship experience that is so often sold to the public.
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40)
You read the title right. I’m telling you not to go to church. Do this instead: Continue reading
Avoiding idol worship has always been and will always be an important principal for the people of God because idol worship gets us nowhere with the one true God (Exodus 20:3-5, 1 John 5:21, Revelation 21:8).
But what if I were to say there is another similar sounding principal of worship that, if we’re not careful, will get us nowhere when it comes to worshiping God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Would you know what I’d be referring to?
Well, the answer would be… Continue reading
I received a letter in the mail yesterday addressed to the church, from a “local” media installation company offering to install the “needed solutions” for our sound and video problems, that I found interesting.
My purpose for this quick little post isn’t to “pick on” the company, or to send them an “open letter” or to really be a rebuttal toward them in any way, but rather to point out something that was said in their brochure to which I believe reveals a problem with many of the company’s targeted customers – churches, and their worship services.
The brochure asked, and I quote, “Are you looking for new ways to enhance your fellowship’s spiritual experience? Maybe your church’s sound/video system needs an upgrade?”
So here’s my observation, and I hope you get the picture and the message:
Worship by its very nature is meant to be about what the worshiper offers to God, not what the church offers to the worshiper. But many churches, both past and present, have been and are currently in the business of selling worship experiences. They have taken something (i.e. worship) that is supposed to revolve around what gets brought and they have turned it on its head to make it about what gets received. And now they find themselves in a situation much akin to the restaurant and service business – competing with competitors on the basis of who can offer the best experience to the customers, the consumers and the curious.
Stop and think about it for a moment. Have you ever wondered how the church through the early centuries ever managed to worship God without all the lights, cameras and action? How boring it must have been! Why did people ever show up? I just don’t know!
But then again, maybe I do know. Maybe the church did just fine by being more concerned with giving to instead of taking from the worship services. And just maybe if churches were more concerned with that kind of worship experience today, our appetite for entertainment could be more easily contained.
Harry Grant got up in a bad mood on Monday. Upon arriving at work he called in his sales manager and chewed him out because his report was tardy. The sales manager called in his secretary and chewed her out for several letters she had failed to file. The secretary saw the receptionist and yelled at her for not relaying some messages the previous day. The receptionist opened her door at home that evening and saw her son’s new jeans had a hole in the knee and sent him to bed without supper. On the way upstairs Tommy saw the family cat and kicked it all the way across the room.
Wouldn’t it have been better on everyone if Mr. Grant had simply gone over to Tommy’s house and kicked the cat himself and left all those other folks in a good mood?
How many times have I thought of that little story when I have been responsible for ruining the mood around our house by being in a bad mood and passing it along to others? How many times have I seen this take place in the church, where one person’s ill manners could start a chain of events that led to a great problem, even division?
Then on the other hand, I have seen someone enter a rather sticky situation, and their manners and grace changed the whole atmosphere into a lovely place to be. And then you begin to think…”Isn’t this the kind of person I had rather be?” Anybody can ruin a good atmosphere. And anyone can improve a bad one. That is, if we will put our Christian principles into practice.
Let me challenge you! Make your Bible class the best place in the world to be on Sunday morning and Wednesday night. Make our assemblies the nicest place to spend time, and you will find more people wanting to spend time there. Work and make the atmosphere pleasant wherever you are. Take it easy on Tommy’s cat! !
For His Cause, Tim Woodward
via the Smithville Church of Christ