Racing through worship

One morning during worship, my five-year-old daughter passed the collection-basket, as it came and went, with a greater sense of urgency than usual. I told her to slow down.

She responded by informing me the ushers were in a race. Less than a minute later she told me which one won.

I responded by telling her what a lot of us adults need to hear – worship isn’t a race.

I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.” (Psalm 119:15 NKJV)

#kids, #parenting, #worship

I love Jesus

An area congregation publishes a monthly bulletin for the city’s saints, called “I Love Jesus.” I went to speak there last month by request. My designated topic was biblical authority and instrumental music in worship. I began the first of two lessons with the sentence, “I love Jesus.” And because I love Jesus, I love the truth of Jesus, since he is “the way, the truth, and the life” Jn 14.6. Probably, not a few listeners caught my reference to the title of their bulletin. This year is, for me, the Year of Love. It might seem strange to some to talk about such topics as authority and instruments from a framework of love. But isn’t that the best (and maybe only) framework in which to treat them? And every other spiritual subject as well?

#love #worship #truth

What good is it?

What good is it to call oneself a Christian and yet find reasons to not attend the service of the Lord’s church wherein saints gather together to worship the Lord? The many who identify themselves as Christians and fail in this area are Christian in name only, not in heart. They think they will be received by the Lord because of some semblance of attendance and some semblance of “the Lord knows my heart.” Surely, they think, “I am in better position than you might think I am.” Really?

Compare what you think with what the Lord said (as in the Charles B. Williams translation).

“Let us continue so to consider one another as to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Let us stop neglecting our meeting together, as some do, but let us continue to encourage one another, and all the more because you see that the great day is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Those who love the Lord consider one another in their attendance, desiring to stimulate others toward faithful service and good works, glorifying the Lord. Those who love the Lord do not neglect their attendance.

The word “neglect” is an interesting word. The dictionary defines it to mean to give little attention to, to give little respect, to leave undone or unattended. Those who fail to regularly attend the services of the Lord’s church are guilty of exactly this, the words of denial not withstanding!

What good is it to be called a Christian and fail to meet with the saints because the kids have activities “to which I have to get them!”? What good is it?

It is only good in one’s mind, but not certainly the Lord’s mind. Those who love the Lord memorialize Him in the life lived. RT

#attendance, #priorities, #worship

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5-8-2017 Useless “Religion”

“Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you’” (Acts 17:22-23 NKJV). “Religion” literally means “fearing some deity,” in this case, idols. Some people are “very religious” about the “gods” of: power, sex, money, sports, themselves, or things. “Worship without knowing” the God of Heaven and Earth and the Bible is vain. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#religion, #worship

VOTD: Deuteronomy 12.8-9 “What seems best”

“You must not do like we are doing here today, with everyone doing what seems best to him, for you have not yet come to the final stop and inheritance the Lord your God is giving you.”

Deuteronomy 12.8-9

Moses told Israel how to worship God once they arrived in the promised land.

What seems best to man is seldom if ever what God wants. Why is that?

#opinion, #votd, #worship

Faulty reasoning about worship

Faulty reasoning abounds about worship. This devotional thought centered on Psalm 149.2-3 from a denominational pastor is a prime example of it. This is the entire piece:

This is fascinating because the tambourine and harp were created by other cultures. From the beginning of worship music, the people of God took the instruments that were available in their day and used them for the glory of God. This means that the Biblical picture of praise is one that can incorporate the contributions of any culture, any style. Since that is the case, what do you have today in your culture that you could use to praise His name?

Men choose elements and features of worship thinking that God will like it. They justify it by twisted logic. Gone is any idea of God authorizing what can be done or under what covenant. Culture trumps covenant. Personal preference wins over worship given to God by faith—that faith that comes by hearing the word of God, Rom 10.17.

Man has often sought “an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion” Col 2.23 ESV. And he even uses the Bible to do it. Continue reading

#biblical-authority, #new-covenant, #new-testament, #worship

Sunday is not the Christian Sabbath

Millions of people in Christendom are completely unaware of the fact that they are not amenable the 10 commandments. The lack of knowledge and understanding goes even to the extent that many of these individuals confuse the first of day of the week with the seventh day of the week by referring to it as the “Christian Sabbath.” But ignorance does not change reality, and reality says that the first day of the week is not referred to as the “Christian Sabbath” in any single verse of the New Testament.

The seventh day Sabbath had a purpose for the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 5: 2-4, 12, 15) and that purpose came to an end when the Law of Moses was replaced with the Law of Christ (Galatians 3:11, 24-25; Hebrews 8:6-7). The rest for God’s people under the New Covenant is not a single day of the week – it is the laborious induced hope of a continual reward of rest in the heavenly presence of God (Hebrews 4:8-11).

Go ahead and enjoy some physical rest. There is nothing wrong with resting in and of itself. But when it comes to resting (or worship) there is no need to confuse others when it comes to the relationship of the 10 commandments and the New Covenant by referring to the first day of the week as any sort of “Sabbath” other than a personal one that is not bound as a commandment upon the church as a whole by God (Romans 14:5-6).

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)

#10-commandments, #first-day-of-the-week, #sabbath, #sunday, #worship