The Nature of Worship

26 06 2007

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
(John 4:21-24)

Worship is not what you feel when you look at the ocean or when you are enjoying a wonderful mountain lakworship-at-the-beach.jpge. It’s not the way you feel smelling the cut grass of a perfectly manicured golf course or hearing the squeak of perfect snow under your skis. Many of us confuse worship with inspiration. Inspiration occurs when God illumines our lives with His gracious presence. Worship is our response to those moments. If we truly want to honor the God who gave us perfect swells, clear trout streams, ski slopes, golf greens, beautiful children, and loving spouses, we should enjoy those things six days a week and then give God the worship He commands on the seventh. Worship always includes gathering with God’s people and participating in “spirit and in truth.”

–Tod E. Bolsinger, It Takes A Church To Raise A Christian: How The Community of God Transforms Lives, pp93-4

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Only God Is Great

25 06 2007

Ascending the throne at the age four, Louis XIV rules as king of France for 72 years, the longest reign in modern European history. Consumed with hiw own power, he called himself the “Greatlouisxiv.jpg Monarch” and declared, “I am the State!” But in 1715, King Louis XIV abdicated his throne to death.

His funeral was nothing short of spectacular. The great cathedral was packed with mourners paying final tribute to their king, who lay in a solid gold coffin. To dramatize the deceased ruler’s greatness, a solitary candle burned above his coffin. Thousands waited in hushed silence as they peered at the exquisite casket that held the mortal remains of their monarch.

At the appointed time the funeral service began, and Bishop Massillon, who presided over this official act of state, stood the address the mourners, including the assembled clergy of France. When the bishop rose, he did something that stunned the nation. Bending down from the pulpit, he snuffed out the lone candle representing Louis XIV’s greatness. The people gasped. Then in the darkness, came just four words from behind the open Bible:

“Only God is great!”

–Steven J. Lawson, Glory, quoted from Heartcry! Life Action Ministries’ Journal on Revival and Spiritual Awakening, Spring 2007, pp42-3.





The Plumbline

24 06 2007

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Every doctrine that is not embedded in the Cross of Jesus will lead astray.christoncross.jpg
Oswald Chambers





Who’s He To You?

23 06 2007

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
(Revelation 2:4,5)

If I let my work to get between my heart and the Master, it will be little worth. We can only effectually serve Christ as we are enjoying Him. It is while the heart dwells upon His powerful attractions that the hands perform the most acceptable service to His name…True, he may preach a sermon, deliver a lecture, utter prayers, write a book, and go through the entire routine of outward service, and yet not minister Christ. The man who will present Christ to others must be occupied with Christ for himself.

–C.H. Mackintosh, Genesis to Deuteronomy: Notes on the Pentateuch, p155; quoted from Heartcry! Life Action Ministries’ Journal on Renewal and Spiritual Awakening, Spring 2007





Warring For Peace

19 06 2007

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
(Ephesians 4:29)

About 20 years ago, I said something impromptu to the new members lined up across the front of the church. As we received them, the Holy Spirit prompted me to add, “And now, I charge you that if you ever hear another member speak an unkind word of criticism or slander against anyone—myself, an usher, a choir member, or anyone else—that you stop that person in mid-sentence and say, ‘Excuse me—who hurt you? Who ignored you? Who slighted you? Was it Pastor Cymbala? Let’s go to his office right now. He’ll apologize to you, and then we’ll pray together so God can restore peace to this body. But we won’t let you talk critically about people who aren’t present to defend themselves.’

“I’m serious about this. I want you to help resolve this kind of thing immediately. And know this: If you are ever the one doing the loose talking, we’ll confront you.”

To this day, every time we receive new members, I say much the same thing. That’s because I know what most easily destroys churches. It’s not crack cocaine, government oppression, or even lack of funds. Rather it’s gossip and slander that grieves the Holy Spirit.

–Jim Cymbala, pastor Brooklyn Tabernacle





Another Religion

17 06 2007

“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”
(1 Timothy 4:16)

I once had another religion, mincing, lisping, baited breath, proper, hunting the Bible for hidden truths, but no obedience, no sacrifice.

ct-studd.jpg–C.T. Studd (1860-1931), English missionary to China, India and Africa





Why Don’t We Get It?

16 06 2007

“Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.”
(Acts 6:3)

As clear as Scripture is about the priority and preeminence of following, it is somewhat amazing that we still don’t seem to get it. Churches hold leadership training courses, but rarely get around to talking about following. We fill our preaching agendas with calls for men to be leaders in their homes and leaders in the church, when what we really need are people who are first and foremost fully devoted followers.

Think of the dramatic power of a husband who tenderly cares for his wife, because he is singularly defined and directed by Christ, regardless of what he gets in return or how she is responding. As a follower, he has no option but to live Christ’s love in his home. Or consider a leader whose singular goal is to magnify Christ and serve the needs of His people rather than gaining a reputation and influence.

–Joseph Stowell, Following Christ: Experiencing Life The Way It Was Meant To Be, p39