This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...
What You Miss When You Don’t Gather With Your Church
–Scott Slayton …we may think about what “I” might miss. “I won’t hear the sermon today, but I can read a book, listen to Christian radio, or catch up on the podcast.” “I love to sing worship music, but I can do that in the car on the way to where I am going today. I don’t have to go to a building to sing praises to Jesus.” We make these excuses to ourselves and use them to justify how “I” can make up for what “I” am missing when “I” miss gathering with the church…
…When only thinking about what you aren’t getting, you view the church with a consumer mentality. The church becomes another place where you receive goods and services. However, when you begin to see the church as a people to whom you belong, your motivation for gathering changes. The main worship gathering, community groups, and having people over for dinner become a means for you to give as well as receive.
#TakeAKnee –Deacon Godsey Initially Kaepernick chose to protest these injustices by sitting down during the anthem; after speaking to combat veterans who supported his aim, but were troubled by his method, however, he heeded their advice and chose to kneel, an action typically associated with respect and prayerful reflection…
Our purpose here is not to discern whether the #TakeAKnee protest is one you agree or disagree with, but to focus on what it means for us as followers of Jesus – those who have publicly taken a knee before him as Lord, declaring our exclusive allegiance to him – as we listen to and interact with the hearts, minds, perspectives and experiences of our siblings in Christ when they are driven to take desperate measures to address desperate circumstances
God is good not because he gives us answers,
but because he gives us himself. —Joni Eareckson Tada
There’s more to influence than these four behaviors, but they are the foundation. If you’re focusing on volume and views before these, you’re in trouble. But if any leader who adopts and develops these four behaviors will see results.
The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.
The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…
Psalm 38:1-22 O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! 2 For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
5 My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, 6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. 7 For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
9 O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. 10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me. 11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off.
12 Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long.
13 But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth. 14 I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes.
15 But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. 16 For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!”
17 For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. 18 I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. 19 But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. 20 Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good.
21 Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!
From this passage I hear God asking me:
Do you ever feel this way about your sin?
If not, why not?
Is it because you think your sin isn’t really all that bad?
I suggest you think again.
I also suggest you roll verse 15 around in your mind and heart all day today.
Does that verse sound like faith, or frustration?
Could it be both?
Don’t you ever experience both simultaneously?
Can you wait on me?
Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Worship gatherings are not always spectacular, but they are always supernatural. And if a church looks for or works for the spectacular, she may miss the supernatural. If a person enters a gathering to be wowed with something impressive, with a style that fits him just right, with an order of service and song selection designed just the right way,
that person may miss the supernatural presence of God.
Worship is supernatural whenever people come hungry to respond, react, and receive from God for who He is and what He has done.
A church worshipping as a Creature of the Word doesn’t show up to perform or be entertained; she comes desperate and needy, thirsty for grace, receiving from the Lord and the body of Christ, and then gratefully receiving what she needs as she offers her praise—
the only proper response to the God who saves us.