Category Archives: Worship

Like Children
“Truly, I say to you,
unless you turn and become like children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I guess the worst thing about growing up
is that fun and amazement drift into sporadic entertainment
and forced, ritualized behavior.
The glow of vocation slips into the monotony of procedure.
The exhaustion that comes from playing too hard
becomes more effort than it is worth.
Comfort is more yearned for than the experience of reading
or talking away the night.
Joy becomes a matter of observing and reflecting
on the almost grotesquely carefree child.

Christ spoke several times of children and of his attraction to them.
He thought we needed to be like them, in some ways.

I pray I never mistake atrophy of imagination for maturity.
I pray that I never approach Christ so solemnly
and so full of the cynicism of years and doubts
that I find him distracted while I whine to him.

I pray I never see his eyes wander from me
as he searches for a child lost in play.


Number thirty-four in God Is No Fool by Lois Cheney

(I’ve always loved this little book since I first discovered it while I was in college. Click the image for purchase info.)

When I Don’t Feel Like It

But I must confess that there are days
when my circumstances don’t seem to lend themselves to worship.
Days when I feel so caught up in my own problems
or so pulled down by my own depression
that entering into worship would almost feel hypocritical.
What am I to do on those days?
On those days I am to worship anyway!
I am to bring the Lord what the Bible calls sacrificial praise:
‘So through Jesus let us always offer to God our sacrifice of praise,
coming from lips that speak His name.’ (
Hebrews 13:15)

-Claire Cloninger

All Were Astonished

“Could ‘astonishment’ be a good synonym for worship?”

This question arose in one of my recent God Questions posts.

Luke 9 contains many amazing events. After Jesus heals a boy who was convulsed by an unclean spirit Luke tells us that “…all were astonished at the majesty of God.” (Luke 9:43)

I’ve been thinking about this for the last few days, and it seems to me that “astonishment” may not actually be a synonym for worship, but I believe it is an important aspect. An aspect that is usually far too lacking.

I remember the very first time we used drums in a worship service. Some people were astonished. Some in a good way. Quite a few in a bad way. They expressed their astonishment in phone calls, letters, and notes on the “silent roll call” cards.

I remember the first time someone had the audacity to serve communion without wearing a tie. Many were astonished that the elders would allow it.

I remember a time when I used the phrase, “come hell or high water” in a sermon. I received a phone call from an astonished church member who couldn’t believe a preacher would use profanity in a sermon.

People have been astonished at the use of dramatic lighting, modern music, video preaching, removing the organ, removing the attendance and offering statistics from the bulletin program, the way the worship leader wears his hair, an awesome guitar solo, and more. Much more.

When was the last time you were astonished in worship?

What caused it?

There have been times during a communion service that I’ve been astonished that God could ever accept me. I know me. I’m sure He does, too. It’s astonishing to me that, in spite of my selfish sinfulness, God made such a horrific sacrifice… for me.

Sometimes, when I look around me on Sunday morning, I’m astonished at lives that are changed through the ministry of my church. God does that. He uses us broken sinners to bring healing and hope to other broken sinners. Astonishing.

I see our worship team, our children’s ministry volunteers, our greeters, and many more servants, and I’m astonished at the number of people in my church who give an astonishing amount of time, energy, talent, and money in serving in the church, and in their community through Whiz Kids, Habitat for Humanity, and elsewhere. Astonished and thankful.

Sadly, I’m also astonished at the people who refuse to see any of that because they’re uncomfortable with the music, or the lighting, or whatever.

I don’t think comfort and astonishment mix very well.

“And all were astonished at the majesty of God.”
Luke 9:43

What astonishes you?

I think it depends on what you’re looking for.

Next Sunday morning, look for God.

He’s there.



We Are Wrong“Among the countless nuggets of wisdom I have received
over the years from my father is this bit of gold-
when you are reading your Bible and you come across
something that makes you uncomfortable,
resist the temptation to simply move on to something else.
Where the Bible makes us uncomfortable
is precisely where we need to slow down.
It is compelling evidence of a specific weakness.
When our thoughts or feelings bristle under God’s Word,
He is right and we wrong.”

R.C. Sproul

Why Beauty?“Every created beauty was created by God to lead our affections to Him.
That’s why He made the pleasures of earthly beauty so fleeting—
so that on the other side of the pleasure we might experience
either wonder and worship and ultimate satisfaction in God
or the pursuit of the pleasure that beauty provides for its own sake.
If we choose the latter, we will only be disappointed again.”

Steve DeWitt,  Eyes Wide Open

All Worship Is Contemporary

As I think about the above definition, it seems to me that all worship is contemporary worship. If it’s not happening in the present, it’s not happening. It might’ve happened in the past, and it might happen in the future.

But authentic worship occurs in real time. It’s a present action.

Yes, there is a sense in which our worship gatherings recall, and retell past events. But those past events are not the events of a mere generation or two ago.

Here’s the thing: Jesus is alive today, and will be alive forever into the future.

Jesus is contemporary.

In any generation.

So, when our churches use modern tools, language, and music in our worship, it’s not in an attempt to make Jesus relevant to the present. He’s already here. He’s already relevant without our help.

No, we use these things to try to keep up with Him.

He’s boldly going where no one has gone before.

Let’s try to keep up.