Tag Archives: Worship

On Family and Church

Hamiltons – Christmas 2013 Photo by Katy C Photography

Let me tell you about my family.

My name is Lloyd. At the time of this writing I am 62 years old, the oldest child of parents Bob & Faye. My dad is 83 and my mom is 80. They were both very young when they married in 1952 and I was born the following year while Dad was in the Air Force. Four years later my sister Rhonda was born and eight years after that (Surprise!) my sister Ginger was born.

In 1974, at the tender age of 21, I married Kathie, my high school sweetheart. We had been married for 7 years when Liz was born. Two years later Kate was born and our little family of four was complete. Well, that’s what we thought until our grandkids were born!

Kate married Timm in 2006 and our family began growing some more. Iris was born the following year and is now 8 years old (I can’t believe it!), Asher came along 2 years later and little Oliver was born just this summer on the Fourth of July, 2015.

Also, Liz began dating Trent a few years ago and he has become very much a part of our family.

If you’re keeping track, that’s a total of 13 people ranging in age from 83 years to 4 months.

But wait…there’s more.

My sister Rhonda married in 1981. She’s divorced now, but while they were married they had 3 children: Chris, Becky and Mike. Chris is married and he and his wife, Mary have 2 beautiful daughters: Elliot and Harper. Becky married a handsome young man named Josh about two years ago. No kids…yet. And we recently took a road trip to Baltimore for Mike and Kristin’s wedding.

My baby sister Ginger eloped with her boyfriend Bob in 1993. Their daughter Sara is now a college student.

Twenty-three people.

Single people. Divorced people. Newlyweds. Oldlyweds (63 years!). Boomers. Gen-Xers. Millennials. Republicans. Democrats. Jazzers. Rockers. Headbangers. Country music lovers! Video gamers. Musicians. Writers. Artists. Teachers. Public servants. Medical professionals. Accountants. Techies. Care-givers. People in need of care-giving.

When you think about it, we have more differences than we do similarities. What do we have in common? Nothing.

Well, there is one thing:

DNA.

Also, we are each somewhere along a path from utter dependence on others in the family, to being responsible for others in the family, and back again to dependence. As we travel along this path, I think we can look at our role in terms of need, contribution and responsibility.

Early in our lives our need is great. We are responsible for nothing and our contribution is measured in terms of the joy we bring to our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents as they see to our needs and watch us grow and develop.

As the years pass into our teens, if things develop normally, our need lessens and our contribution increases. We begin to learn what it means to have responsibility for things and ourselves. Certainly, we still have needs, and others are ultimately responsible for us, but we’re learning.

When we move into adulthood we find that we now shoulder real responsibility. We are not dependent on others to sustain us. In fact, we are the ones responsible for the well-being of others who are younger (or older) and have greater need. Our contribution during this time is great, even to the point of sacrifice at times for the need of others.

Then, of course, as we grow into old age we find our personal need increasing. Our level of responsibility begins to subside and our contribution is mainly in the area of mentoring and the sharing of wisdom gained over the years. The rest of the family begins to see us as their foundation, and if our life has been lived well, they love us and appreciate us for being a positive example and influence in their lives. They may be filled with gratitude that we have built this family into something they can be proud of. We will find, however, that while our family respects us, cares for us, and is there to help when needed, their lives no longer revolve around us.

I believe that’s as it should be.


White Oak Christian Church – Colerain Campus, December 2, 2012

Now, let me tell you about my church family.

Single people. Divorced people. Newlyweds. Oldlyweds. Boomers. Gen-Xers. Millennials. Republicans. Democrats. Jazzers. Rockers. Headbangers. Country music lovers! Video gamers. Musicians. Writers. Artists. Teachers. Public servants. Medical professionals. Accountants. Techies. Care-givers. People in need of care-giving.

When you think about it, we have more differences than we do similarities. What do we have in common? Nothing.

Well, there is one thing:

Jesus.

Also, we are each somewhere along a path from utter dependence to responsibility and back again to dependence.

Early in our spiritual lives our need is great. We are responsible for nothing and our contribution is measured in terms of the joy we bring to the rest of the church as they see to our needs and watch our lives change as we grow and develop.

As the years pass into our spiritual adolescence, if things develop normally, our need lessens and our contribution increases. We begin to learn what it means to have responsibility for things and ourselves. Certainly, we still have needs, and others are ultimately responsible for us, but we’re learning.

When we move into spiritual maturity we find that we now shoulder real responsibility. We are not dependent on others to sustain us. In fact, we are the ones responsible for the well-being of others who are younger (or older) and have greater need. Our contribution during this time is great, even to the point of sacrifice at times for the need of others.

Then, of course, as we grow into old age we find our level of responsibility begins to subside and our contribution is mainly in the area of mentoring and the sharing of wisdom gained over the years. The rest of the church begins to see us as their foundation, and if our life has been lived well, they love us and appreciate us for being a positive example and influence in their lives. They may be filled with gratitude that we have built this church into something they can be proud of. We will find, however, that while our church family respects us,  cares for us, and is there to help when we have need, their lives no longer revolve around us.

I believe that’s as it should be.

Don’t you?

Lloyd

 

The Only Proper Response


“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.”

– Geiger, Eric; Chandler, Matt; Patterson, Josh . Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church

My Picks for 10-29-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Why “God’s Not Dead” Resonated, and What It Missed
– Trevin Wax
godsnotdead“…to see the situation as a “battle of the minds” and the solution as “winning the argument” is to miss the deeper part of the diagnosis. The problem is not merely argumentation, but environment. The environment (created by unexamined presuppositions) is what makes the argumentation so persuasive….

…the answer lies, at least in part, in the very thing God’s Not Dead left out – the Church, the people of God who showcase the reality of the resurrection through our common life together. If college makes it plausible to believe “God is dead,” the Church should make it hard to believe anything other than “God is alive.”


I’ve found myself on both sides of this question at different times and with different people…

Why Play Secular Songs in Worship? Travis Jeffords

secular-songs
“This week I had a good friend of mine ask why we play secular songs in worship instead of just overtly sacred songs. Here’ what I told him…”


I have sung with various groups over many years and I can attest to the truth of this study in my own life…

The Ice-Breaker Effect: Singing Together Makes Us Bond More Than Other Activities Lecia Bushak
singing


And don’t forget:
Embedded image permalink

My Picks for 10-28-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Before Galaxies Stood Forth, He Knew You
-Jim Essian

“But before all that, God knew you. He chose you before the foundation of the world.

And I promise you, our response to that was never to be mere morality or religious observance. When Jesus spoke the galaxies into existence he wasn’t saying, “I hope this compels my people to vote Republican and not drink beer.” The only right response is worship and wonder.”


Debunking 4 Myths About Religious Freedom
-Russell Moore

“Religious liberty doesn’t fuel culture wars. It protects fundamental freedoms from culture war casualties, regardless of which side is winning at the moment. That’s why religious freedom is important, and why debunking its cynics is so urgent. …Here are four popular myths about religious liberty I commonly encounter.”


If Beatles Songs Were Written In Elizabethan Times
anachronistic beatlesFor example:
“The lady doteth upon thee, verily, verily, verily.”
“She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.”

 

My Picks for 10/26/2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Why Corporate Worship Is Good for the Soul
David Santistevan
Hibernate“What happened to the idea that corporate worship is an individual responsibility? You are the church. Your heart needs to be felt. Your voice needs to be heard. It’s not just about being entertained or getting ‘filled up.’ We come because we’re a part of the family and we have a voice. …So let’s lay down the complaining. Let’s stop hating each other. Let’s stop looking for something new to criticize. Let’s take responsibility and go to church for more than making sure it lines up with your preferences.”


Amazing…

Largest-Ever Image of Space
“Space is big, but it’s never been quite this big. This composite image taken by astronomers at Germany’s Ruhr-Universität Bochum is, they claim, the largest image of space to date. It shows a long swathe of the Milky Way, photographed piece by piece over a period of five years from the university’s observatory in the Chilean desert.”


For all my under-appreciated bass playing friends…

The Neuroscience of Bass: New Study Explains Why Bass Instruments Are Fundamental to Music
Fender Marcus Miller Jazz Bass with authentic Marcus Miller signature under the pickguard. Serial no. Q074671 Made in Japan Features: - Natural - Maple fingerboard - 3 pick guards: original 3-ply black, white and chrome - Two-band active EQ - Badass® Bass II™ bridge More information: http://www.fender.com/en-NL/series/artist/marcus-miller-jazz-bass-maple-fingerboard-natural-3-ply-black-pickguard
“It seems the importance of rhythm players, though overlooked in much popular appreciation of music, cannot be overstated.”


Let’s close with a little Bizzaro
(click the image for a full size version)

http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Bizarro-10-25-15-WEB.jpg

 

God Has Done Something

god-space_1 copy“God has spoken and acted in Jesus Christ.
He has said something. He has done something.

This means that Christianity is not just pious talk.
It is neither a collection of religious ideas nor a catalogue of rules.
It is a ‘gospel’ (i.e. good news) –
in the apostle Paul’s words ‘the gospel of God…
regarding his Son…Jesus Christ our Lord.’

It is not primarily an invitation for us to do anything;
it is supremely a declaration of what God has done in Christ
for human beings like ourselves.”

– John Stott, Basic Christianity

Wednesday Morning Picks

The Rebellion of Song – Michael Kelly

“Christian, sing today. Sing tomorrow. Sing the songs of the rebellion, and fight on.”


 

How Confidence Makes Us Kind – Russell Moore
rsz_16241388115_97b8cba141_o
“‘This country is spiritually in decline,’ or ‘If God doesn’t judge this country, he will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.’ Writer Marilynne Robinson notes that those who speak in such a way rarely include themselves, or their circles of friends, in this assessment. It becomes another form of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ demarcation. Moreover, it feeds into a sort of apocalypticism that feels invigorating, like, she says, a panic attack—with a jolt of adrenaline to fire up the passions. But this hysteria is actually a betrayal of Christianity itself, since it assumes that history is ultimately in the hands of humanity.

The opponents of the gospel often picture the onward advance of secularization and of moral “freedom” as the inevitable march of historical progress. Christian orthodoxy is on the ‘wrong side of history.’ They believe this, but, too often, so do we. The culture around us knows what it means when they see a church in perpetual outrage and bluster. They know that we are scared. How different this is from the mindset of Jesus himself.”


Now THIS is how to decorate your house for Halloween!
Monster House
More photos here.

 

Why do preachers talk so much about money?

money-02Why do preachers talk so much about money?

At WOCC we are in the final year of our ENGAGE vision campaign. The goal of this campaign was to get everyone excited about what God is doing here and where He’s taking us, and to fund this vision for the next three years debt-free. At the beginning, this campaign caused me to think quite a bit about money and it challenged Kathie and me to a whole new level of giving. (Now, the fact of my recent retirement has caused me to revisit that subject from a whole new perspective! But I digress.)

Inevitably, during a campaign such as this, and during the typical fall “stewardship emphasis” the question comes up: “Why do preachers talk so much about money?”

Seems to me there are two answers to that question, depending on what you mean.

If by “so much” you really mean “too much” the answer is simply this:

They don’t.

I can tell you sincerely that it’s just not true. Every single preacher I’ve ever known (and I know a LOT of preachers) hated talking about money. They just never got real stoked about preaching that yearly “stewardship series”. They did it because they knew they had to. And the reason they felt they had to is probably not the reason you’re thinking.

However, if by “so much” you really mean “at all,” here’s why…

Preachers don’t teach about money just to get the offerings up. They do it because they know that the way we handle money is as much a mark of discipleship as our sexual morals, our prayer life and our Bible learning…and anything else you can think of. From time to time you’ll hear (or maybe, say) something along the lines of: “We shouldn’t talk about money. Let’s just reach out to people with the gospel and the money will follow.” The thing is, we don’t approach any other area of discipleship like that. “We shouldn’t talk about living a moral life. Let’s just reach out with the gospel and the morality will follow.” While it’s true that the gospel changes lives from within it doesn’t mean we stop teaching about what it means to live life as a Christ-follower. Jesus’ teaching (Now THERE was a preacher who talked a LOT about money!) was that the use of our money is the BEST indicator of a person’s discipleship. In Matthew chapter 6 he tells us that where we put our money is where our hearts will be. So to determine what is really important to us and what it is that we value and trust the most, we have simply to ask ourselves the question, “Where do we put our money?”

So preachers talk about money.

And, just in case you think that your church doesn’t need to grow in this area of discipleship, I challenge you to do a little research and a little math.

Take a couple minutes and Google the average household income for your area (county, city…whatever). I did it for Colerain Township. Then check how many households would be considered members of your church. Multiply the average income with the number of church households and you’ll have something close to the total income of your church family.

Now I realize that the tithe was an Old Covenant requirement and we’re now under grace. I get that. But the point of the whole tithe thing was for us to learn that God really owns everything anyway. So, for convenience sake, let’s just start with a tenth. If everyone in your church gave a tithe, one tenth of the household income, what could your church budget be? I don’t care if you calculate it on gross or net, I’d be willing to bet your church budget is nowhere close to what it could be under those conditions. Imagine the good that could be done in your community if that were to happen.

So, do preachers talk too much about money?

It would seem not.

Lloyd

Worship Fire

The fuel of worship is
a true vision of the greatness of God;

the fire that makes the fuel burn white hot is
the quickening of the Holy Spirit;

the furnace made alive and warm by the flame of truth is
our renewed spirit;

and the resulting heat of our affections is
powerful worship,
pushing its way out in confessions, longings,
acclamations, tears, songs, shouts,
bowed heads, lifted hands, and obedient lives.

– John Piper