Tag Archives: Worship

Weekend Picks ~ 6-2-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well..

The Professionalization of the HomeCourtney Reissig
We live in a modern society, where the work of the home is increasingly outsourced and professionalized. This is a large part of why we have a hard time as seeing it as valuable when we are doing the work only for the home—and not some other enterprise…

The value our work brings to the world that God has made is not measured in perfection, professionalization, or our ability to recreate that pin we saved yesterday. It’s all an illusion attempting to veil the reality that we aren’t living in the perfection of Eden any longer, and sometimes you burn dinner. God has always been concerned with our heart, not perfection. God has always been concerned with faithfulness.

While outsourcing and professionalization of the work began as an attempt to free women up in their increasingly busy lives, it’s become a full-blown industry that makes the rest of us wonder if the ordinary work we are doing is really good enough. If it’s not five-star quality, can it really be of value?


Get in the MiddleDrake De Long-Farmer
PictureIf we wait for when we feel like worshipping, following Jesus or growing it may never happen. But if we choose GET IN THE MIDDLE of the storm of what God’s presence and what He is doing, it is in this place that the work of softening that dry and tired soil can happen and the work of His Spirit can transform our lives, our circumstances and our faith.


Wonder Woman and the Gender WarsRussell Moore
The Apostle Paul…knew about Wonder Woman.

Or, at least the apostle knew of the goddess on whom Wonder Woman was based—Diana or, in her Greek name, Artemis. The Pauline teaching on men and women in the letter to the Ephesians wasn’t written in a void but in the shadow of the temple of Diana, a temple that was one of the wonders of the ancient world. The gospel erupted the city into controversy (Acts 19:21-42) because the news of Christ threatened the silversmiths’ industry of Artemis idols (Wonder Woman action figures, I guess you could say)

Like our time, the ancient world had a complicated view of women’s empowerment. On the one hand, goddess temples filled the empire. On the other hand, so did temple prostitution and misogyny. Some important rights for women have been gained, of course, but we haven’t completely overcome all of that. Wonder Woman does indeed represent power, but she also is, in every iteration, designed to be sexually attractive to men. The 1970s-era television series noted in its theme song, “Fighting for your rights, in your satin tights, and the old red, white, and blue.” The rights and the tights were both part of the package—and, from the looks of things, still are.

The apostolic witness broke through all of that, even in the hometown of Diana. The biblical revelation teaches some very real, creational distinctions between men and women. That revelation also tells us that women are, from the beginning, created to be co-heirs with men, and joint-heirs with Christ, of the reign that is to come. Mars and Venus end their warring when both come into submission to Jesus.


How Mr. Rogers Became Chuck NorrisAaron Earls
Mr. Rogers hero Chuck NorrisObviously, no one was capable of the fictional feats credited to Chuck Norris, but we wished it could have been otherwise. Today, the unshakable kindness of Fred Rogers seems almost as impossible.

Everything is filtered through political labels, resulting in more and more name-calling and dehumanization language and behavior. We don’t want someone who is unstoppable in his strength; we need someone who is undeniable in his goodness.

In 2005, we wanted Chuck Norris to inspire courage and keep fighting. In 2017, we need Mr. Rogers to bring comfort and challenge misconceptions.

We still need heroes, but as Mr. Rogers said, not all heroes wear capes. Not all heroes can execute roundhouse kicks either. Some simply do all they can to reflect goodness and light into the world around them.


Casual Fridays…
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Bizarro

Why Go to Church?

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“Certainly one can be self-centered inside a church gathering, but the church gathering is nevertheless where all the sinners ought to be at the appointed time, smack-dab in the middle of a congregational experience specifically organized against the idolatry of personal preference. Not just because God says to do it—although that’s reason enough—but because it is good for us to have our singular voice lost in the sea of corporate praise and it is good for us to shut our social-media-motor-mouths for a bit and hear ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ We should go to church—not mainly, but nevertheless—because it confronts and stunts our spiritual autonomy and individualism. We should go lest we become Cainites, saying ‘I’m not my brother’s keeper.’ Or reverse Cainites, ‘My brothers aren’t my keepers.’”

Jared Wilson

Weekend Picks ~ 5-26-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well..

Why Homesickness Is HealthJen Pollock Michel
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/homesick-2.jpgNostalgia may have disappeared from our medical dictionaries, but we haven’t cured the ache for home. To be human is to know the grief of some paradise lost. Each of us—however happily settled—suffers a foreboding sense of rupture, as if we’ve been cut off from some hidden source of happiness…

Home represents humanity’s most visceral ache—and our oldest desire…

The biblical narrative begins and ends at home. From the garden of Eden to the New Jerusalem, we’re hardwired for place and for permanence, for rest and refuge, for presence and protection. We long for home because welcome was our first gift of grace, and it will be our last.


In the 80s I was in youth ministry and almost 30 years old, but pretty much addicted to Ms. Pac-Man…

Children of the ‘80s Never Fear: Video Games Did Not Ruin Your LifeMichael Z. Newman
https://www.arcade-museum.com/images/109/1092874315.jpgThere is a particularly American tradition of becoming enthralled with new technologies of communication, identifying their promise of future prosperity and renewed community. It is matched by a related American tradition of freaking out about the same objects, which are also figured as threats to life as we know it…

Somehow, a generation of teenagers from the 1980s managed to grow up despite the dangers, real or imagined, from video games. The new technology could not have been as powerful as its detractors or its champions imagined. It’s easy to be captivated by novelty, but it can force us to miss the cyclical nature of youth media obsessions. Every generation fastens onto something that its parents find strange, whether Elvis or Atari. In every moment in media history, intergenerational tension accompanies the emergence of new forms of culture and communication.


This is a wonderful guide for a powerful personal worship time…

70 Prompts for Praising GodLianna Davis
70 prompts for praising God. a theology blog for women.

“My mouth is filled with Your praise,
and with Your glory all the day.”

Ps. 71:8

Praise Him with me through this list of 70 prompts…


This reflection on a father, being a father, and our heavenly Father really touched me…

Broken ShadowsBrad Larson
https://cbmw.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AdobeStock_53546475-554x360.jpegFathers are shadows. As the light of God shines upon them, their children who come after them should be able to rest in the shadows of God’s grace. A benevolent, loving God should not be something hard to believe in. But the problem is that we fathers are broken shadows. We are fallible and sinful and underqualified to shepherd other eternal human beings.

That’s where grace comes in.


Walt Mossberg has been writing a weekly column on tech stuff since 1991. This is his final piece and he predicts a fascinating future…

The Disappearing ComputerWalt Mossberg
I expect that one end result of all this work will be that the technology, the computer inside all these things, will fade into the background. In some cases, it may entirely disappear, waiting to be activated by a voice command, a person entering the room, a change in blood chemistry, a shift in temperature, a motion. Maybe even just a thought.

Your whole home, office and car will be packed with these waiting computers and sensors. But they won’t be in your way, or perhaps even distinguishable as tech devices.

This is ambient computing, the transformation of the environment all around us with intelligence and capabilities that don’t seem to be there at all.


Smarter phones…
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Wrong Hands

Worship Together

http://resources.razorplanet.com/510188-2746/510188_280_656928.jpgI was invited to lunch by a man in my church. He had something on his mind concerning our worship services that he wanted to talk to me about. We set a time and place. I could hardly wait to get with him because these lunches are always such fun for worship leaders. (Can you hear my sarcastic tone of voice?)

Anyway, as it turns out, this one went pretty well. I’ve had worse. Plus, he paid. But there was something about our worship services that he was asking me to change. Every week, sometime during the service, I would welcome people and ask them to get acquainted with the people around them. To introduce themselves if there was someone they didn’t know. This item appeared on my service plan as “Meet & Greet.”

Creative, right?

He wanted me to stop doing it.

What I found interesting was his reason. It seems he loved the flow of our worship time. He explained to me how the music would lead him to worship. He could let the world slip away and feel truly intimate with God. But just when he was feeling close to God he would be interrupted by all the people around him meeting and greeting. It was a real distraction to his worship.

This conversation occurred many years ago. Since then we have, for many other reasons, discontinued the “Meet & Greet” time. But there is a part of me that would like to bring it back. I understand that it’s one of the most uncomfortable moments during a service for guests. I’m not excited about infecting everyone during cold and flu season. I recognize that it feels artificial and forced.

But I thought of it as a symbolic ritual of something I believe is very important to the corporate worship experience of the church. Something I believe the man who took me to lunch completely missed.

It’s this: Worship isn’t just vertical. It’s also horizontal.

Corporate worship specifically is about the body of Christ coming together to express our unity in worship. You can have your “just-Jesus-and-me” times any time and place you and he agree on. But something different happens when we worship together.

Last Sunday we were singing one of my favorite new songs. As we were singing, Kathie nudged me and pointed out a man across the aisle. This guy had a stroke just a couple weeks before and had been in pretty bad shape. But he has experienced a remarkable recovery and was standing there in the congregation singing his praises. I made my way over to him, put my arm around him in sort of “man hug” and told him how happy I was to see him here. He agreed. He was happy to be here as well. Really happy! This happened as we were singing, “This is your family, Stretching as far as I can see. I’m right where I’m meant to be once again…”

I love that song!

This small interaction was most assuredly not an interruption to my worship. In fact, it was probably the most worshipful thing I did during the whole service.

What glorifies God more than his followers loving one another?

I’ll answer that one for you: nothing.

We definitely need our private times of worship. Do it daily, hourly, every moment of every day. But not when you’re together with the rest of the church. It’s not private there, it’s corporate.

If your worship is only for your benefit, I have to ask: who are you really worshiping?

I’m not really campaigning to bring back the “Meet & Greet” time. It needed to go away.

But not because it interrupts my worship.

Lloyd

 

 

 

Monday Picks ~ 5-22-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well..

The Beautiful, Necessary Distraction Of Corporate Worship David Santistevan
THE BEAUTIFUL, NECESSARYWe are misfits from many walks of life gathered under ONE NAME. We are sinners who’ve screwed up our lives, gathered under ONE CROSS where there is mercy. We are orphans embraced under ONE FATHER, now called sons and daughters.

We are the large, we are the small. We are the rich, we are the poor. We are the smart, we are the uneducated. We are the talented, we are the glossed over. We are the brilliant, we are the broken. We are the church.

And we need your voice in the corporate gathering. And you need that beautiful distraction in your life. It’s a fairy tale to only listen to Bethel records in the comfort of your home. Whether you like the songs or enjoy your band or not, you need Church. And the Church needs you…

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with closing your eyes and focusing on Jesus. No one will punish you for such an action. But corporate worship isn’t just about you and Jesus. You and Jesus can have devotions every day. Corporate worship is about being the Church.


Gotta Trust SomebodySamuel James
https://blogs.mereorthodoxy.com/samuel/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2017/05/7731975344_48d9130ce5_b.jpgTo make suspicion and distrust toward established, respected, and accountable sources of information your default orientation is to either put yourself at the mercy of other sources of information–which are probably just as biased and ideological as the sources you eschew, but biased in a direction you’re more OK with–or, even worse, it’s to make intuition and assumption your primary means of knowledge…

You’ve gotta trust somebody. Free market economics are far from perfect, but one thing to admire about the way America works is that even biased, slanted, ideological news outlets have to compete against each other for public trust, have to keep each other accountable, and have to abide by certain norms and incentives. To dismiss an entire arm of intellectual credentialism is to lose a lot of faith in the free market, really quickly. You’ve gotta trust somebody, and it can’t just be you.


This is a two part post from several years ago. It’s worth remembering…

Nobody Cares About Your Church (part one)Danny Franks
…it was in the middle of that discussion that I was hit with the cold, hard reality: nobody cares about our church

It’s not that they don’t care because they want to see the demise of your church.  In all likelihood, they don’t wish you any harm.  They don’t care because it’s just not on their radar.  The typical unchurched person in your community doesn’t scan the religious section on Saturday to see what’s going on at Second Baptist.  (“Look Martha! A Wild Game Dinner!  We gotta get in on that…”)

So what makes somebody care about your church?  That answer’s coming up in the next post.

Nobody Cares About Your Church (part two)Danny Franks
…most people who will attend your church will do so not because of a flyer, a marquee, or a newspaper ad.  They’ll do it because of relationship.  They’ll do it because a member of your church lent a hand, gave some money, bought some groceries, spoke a kind word, or personally shared the gospel.

And because they trust your people, they might try your church.

The people in your church are the best commercial for your church.  …[They] live what they believe in the community.  They serve without expectation of return.  They give generously when they know of a need.  They seek to bless others without an agenda.


Thirst Editions…
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Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Worship Transfer

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“A sinful act involves worship of the wrong kind,
submitting ourselves at that moment to serve
the appetites of our pride or lust,
and so repentance is literally a transfer of our worship
back to the One who rightfully owns it…
Worship has been misunderstood as something that arises
from a feeling which ‘comes upon you,’
but it is vital that we understand that it is rooted
in a conscious act of the will, to serve and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.
The feelings, the joy of having been forgiven,
follow on as a consequence of our reunion with him.”

Graham Kendrick, Worship

Thursday Picks ~ 5-11-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

The Revenge of Analog DiscipleshipTrevin Wax
Lightstock
Is digital on the way out? Is analog on the way in?

…the revenge of analog does not mean that ebooks will now go away. It means that print is not dead, nor will it die, and what is printed may matter more.

There is no such thing as digital-only discipleship. It’s all analog, because we are embodied people who long for real life community that goes beyond virtual hangouts…

Disciple-making is accomplished by modelers, not just messengers. We develop not merely through cognitive transfer, but also through witnessing the lives and choices of other disciples we encounter on our way. Perhaps this is the reason why the Old Testament emphasizes the meditation and memorization of Scripture alongside conversations about the Law that take place in the daily rhythms of life.

The teachers who make the biggest difference on our lives are those who not only give us knowledge but who know us well enough to speak truth into the specifics of our lives, to give counsel from their vast experience and biblical storehouse.


For your consideration…

The Case for Free-Range KidsLenore Skenazy
Basically, to be a good parent in America today you are expected to imagine the anguish and regret you’d feel if your child died and it was all your fault because you let him do something unsupervised.

My crime was that I hadn’t indulged in what I call “worst-first thinking”—imagining the worst-case scenario first and proceeding as if it were likely to happen. My old-fashioned belief in my son and my city earned me the title “America’s Worst Mom.” (Google it!)…

…So how can we give our kids back the freedom that gave us not only incredible childhood memories but a country bursting with innovation and entrepreneurship? After all, we can’t expect to raise the next generation of risk-takers if they are not allowed to take any risks!


Lots for worship leaders to think about here…

Let Worship Be Local Too: On the Influence of Industry on Sunday MorningRyan Mayo
What are we asking Sunday worship to do for us? This is the root question behind the “worship wars” of recent decades, although that argument typically takes place a few inches above this root. Many American churches have asked at least two inappropriate questions to evaluate our worship ethos. The first is “what music makes us feel like we’ve worshiped?” The second is “what songs and sounds will grow our church?”

These questions have forced out better ones and reveal our real agendas for Sunday liturgies. We have asked our worship practices to bear loads they are not meant to bear, and they have succeeded… These new functions also allowed industry practices and industry pressures to crowd out the old functions, and we are worse for it.

Corporate singing can accomplish many tasks, and church leaders should take great caution when they assign a telos to Sunday music. Singing binds together generations of Christians through common song. Singing catechizes. Singing is also, as Marva Dawn has reminded us, a necessary-and-extravagant “waste of time[1].” Singing can also be conscripted to attract certain groups and/or repel others, or it can produce heightened feelings in our congregations. Singing can dwarf the preached Word of God and relegate it to the status of a lecture, or singing can prepare the ears to hear it. Whether through invitation or through neglect, there is an ever-expanding worship music industry that will exert pressure on our liturgies and, by extension, the theology and practice of our congregations.


Prom Prep…
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Zits – Click image for a larger view.