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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Biblical Forgiveness or Wishy-Washy Blah-Blah

What is unique about Christianity among all the other religions/belief systems? The uniqueness is found in the offering of forgiveness of wrongs (SINS) and clearing of guilt. What does mankind need more than anything else? Is it money, food, clothing, rehabilitation, or acceptance? While all those things can be good it does not meet the greatest need of man - that is divine forgiveness and freedom from guilt in Christ. This is the truth and there is no escaping it. The world tries to tell us to keep our mouths shut but in the end all will have to face God in judgment and our eternity will hinge on whether we respond positively to God's offering of forgiveness through Christ. Even though the deception of post-modernity has deceived many, there is an inherent knowledge of this need in all of us - it can even be found on "ER". Yes it is surprising but a contrast to what we need (what Christ offers in Himself) and what the world offers (temporal ease of mind leading to eternal destruction). Watch this episode:

Pretty shocking! Not just the reaction of the man but the fact that NBC would air such truth in opposition to the current culture. Let this be a lesson to us all. Even though it is difficult to show someone their real need and the answer for it, we must offer them the hope that lies in Christ or we too are deserving of reaction that the man gave and even worse.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

10 More Ways to Improve Your Church's Worship Service

Here are 10 more ways to improve your church's worship service. They are not merely improvements but seeking the biblical way to worship. From Don Whitney at his site:

1. Plan worship only for people that CAN worship.
- Church is for believer's not the lost.

2. Keep technology on a leash.
- It is not a Hollywood production to impress man but a cry of praise to God. Technology good, but taken to the extreme - bad.

3. Move the announcements, welcome, and time of greeting to the beginning or end of the worship service.
- Do not break the attitude of worship to high-five "Buddy" or to announce the bake sale.

4. Prepare the congregation for worship.
- It has been a rough week, day, and morning before church - we need to center ourselves.

5. Construct a call to worship.
- Let people know why and what they are doing in worship.

6. Introduce new music wisely.
- Top ten on the charts does not mean doctrinally sound or edifying.

7. Don't hide the ordinances.
- Christ instituted them as a mark of the true church - do them and frequently.

8. Use confessional material.
- The congregation needs to know what they believe - so tell them (i.e., statements of faith).

9. Lead in cooperate confession of sins.
- We are to be bearing one another's burdens and holding each other accountable.

10. Scripturalize routine prayers.
- Do not be as the heathen, use scripture in prayer and change it up.

Once again read the whole article. Worth your while!

10 Ways to Improve Your Church's Worship Service

In a day and time where many churches are seeking to have a successful worship service, many leaders are looking to the world instead of the Bible. Don Whitney at his web site, The Center for Biblical Spirituality, presents an article that unwraps true worship. Here are the 10 ways he gives:

1. Focus on God in EVERY element of worship.
- Who else would we worship?

2. Have clear biblical support for every element of worship.
- So important but so ignored.

3. Offer to God and acceptable service [i.e., worship] in reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28).

- Anything else is worthless.

4. Preach Expositionally.
- It is God's Word - preach it as it is not as we want it to be.

5. Give attention to the public reading of scripture (1 Timothy 4:13).
- His Word is truth and truth edifies so read it.

6. Pray!
- We need God's help to worship Him.

7. Transition smoothly between elements of worship (1 Corinthians 14:40).
- Accidents happen but preparation and sincerity is key.

8. Do as much as possible congregationally.
- We are to be building one another up through fellowship.

9. Have congregational singing with musical accompaniment, not music with congregational accompaniment.
- It is not a concert for the people but a time of praise by the congregation for God.

10. Evaluate your worship service each week with several leaders.
- It's called humility and concern for God not self.

Check out the full article. It is much needed and right on.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Questions About Music

Here are some very powerful questions to help discern if you have been manipulated into thinking a certain way about music and worship. Here is the full article by Greg Gilbert at 9Marks.

  • Do you get bored when someone reads a longish passage of Scripture in your church? Do you start wishing they’d get on with the music?
  • Do you need music playing in the background for the reading of Scripture to affect your emotions?
  • Does a prayer seem too “plain” or “stark” to you if it doesn’t have music playing behind it?
  • Do you feel depressed a few weeks after a worship conference because you haven’t felt close to God in a long time?
  • Do you desperately look forward to the next conference you’re going to attend because you know that, finally, you’ll be able to feel close to God again?
  • If you’re in a big church with great music, are you able to worship when you visit your parents’ small rural church?
  • Do you ever feel worshipful in the middle of the week, at work, at school, etc. just because of thinking about God and his grace? Or does that only happen when the music’s playing?
  • Do you tend to feel closer to God when you’re alone with your iPOD than you do when you’re gathered with God’s people in your church?
  • Do you feel like you just can’t connect with other believers who haven’t had the same “worship experiences” that you have? Can you only connect with other believers who “know what it feels like to really worship?”
  • Is your sense of spiritual well-being based more on feeling close to God, or knowing that you are close to God because of Jesus Christ?