Category Archives: quotes

Worship Together

“When I first began leading worship, I served at a tiny suburban church plant in West Fort Worth. The pastor of that church constantly reminded me that folks would never leave our Sunday gathering humming the sermon he preached. They’d leave humming the songs we had sung together. In fact, they were far more likely to have the words we sang rattling around in their minds all week than any words they heard from the pulpit. For whom do we sing? I believe we sing for ourselves and for one another, that we might come to believe more fully the truth of the words we sing and to love more deeply the God to and about Whom they were written.
That belief has transformed the way I personally worship God in song, the way I plan the musical portion of any worship gathering I’m involved with and the way I discern which songs should or shouldn’t be a part of our corporate worship life. If music is, in essence, sung theology, then things like lyrical content and melodic hook become significantly more important to consider.
However, that doesn’t completely quench my desire to know “why we sing.”
If that was all there was to it, then why not just leave the singing to the pros, and attend a musically excellent, theologically rich concert every weekend? Or, for that matter, why not just buy musically excellent, theologically rich music on iTunes and listen to it day in and day out? Why must we gather and actually sing together?
I’ve long been fascinated by the prayer Jesus prays in John chapter 17. He prays specifically for the oneness of those who will come to believe in Him. He prays that we, His people, may be united together; that we might be one just as He and the Father are one.
In the book of Acts, we find the early church living and worshipping together day in and day out. They share what they have. They break bread together. They seek God together.”
…”How many acts of worship are communal in nature? Congregational singing lends itself perfectly to the togetherness & vulnerability that the Gospel demands, deserves and seeks of those living in community. We, together, are the people of God. We, together, are the bride of Christ. Therefore, it’s right and good that we, together, with one voice, should express our affections for our great bridegroom, Jesus.
When we step outside the familiar walls of liturgical tradition and peek back in through the window at all the people standing and singing and raising their hands together, it may look a bit foreign or silly. But, brothers & sisters, as I said, it is absolutely vital to the life of the Church and to the lives of the individual believers therein.
When we gather together, let us lay aside any concern about the quality of our singing voices. Let us lay aside any reservations about whether or not we “feel worshipful” in a given moment. Let us sing. Let us sing as an act of discipline, training our hearts to believe more completely the Gospel of our salvation. Let us sing as an act of community, knowing that the people around us are our brothers and sisters and that they need the truth of the Gospel on our lips to ring in their ears.”
From “What’s the Point of Singing,” by Luke Brawner
Found on
http://www.vergenetwork.org/2014/10/28/whats-the-point-of-singing/

I’m reminded of something Paul writes in Ephesians and Colossians:
singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves,
and making music to the Lord in your hearts. …
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

I have had more than one person tell me that they don’t care about the quality of music or musicianship; they just want to feel God’s presence.
That sounds good, but it’s not biblical.
God designed us to worship, individually and together. He calls us to join in unity (Psalm 133) He tells us to sing to each other…
I think this is especially important in a day when people are so isolated. The last thing we need is to go to Sunday Morning Gathering for more of the same.
There is also a synergy that happens when the worship is made up of live voices. It has a vibrance to it that simply cannot be communicated in recorded or streamed music. Joining our voices says, “I’m with you. I know and love you, here and now.” We desperately need that.

By the way, Scripture also admonishes us to dance, raise our hands, shout and declare.

 

“There, But for the Grace of God, Go I.”

This quote is creditted to a man by the name ofJohn Bradford , a Protestant who was martyred in England in the 16th century.
On seeingseveral criminals being led into the scaffold he remarked, ‘there but for the grace of God’ goes John Bradford. His words without his name are still very common today.

I originally heard this phrase as a response to learning of someone else’s mistake or sin.  It carried the message, “Take care not to point fingers or judge; you have your own struggles with imperfection and sin.”

John Bradford, however, was expressing gratitude for another day alive and the understanding that God was having mercy on him.

It seems that we could apply this both ways in our modern world:
It is true that we need God’s grace to live holy lives.
It is also true that we do well not to judge others or look on their circumstances without compassion and mercy.
What happens to one group of people can happen to another.
I am thinking of the ban on people from countries that are largely Muslim who want to travel to the United States.  Brothers and sisters, the Bible says that we will face persecution.  We are as vulnerable as Muslims, Iraqis, Sudanese, Syrians and all of the other people who are being denied entry, or even detained.  That is why we must stand with them in resisting this injustice.
“There but for the grace of God go I.”  Next time, it could be Christians.

Storehouses Are Opening

This is a prophetic word by Doug Addison.  I am extremely particular about the people to whom I will listen.  Doug is one I trust.

http://dougaddison.com/2016/12/december-prophetic-word-your-storehouses-are-opening/?inf_contact_key=487cfb77719c6bd7aa361d37d672216388cdc0049fba7da74dfe8c86ac7e99e6

 

Does this witness to you?

What Do You Think Is Happening?

As one who belongs to Jesus – a Christian, I wrestle with a quandary:  I fully believe in the Lord and follow Him; I don’t embrace a lot of conservative thinking; I am not really a progressive either.

This gets tricky when I seek a Church home.

I’m not alone in this. It seems that lot of believers are in flux…and quandary.

 

(There are plenty of us who did not vote for Donald Trump.  That doesn’t let us off the hook, however.)

 

Donald Trump and the Transformation of White Evangelicals
Robert P. Jones
Nov. 19, 2016
Robert P. Jones is the CEO of PRRI, a nonpartisan research organization based in Washington, D.C., and the author of The End of White Christian America.

“The Trump era has effectively turned white evangelical political ethics on its head

White evangelical Christians set a new high water mark in their support of Republican candidates by giving Donald Trump 81% of their votes, according to the 2016 exit polls…
How did Trump defeat people with much stronger Christian “credentials”?

But perhaps a more important question—one that will have relevance far beyond the Trump administration—is not why evangelicals supported Trump, but how white evangelicals’ early and steadfast support for Trump has changed them.

 

Perhaps the most dramatic example of the shift in white evangelical political ethics is the way in which white evangelicals have evaluated the personal character of public officials. In 2011 and again just ahead of the election, PRRI asked Americans whether a political leader who committed an immoral act in his or her private life could nonetheless behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public life. Back in 2011, consistent with the “values voter” brand’s insistence on the importance of personal character, only 30% of white evangelical Protestants agreed with this statement. But this year, 72% of white evangelicals now say they believe a candidate can build a kind of moral wall between his private and public life. In a shocking reversal, white evangelicals have gone from being the least likely to the most likely group to agree that a candidate’s personal immorality has no bearing on his performance in public office. Today, in fact, they are more likely than Americans who claim no religious affiliation at all to say such a moral bifurcation is possible.

 

This about face is stunning, especially against the backdrop of white evangelicals’ outrage in response to Bill Clinton’s indiscretions in the 1990s. As Jonathan Merritt documented, Pat Robertson called Bill Clinton a “debauched, debased, and defamed” politician. But this year, Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network featured multiple friendly interviews with Trump—the candidate who bragged about sexually assaulting women and appeared on the cover of Playboy. And Robertson had this to say directly to Trump: “You inspire us all.”

 

Rather than standing on principle and letting the chips fall where they may, white evangelicals have now fully embraced a consequentialist ethics that works backwards from predetermined political ends, refashioning or even discarding principles as needed to achieve a desired outcome.

The key to understanding this reversal is grasping the sense of crisis felt by white evangelical Protestants today…
This is the first presidential election in which white Evangelical Christians find themselves clearly in the demographic minority: 43% today, down from 54% in 2008 and right at the tipping point in 2012. It’s also the first election in which they find themselves in the clear minority on one of their signature issues: opposition to same-sex marriage. In 2008, only 40% of the country supported same-sex marriage, and the country had just crossed into clear majority support in 2012. Today same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states and roughly six in ten Americans support it. The moral majority they are no longer.

Amid this identity crisis, fears about cultural change and nostalgia for a lost era—bound together with the ties of partisan identity—combined to overwhelm the once-confident logic of moral values. The Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore, an early and consistent critic of Trump, put it starkly. White evangelicals have, he argued, simply adopted “a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it.”
A closer look at long term white evangelical voting patterns suggests that Trump’s candidacy has laid bare dynamics that have been operating under the surface for decades, dynamics that were put in motion when white evangelicals unevenly yoked themselves to the party of Reagan in reaction to the civil rights movement in the 1980s.

More than a few white evangelical leaders and pastors are wringing their hands and rending their garments over the tribal support white evangelicals have rendered to the Republican nominee for president. But if these leaders expect to make any headway in recovering a political ethic based on moral values—one that is capable of speaking truth to party and president—they will need to begin much farther back than Trump.”
Read the full article at
Donald Trump and the Transformation of White Evangelicals