Thursday, June 13, 2019

Father's Day 2019


John Eldridge once said, “The deepest wound we will experience in life is the father-wound.” I believe this. However, the greatest blessing you can receive on earth is the Father’s Blessing!

When a father messes up it can cause great harm to his children. This happens because it is wired in a child’s DNA by God to expect a blessing from their father. We see throughout scripture the power of a father’s blessing. It set the course for the rest of the child’s life. The words of a father, good or bad, penetrate deep into the soul of the child and either sets a foundation of stone upon which the child can build a life, or father-wounds can damage the life-building site in the heart of a child that some will never overcome.

Father’s Day is coming in a few days. It has often been a mixed bag of emotions for me – mostly from the lack of my father’s presence in my life. He died when I was nine. But even beyond that, Father’s Day reminds me of my experience of being a father. It is one of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced – to see a new life brought into the world, full of life and potential to accomplish anything their heart desires.

Father’s Day also brings back every memory of when I totally blew fathering. There were many times my children wanted to draw close and I, consciously or sub-consciously, pushed them away. Looking back, I believe it was due to my lack of confidence in my ability to show them the right way. Oh, how I wish there were some do-overs in life. I have approached each of my children through the years and apologized for the times I blew it. I hope it helped them, but I still live with the frustration of knowing I could have, and should have, done better.

This is where my faith in God has been my rescue. First of all, I know God, the greatest Father of them all, has forgiven me for my shortcomings. Secondly, He has promised to help my children when they call on Him. So, now my prayer is that they will (and have) found the grace to call on God to fix the places that I’ve messed up, and give them the ability to move beyond any “father-wounds” that I caused and, in turn, receive the Father’s Blessing for their life.

Dads, if you are avoiding your children because of the hurt you have caused your children, take Father’s Day this year as an opportunity to bless them. Tell them that you love them. It may be the hardest thing you will ever do, but do it. You both will be glad you did.

Children, if you are estranged from your father, take a step toward him. Let him know that, regardless of what has happened, you love him. It is not worth living life without the blessing of father-son or father-daughter relationships. It is NEVER too late.

If your father is no longer living, I challenge you to write him a letter and express all that you have in your heart, and bless him. Even if you do not feel he is deserving of your blessing, it will help you. I know this from experience. Do not continue to live your life with ill feelings toward your dad. If you need help with any of this then message me. I happen to know a great counselor that can lead you through this process and help you find a fuller, happier life. It is possible! 

Happy Father’s Day!!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Praise, Worship, and Other Things – Part 7


Praise, Worship, and Other Things – Part 7

The last article dealt with New Testament worship. Specifically, what Jesus meant when He said, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 (ESV) Worship is a spiritual activity. It is our spirit communing with the Holy Spirit. It is the place where we fellowship with our Creator God. The most common form of this is prayer.

But what does “worship in truth” really mean? I think it is much more simple than we try to make it. The only absolute truth we have is the Bible, the Word of God. As long as we sing songs filled with the Word, or based solely on scripture, we are singing “truth.”

There is a verse closely related to this found in a very unlikely place when thinking of worship: The Ten Commandments. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” Exodus 20:7 (ESV) Usually this is explained to mean, “No cussing!” Even though that is good counsel, that is not the meaning of this verse. If you study this out in the original language you find it means: Do not speak wrongly about God!

My wife is a counselor. She sees many people that will say things they have learned about God that are not accurate. She usually does not try to correct doctrine, but she will always correct wrong beliefs about the character and nature of God. It is important what we say about Him. Our speech should accurately reflect the truth about who God is. Our worship should come from a place of understanding God as revealed in scripture.

This is what Jesus was attempting to do with the woman at the well in John 4. She was attempting to impress Jesus with her spiritual understanding. He told her in vs. 22, “You worship what you do not know.” We need to know the One whom we worship. We need to learn of the character and nature of God so we will not engage in “vain” worship. Truth keeps our worship from being irrelevant and irreverent.

Worship in spirit. Worship in truth. Besides these two I do not know of any other constraints on New Testament worship. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you. E-mail me at ibworshipin@gmail.com. Call or text to 256.366.4201.

facebook.com/ibworshipin
Twitter: @ibworshipin
Instagram: @ibworshipin

Let’s worship together.

Blessings!

Dudley


Monday, May 6, 2019

May the Fourth - A Tribute to My Father


I read with humor all of the “May the Fourth” Star Wars puns. Along with Pi day (March 14th) and others like it keeps us amused. However, May 4th has a much different significance for me. Even after fifty years since it occurred, a life event keeps May 4th a sobering time for my family.

On May 4, 1969, my dad, a Birmingham police officer, gave the ultimate sacrifice. He died from a gunshot wound while attempting to stop a burglary. Every time I think of that day I wish he had just let the men take the $50 lawn mowers they were trying to steal. It is pointless to lose a life over a hundred bucks worth of merchandise. But that was not the oath he took when he swore to uphold the law and protect the citizens of Birmingham.

I was only nine years old at the time. I have very few vivid memories of my dad. The ones I do have are of him helping others … always! He was the handyman for several widows that lived near us. He was a deacon at his church. He sang in the choir at church. He was the Cub Master for the local Cub Scout Pack. He was Assistant Scout Master at the local Boy Scout Troop. He volunteered at the local ballpark as an umpire for baseball games. His closet had more uniforms than street clothes.

He was also father to five kids, husband to his only wife, and cared for his elderly mother who lived 50 miles away. He was only forty-two years old. That seemed ancient at the time, but now that I’m about to turn sixty, I realize how much life he still had ahead of him. But, that all changed that Sunday morning. His focus that day was not on preserving his life, or insuring the happiness of his family, but instead carrying out the duty he had sworn to protect and serve.

He was not the only officer killed that year in Birmingham. When he died my mother became a member of a kind of sorority to which she did not willingly join. The widows of fallen officers would meet from time to time. They became linked by common tragedy.

Even though we were financially better off because of all of the support from the community, the City, State, and even federal support, it was no substitute for having a father, a husband, a son, and a friend in the man, Azell Leroy Harris.

That name is now memorialized at the City of Birmingham Police Memorial and also in Washington, D.C., at the National Police Memorial, and on several websites that honor fallen officers. I’m grateful for that. But I regret that my children, and their children will never know the man that name represents. He still lives, however, in the hearts of those that knew him.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Call to Worship, latest title from Dudley Harris, now available on Amazon.com

I'm excited to finally announce the release of my new book, the first in a trilogy on worship, called "The Call to Worship." It describes the relationship between the Believer and their Creator. God issued a call to every person to "become conformed to His Son, Jesus." Answering this call places you on a new trajectory in life that will result in experiencing all that God has made available through the New Birth into Christ. The book is now available on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats. I also have some print copies if you want to hit me up.

I look forward to hear what you think about it. If you decide to read it please send me some feedback. Also, if you read it, thank you!

Blessings!

Dudley


Friday, May 3, 2019

Praise, Worship, and Other Things – Part 6


This is Part 6 of a series on Praise and Worship published in our church newsletter.

One of the attributes of the Church of Jesus Christ is that we follow what the Bible teaches. When it comes to praise and worship in our corporate gatherings there are not many New Testament examples given to us. Here are the references to singing given in the New Testament:

Matthew 26:30 (ESV)
And when they (Jesus and the Twelve Disciples) had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Acts 16:25-26a (ESV)
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly …

1 Corinthians 14:15 (ESV)
What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

Hebrews 2:11b-12 (ESV)
That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” (quoting Ps. 22:22)

James 5:13 (ESV)
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

The other references are in Revelation which were covered under the “New Song” article.

When we speak of Biblical worship there are not many specifics given for us to follow. The verse cited by most when teaching on worship in the life of the Believer it this:
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 (ESV)  Here Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well. What exactly does that mean?

It tells us where worship occurs; it is a spiritual activity. True worship is when our spirit engages the Holy Spirit in communion (fellowship). The most common expression of this is prayer, but it also involves singing or playing an instrument. Music is a gift given to us to connect with our Creator God.

The second word is the one that gives us the most varied interpretations – truth. As I just pointed out above, there are not many “truths” given to us regarding worship in the New Testament. Personally, I feel this is intentional by the Holy Spirit, by whom the New Testament was inspired. By not giving specifics regarding style or expression it keeps worship from becoming law-based. It allows us as Believers the liberty to worship in ways that works for us. The simplest way I know to sing in “truth” is to sing scripturally-based songs. The word of God is truth. Jesus is truth. Sing songs filled with both.

We will look more at “Truth” next time.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Call to Worship - Preface


My latest book, The Call to Worship, has just been released and will be available on Amazon by May 1, 2019, in both print and Kindle formats. I hope you read it. If you do, please send comments. My e-mail address is included in the book, or you can leave them here.


The Call to Worship

Preface

After completing my first book on worship, The Names of God, I began looking for material for writing. Our church had a school of ministry at that time and I had accumulated a list of potential topics for classes that I could teach. As I began reviewing the list it came to me that it would make a great book.

I began writing on the various topics, not really knowing where it would lead. The end result was a trilogy of books on the subject of worship. This is the first. It’s a simple look at what it means to be a Christian.

Every person born has a call from God to become like His Son, Jesus. The first step, of course, is to become a Christian. That restores relationship to the Father. That, however, is only the beginning. Worship is the life of every Believer.

I challenge you to spend time evaluating each aspect of worship mentioned. The chapters are short, but hopefully your time spent in application will be long and fruitful.

The remaining books in the trilogy will be out later this year. I hope you read them as you pursue The Call.