The second volume in the Trilogy on Worship has been released. It's called The School of Worship. This title comes from the genesis of the idea that lead to me writing the trilogy. I was searching for ideas for blog posts when I came across a list of topics on worship I had accumulated while preparing for a class to teach in our Bible School at church. As I was reading through the list it suddenly occurred to me: This would make a great book! Hence, the name The School of Worship.
It is not a technical book on music, or worship for that matter. It is a study of worship in Scripture and beyond. I hope you will take time to read it. If you do, I would love to hear from you. You can find the book on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle formats. If you're local to Florence I will have some print copies this week. Let me know if you want one.
If you haven't read the first volume, The Call to Worship, I encourage you to do so. It explains more fully the relationship that God desires with every person.
Thursday, June 13, 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Call or text to 256.366.4201.
Let’s worship together.