Why we Worship

PSALM 47

Clap your hands, all peoples!
  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,
  a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
  and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
  the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
  the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
  Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
  sing praises with a psalm!

Why Sing?

God reigns over the nations;
  God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
  as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
  he is highly exalted!


Why Scripture?



 
Repentance


Recent Posts

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Self-sufficient humanism. Paul saw it coming – “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

Imago Dei
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So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Why Can't I Pray?
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The bible gives us several reasons, but according to Jeremy Taylor, a deceitful heart is at the root of prayerlessness.

It's Not Rocket Science
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To keep in step with the Spirit should be our daily quest. And if we are successful at that, all of life falls into place.

Theological Steak
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These words by P. T. Forsythe on the magnificence of Christ's work are to theology what Ruth's Chris is to a good steak.

Describing the Indescribable
February 11, 2012
What we have in Christ will take all eternity to describe. But for one segment of one sermon, a great preacher made a mighty attempt.

Making Sense Of It All
January 30, 2012
Where are things headed? Is there rhyme and reason to the endless cycle of summer, fall, winter and spring? Is there a plan in place, or is randomness the explanation?

When Spurgeon Saw The Light

March 13, 2009

The story of Gideon amazes us. 300 men accomplished the unthinkable. God loves to do amazing things, especially when there is no other explanation. The conversion of Charles H. Spurgeon is such a wonder. Enjoy this hilarious retelling by the man himself.


I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm, one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain place of worship.

When I could go no further, I turned down a side street, and came to a little Primitive Methodist Chapel. In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of the Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly that they made people's heads ache; but that did not matter to me.

I wanted to know how I might be saved, and if they could tell me that, I did not care how much they made my head ache. The minister did not come that morning; he was snowed up, I suppose.

At last, a very thin-looking man, a shoemaker, or tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. Now, it is well that preachers should be instructed; but this man was really stupid. He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had little else to say. The text was, - "LOOK UNTO ME, AND BE YE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH."

He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in that text. The preacher began thus—"My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, 'Look.'

Now lookin' don't take a deal of pains. It ain't liftin' your foot or your finger; it is just, 'Look.' Well, a man needn't go to College to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn't be worth a thousand a year to be able to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look.

But then the text says, 'Look unto Me.' Ay!" said he, in broad Essex, "many on ye are lookin' to yourselves, but it's no use lookin' there. You'll never find any comfort in yourselves. Some look to God the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, 'Look unto Me.' Some on ye say, 'We must wait for the Spirit's workin'.' You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says, 'Look unto Me.'"

Then the good man followed up his text in this way:—"Look unto Me; I am sweatin' great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hangin' on the cross. Look unto Me; I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to Heaven. Look unto Me; I am sittin' at the Father's right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! look unto Me!

When he had gone to about that length, and managed to spin out ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger.

Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, "Young man, you look very miserable." Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home.

He continued, "and you always will be miserable—miserable in life, and miserable in death,—if you don't obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved." Then, lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do, "Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin' to do but to look and live."

I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said,—I did not take much notice of it,—I was so possessed with that one thought. Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, the people only looked and were healed, so it was with me.

I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, "Look!" what a charming word it seemed to me! Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away.

There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him.





The Cross and "Whatever"

March 6, 2009

It is not possible for there to be more pathos than what is packed into the death of our Lord Jesus on the cross. But often there is no "correspondingly" from us to match the significance of the moment. How do we move from cold indifference to melting?


Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.

When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Luke 7:36-38


The depth of appreciation, and the moving expression displayed by this woman is both laudable and unnerving. Her worship is laudable in that Jesus himself receives her tears and perfume as a worship offering, as he defends her vigorously.

Her actions are unnerving in that I find myself falling far below the bar she sets. When was the last time I was overwhelmed by the grace of God. When was the last time even one tear formed, let alone dropped, or that I got all choked up?

Christina Rossetti pondered on the same subject of emotional detachment, and the following poem resulted.

Am I a stone and not a sheep
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?
Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon,—
I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

Our hearts are stone, and yet Rossetti's hope and ours is that the Lord will smite us. Not in a punishing way, but only so that water will gush out.

And as Oscar Wilde points out, a broken heart is what most easily weeps.

Ah! happy those whose hearts can break
And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
May Lord Christ enter in?

And given the hardness of our hearts, to have them broken by our sin is as likely as water flowing from a rock. But as back then, God is able.





Tickling And Hell
February 14, 2009
Itching ears abound in our day - those who want to be stroked and coddled even as their soul remains in a state unprepared to meet its maker. What is a preacher to do?

Thank God For Lancelot Andrewes
February 6, 2009
Who? In the 1500's in England, Lancelot Andrewes compiled for his own use "Private Prayers," which formed the structure he used to poured out his heart to God. Why reinvent the wheel? How might his "method" help us in the 21st Century?

Who Is A God Like You?
February 3, 2009
In Revelation 5, a multitude worships from every race and people and nation. Somewhere in that massive crowd are redeemed ones from the island of Aniwa, in the South Pacific, singing "Worthy is the lamb who was slain." So just how did they get there?

No More "Same Ol' Same Ol"
January 26, 2009
Prayer is at its core it is throwing down the gauntlet at what is, and asking God to intervene. The prophet Habakkuk refused to settle for just ok. He asked God to be mighty, to show His power. Isn't it time we prayed like this once again?

Advent - A Time For Taking Stock
December 2, 2008
Inventory isn't fun, but it is a necessary part of good business practice. And for the believer, this time of year gives us several weeks in a row when we can evaluate and re-evaluate our lives, and what we are giving ourselves away to.

Self-examination
November 12, 2008
"Don't be so hard on yourself. Give yourself a break." Welcome to our cultural mantra. The gravitational pull of the world can be devastating, so Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13: 5: "Examine yourselves." Just what does that look like, and how do we do it?

The Clock Is Ticking
November 5, 2008
"The Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality." Romans 9:28 That sounds ominous, doesn't it? The Day of the Lord is coming. We can't delay it. So are you prepared?

"I'm Warning You!"
November 4, 2008
The "slow to anger" part of God's name is to our great benefit. God is patient, and restrains his wrath, giving us time to repent. But we must not test the limits of God's patience. "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts...Hebrews 3:15

When God Relents
October 30, 2008
Ninevah was scheduled for demolition by God. It's end had been determined. That same God sent Jonah to warn it, so that they could repent and not be destroyed. What gives? Does God vacillate?

A Pastor After God's Own Heart
October 22, 2008
The shift from pastor as shepherd to pastor as CEO has had devastating effects on the "sheep." They've wandered off. So what are the pastoral basics again, and how do we become "retro?"

Examine Yourself
October 4, 2008
Man is so prone to sinful ways, that without maintaining a constant strict watch over himself, no other can be expected than, that he will walk in some way of sin. Jonathan Edwards

CONFESSION - Book of Common Prayer
September 30, 2008
If God is holy (and He is) then transgression is very much a constant reality, with confession the appropriate response. And our heavenly Father loves to show mercy.





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