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?



 
Sin
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God... (Ephesians 2:1-4a)


Recent Posts

God? Who Needs Him?
May 31, 2013
Self-sufficient humanism. Paul saw it coming – “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

Imago Dei
September 12, 2012
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?
August 18, 2012
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
July 23, 2012
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
April 10, 2012
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?

Choices Have Consequences

January 1, 2010

Poets often see things as they are before the "general public" - you and me. Their insight into faith matters needs to be considered, and perhaps could serve as a wakeup call.


This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' Jeremiah 6:16

 

Thomas Hardy, the English poet perhaps best known for his novels, considered poetry his first love. He had early exposure to the church of England, and then was influenced by the Baptists, choosing to reject both influences. But as you will see in his poem GOD'S FUNERAL, he laments the loss of God, with an unmistakable tinge of regret and fear.

 

God is now for Hardy the....

 

Mangled.....Monarch of our fashioning,

Who quavered, sank; and now has ceased to be.

 

So, now that we have "gotten rid" of God, what do we do?

 

'And who or what shall fill his place?

Whither will wanderers turn distracted eyes

For some fixed star to stimulate their pace

Towards the goal of their enterprise?'...

 

Hardy get it - there is no longer any fixed center. Everything is up for grabs.

 

Some in the background then I saw,

Sweet women, youths, men, all incredulous,

Who chimed as one: 'This is figure is of straw,

This requiem mockery! Still he lives to us!'

 

Is this a reference to believers who hold to a risen Christ, against all odds, in every age?

 

I could not prop their faith: and yet

Many I had known: with all I sympathized;

And though struck speechless, I did not forget

That what was mourned for, I, too, once had prized.

 

 

Still, how to bear such loss I deemed

The insistent question for each animate mind.....

 

Hardy refuses to gloss over a culture that chooses to live as though there were no God.

 

And gazing, to my growing sight there seemed

A pale yet positive gleam low down behind.....

 

Hope springs eternal. "It's not so bad," says the crowd. "We'll be allright. You'll see."

 

Whereof, to lift the general night,

A certain few who stood aloof had said,

'See you upon the horizon that small light --

Swelling somewhat?' Each mourner shook his head.

 

This world needs light. And so alternative sources are sought after. The search is ongoing to find something to hold on to.

 

And they composed a crowd of whom

Some were right good, and many nigh the best....

Thus dazed and puzzled 'twixt the gleam and gloom

Mechanically I followed with the rest.

 

Hardy is unable to fight the gravitational pull of the spirit of the age. He gives in without putting up much of a fight.

 

Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways and in the ancient paths. They made them walk in bypaths and on roads not built up. Jeremiah 18:15

 

 

 

 

 






We Tremble Not For Him

June 28, 2009

In the first chapter of Job we see Satan with easy access to Almighty God. They converse, even. And Job's welfare is the subject. Not surprisingly, Francis Quarles (1592-1644) is bothered by this, and seeks resolution in a poem.


In a description of England during 1586, William Harris first mentions a "Bandogge, a huge dog, stubborn, uglier, eager, burthenouse of bodie, terrible and fearful to behold and often more fierce and fell than any Archadian or Corsican cur." It is assumed that the word "Bandogge" originated from the use of strong bonds and chains to secure the dogs.

In other words, a bandog was one scary dog - apparently making our contemporary pit bull look like a poodle in comparison. In discussing Satan, and recognizing God's power over him, as exhibited in Job chapter one, Quarles likens Satan to a bandog - chained, but still ferocious.

ON THE TEMPTER
By Francis Quarles

How dares thy Bandog, Lord, presume to approach
Into thy sacred presence? Or encraoch
Upon thy choice possessions, (in this case, Job!) to devour Thy sporting Lambs? To counterfeit thy power
And to usurp thy Kingdom, even as he
Were, Lord, at least, a substitute to thee?

Why dost not rate him? why does he obtain
Such favor to have liberty of his chain?

Have we not enough enemies to counterbuff now?
Is not the Flesh, the World enough to foil us?
This abroad, and that at home;
But must that Satan, must that Bandog come
To afflict the weak, and take the stronger side?

O, are there not enough, enough beside?
Is there not odds enough, when we have none
But mighty foes; nay, rebels of our own,
Beneath a false disguise of love and peace
That still betray us? Are not these, all these
Sufficient, to encounter and overthrow
Poor, sinful Man; but must that Bandog too,
Assault us Lord? We dare not cast our eyes
Our timorous eyes to Heaven, we dare not rise
From off our aching knees, to plead our case,
When he can commune with thee, face to face;
Nay more, were it possible to do,
Would draw thee, Lord, to his bold faction too.

Martin Luther got it right in A Mighty Fortress...

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.


Francis Quarles gets this as well.....

Lord, lend me but thy power to resist
What foes thou sendest and send what foes thou list:
It is thy battle: If thou please to warm
My blood, and find the strength, I'll find the arm;
March thou in the front: I'll follow in the rear;
Come then ten thousand Bandogs, I'll not fear.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.







Saturday Night Ritual
June 22, 2009
No question, Saturday evening is traditionally a "night-on-the-town" opportunity. But if we are to be sitting in church just 12 hours later for worship, just what steps can be taken to make that time as significant as possible?

The Kiss Of Death
June 2, 2009
God's grace can lead to not taking sin very seriously. Big mistake! Sin is toxic, to kiss it is to die. Its aim is to take us out, to render us harmless, ineffective, useless, or worse yet, turning us into bored, distracted and conflicted spectators.

Don't Worry! Be Happy!
May 15, 2009
In denial. Nero, who apparently fiddled while Rome burned, would be the classic example of it. Jesus faced it while here on earth. And the disease is still with us. What are its symptoms? Diagnosis is the first step to finding a cure.

Feeding On The Bone
May 13, 2009
Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) stated that the "reason why Christians are so loath to exchange this world for a better is because they have more sense than faith; they see what they enjoy; they do but hope for what is to come."

Keeping The Heart Tender
April 20, 2009
God has the power to change hearts. He can give us brand new ones. But just like what we eat can keeps us living longer, so we can live in a way that keeps our spiritual hearts beating for the living God.

Me, Myself and I
March 12, 2009
You've heard the joke, "enough about me - what do you think of me?" Narcissism is the new religion that suffocates even as it seems to comfort. And it stands completely opposed to the Christian worldview that denies the self. Something has to give.

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?

Outrage and The Holiness of God
March 5, 2009
A jaded Christian is an oxymoron. Anything that is hurtful to God must hurt us as well. We must not become so self-protective that we are not emotionally impacted by rebellion against God. And any such identification pleases God.

Sinners From Day One
March 4, 2009
Babies are darling, staring at you when firstborn. What are they thinking, you wonder? They seem so innocent. But Proverbs says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. So what is that about?

The Gift of God
February 24, 2009
The Holy Spirit residing in us? God that close? What a privilege to be a temple for Him to reside. How frightening! And yet how glorious! God is good, and this is a gift like no other.

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?

The Incredible Love Of God
January 30, 2009
Have you walked through the Sistine Chapel? Then have you tried to describe it? Lots of luck. Words don't do it justice. P. T. Forsythe had a gift for words, and a love for the cross of Christ. And we are blessed as a result.

Praying For The Wrong Reason
January 5, 2009
Just why did Jesus promote praying in seclusion, with the door closed? Our tendency to pray horizontally and not vertically must be avoided at all costs. We naturally posture and pose, and suddenly what is beautiful turns ugly, both to man and to God.

Go Away And Leave Me Alone!
December 13, 2008
This world is enemy territory, and Satan fights for every inch. And the biggest threat to him are Christians who take the word of God as just that, the word of God, and seek to live by that word, knowing that to be the path of greatest happiness.

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?

Redeeming Time
November 12, 2008
Jesus may have participated in small talk ("Wow, it's way hot!) but given the nature of his mission and his short stay, he seems to have made every minute count for eternity. Every encounter seems to be in dead earnest. So what is our take away?

A Prophet For Our Times
November 9, 2008
Certain men and women hear from God at key times, and see with eyes that are unimpeded by the smog of culture. David Wells is one such person worth listening to.

Walking Lumps Of Clay
November 8, 2008
In an age of self-esteem, when narcissism is a badge of honor, the spirit of another age might serve to give us a different perspective. What have we lost, and how might we get it back? To such a subject Francis Quarles spoke with eloquence.

Never Lose The Wonder
October 16, 2008
Part of the effects of the Fall is that we get bored. And when the truly valuable loses its luster, we start exploring options. If the subject is grace and we get bored - then the loss is truly great. The appropriate response to grace is wonder.

Why God's Holiness Matters
October 15, 2008
When Isaiah had his vision of God, he was impacted by the purity of God. "Woe is me," he cried, because he knew he was a sinner standing before a holy God. That understanding is being tossed over the side in our day, and the loss is profound.

The Most Amazing Love
October 14, 2008
God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21

Heart Surgery
October 14, 2008
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve." Jeremiah 17:9,10

The Greatest Peril Facing the Church
October 5, 2008
If the Church is ailing, and few would argue the case otherwise, then what diagnosis is correct, and how might she get well? David Wells and P. T. Forsythe offer some powerful insight. And not surprisingly, it is connected to God's holiness.

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

Sinners, Of Whom I Am The Worst
October 1, 2008
Is this just sort of a weird way of bragging? Or, like Isaiah, as we see God in His holiness, do we become more keenly aware of our sinful nature?

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.

Physician, Heal Thyself
September 3, 2008
Pride causes us to "tisk, tisk" everyone else, and to never turn the eye inward. To stay in that state is misery and death. Just how can pride be "put in its place?"

Pride
September 3, 2008
Thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought provides the fertile soil for all sorts of mayhem.

Pride Revisited
July 9, 2008
Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began...pride always means enmity...and not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God. C.S. Lewis

Getting Serious About Revival
July 8, 2008
I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known. Habakkuk 3:2

Out Of The Heart......
July 8, 2008
Jesus was very clear in his conversation regarding the Pharisees - they were obsessed with keeping the outside of the cup clean, while Jesus focused on the inside of the cup, that is - keeping the heart pure before God.

Wikipedia and Deadly Sin #7
July 8, 2008
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:8

Boasting In The Cross
July 5, 2008
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Isaac Watts






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