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?



 
The Plan of God
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is not being done, the saving of lives. (Genesis 50:20)


Recent Posts

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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?

Sleepwalking Through Life

January 4, 2011

Seeing is believing. Or so we are told. But what if there is a truth behind the obvious? How do we get to that? Poets, do your job!


When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." Genesis 28:16

Most of us won't get a "wake up" dream like Jacob got. When he woke up his whole world had changed. Even though this is our Father's world, we can view it flatly, in mono, black and white instead of color, lacking the lacking the heightened wonder that HD brings. This is a gift the Spirit brings.

William Blake the poet/illustrator noted that our tendency is to see only "with" the eye, when the possibility exists to see "through" the eye, beyone to the deeper truth that lays just beneath the surface of a thing. And C. S. Lewis picked up on this theme as well, in a poem he titled A CONFESSION.

I am so coarse, the things the poets see
Are obstinately invisible to me.
For twenty years I’ve stared my level best
To see if evening–any evening–would suggest
A patient etherized upon a table;
In vain. I simply wasn’t able.
To me each evening looked far more
Like the departure from a silent, yet a crowded, shore
Of a ship whose freight was everything, leaving behind
Gracefully, finally, without farewells, marooned mankind.

Red dawn behind a hedgerow in the east
Never, for me, resembled in the least
A chilblain on a cocktail-shaker’s nose;
Waterfalls don’t remind me of torn underclothes,
Nor glaciers of tin-cans. I’ve never known
The moon look like a hump-backed crone–
Rather, a prodigy, even now
Not naturalized, a riddle glaring from the Cyclops’ brow
Of the cold world, reminding me on what a place
I crawl and cling, a planet with no bulwarks, out in space.

Never the white sun of the wintriest day
Struck me as un crachat d’estaminet.
I’m like that odd man Wordsworth knew, to whom
A primrose was a yellow primrose, one whose doom
Keeps him forever in the list of dunces,
Compelled to live on stock responses,
Making the poor best that I can
Of dull things…peacocks, honey, the Great Wall, Aldebaran
Silver weirs, new-cut grass, wave on the beach, hard gem,
The shapes of horse and woman, Athens, Troy, Jerusalem.

In humbly denigrating his ability as a poet, Lewis begins with the least important things - peacocks strutting, and climaxes with the most important,  with Jerusalem and all that lies behind it.

This is calculated by Lewis in order to express his desire to see beyond a mere city of stone, and instead to see through it, comprehending the spiritual and eternal significance hidden there, hoping in so doing, to better come to understand the heart of God.

What better thing could we ask of God in 2011, that he might grant us eyes to not just see with, but through - to the ultimate realities - to God himself, and his plan in history that continuously unfolds.

 






Faith That Can Withstand Anything

November 30, 2010

Life's difficulties test the mettle of our faith, which can either unravel or turn into refined gold. For Mary Rowlandson, it was the latter.


They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them. Hebrews 11:37-38

We've all seen enough westerns to know that back when this country was being "tamed," the natives had other ideas, becoming a constant source of danger and terror to anyone who dared make a home among them.

In 1675 some settlers in Lancaster Pennsylvania felt the full wrath from a small army of Indians. It was as harrowing an event as has ever been experienced anywhere, and Mary Rowlandson lived through a nightmarish capture, later publishing her experience in a book titled THE SOVEREIGNTY AND GOODNESS OF GOD.

Here's how it all began:

On the tenth of February 1675, came the Indians with great numbers upon Lancaster: their first coming was about sunrising; hearing the noise of some guns, we looked out; several houses were burning, and the smoke ascending to heaven.

There were five persons taken in one house; the father, and the mother and a sucking child, they knocked on the head; the other two they took and carried away alive. There were two others, who being out of their garrison upon some occasion were set upon; one was knocked on the head, the other escaped; another there was who running along was shot and wounded, and fell down; he begged of them his life, promising them money (as they told me) but they would not hearken to him but knocked him in head, and stripped him naked, and split open his bowels.

Another, seeing many of the Indians about his barn, ventured and went out, but was quickly shot down. There were three others belonging to the same garrison who were killed; the Indians getting up upon the roof of the barn, had advantage to shoot down upon them over their fortification. Thus these murderous wretches went on, burning, and destroying before them.

It gets worse. Mary and her six year old daughter named Sarah, both with bullet wounds, were captured and taken away. Given nothing but water for a week, the child died in her arms. The full account can be read here:

http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/rownarr.html

Many thousands of prisoners in hundreds of wars have had similar tragic tales to tell. What makes Mary's story unique is the way in which her faith in a sovereign God carried her through the entire experience. She seems unable to ever question God. There is no "Why God? How could you do this to me?" She concludes with this "take-away."

Before I knew what affliction meant, I was ready sometimes to wish for it. When I lived in prosperity, having the comforts of the world about me, my relations by me, my heart cheerful, and taking little care for anything, and yet seeing many, whom I preferred before myself, under many trials and afflictions, in sickness, weakness, poverty, losses, crosses, and cares of the world, I should be sometimes jealous least I should have my portion in this life, and that Scripture would come to my mind, "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every Son whom he receiveth" (Hebrews 12.6).

But now I see the Lord had His time to scourge and chasten me. The portion of some is to have their afflictions by drops, now one drop and then another; but the dregs of the cup, the wine of astonishment, like a sweeping rain that leaveth no food, did the Lord prepare to be my portion.

Affliction I wanted, and affliction I had, full measure (I thought), pressed down and running over. Yet I see, when God calls a person to anything, and through never so many difficulties, yet He is fully able to carry them through and make them see, and say they have been gainers thereby. And I hope I can say in some measure, as David did, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted."

The Lord hath showed me the vanity of these outward things. That they are the vanity of vanities, and vexation of spirit, that they are but a shadow, a blast, a bubble, and things of no continuance.

That we must rely on God Himself, and our whole dependance must be upon Him. If trouble from smaller matters begin to arise in me, I have something at hand to check myself with, and say, why am I troubled?

It was but the other day that if I had had the world, I would have given it for my freedom, or to have been a servant to a Christian. I have learned to look beyond present and smaller troubles, and to be quieted under them. As Moses said, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord" (Exodus 14.13).

Truly, this world was not worthy.






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The Greatest Of All Mysteries Revealed
April 24, 2010
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It Only Gets Better
June 5, 2009
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul talks about seeing through a glass dimly, but that it will not always be so. The glory that is certain to come, of which the Christian hopes and longs for, will be unimaginably wonderful.

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Choose You This Day
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God Down And Dirty
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The Bible and Yadayadayada
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There was a time in the Old Testament when, while cleaning out the Temple, a "book" was found. People began reading it, and before long, the city of Jerusalem was repenting! Only one book has such power - God's word, the Bible.

Who Is A God Like You?
February 3, 2009
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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.

'Jever Have One Of Those Days?
January 22, 2009
No one in this life is exempt from trials. But when they come in the service of Christ, we suffer in his name, and there is purpose in our discomfort. Nonetheless, trials must be weathered, sometimes literally. Consider John Paton.

Calling All Men Of Issachar
January 18, 2009
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Watchman, What Of The Night?
January 9, 2009
A newly installed president to "break in", an intense struggle in the Middle East, a worldwide economic meltdown, with America humbled and somber and anxious. What's going on?

The Saving Power Of God's Word
January 3, 2009
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Saintly Resolutions: GEORGE BOWEN
January 1, 2009
Who? It was said of him,"He was all soul, and you can't photograph the soul nor describe it as you know it to exist." Missionary, scholar, mystic, saint. Quite a resume. So what advice does he give us at the turning of a new year?

What's In A Name?
December 28, 2008
Emmanuel means GOD WITH US. That's good, right? So just why are we so anxious? What gives? Fretting offends God, because it implies that he won't come through. How can trust shove doubt aside, and we become God trusters instead?

The Best Of All Possible Worlds
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O Christmas Tree
December 8, 2008
They're beautiful, they bring back lots of memories, and gifts look wonderful at the base of their branches, but in a Christian context, do Christmas trees "belong?" Do they have any theological significance? Perhaps.....

We Shall All Be Changed
December 5, 2008
We all know the wonder that turns an ugly caterpillar into a lovely, graceful butterfly. The best is yet to come for the children of God.

Ready Or Not....
November 25, 2008
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Stay On The Main Road
November 25, 2008
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The Ultimate No-Brainer
November 24, 2008
I'll do it myself. Where does that come from, anyway? We're born with it. But seeing God as the One we turn to instead of "the arm of flesh" is the key to living life well. God is in control, so let Him lead. He's really good at it.

Every Reason To Be Thankful
November 23, 2008
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Do The Math
November 21, 2008
Ten lepers, all healed. One returned to give Jesus thanks. Ten percent. You don't suppose that ratio always holds true, do you? Yikes! How can we then foster hearts of gratitude?

Priming The Pump Of Gratitude
November 20, 2008
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Remember To Remember
November 20, 2008
Psalm 107 ends with the command to "consider the love of the Lord." Our memory is a powerful tool God has given us - with it we recall his faithfulness, which serves to give us the confidence that our faithful God will continue to be just that - faithful.

Faith And Real Life
November 16, 2008
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The Best Sermon of the Last 200 Years
November 11, 2008
What if someone preached a sermon so powerful that it launched Protestant missions, and initiated the modern mission movement? What in the world did William Carey say that had such an impact?

The Clock Is Ticking
November 5, 2008
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"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

A Voice Crying In The Wilderness
November 2, 2008
God has a standard that he requires of his creatures. And when we fall short of the mark, he anoints prophets to be his mouthpiece. So just where are today's prophets? And will we pay attention in time?

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?

What's Your News Source?
October 19, 2008
Newspapers are myopic. Who, where, when, how. The why is not so easy. Yes, online news is faster, but scripture alone gives us the big picture, giving us a framework of God's plan that calms our souls, reassuring us that the end is in God's hands.

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.

Faith - A Grace From God
October 12, 2008
Faith, hope and love are the three qualities that endure. But if our faith gets depleted, this three-legged stool suddenly is worthless.

Peas In a Praying Pod
October 11, 2008
God invented prayer, and recruits men and women to prevail with Him in it. Some take that challenge seriously, and mountains get moved as a result.

Them's Fightin' Words!
October 6, 2008
God is watching, and He doesn't miss a trick. Nothing escapes His attention. For those who mock Him, He fortunately has a long fuse. But it is still a fuse. Ultimately, God is not mocked.

Nothing Is Impossible With God
October 5, 2008
Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Ephesians 6:19

"Adam, Where Are You?"
September 28, 2008
The greatest tragedy in the world today is that God has made man in His image and made him...to play the harp of worship before the face of God day and night, but he has failed God and dropped his harp. It lies voiceless at man's feet. Tozer

God's Map - Theology
September 28, 2008
During the Middle Ages, theology was referred to as the Queen of the Sciences." But more lately it has been in a steady freefall. Just what has been lost? According ot C. S. Lewis, we have lost our map. And that spells trouble.

Samuel Rutherford and Gratitude
September 27, 2008
Trials and testing can rob us of joy, and can turn us from contentment, and cause us to be disgruntled. Trust in God's sovereignty is key to spiritual health.

Why Pray?
September 26, 2008
"Prayer," says Vinet, "is like the air of certain ocean isles, which is so pure that there vermin cannot live. We should surround ourselves with this atmosphere, as the diver shuts himself into his bell ere he descends into the deep."

Prayer Changes Things
September 26, 2008
Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly...James 5:17 What happens when we pray. Amazing things. Consider James McGready.

Walt's Worldview
September 1, 2008
Knowing where history will end up gives us the perspective to persevere, to not stress, and to have the assurance that though all does not seem to be going well, it will be well in the end.

Father, Son, Spirit - In That Order
July 29, 2008
Why is knowledge of God the Father important? Because when we understand that there is a holy God, then the cross takes on its true meaning. Out of that will flow true gratitude to a God who found a way to reconcile Adam's lost race.

Comfort and the Plan of God
July 11, 2008
The kingdom of this world is becoming the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. But that battle is "no holds barred" - it's nasty, and believers can get caught up in some pretty uncomfortable moments in the process.

Grey Missionaries!
July 5, 2008
So just when did the term "missionary" morph into "inter-cultural studies?" And why? Was it the embarassment factor, since the word missionary smacks of "agenda?" Samuel Zwemer saw this coming, that giving up the word represented something much bigger.

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


God and Ishmael - The Jury Is Out
July 5, 2008
God has great plans for Jesus. Namely, He has been exalted to the highest place, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE should bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

Bible Reading and Heart Change
June 19, 2008
Ever just "put in your time" reading God's Word? Something inside you says that there is more to be had. How can we maximize our time with God in His Holy Word? The Puritan Thomas Watson has come good advice.





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