Worship or Entertainment?

Imagine that you have an eight year old daughter and she is giving a recital for just a few family members. This is going to be a special time for the family to get together and hear her sing. Everyone comes in a gets ready and she stands up to sing, but without a microphone.

But then, as she starts to sing, a loud voice comes over a microphone singing the exact same song and totally drowns her out. You notice someone off on one corner of the stage “leading” her in her song. How would you feel? Would you stand up and say, “Hey! We came to hear HER sing, not you!” Or would you say, “It’s ok, at least she is moving her mouth.”

When God listens to our worship, do you think He likes to hear the congregation lifting their voices in praise to Him, or do you think He is ok with the concert style that is so popular?  Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with singers or instruments in the church. I have no problem with having more contemporary music in the song list, but what I do have a problem with is where the focus is being placed.

My wife and I walked into one such church on their opening Sunday.  Lights down the isles sloped toward a stage, no pulpit, with props on it and two large LCD screens on either side with a “cool” countdown screen. Counting down the last 1o minutes until the service started.

My wife whispered, “when do you think they are going to serve the popcorn?”  Heh… funny, but sad. And then we overheard the person sitting directly behind us say, “I just pray that the lights work!”  Say What? Their 5 member “praise team” were singing so loud, I couldn’t hear my wife speak to me. We went back some time later and the worship had not changed.

We need high and holy worship. We need worship that praises God as a congregation, not as a praise team. We need service that is done for God and TO God, not for our fulfillment. I had a friend say once that he wanted to find another church, because he is not getting a lot out of it any more. I had to tell him, “Well, it’s not really FOR you. You go to church to give worship to God. It’s for him.” He is still looking.

–Danny

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Published in: on February 22, 2009 at 3:49 am  Comments (1)  

What is RIGHTEOUSNESS?

There are some words in Christianity that we tend to throw around a lot, but most people don’t have any understanding of what they mean.

I will give you an example, how many times do you use the word “Amen”? Millions say amen after praying or when the preacher says something good, but do you know what the word “Amen” actually means?

Why does it even matter?

Even though you may not know that “amen” means “it is true”, this does not seem to have huge theological implications. But there is one word in particular that does. That word is righteousness.

I was in a prison ministry talking to a group of men telling them the importance of God’s law.  I told them that everyone… EVERYONE, will be judged according to the 10 commandments.  After the meeting, I was approached by one of the volunteers, an older lady who has been doing bible study at that prison for a long while, and she asked why I insisted that all people are going to be judged by God’s law.  I told her that the Bible tells us that God is coming to judge the world in righteousness. (Acts 17:31)

But if you don’t know what righteous means, you will miss the reason God gave us His law in the first place.  The dictionary says that righteousness is moral perfection. So God is coming back to judge us based on His standard of moral perfection.  Well, God’s moral standard is found in the 10 commandments. Everyone will be found either righteous or guilty on judgment day.  Everyone will be judged.

That is why Jesus was born Jewish. That is why He lived as long as He did under the law. He became a man and kept the law that we could not. A perfect sacrifice. That is why the Bible says that His righteousness is given to us when we repent and put our faith in Him alone. That is why the law is so important.

God is a God of absolute justice. But He is also a God of mercy and forgiveness, but there IS a price. God MUST punish sin. Either you will pay for your own crimes by spending an eternity in a lake of fire, or, by our faith, God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus Christ, and the debt was paid. The point is that everything points back to the law.

The commandments are not just good ideas, they are the very nature of God himself. That is why He is known as a God of RIGHTEOUSNESS. And that is why Christians should love His law. While we don’t look to the law for our justification, we should study it and obey it out of love and gratitude. His law should be the forefront of our preaching and our worship. The very cross that we hang in our sanctuaries should be a reminder of the law we have violated and wrath that Jesus endured to satisfy it.

I don’t know many people who can remember the 10 commandments. The Bible also tells us that sin IS transgression of the law (1Jn3:4) So here is an interesting question: God wants us to depart from sin, He wants us to grow in righteousness, but if you don’t know God’s law, how can you do that?

–Danny

Published in: on February 22, 2009 at 12:46 am  Leave a Comment