Social Decline

This is not a good world we live in. Abortion is accepted. Homosexuality is advanced. Police are getting shot and people like it for some reason. Movies, TV, and the Internet herald violence and sex at the viewers’ discretion. America is headed down a really bad path and the only hope for the country and for the world, is Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

The studies at LBC this week brought me to chapter 31 of ‘A Royal Waste of Time’ by Marva Dawn. A very small sentence, but no less powerful, read, “Consequently, churches are not trusted for… and eschatology that deals with the reality of social decline.” This really surprised me. Reason being, as Christians, we know where evil came from and we know the way it will all end, how then are other teachings more prevalent in this area?

I feel like an atheist would be in the worst position to answer this question… mainly because he would have to look at the workings of the animal kingdom for answers. This wouldn’t get him very far. Do people ignore the Christian on the problems of evil and the like because we are ignorant to the reality? Probably not. The reason is simple. They don’t like our answers. The world does not like to be told there is One Way to God. The world does not want to hear abortion is murder. The world does not want to hear that homosexuality is a sin. Instead, they want society to be perfect… but leave God out of the equation. Even then they would say that God exists but not the God of the Christians (this is what my boss is like).

All the non-Christian has really propagated is that they want their lives to be perfect, but they want a license to basically do whatever they want. They complain about society and wonder why it is so bad. Then they flock to go see “The Purge.” They say people are deviant and disgusting but then go and vote for marriage “equality” at the polls.

True change will not show up in a candidate. True change will not show up with the next amendment or bill. True change will only occur when people give their hearts to Jesus.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Good Shepherd Sunday?

Hello everyone! Thank you for joining the fun today. I have really been enjoying my studies at LBC this semester. I’ve done okay for the most part although there is a certain assignment I would love to have back (let the main Reader understand). I totally botched one piece of work beyond belief. Talk about a train wreck. Anyways, this week, the readings led me to a sermon recorded in “A Royal Waste of Time” by Marva Dawn. In Chapter 23, a sermon is laid out and it really was interesting. Three things really stuck out to me:

#1: Good Shepherd Sunday?

I had totally forgot about Good Shepherd Sunday (I hadn’t heard about it in YEARS). Apparently it is the 4th Sunday after Easter. While it is more of a Catholic thing, I was surprised as to my lack of knowledge on it… considering the passages used, are some of my favorites. IE, John 10 and Psalm 23.) As a matter of fact, one of my very first Facebook posts was about John 10: I simply stated that I was very happy to be a sheep.

#2: The Language used by the Preacher.

As I have discussed in previous posts, I strongly believe that reverence for our Lord and Savior has been severely lacking in previous years in both our actions and worship. I’m not referring to my church, I’m saying the church of America as a whole has been irreverent. In the prayers recorded by the preacher in the sermon, The Lord is addressed as “Good Shepherd” and “King of the cosmos.” I think this is awesome.

#3: “Every Tribe” worshiping the Lord.

This is something else that gets overlooked. As the preacher points out, we need to be more welcoming to all the tribes of the earth. He also mentions that we have branched out by incorporating other styles of music into our services. Like the Newsboys song, “He Reigns” declares, “It’s every tribe, every tongue, every nation…” This world-themed praise is clear to see when John the Baptist addresses Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World.”  (John 1:29)

Have a good day, and be blessed in the Name of the Lord.

In Christ,

Daniel

 

 

 

Drama In Worship vs. Drama of Worship

The topics this week brought to attention the idea of drama both in and of worship. One of the textbooks For the Glory of God is rapidly becoming my favorite book at the moment. Chapter 11, brings up drama in the church. I love skits, cutaways, and the like during services and I think they add an awful lot to the service.

However, like with most things, it can become a distraction. The previous examples are ones of drama in worship. There is much to be said for the drama OF worship. How different the meaning becomes when one 2-letter word is replaced with another. It can become a little confusing at first and thankfully, Daniel Block (author) gives us a great definition.

The drama of worship is scene most in the remembrance and the reliving of the acts of wonder our Lord has done and will do for us. One example is about the Israelites in the Old Testament keeping alive the memory or God’s creation and salvation. The drama contained within the worship of the One True God is demonstrated in much of the Psalms. The Psalms sometimes tell stories or parables of God’s victory and eternal Kingdom. As I said before, drama in worship can be an effective ministry tool, but if we focus on Who our Lord is, no drama needs to be added. While the drama in worship is rhetorical, the drama of worship is about “participating in God’s great drama of redemption.” (p. 271)

“What is more dramatic than Abraham’s nearly sacrificing his son, the Israelites approaching Mount Sinai for an audience with God, Elijah’s encounter with God at Horeb, Jesus’ washing His disciples’ feet?”

Block goes on to say that we have this type of drama still around. IE, The Lord’s Supper and Liturgies. We are to keep them for remembrance and focus on the Lord, but not for “vain repetitions.”

Even so, nothing can be more real or dramatic than simply sitting in the presence of God…

Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God…”

The Loss of Respect

Once again, a note to all directed from the keyboarding stylist of the ages: Daniel.

This week in class there was a lot of great material. The highlight for me was from John Jefferson Davis in The Worship and Reality of God. In Chapter 2, he leads off by quoting A.W. Tozer. Tozer was speaking of losing respect of the “Divine Presence.” I love thinking of the Lord as my Friend (for so He is). He is our Best Friend and guides us through our lives unto eternity. However, He is still God. Even though He is our Friend, we are not His equal. And that is where we begin today.

Back in Tozer’s time, he could see that there was a loss of respect for Our Lord. Today it continues. Whether it is TV, movies, books, or other kinds of pop culture (forget about the church for a second), God is openly mocked. There was a time, when censors would not allow the phrase, “Oh my…” because it was disrespectful and just wrong. Now we can turn on Nickelodeon and we hear middle school children (maybe even younger), using the Name of the Lord in vain. It rolls off the tongue and off the shoulder.

In the churches, it is not much better. Just the stuff that I would see and hear in my youth group (and from WORSHIP LEADERS!!!!!!!!!) alone showed such a disrespect and a casualness with God that to this day still shocks me. Is there nothing sacred? Davis continues to make his point stronger by supporting this with quotes from J. I. Packer and Robert Webber. I Liked Webber’s the best. He called what the churches worship approach can be, “Over-familiarity… in the approach to God.”

While we can take joy in the gift of the closeness and the relationship we are allowed to have with our Lord, we must remember His Majesty and His glory.

A perfect example of this is found in Ecclesiastes 5:2b, “…for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth: therefore let thy words be few.”

 

The Reason We Worship

From the Keyboard of everyone’s favorite friend: Daniel Mele.

In my studies at Lancaster Bible College, it was brought to my attention that we, as Christians, sometimes forget why we come together in the first place. Thinking of the comments that Joel Osteen’s wife, Victoria, made about worship not being for the glory of God, but rather because it makes us feel good, opened my eyes to damaging doctrine. We may think that going to church is just the right thing to do or maybe that it makes us feel good. Maybe we feel as if we have the best voice in the congregation and want others to hear how great we sound. Whatever the distraction may be, the reason for corporate worship should ring in our hearts: Praise and Adoration of Christ the Lord!

When we take a step back and realize that we have the privilege of coming before the Throne of the Most High whenever and wherever, it should make us think of what is important. When a sporting event does not turn out the way we had wanted or maybe a certain actor failed to win an award, these things can be a little irritating; even infuriating! Keeping Christ at the center of worship and our lives can be a very difficult thing to remember. The burdens of this world are so distracting and so alluring, we might not see how far we have slipped. Do not get me wrong, I’m not saying sports are bad. I love to watch the Steelers and the VT Hokies execute destruction of the opponent in gridiron glory just as much as the next guy. But, people in and out of church do treat sports as serious as a religion. As real and as frustrating as sports or pop culture may appear, they all pale in comparison to the reality of the Spiritual realm and of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Not to repeatedly harp on football, but while on the topic of worship, I feel it is important to  note how much people idolize these men. People wear jerseys with the names of other men. People dress up and try to look like their favorite athletes and actors. We should want to look like ourselves. We should want to conform to the image of Christ and not to man. No one deserves worship more than Christ. He alone is worthy. Let’s try and remember that each and every day.

Revelation 4:11 (KJV), “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”