Attending Church or a Lecture?

Worship is an incredibly important activity in the life of a Christian. There are thousands of books, articles, and blog posts written on the subject. Yet, no matter this truth, I find that in most churches it is simply meant to be the “music time” of the service. It does not matter if your church is “traditional” or “contemporary,” this truth is ubiquitous. I think that worship leaders can help this feeling. Often times we say “join me in worship” and “now it is time for the message.” Is it not true that the entire service is worship? Why do we section it out like this?

“I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the church, the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the ‘program.’ This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the public services which now passes for worship among us.”
— A.W. Tozer

I think there is something in our minds where we do not recognize that preaching is just as spiritual an activity as singing praises to God is. We expect the pastor to tell us what the Bible says, never mind the fact that understanding the whole Bible takes faith in God and the action of the Holy Spirit. Any good pastor knows that it is not their own minds that create the words that they speak to us on Sunday morning, but rather, it is the Holy Spirit influencing them to interact with us. Essentially this does segment our services, but not as worship/speaking blocks but rather “us talking to God” then “God talking to us” blocks. This is where we show God the honor and praise He deserves and then He tells us what He wants from us. Sometimes preaching is rough, but that does not make it any less of a worshipful experience.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing on another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
— Colossians 3:16, NASB

This month my worship team is focusing Colossians 3:16. I love the way Paul put this together. He asks us to let Christ be within us, have wise teaching, and sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. This is what a worship service should be. We pray that God is with us, we have teaching that is inspired by God, and we sing songs that let God know how great He is. It is all worship. Not some lecture where we happen to also worship in song. I think this is where lots of Christians (including me) have failed. We forget that if we are participating in worship, that includes being present with the sermon. It’s not enough for us to sing and say “okay, I worshipped!” Worshipping includes listening to the Word preached.

Songs this Week

A Popular Misunderstanding

colossians-header-960x250

LOVE the book of Colossians. It is most certainly one of my favorite books in the whole Bible. I would recommend reading it, if you haven’t, and do some good study on it. I may do a study on it soon here on The Heart Man. But my love of Colossians is not what I’m wanting to talk about today, I just wanted to lead with it (you’ll see why in a moment).

I overheard a conversation going on today (about politics) and there was a statement made that went something like this, “This is really a religious issue. I don’t see why they are letting their faith interfere with making law. The separation of Church and State forbids that kind of behavior.” (This isn’t exactly what was said, but it still gets the point across.) Statements like this get me upset, not because of disagreements on politics, but because it represents the idea that my faith belongs at Church on Sunday morning and nowhere else.

Paul writes in his letter to the Colossians about becoming a new person in Christ. “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you…”(Colossians 3:5, NLT). Paul is saying to us, “Remember all those things you used to do before you encountered Christ? They made you dead, and Christ made you alive. Stop doing those things and focus on what God want you to do.” He even writes earlier, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1, NASB). We are new! We are not the same as we were before, and we cannot go back!

The thing that bugs me the most is a misunderstanding over the separation of powers. I believe that people are well-intentioned, but have a problem understanding historical context. Historical context is when we read something from a different time, and try to understand what the text is saying within that time period, not ours. This is something we have to do constantly when studying the Bible, which is why there are misunderstandings on Scripture as well. But back to government! The separation of powers came up from two things. First, the thirteen colonies were seeking to break away from England. At the time, the King was not only the head of government, but also the head of the State Church. This lead to much religious persecution, which is why many of the colonist came to the “New World” in the first place. The second misunderstanding is that the first amendment gives freedom of religion. Many of the colonies (future states) had established a certain denomination as their State Church. However, the view was that this was inappropriate for a land to have religious freedom.

So a separation of powers, does not mean that we cannot vote based on religious beliefs. Based on Paul’s writing, that’s exactly how we should be voting. Christ has made us new, so before voting we should have a little WWJD moment. The other problem that arises during these types of discussions is that the people who oppose us, we mistreat because we disagree.

Paul urges the Church to “…put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;… Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12, 15, NASB). Paul is speaking to the Church about other church members, but I feel that this could be simply applied to our relation with people of other faiths. Show everyone compassion despite disagreements. We must treat others like they are people, just as we would want them to treat us. Pushing the Bible on people, who don’t want it, only drive them away from the Gospel. Instead we should live our lives as God commands us, and let that be our testament to Jesus Christ.

I disagree with several things going on in the world. But I will never condemn someone simply for believing differently than I do. We will never have problems, until you start having a problem with me believing the way I do. That’s the way we are called to live. Live as Christ taught us to live. Love everyone, even the people we disagree with. Let love overflow your heart, just as Christ did. That’s the call of a Christian lifestyle. We must keep true to our beliefs, we cannot compromise them. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love those we disagree with. The call of the world to keep our faith to Sunday mornings is exactly what the Enemy wants. He doesn’t want God’s people living like God’s people, because it hurts his cause.

So stand up for your beliefs. Don’t ever let someone tell you that your Christian life should stay at Church. Christ made you new! We are no longer dead in our sin, but we are alive in Christ. Do you know who can change this world? People who are alive, not dead. And the Enemy does not want to see that change, because then he loses.

 

Psalms to Pray: Psalm 2

 

PS I’m very sorry if this makes no sense. I’m really scatterbrained at the moment. Plus I was super excited to open up Colossians today. Please forgive me if you can’t follow this post.