Last Friday night it was Clovis East versus Hug High from Reno, Nevada at historic Lamonica Stadium. This Friday, it's Trent and the Buchanan Bears against Barry Bonds's alma mater, San Mateo Serra. On Saturday, the Fresno State Bulldogs open up against Sacramento State.
And Friday, before Trent's game via the Internet, it's the Salt Bowl, Benton versus Bryant, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Ahh, it's football season!
Tonight, I will join Gary Villamor in driving up to Merced to speak to a gathering of men at the Merced church. I am very much looking forward to being with the guys as sharpening my sword, as iron sharpens iron.
This weekend, Jo Ann Glock sent me an email with a link to Danny Dodd's blog. Danny is the Preaching Minister for the Gateway Church of Christ in Pensacola, Florida and was a speaker at our Workshop this year.
One particular entry on his blog intrigued me as it relates to our discussions last week on the prophets.
Worship is a big deal topic in my circle. Everyone seems to have an opinion about worship- on how it should be and what style connects best. Unfortunately on occasion these opinions have boiled over into church strife and even division.
So, since so many others have given their two cents worth, I thought I would chime in too- specifically about our corporate worship times. As you will quickly discover, this is not a theological treatise.
I will start with what worship is not:
Worship is not about me- my preferences that is. Certainly my worship should be focused in my heart and therefore is about me joining in with my spiritual family in praising God. But too often it seems worship becomes more about my preferences- the songs I want, the style I favor, the time frame I like, the order I prefer- than anything else. When this happens we have lost the proper God perspective and have forgotten why we came to worship.
Worship in not an evangelistic tool- The church growth industry got us to buy into this one. “Just do worship right and the people will come.” we were told. Somehow I cannot find this in Scripture. Sure the Acts church- at one point- had favor with the people, but worship was not God-designed to put the church on display, but to honor and revere him. This approach puts undue and unfair pressure upon the worship participants and creates a performance-based worship style- which leads to the next point:
Worship is not a performance- In my opinion those of us who lead worship can fall into this trap. Again- it becomes about me and how I performed my role. Heaven gets lost in this approach.
Worship is not to be bound in the past- “We have always done it this way” can be a death-blow to a rejuvenating, uplifting worship. There are very few details revealed about the exact worship practices of the New Testament church. Obviously it reflected its time and culture. So should our worship. Our praise language should speak in ways that connect to our time and place.
Worship is not the everything that defines us- For too many Christians the hour or so they spend in corporate worship is it. Maybe this is one reason why the subject of worship has become so volatile. Our Sunday worship- if reflective of an active daily spiritual life of the church body- will simply be a coming together in an adoration celebration of the God we are so actively serving during the week. In this setting we will each consider others better than ourselves and rejoice that we have this time to be with one another. Thoughts of song selections and worship styles would take a back seat to thoughts of honoring God and loving each other.
With all that said, worship is- in my opinion- the time when God’s saints gather to honor him, celebrate his grace, remember his Son’s gift, offer up to him the fruit of our hearts and lips and embrace and encourage our fellow worshippers.
As Paul addressed the divided and worship- confused Corinthians he made it clear from the beginning what he was about: Christ and him crucified.
If we can be about this in our churches then our worship will mirror that. God will get all the praise and we will be glad when they said unto us, let us go into the house of the Lord!