Church SHOULD Be Boring!

I came across the following article and I could not agree more.  As one who walked away from the praise band of a “church” that prided itself on being exciting, relevant and progressive, I want to thank you, Todd Bordow, for saying what I have been thinking for a long time and what led me away from an “exciting” church to a church that does not coddle the goats, but feeds the sheep!

If the cross of Christ is foolishness to those perishing (I Cor. 1:18), shouldn’t a worship service be the most boring thing imaginable to those the Spirit is not bringing to Christ or has not already brought to Christ? Either the simple truths of the cross are glorious, or foolish; worth as much as the greatest treasure, or worthless for usefulness in everyday life. When churches try to make worship interesting, fun and relevant, are they not implicitly admitting that the cross of Christ needs help to excite people, that the gospel is really not enough? Admittedly preachers can boor genuine believers with poor organizational and communication skills, but churches should not try to change the message or simple medium of direct communication (preaching) to make the service any less “boring” to those who complain of such things, less they deny the heavenly power of the gospel to save and strengthen God’s people. When people complain about our services being too boring for them, whether they want more politics, social commentary, entertainment, or legalistic rules, that is not always a bad thing. It could be you are refusing to coddle them with earthly substitutes for heavenly manna, manna which only tastes delicious to those with eyes of faith. So hang in there – being boring isn’t always a bad thing!

Round Up

Christianity as it was defined originally by Christ – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Has the Church Sold Its Soul to Consumerism? – The Evangelical church in the twenty-first century has in many ways absorbed the consumeristic mentality that is so prevalent in the culture. Churches approach worship as if they were selling a product and the attendee were the consumer. Since the product is up for sale, churches must show that their product is more entertaining than anything else the world has to offer.

The Most Christian Nation – Probably not your first thought.

Unjuggling – Just for fun.

Quote:

“Be very sure of this–people never reject the Bible because they cannot understand it. They understand it too well; they understand that it condemns their own behavior; they understand that it witnesses against their own sins, and summons them to judgment. They try to believe it is false and useless, because they don’t like to believe it is true. An evil lifestyle must always raise an objection to this book. Men question the truth of Christianity because they hate the practice of it.” – J. C. Ryle

Round Up

Intellect, Worship, and the Irreducible Complexity of the Christian Life – When you mention worship to most American Christians, their thoughts will immediately focus on weekly church services, usually on Sunday.  Now worship does (or can) indeed happen at these gatherings, but worship is a much broader and more comprehensive concept in Scripture.

The Oldest Trick in the Book – I love that new GEICO commercial where the guy in the movie theater says, “Did you know there really is an ‘oldest trick in the book’?” Then the scene flashes back to ancient times where a man looks into an old book, and says, “Trick number one.  Lookest over there.”  The man then points across the room. His apprentice looks and of course sees nothing. Then the man says, “Madest thou look.”

Good Works and Sanctificaiton – The following 5 questions are answered – What are good works? Why do good works? Who brings forth our good works? How good are these good works? Then how are our good works acceptable to God?

Three Reasons to Get Some Sleep – Life is short. Stay awake for it.  Christian, life is short. You should get some sleep.

Quote:

Nothing whatever, whether great or small, can happen to a believer, without God’s ordering and permission.

The providential government of God over everything in this world is a truth of which the Greek and Roman philosophers had no conception. It is a truth which is specially revealed to us in the word of God. Just as the telescope and microscope show us that there is order and design in all the works of God’s hand, from the greatest planet down to the least insect, so does the Bible teach us that there is wisdom, order, and design in all the events of our daily life. There is no such thing as ‘chance,’ ‘luck,’ or ‘ accident’ in the Christian’s journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are ‘working together’ for the believer’s good. (Rom. viii. 28.)

Let us seek to have an abiding sense of God’s hand in all that befalls us, if we profess to be believers in Jesus Christ. Let us strive to realize that a Father’s hand is measuring out our daily portion, and that our steps are ordered by Him. A daily practical faith of this kind, is one grand secret of happiness, and a mighty antidote against murmuring and discontent. We should try to feel in the day of trial and disappointment, that all is right and all is well done. We should try to feel on the bed of sickness that there must be a ‘needs be.’ We should say to ourselves, ‘God could keep away from me these things if He thought fit. But He does not do so, and therefore they must be for my advantage. I will lie still, and bear them patiently. I have ‘an everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure.’ (2 Sam. xxiii. 5.) What pleases God shall please me.’” – J C Ryle

God Intended the Fall of Man

While listening to a theology course from Jim McClarty I heard the following and wanted to share it:

God was under absolutely no obligation to tell us anything about himself.  He was not obligated to do it at all.  When Adam fell, once Eve rebelled, they were in opposition to God.  God could have very well said, “Well, that’s it, you rebels, I gave you a shot, I gave you a nice place to stay, all I told you to do was tend the garden, make some kids, don’t eat from that tree.”

 But, as soon as there was a sinner, God demonstrated himself as savior.  And you might notice that when Adam and Eve fell, they did not go looking for God, they ran from God.  Part of their fall was their realization that they were naked, they were sinful, and that God was a judge. They did not find out that they were good or right or holy, they found out that they were in trouble, and they ran, they hid, they sewed together fig leaves, that was their plan.  God came looking for them. He was under no obligation to do so, but he did it out of mercy and grace. 

In other words, part of the reason that God created humanity, and part of the reason that in his grand sovereignty he brought about the fall, was because God was going to reveal himself.  He wanted to reveal himself in the broad spectrum of his character, his nature, and his attributes.  All of his attributes, every single one reveals some part of God.  Even the names of God found in the Bible are revelatory of the character of God.  God is in the process of revealing himself, showing himself to his creation.

The reason that God sovereignly brought about the fall of man was because he was intending to reveal himself and this was the method he used in order to do it.  People struggle with that!  If you take the view that Adam and Eve by their free will chose to rebel against God but that they had the option not too, that they could have simply just not rebelled. Then you are also saying that God would not have been able to reveal himself as merciful, or as savior, or as gracious, or as long suffering, or as kind.  All those wonderful attributes of God would have never been known because human being would never need them.  Instead God intended the fall, the same way he intends everything.

Here is the proof.  “Don’t eat from that tree.”  If God really didn’t want Adam and Eve to  eat from the tree, he would not have put it in the garden.  Now, if I can figure that out, I’m sure that God could figure that out.  So, what does God do, he puts that tree in the garden as a temptation.  Adam and Eve do a pretty good job of keeping their hands off.  They understand that they aren’t supposed to eat from it.  Eve even went so far as to say to the serpent that they weren’t supposed to touch it.  They got it.  They understood what God said.  And by the way, they didn’t need that tree because every other tree that bears fruit is good food for them.  They really don’t even need that tree.

Then Satan comes in the form of a serpent and he has a conversation with Eve.  Where is God at this moment?  One of the attributes of God is that he is omnipresent, he is everywhere at once.  So, what is God doing?  Why didn’t he interrupt the conversation?  “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, hey there, shut your mouth, you serpent.  Who do you think you are talking too?”  God could have said that to either party.  Later in the Genesis narrative you see that God put enmity between the serpent and the woman.  He drove them apart.  Why didn’t he do that before the conversation?  He certainly could have, but he didn’t.

So, not only did he provide the temptation, he provided the tempter. Then he just stood back and let things take their natural course.  Why?  Because without the fall, without sin, there would be no need of a savior.  Before the foundation of the world, Jesus is referred to as the “lamb slain before the foundation of the world.”  Why does there need to be a lamb slain?  Because there is definitely going to be a people who need a savior.  And those people are going to be given to him as trophies of grace so that through all eternity he gets all the glory for those people being in the presence of God.  It’s all about God, it’s all about his worship.  God is in the enterprise of glorifying himself.  So, everything, including the fall is part of God’s revelation of himself because he wanted to reveal himself in a full spectrum.

This is not a word for word transcript, but it is very close and captures the context of Pastor McClarty’s teaching.  If you want to listen for yourself, here is the link to the message.  Either listen to the whole thing or scroll up to the 48 minute mark in the sermon and listen from there.

Friday Roundup

Knowing vs. Feeling in Worship – Alistair Begg talks about how we should approach God in worship.

The Distinction Between Justification and Sanctification – J. C. Ryle speaks to the similarities and differences between these two doctrines.

The Results Depend on God – Remember the parable about the sower?  Did he use his left hand, right hand, throw high, low, or a curve ball?

How Good is God – He’s very good!

We Cannot Manipulate God, But We Can Trust Him – It frustrates me to no end when I hear people talk about miracles in the Bible and then say something like, “So if you want your miracle, just . . .”

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Round Up

The Battle We Didn’t Choose – A pictorial diary of one woman’s fight with breast cancer.

7 Billion People – It took me a moment to figure out this web page, but this is literally what 7 billion people look like.

National Geographic Landscape of the Day – I find the world that God has made so amazing.  There are so many places and scenes I will never get to see in real life, but I can see them in others images.

God Created Me to Worship Him – Roger Flournoy Jr.,  reminds us that we are all created in God’s image.

 

Jesus on the Wrong Side of History – A Blog Repost

A fictional conversation from the first century A.D.

Stefanus: I wish you would change your mind, Gratian. You are going to be made fun of and marginalized.

Gratian: Any suffering or ostracism I may face will not compare with the glory that awaits me.

Stefanus: Glory? I fear you are losing your mental grasp of things. Have you not seen the splendor and glory of the Empire? Don’t you see how Roman principles are extending throughout all the earth?

Gratian: The Empire looks powerful, yes. But God’s kingdom will outlast it.

Stefanus: Surely, you jest!

Gratian: Jesus said so.

Stefanus: You continue to speak about this backwoods Jew who taught all sorts of strange things. I fear for what may happen to you when you refuse to pinch incense at the altar and reveal your dedication to the Empire’s gods.

Gratian: I will refuse.

Stefanus: But why? You know that the Empire is a tolerant, broad-minded place for people of good will who believe in all sorts of gods…

Gratian: As long as worshipping Caesar trumps them all…

Stefanus: Of course, but you still have the freedom to worship privately as you please –

Gratian: – as long as publicly, I bow the knee to Caesar.

Stefanus: What is the harm in recognizing the absolute authority of Caesar?

Gratian: I would be telling a lie. The emperor is under King Jesus.

Stefanus: Keep your voice down. Do you realize what you are saying?

Gratian: I will answer to King Jesus. So will you. And so will Caesar.

Stefanus: You dare challenge the ultimate authority of the Empire? Can’t you see the progress of history? Are you so blind… to ignore that history is moving in Caesar’s direction? Recent surveys show that people are not putting up with you and your silly ideas… your simpleminded way of life.

Gratian: I don’t follow Jesus because He is popular, but because He saved me.

Stefanus: Think logically for a moment about this Jesus of yours and what he taught.

  • He said he was the Savior, but anyone can see that Caesar is the one in whom we have security.
  • He said we should never divorce, but anyone can see it is in the best interest of men to be able to put away their wives.
  • He said we should care for the least of these, but anyone can see that poor fathers and mothers should be free to abandon their newborns to the trash heap.
  • He said we should love our enemies, but anyone can see that we should favor our friends and punish our opponents.
  • He said we should never commit adultery or even lust after another, but anyone can see that sexual openness is more natural for human happiness.
  • He said there are things that don’t belong to Caesar, but anyone can see that Caesar is in charge of everything.

Gratian: What are you saying then?

Stefanus: That Jesus is obviously on the wrong side of history. The world is moving forward and you are stuck in the past following the bizarre teachings of a Jewish leader. Recant your strange beliefs! Or at least stay quiet about them.

Gratian: I cannot, and I will not. I do not see history the same way you do.

Stefanus: Why not?

Gratian: No matter how confident you are that history is moving in an upward progression and that the Roman Empire will expand across the earth and lead all to eternal peace and harmony, you are wrong. The kingdom I belong to will outlast the Empire, despite the appearances.

Stefanus: How do you know this?

Gratian: Because my King came back from the dead. And the One who defeats death is the One who defines history.

The original post can be found here.

Daily Roundup Single

This morning on my way in to work, I turned on an album by Sovereign Grace Music entitled Psalms.  I was listening along quite contently and worshiping by singing along, that is until track 5 came on.  It was all I could do to not pull my car over, get out and just fall to the ground in worship to my Lord.  So, I decided to see if I could find a “live” version online to share with you.  The link I’m sharing is a little different than what I actually listened to but that isn’t a bad thing because this link is a version that had me sitting at my office with tears in my eyes, glorying and basking in the presence of God.  While I know that we are all in different stages of our Christian walk, and some would say that my next statement is over the top, I have to say that if you cannot be moved to worship God by listening to this group, you might want to check and see if you are regenerated in your heart and truly a follower of Christ.

Here is the link and I hope it blesses you as much as it has me.

Glorious and Mighty

VERSE 1
Majesty, Your glory is shining
Brighter than the moon and the stars
Marveling, we honor and fear You
Above all gods

CHORUS
Glorious and mighty, You’re awesome In beauty
Joyful songs we raise
Glorious and mighty, You’re awesome in beauty
Greatly to be praised

VERSE 2
Majesty, You fashioned the heavens
Your decrees can never be changed
Over all the plans of the nations
Your judgments reign

VERSE 3
Majesty, we’ll sing with creation
When You come again in the clouds
Every knee will bow down and worship
The one true God