Category Archives: Christian Life

Articles and resources to help you grow in maturity and your ability to apply God’s truth to every area of your life.

Applying HPC’s Vision: Questions from an Empty-Nester

Below is an email message I got from an empty-nester after the vision talks I gave a few weeks ago. I thought s/he asked some really good questions, and I wanted to pass along the answers I gave.

As we go forward and you’re fleshing out the vision and finding ways to help us all get involved with it, here are some questions empty-nesters wrestle with that may have an impact on how they participate in our inter-generational church. Continue reading Applying HPC’s Vision: Questions from an Empty-Nester

Worship Series Takeaways

I really enjoyed the worship series. Like most series, we only scratched the surface – or better, only dealt with a very narrow sliver of the subject of worship. In fact, the main thing we focused on was what we called ‘church’ – or the weekly gathered worship service.

We always have to remember that people are skeptical about worship – and even more so about the weekly worship service. Many churchgoers, and most non-churchgoers feel a sense of cynicism about worshiping God in general. Because they confuse the ugly reality of human self-importance with the impossibility of divine self-importance, the logical fallacy produces cynicism.

For others, the cliché of not wanting to be part of organized religion which sometimes comes from actual bad or hurtful church experiences carries a lot of personal weight. But in a faith mainly designed around loving each other, being with each other in regular and meaningful ways cannot be discounted. Have a listen to sermon one or two to review my arguments on this.

Third, people just don’t feel like the investment is worth it. I think it’s important to acknowledge that going to church is a burden, and that it is a responsibility with real weight. You are making an investment of real-time, energy and life. The question is, is the burden worth it? And I argued that the burden is lighter than we think and its contents, like a backpack, are more important than we anticipate.

But one of the biggest misconceptions is that people are confused about why we get together in worship services. The point of worship services does include worshiping God. But in the New Testament, the main focus is building each other up. We do church to build each other up in Christ. We come together for each other to use every resource God has given us to deepen and build our faith in the gospel and to accelerate the transformation of our life around the Savior.

In order to really get what we should out of worship, we need to consistently do three things.

  1. Remembrance – We need to see it as an opportunity to remember what we constantly forget
  2. Expression – we need to actually grow in expressiveness and worship. For some people, that may be just singing and actually praying. For others it may include more. But we need to be full participants, and do everything we can to be fully engaged.
  3. Celebrate – joy and thankfulness are the fuel of Christian motivation. Being happy in God is critical to loving and obeying God. When we come together we should expect to celebrate – whether it is the consistent reliability of the character of God, or the events God has brought about by his working in Providence, or the evidence of his gracious work in the life of those around us. We should be celebrating. (Here are two videos {video one} and {video two} that we showed during the service.)

The biggest take away I would suggest from the series is not to underestimate God’s purpose in creating the actual local church and commanding us to be part of it. It is always folly to underestimate God’s commands. The whole reason he has to command them is that he knows they are true and we won’t believe them unless they are commands rather than suggestions. Therefore, every command ought to get our attention. The less you think you need the church, the more you do.

I shared in one of the sermons, that one of the reasons I got into ministry was because I thought church was terrible. Most of my church experiences were incredibly boring, anti-intellectual, hokey, and I felt embarrassed to bring non-Christians. But when I realized loving Jesus was loving the church, I only had a few choices – and one of them was to jump in and fight for the church. That won’t mean going into ministry for most people. But if you are committed to the church like you’re committed to a marriage – then you are much more likely to fight for her health and vibrancy. When done with some humility, that usually leads to great things for churches and those they are intended to reach.

Read more blog posts on the Worship Series. 

Is worship singing hokey and stupid?

Think back to your first visit to the church, and try to remember how you felt singing worship songs with other churchgoers. Many of you probably enjoyed worship then and still do, but some people struggle with the fact that much of church is singing to God. To them, it seems weird that people get together each week and have a God “sing along.”  From an outside perspective, a “sing along” might seem a little hokey and stupid. But in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, as well as in many Old Testament Scriptures, worship through song seems to be exactly God’s intention in commandment. Singing songs to God and about God has always been a huge part of worship in the Judeo-Christian trajectory. So should people really feel hokey or stupid doing it?

Continue reading Is worship singing hokey and stupid?