One of the most important and misunderstood parts of faith is worship, especially worship as it pertains to a community gathering. It is at the core of who we are as a faith community and, yet, it can be the source of the most complaints and frustrations within a community. Why? Because it is the largest gathering of a faith community each week and, also, the only time some people will step into a door.
Worship is the act of giving praise to God. It is at the heart of everything we do as followers of Christ, but it has its most powerful connotation as the body of Christ comes together to praise God. When we gather as a community for worship, we are joining the entire global body of faith, and those who have gone before us, to express our joy in Christ and to reflect upon where God is leading us as individuals and a community.
That is a very basic definition of worship. Many of us recognize this definition, but we will come to worship with our own expectations. We come to hear from God, but at the same time feel the need to be entertained or affirmed in our basic ideas of how the world should work. So, what is worship and, as well, what is not worship? Continue reading “What is Worship?”
Life seems to be filled with a constant stream of distractions.
When I work, there is typically people coming into my office to talk, mounting tasks that need to be addressed, administrative tasks that require attention, and, yes, music that is playing in the background. That is just the things going on inside my office. There are other distractions that are my mind, such as our family, Noah’s needs, Abbi’s health with the pregnancy, and many other things.
All of these things are necessary concerns, but they can take my focus away from the things that need my energies, especially when it comes to growing in faith and loving God.
What about you? Do you ever feel distracted when it comes to your faith with God? Even more, do you ever feel distracted when it comes to give our full attention to worship?
Psalm 100:4a. says, “Enter his praise with thanksgiving: go into his courts with his praise.” (NLT) We are to be people who respond to our love of God with acts of adoration for all that God has done in our lives.
Can we do that if our hearts are distracted from the presence of God? Continue reading “Entering Worship Undistracted”
What Is Worship? Throughout my ministry, I’ve heard different ideas tossed around about what constitutes holy worship. These ideas and … Continue reading What is Worship?
Today is the first day of school in Caldwell County. This has been a day, personally, I’ve been looking forward … Continue reading Our Values: Foundational Principles for Ogden Memorial
Every five or six years the calendar gives pastors and worship planners a true gift at the Christmas season: Christmas on a Sunday.
It should be a gift, but in all honesty the idea of Christmas on a Sunday makes many pastors, including myself, quiver. The reason is that we know we will spend weeks trying to help people understand why the church is open on Sunday, and why we will worship on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Sunday. Place that within the context of a worshiping movement that argues that the Sunday after Christmas Eve should be a time for family and not for community worship then we are left with questions as to why do we have church on December 25 and not cancel so we can be at home with our family.
This year, I have found that the simple answer of “because it’s Sunday” works as well as when my parents tried to use the response of “because we said so” to one of my many questions as to why I had to do something as a child. It falls flat and is truly dismissive of the larger question that, I believe, many are asking.
I think our people are smarter than we give them credit and are able to have a deep conversation about faith, worship, and theology. So, why do we worship on Christmas Sunday? Why is it so important for the church to be open, this year, on December 25? Continue reading “Why Do We Worship on Christmas Day?”
Another Easter has come and past. Many of us have put away more than our fair share of candy and ham over the last few weeks. Likely the bunnies, baskets, and eggs have been stashed away ready to come out again in March.
Even some of the celebrations have ended, in reality, Easter has not. Easter is never finished. Easter is not a one-day celebration. It is not even a 50-day season focusing on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is more than that. It is a way of life.
Easter, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the grand announcement of God doing something new. It is not something that can be contained in one day or season. The Resurrection is a truth that defines everything and calls us to live with the hope of the Living God every day. Every day is a celebration of the good news that Christ is alive and is with us all today. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: Living the Resurrection – By Our Love of God”
Growing up, one of the things that I looked forward to doing on Sunday afternoons was watching the NASCAR race with my grandfather. After Sunday lunch, I would join him in the TV room to watch whatever race was on. He and I were the only one in our family who liked Dale Earnhardt, so we would rub it in after each win or championship.
Flash forward some twenty-plus years and I still find myself watching the races on Sundays. I even had the opportunity to cover the sport during my journalism career. As I watch NASCAR today, one of the things that I admire about the sport is not the athleticism of the drivers or their ability to make continuous left-hand turns. It is the fact that their is no second-guessing where their loyalties lie.
Their loyalties are right there on their fire suits for all to see. When Kevin Harvick, for instance, is being interviewed, you know there will be references to Chevrolet and Jimmy John’s Sandwiches. There is no denying their loyalties. They wear them everywhere they go. Continue reading “Divided Loyalties”