Friday, June 26, 2015

Why Do I Use Paper?

The tangible copy allows me to annotate anywhere about anything. I can have the connection with the past with those who used the same. I can look back on notes and not worry whether they will transfer over with the next update. I don't have to worry about my text crashing. 

It can be messy. It can be torn. It can be lost, tossed, or taken. But, it has a part of me. My thoughts, my penmanship, on occasion my tears. Blood from paper cuts, coffee stains, chikfila sauce on the corner. Bits and pieces of me and my life. It's special, sacred, cared for, and loved. It's mine. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Messy Love

Jesus loved the Samaritans the despised people of his time.  Christians are called to be Christ-like and should, therefore, love the less than desired people in our lives.  What group of people do you not agree with? Love them! What group of people do you hold prejudice toward? Love them! What individual drives you crazy? Love them! Loving these people is messy; it is not an easy task.  We may have to give things up; we may encounter oppression from others. But, love them.  Why is loving messy people so difficult? Simply put, we are selfish.  We don't want to give up our time, our comfort, our well-being, our image.  All of these things may be taken away or given away in order to love others, but we often want to keep them.  However, these things were lent to us from God.  The things we are keeping to ourselves aren't even ours!?  God has blessed us to freely and fully with so many good gifts; how can we justify keeping something that was lent to us during our time here on earth?  We have had an overabundance of love poured over us.  Christ died for us. How many people can say that someone loved them so much that he or she died for them? As the Church, we can say that one person, one being loved us that much -- enough to die.  That unending, perfect, eternal love has been graciously given to us.  We have received more love than we can ever hope to give.  So, why not spread that love to others.  Why hoard good news, joy, and peace.  Share this love with others and not just with the people that are easy.  Let's love the messy and the difficult. It's not like we're going to run out of love to give.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Beauty of Worship

As I sat in an evening service, I listened to a pastor preach about how certain types of music can and will affect you.  This pastor focused mainly on the negative effects of music, but his point of the affects of music became so evidently clear as my week progressed.  I began to think about how music that follows modern trends is introduced to the body of Christ every year and multiple times a year.  The faster tempos of praise and worship music were introduced to those who sang older hymns.  The hymns written by Fanny Crosby were introduced to those singing the hymns of Martin Luther.  The hymns of Martin Luther were introduced to those singing Gregorian chants.  Music of the church has been revolutionized over and over again.  And, with every revolution comes skepticism: "Is this song truly worshipful?" "Is this style of music God-honoring?" "Are the lyrics about Jesus or a significant other?" "Is this song worldly?" Songs and music aid the body of Christ in its worship. The music must contain content that will enable true worship not a show or performance.  Worship is meant to adore God.

1 Chronicles 16:23-31 says:
Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.
Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the people are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.
Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.
Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth. (KJV)

The Church is called to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." Our attitudes are so important in worship.  We are to worship in the beauty of holiness.  The way we worship is supposed to be beautiful.  The music is supposed to prepare, encourage, and aid worship. Can the Church on Earth actually achieve this worship in the beauty of holiness. Often worship is viewed as a show or an act.  Many times, worship is exactly that.  Ordinary people lead worship and song services in the church.  These sinners are leading worship.  And, more sinners are being led and participating in worship.  Pride, jealousy, anger.  These negative effects infiltrate a worship setting.  Worship is so much more than just singing on Sunday and listening to a sermon.  Worship is a daily act and a daily choice.  Our worship will never be perfect on this earth.  We must focus on our personal worship in our daily lives.  We must encourage others in their worship.  Worship will radically change when Christ returns, and the Church begins its eternal worship in Heaven (Rev 14:7).  Now is the time to join together in worship of all kinds with pure hearts, extolling one another until the day when our worship of the Lord will be filled with all the beauty of holiness.