Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wearisome Worship

So I flipped on the television last night and thought I’d look for some entertainment so I turned it to TBN and “Praise the Lord” was on. After hearing a horrible gospel presentation by one of the Winans, the camera turns to a worship leader. He goes into a song titled, “I Need You Lord” and so it starts,

"I need you, Lord!"

Two minutes pass,

"I need you, Lord!"

Then the National Broadcast Service interrupts the song to announce some flood warnings in and around Houston. The broadcaster gives a two to three minute announcement and then cuts back into the show.

Well, guess what's coming out of the worship leader's mouth? That’s right…he’s singing the exact same thing,

“I Need You, Lord!”

Add a few more repetitions and the song ends.

Doesn’t most of what you hear on your local family Christian radio station sound very similar? Just add a bunch of cool guys with cool haircuts jumping around and making cool sound effects on their guitars and you have yourself a worship band.

I’m not sure when everything changed but if you go back hundreds of years to the hymns, you’ll find something completely different. Writers like Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, and John Newton wrote beautiful worship gems that were lyrically rich and full of biblical truth. God was exalted and Christ was proclaimed. It wasn’t the awesome guitar solo, trendy worship leader, or dimly lit lights that stirred one's heart to worship.

These elements seem to be the priority in most modern churches. Add this all up and contemporary Christian music tends to make our emotions the primary focus of our worship...God Himself, as revealed in the bible, gets pushed aside and what we feel, think, and experience about God become the center of our worship.

But true worship is when we set our hearts and minds upon the one true and living God and give him all due praise…not just a few simple lines repeated over and over and over again(I just counted 33 lines of a repeated phrase in one song). God, being God, deserves much, much, much more...afterall, He is holy, holy, holy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Whose Right(eousness)?

If you have driven around Houston, particularly Montrose, I'm sure you've seen the coexist bumper sticker representing all the major world religions. We live in a plurastic society that promotes the acceptance of all religions and because of this freedom, Christians will most certainly find themselves in conversations with people of many faiths. This means being prepared when we do have these encounters and while it is important to learn the basics of other religions/cults, the question arises as to how much time should we spend in nonbiblical texts if we ourselves do not know the gospel of our precious Savior.

What are we comparing a false religion to if we do not know the true religion of the Bible?

I also want to add what a good friend of mine pointed out regarding the numerous religions in the world: Christianity sets itself apart in that salvation is about what God does and not about what we do. The Bible says we are not the center of salvation, God is. study and learn what other religions teach about salvation and man but do not let it neglect the gospel and reading of the scriptures. Rather than spending so much time in other texts, the Bible tells us, in a very simple and forthright way, what can be known about all other religions:

Romans 10:3-4
3For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

So the question Christians should have for Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, and anyone else that is not trusting in Christ is, "Whose righteousness are you seeking to establish - the righteousness of God, which is in Christ, or your own?" While each religion differ in many ways, this is the root of all the differences and what makes Christianity unique.

And ultimately the Bible says people will not submit to Christ simply because they wish to establish a self-righteous gospel that puts man, and not God, at the center of salvation. But we know that even the righteousness of man is not good enough to get us into heaven (Isaiah 64:5). This is what Paul was telling the Jews in Romans 10:3. The Jews were deceived by thinking they had what it takes to make it to heaven...they were ignorant of God's righteous standards, which is perfection (Matthew 5:48; Hebrews 7:11). This is why we must trust in the righteousness of Christ, and Christ alone.

So when all the religions have had their say, the question of "who's right" hinges on the more important question of whose righteousness will you trust in, yours or Christ?

Friday, April 3, 2009

My having been His murderer!

Charles Spurgeon

"A great multitude of the people followed Him, including women who mourned and wailed for Him." Luke 23:27

Amid the rabble crowd which hounded the Redeemer to His doom, there were some gracious souls whose bitter anguish sought vent in wailing and lamentations--fit music to accompany that march of woe!

When my soul can, in imagination, see the Savior bearing His cross to Calvary--she joins the godly women, and weeps with them. They bewailed. . .


But my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn: MY SINS were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders! MY SINS were the thorns which crowned that bleeding brow! MY SINS cried, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" and laid the cruel cross upon His gracious shoulders! His being led forth to die, is sorrow enough for one eternity--but MY having been His murderer--is more, infinitely more grief, than one poor fountain of tears can express! Those women who loved and wept--could not have had greater reasons for love and grief--than my heart has!

The widow of Nain saw her son restored--but I myself have been raised to newness of life!

Peter's mother-in-law was cured of the fever--but I myself have been cured of the plague of sin!

Mary Magdalene had seven devils cast out of her--but a whole legion of devils were cast out of me!

Mary and Martha were favored with visits from Jesus--but He dwells with me!

I am not behind these holy women in debt to Jesus--let me not be behind them, in gratitude or sorrow.

"Love and grief my heart dividing,
With my tears His feet I'll lave;
Constant still in heart abiding,
Weep for Him who died to save!"

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