Friday, June 15, 2007

On Experience in Worship

Here's the quote that was in last week's worship folder from Bob Kauflin on experience in worship:
“As I paged through a Christian magazine last year, I noticed one add for a new worship CD mentioned ‘experience’ six times. We all love ‘worship experiences’ with God. Experiences aren’t evil. But the concept of worship as an ‘experience’ is fairly foreign to Scripture. I say ‘fairly’ because there are times when worshipping God was definitely an experience! [II Chronicles 5.11-14; Acts 4.31; I Corinthians 14.24-25] However, the goal of gathering as God’s people is not to feel something but to see and remember something. That ‘something’ is the Word, works, and worthiness of God, especially as He has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. [II Corinthians 4.6] If I pursue goose bumps or heightened emotion during a meeting, God becomes simply one of numerous options I can choose to seek them from. This doesn’t minimize the importance of pursuing encounters with the living God characterized by profound emotion and awareness of the Holy Spirit’s active presence. Scripture is filled with examples of longing for, pursuing, and delighting in God’s presence. [Psalm 84.1-2; I Chronicles 16.11; Psalm 16.11] But I become aware of God’s nearness by dwelling on His nature, promises, acts, not by pursuing an emotional fix.”

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Mark Driscoll, in his book Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out, asks his readers to see that Jesus has called us to:1. The Gospel [loving our Lord]2. The Culture [loving our neighbor]3. The Church [loving our brother]Driscoll continues: "When we fail to love our Lord, neighbor, and brother simultaneously, we bury our mission in one of three holes." Driscoll's three holes are:1. Parachurch2. Liberalism3. FundamentalismGospel+Culture-Church= Parachurch"The success of these ministries [he mentions Campus Crusade for Christ, perhaps Bible Colleges] is due in large part to their involvement in culture and loving people, whereas the church often functions as an irrelevant subculture." Driscoll believes that spiritual immaturity is the result of an often generationally connected group of people disconnected from the rich tapestry of generations found in the local church. He concludes, Parachruch Christians tend to love the Lord and love its neighbors, but not to love its brothers."Culture+Church-Gospel= LiberalismThis sort of hole is dying in mainline denominational churches. The liberal church is "so concerned with being culturally relevant, though they are deeply involved in the culture, they neglect the gospel. In their desire for relevance, the liberal church has become irrelevant by having nothing to say to the culture that the culture could not say to itself without the church.Driscoll writes, "Their failure is that they bring to the culture a false gospel of accommodation, rather than confrontation, by seeking to bless people as they are rather than calling them to a repentant faith that transforms them." Liberal Christians risk loving their neighbors and theiPick up Driscoll's book and give it a read. Driscoll is sometimes edgy; however he's thoroughly orthodox. He's giving the emergent church fits because he's proved that Reformission is reaching out without selling out.r brothers at the expense of loving their Lord.Church+Gospel-Culture=FundamentalismDriscoll writes, "The success of these churches lies in that they love the church and often love the people in the church. Their failure is that . . . pastors at these churches are prone to speak about the needs of the church, focusing on building up its people and keeping them from sinning . . . Over time, they can become so inwardly focused that the gospel is replaced with rules supported with mere prooftexts from the Bible. Fundamentalist Christians are commonly found to love their Lord and their brothers, but not their neighbors."Pick up Driscoll's book and give it a read. Driscoll is sometimes edgy; however he's thoroughly orthodox. He's showing the emergent church that Reformission can reach out without selling out.

Monday, June 11, 2007

On the Road

I've been on the road for the past week, visiting my our son Adam, his wife Stephanie, and little Adelyn and Elizabeth - now that is real R & R.In the photo above, our son Adam is in the middle holding on to Adelyn, Anita has little Elizabeth, and I have Hezekiah. We took this photo when we were on vacation back in March. Tomorrow I travel to Ashland Seminary for a workshop with Hebrew profs from all over the world. We are trying to find better ways to teach first year Hebrew by using proven techniques from Second Language Acquisition models. Any project that makes the Bible, especially the Hebrew Bible, more accessible is worth the time. Until believers are better grounded in the Bible, they will be susceptible "to every wind of doctrine and sleight of men."Lord willing, I will be back in the area on Friday afternoon. If you need me, I still have my cell phone and, of course, email, email, email :-)Posted Monday, June 11, by Pastor Smith

Eating Solo at Armetta's

Compared with hanging out at Armetta’s after prayer meeting with some of you guys, eating alone at Armettas on Saturday night was a rather solitary adventure. Connie and our kids went to Dorney Park with another mom and her kids, which left me with a “hankering” hunger for some wings. Even the waitress who normally helps us on Wednesday's remarked, "You sure like wings, don't you?"
So what do you do when you forget to bring a book into the restaurant to look busy while you're waiting for your food? Well, I played Galaga on my cell phone [destroy the Arminians!], and took a picture of my Pepsi glass with an empty chair in the background to visually capture the solitude.
It just reminded me that fellowship is a joyful ingredient of our church. I was again reminded yesterday of the joy of Christian fellowship. Our family, Janet and Howard, Jeremy K., Jan, Kevin, and Brianna Wells ate lunch together at Colarusso's. I left a worship folder with a little note on it for Tara, our waitress. Pray that she might desire to visit us.
A likemindedness of doctrine has been the foundation for some of the sweetest fellowship our family has experienced at a local church. Thanks for the sweet communion of the saints!“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2.42 ESV