Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 12 December 2013
Page 6

Bored or Edified?

Robert Johnson

Robert JohnsonA brotherhood periodical recently asked comments from its readers regarding the influence of sports, if sports were hurting church attendance and if people cared about it. There were lots of responses to this issue, many of which concurred that sports could be detrimental to faithfulness in worship. One person, however, responded, “What’s the big deal about kids missing irrelevant Bible classes and boring worship assemblies that they and their parents are not getting anything out of anyway? Isn’t this another example of measuring success by how many people show up?”

In thinking of this, of course, we should do our best, and we should offer our best to glorify God in our worship of Him. We can and should be relevant to the age in which we live, as God’s Word is always relevant to every aspect of our lives. “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25 NASB).

On the other hand, who decides whether worship is “boring” or not? Worship is the prerogative of God and is to be offered to Him from a pure and loving heart. If one comes to worship but expects it to be focused on what each person wants and desires, instead of what God desires, then how is God glorified in that? Each person present in worship comes with different feelings, different ideas and different expectations. A person could complain he or she didn’t get anything out of worship because the sermon topic didn’t address a specific issue, or the songs weren’t what one wanted to sing. Yet, would what you wanted in a sermon be what someone else wanted or needed? The songs you thought were boring to you, were they edifying to another? If worship is all about pleasing oneself, there can be no unity in the assembly, and some will leave each week thinking it was boring to them.

This is the problem so many have, and why so many have no problem absenting themselves from gathering together to worship for other activities; they have made it all about what they want. Worship has never been about what man wants, but about what God wants! Only God is divine and knows how best to be worshipped. It’s only when one empties him or herself of such self-centered desires and is willing to focus on what God desires, to place our minds and hearts around Him, that we truly worship God (John 4:24).

Look at the chaos that happened in Corinth during the Lord’s Supper when they focused on themselves rather than on Christ who died for them (1 Corinthians 11:27-30). Worship isn’t boring if God is the focus of our worship. We should make the words of whatever song is led our words of praise to God. We should make whatever prayer is led our prayer to God. We should listen to the message proclaimed and examine our hearts and determine to live more for Christ. We remember the death of Christ in communion, and thank God for all our material blessings when we give as prospered. Such a perspective honors God, and emptying ourselves of ourselves allows God to fill us up with Him, giving us joy, edifying us and encouraging us in what is spiritual.

As long as we view Christianity as being ‘all about me,’ we will experience discontent and never find the peace God provides. Worship, the church and Christian living are not about me; it’s about God. Jesus told us, if we are to be His disciples we must first deny ourselves (Matthew 16:24), crucifying ourselves with Christ so we might no longer live but instead Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20); Christ is our life (Colossians 3:4). If one is bored, the place one needs to look first is within oneself. “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 HCSB).

Where Are You?

Mark N. Posey

Mark N. PoseyGod asked this question on a cool day in Eden (Genesis 3:8-9). Adam and Eve hid due to shame caused by sin (10-13, 17). Therefore, God cursed them and the ground (14, 17), thus paradise was lost (23-24). God’s question should challenge us! Consider the following.

“Where are you” in your marriage? God wants married folk to grow old together (Matthew 19:6). The sacrificial love of Christ is measured at the cross. How does your marital sacrificial love measure up? If you’re not giving 100%, you have got some growing to do. Here’s the bottom line: Marriage is two people climbing the mountain of life together!

“Where are you” in your spiritual growth? The newspaper on February 4, 1983 reported that Karen Carpenter died at the age of 32 from anorexia nervosa. What? That just means she starved herself to death! I am convinced there is such a thing as spiritual anorexia. Spiritual anorexia is an aversion to reading the Scriptures. Nutritious food to the body is as important for physical health as spiritual food to the soul is for spiritual health. The words of Jesus in Matthew 4:4 prove the point. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The cure for spiritual anorexia is found in Psalm 1. “But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in His Law he mediates day and night.” Delight and meditation! Delight is finding joy in getting clear direction from the Word of God. Meditation, says Warren Wiersbe, is to the soul what digestion is to the body. Spiritual nourishment will bring forth spiritual growth.

“Where are you” in your conduct? Christian conduct is powerful enough to win souls to Christ (1 Peter 3:1-2). I like Paul’s take on this, “let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ”(Philippians 1:27). That is powerful! In fact, that is the way you and I must live our lives—worthy of the Gospel!

“Where are you” in your love for God? The greatest commandment is to love God completely (Matthew 22:37). It involves heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:30). John said, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). It is the love of God that should motivate us to serve Him wholeheartedly.

“Where are you” in your love for your neighbor? We commonly think of neighbors as the people who live near us, but Jesus meant it to include all mankind—even our enemies! Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan to make it clear that “love your neighbor” means to love all persons, everywhere—not just our friends, allies or countrymen.

I love Isaiah’s cry to God, he said, “Here am I, Send me!” May we live in such a way to be found doing God’s will at all times.

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