Jesus welcomes doubts, questions, confusion, frustration, venting, and disbelief. He welcomes those who draw near and say, “I feel so far.”
If you haven’t talked to him in a while, he will not bite your head off.
His arms are always open. Jesus can handle your clenching of the teeth and shaking of the fist. What he does not want is for you to stay there.
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In Heaven, there will only be one person with scars. You’ll have none because he will have taken yours.
In darkness, He rolls the stone away.
At your worst, He loves you anyway.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
— Romans 8:18
“I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly … if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”
— G.K. Chesterton
Being a Christian doesn’t mean being a good person. It means following the Only One who is good.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
— Philippians 3:12-14
“All along, I was worse than I thought. But all long, I was more loved than I thought.”
— Timothy Keller
“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
— C.S. Lewis
One of my absolute favorite quotes by our brother Lewis.
An article by James Smith well worth reading for both praise bands and churchgoers.
Without us realizing it, the dominant practices of performance train us to relate to music (and musicians) in a certain way: as something for our pleasure, as entertainment, as a largely passive experience.
In a concert, we come to expect that weird sort of sensory deprivation that happens from sensory overload, when the pounding of the bass on our chest and the wash of music over the crowd leaves us with the rush of a certain aural vertigo. And there’s nothing wrong with concerts! It’s just that Christian worship is not a concert. Christian worship is a collective, communal, congregational practice–and the gathered sound and harmony of a congregation singing as one is integral to the practice of worship.
Continue Reading at Fors Clavigera
– What About The Guy In The Back? – Why Bigger Worship Is Not Better Worship
– I Love That Song
– How To Lose God In Ten Days
– Sermon Fail: Unprepared In The Pulpit
– The Worst Sermon I Have Ever Heard
At retreats, revivals, megachurches, and your average Sunday service, there is always someone in the back who has lost sense of it all. The music blaring, people hollering, lights piercing, front row hopping, lead singer strutting, fog machine fogging, and bass drum beating the guts out of your bowels. Right in the middle of it, you get detached and distracted and disillusioned and you see it for what it really is. Whether you’ve been in church for ten minutes or ten years, this whole stageshow can wear you down instantly. One Sunday you’re enveloped in bliss; the next Sunday you’re watching with arms crossed, a migraine setting in, every riff on the electric guitar an assault on your brain. Everyone else is singing triumphantly but you don’t get it anymore.
While we can chalk this up to an anti-institutional mind of a younger, skeptical generation, we do suspect that praise and worship in the local church has strayed from something pure, raw, real. We’ve flooded the congregation with so many artificial devices and cues that it’s hard to tell if the Spirit is actually working.
I’ve heard, “What you win them with is what you win them to.” When you show a funny video every Sunday with high-caliber production values, it creates a strange appetite for slick perfection. No need for the Spirit. No room for reliance. It’s scary to think that an entire church service full of thousands can be built without one move of the Holy Spirit himself.
The church should certainly be excellent at all it does; as D.C. Talk once said, “If it’s Christian, it oughta be better.” I am not a hipster advocating outdoor church with hemp-made chairs and a bearded surfer with a banjo. Yet when I read the Bible and look at today’s church, something is lost in translation. Most of all, that guy in the back with his arms crossed has lost intimacy with the King. He only sees the crude plastic scaffolding of desperate entertainers and pragmatic preachers, but none of it fully reveals God on His sovereign throne.
Continue reading “What About The Guy In The Back? – Why Bigger Worship Is Not Better Worship”