Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Don't Want to Go Through the Motions

A recent popular Christian song by Matthew West goes by the same title as this blog. It should echo what each of us as believers want. At the end of our lives when we are called to give an account to the eternal Judge, what we did during our sojourn in this life will be all-important. I have lived most of my life, and when I look back at what I have done, there is much for which I am sure I will have regrets. How many times have I just gone through the motions, when I really should be passionate about serving His majesty, King Jesus? He said, ‘whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.’ Do those we work with know that we are Christians? Do we hunger and thirst after righteousness? Are we motivated by riches or are we looking for the same city for which Abraham sought?

I hope you don’t mind if I relate a story my nephew told me last week:
One of his best friends through school was attending church with him on Sunday evenings, after which they went out to eat, discussing Christianity. A couple weeks ago this friend was under conviction, and according to my nephew, the conversation got pretty heavy. He told his friend to write down his questions and they would meet with the singles pastor of the church. So a couple days later they met at a local restaurant and the most important question asked was, ‘How can I be guaranteed that I can have eternal life?’ That evening he bowed his head and asked Jesus to save his soul. I rejoiced with Jeff when he called me to tell me about it. Now his job is discipleship.

So what can you do? Well, like Jeff, you can pray and witness to your friends. Then ask your pastor where you can serve. You may be surprised at how God is able to use you if you are willing. A case in point is after Kathy and I had been attending a church in Findlay for 6 months, we were asked to take over the Children’s Church ministry. I wasn’t sure whether we were cut out for working with squirrelly kids in grades 1-3, but we were willing. For the next seven years we had what I consider an outstanding ministry, ‘pastoring’ these kids. Although I’ve been away from it for some time while working in Awana, I have missed it and recently have been privileged to take on this ministry again.

We need to step out of our comfort zone and get passionate. It is not enough to stay within our boundaries and be safe. We must stretch into unfamiliar territory, allowing the Spirit of God to lead us. It is a good and rewarding life, and at the end we will see the smile of the Savior, as He invites us to share the rewards promised those who serve Him.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

God's Authority

I have not posted a blog for a couple weeks. There are reasons and at the risk of being called a whiner, I think they were valid. One reason was because my hard drive was on its last leg and actually was dying as the files were being transferred to my new drive. The second reason was the biggie – I had a fight with a wood splitter (with 26 tons of pressure) and lost. I also lost the end of my little finger. There was no pain, but it is a bother. And if you are wondering if I have learned why God allowed it, I don’t know. I am sure things like this happen for a reason, but as of yet, God hasn’t revealed it. And because it happened to the pinky (now known as stubby) of my left hand, and I am left-handed, it has really hampered things. It will probably take a couple more weeks for things to get back to normal.

Now, let’s get to the issue I would like to discuss. As always, your feedback is welcome.

When I mentioned that I wanted to talk about God’s authority, especially as it relates to what is authority in The Shack, it may have caused some of you to pick up a copy and read it. It is quite popular in some circles, and I am not here to judge anyone who thinks the book is the best thing since sliced bread. However we need to compare it to and judge it in the light of God’s Word. The Shack has much to say about authority and how God is not really big on authority, in fact disapproves of authority in most cases. Well, this flies in the face of my Bible. The more I read the Bible, the more I am convinced that God is a God of authority. It is in His nature, and He is the final authority in the universe. Since the creation of man God has let it be known that He sets the rules and that there are consequences if you break them. Adam was told of one fruit that was forbidden and that He would die if He disobeyed. So he ate and the sentence was passed. The initial death, separation from God, happened then. Of course we are all familiar with physical death, which passed to us all as part of the judgment, and more importantly it passed to us because we all have sinned.

There have been other times that God also gave rules and consequences for those who rebel against His authority. We have the 10 Commandments, our schoolmaster showing us that we have indeed fallen short of God’s expectations of us. The penalty of rebelling against God is separation from God forever in Hell. Then God gave many rules to the Israelites which those of us who are Gentiles were never subject to. And finally God has given two commandments that we all should heed. The Great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all you have. The second commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.

All of this God sees as of paramount importance. Without the rule of law, respect for the lawgiver breaks down. God could never govern his creation without law and judgment for disobedience. And because He knows the necessity of this, He has also instituted governments that are the civil authority, He has instituted in marriage that the man is to be the final authority, and children are to be subject to their parents, God has placed pastors over us as spiritual authority figures, and God has given us bosses in the workplace. All this is good because God knows us intimately and knows that if we had no leadership there would be anarchy and misery.

In The Shack we are told God is much more interested in relationship building than in authority. Hey, I am all for relationship building, but the author William Young is just plain wrong. And many people believe that what ‘God’ says in this book has equal credibility with the inspired Word of God.

Although there are some good things to be said about The Shack, overall it has a lot of problems. I have written a brief critique for those who have read the book. Because there are pages referenced and written with the idea that you have read The Shack, it wouldn't make as much sense for those who haven’t read the book. I will be glad to email the critique to anyone who wants one. Just request it in the ‘comments’ section or email me at

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Although the Bible has much to say about worship, the most important aspect about it is that one ought to worship. This is done both corporately in groups as well as individually. When we recognize the majesty and power of our eternal God as well as His incredible attributes – love we cannot even comprehend, mercy, grace, justice, and we could go on, but when we see God for who He really is, it is natural that we worship Him. For some, this means falling prostrate before Him and others may dance as David did, while still others may not be moved physically, but within their hearts they may be crying out for a closer walk. Since we are all different, the Bible does not demand any one type of worship, and therefore it wrong for us to look down our noses at the way our brothers and sisters worship, simply because it is not the way we do so. Having said that, if someone worships contrary to the Word of God, we cannot condone such worship. For instance, if someone were to dance lewdly, causing others to be tempted with wrong thoughts, it would be wrong. For our discussion I am referring to those, who out of pure love for God, desire to worship Him.

First let us look at individual worship. Every child of God ought to spend some part of each day in prayer. Often this is just a quick time of listing those requests that we want God to answer. If that is all there is to your prayer life, may I suggest there can be much more. As an initial part of your prayer time, spend it in adoration of God, reflecting on His attributes, His power, or His goodness, thanking Him for all He has done. If you can get on your knees, all the better. And instead of folding your hands, try lifting your hands in supplication to God. The apostle Paul suggested this in I Tim. 2:8. The whole prayer time should be a time of communion with you and your God, drawing you closer to Him. Pray when it is convenient for you, but set aside a sufficient amount of time. This is a holy time, and we don’t want to rush it. It should also be a time when we have little to distract us, a quiet time.

An important part of our Christian walk is our fellowship with other believers. And part of our worship together has to do with music. For some music can be very divisive. And there was a time when I was dead set against what is known as Christian Contemporary Music. I had been taught it was wrong, the beat was bad, and it just plain was not pleasing to God. Recently I have come to the conclusion that CCM is not necessarily bad, at least not as a whole. The lyrics have to be considered. And there are some praise choruses that really bless my soul. I can’t sing worth beans, but I take part with my soul, and can get emotionally charged. When a particular part of a song is especially moving, I will lift my hand in praise to my God. Although some people may find this a little extreme, don’t deny me the ability to worship God in a way I believe pleases Him. The song service to not a time to be an observer - participate! And let God move in your heart.
I say this because it has only been in the past couple of years that I have worshipped in this way, but I feel so liberated and drawn close to my Savior. I would really appreciate any comments on this subject. And if any of you find this to be an alien subject, please let me know. We need to talk