Faith in Church

July 19, 2009 in

What does it mean to come to worship, to come to Church in faith rather than in unbelief? For the call of the Word of God to all God’s people – young and old, maiden and youth, men and women – is to live by faith. This means that when we come to worship, there is far more going on than our eyes can see and that we are called to trust in the Word of God more than our eyes.

Leadership Training 2009 – Part I: Your Spiritual Service of Worship

February 28, 2009 in

This talk is the first of three delivered at the Leadership Training Course 2009 sponsored by Trinity Church, Christ Church in Spokane, and Holy Trinity Church in Colville.

One of the passages that has always intrigued me is Ecclesiastes 7:28: “One man among a thousand I have found,But a woman among all these I have not found.” While Solomon’s observation may have been precipitated by the women which Solomon associated with, it seems that there was more to his observation than this. Solomon was shrewd and as he looked on the landscape in his day he observed that righteous men were more common than women.

But would we describe Western Christendom this way?Would we not be tempted to conclude the opposite? To say that one woman among a thousand we have found but a trustworthy man, who can find? Why is this? Why this deficiency? It is not as though men are irreligious. After all, in Islam and Orthodox Judaism men outnumber women.

So why are men in Western Christendom, especially in evangelical circles, disconnected? It is this question that I wish to address this morning by talking about three key issues that revolve around worship.

Why are men disconnected? The first factor, discussed in this talk, is that men have been given a truncated vision of worship by the Church which has separated them from their labor, from the work of their hands. Consequently men have viewed worship as one dimension of their lives rather than the characteristic of their whole life. If we are to raise up leaders for our churches, this mentality must be destroyed.

Leadership Training 2009 – Part II: Good Soldiers of Christ Jesus

February 28, 2009 in

In our first talk, we established that while the Church is in need of godly men, men by and large are disconnected. Why is this?
First, we have a truncated view of worship. We view worship as one activity during the week rather than understanding that worship is the basic orientation of all of one’s life. Consequently, we have separated men from their labor.

But there are other reasons men are disconnected. One of these is that we do not understand corporate worship. Consequently, we have separated men from the Church.

We have established that all of life is worship, service offered up to the service of one god or another. There are two potential errors that could proceed from this observation. First, because all life is worship, we might reason that corporate (public) worship unnecessary or unimportant. So some men retreat from Church life and focus entirely on self or on their family. A second error, is that we could understand this worship in the wrong way, view it through feminized metaphor that empties the observation of all its power. It is to these two potential errors that we speak in this talk.

Leadership Training 2009 – Part III: Covenantal Captains

February 28, 2009 in

In the first two talks we have established that we need godly men but that men by and large are disconnected in the modern Western church. Why? So far we’ve explored two reasons that have separated men from their labor and from the church. The third reason men are disconnected is because there is a crisis of identity in the home. Men do not understand what their calling is or what God expects of them as husbands and fathers. Consequently, we have separated men from their families. So let us take up this last matter briefly. What is our calling as men – in particular as husbands and fathers?

Worship Part III – Walking by Faith (Heb 5, Ex 34, Psalms of Ascent)

February 8, 2009 in

There are a number of insidious ideas within the Church today which are causing no small amount of discomfort and confusion for the people of God. One of the most tangible of these ideas is the notion of “finding the will of God.” We are told that we must sort through the various life decisions that are in front of us and choose just the right one lest we miss the “will of God.” This morning I want to address this notion by asking and answering two related questions: First, how do we go about making decisions in such a way that it honors God? Second, how does this enable us to thrive when the consequences of our decisions are not as we anticipated?

My purpose in addressing these questions is to follow up on our discussion on the weapons of our warfare last week. I want to train us to use these weapons more effectively so that our lives are free of the anxiety, regret, and frustration that characterize so much of the world and even Christendom. In particular, I want to show how using the Word of God and the Psalms of God enables us to make decisions with joy and gladness and to live with no regrets, entrusting our joys, fears, and anxieties to God.

Worship Part II – The Weapons of our Warfare (2 Cor 10:3-5; Col 3:16)

February 1, 2009 in

Last week we uncovered various principles of warfare from the life of Jehoshaphat. When the enemy rises up against us, what do we do? We saw three things. First, we are to seek the Lord in prayer and fasting, taking our troubles directly to His throne. Second, we are to listen to His Voice as He speaks in His Word. Third, we are to worship the Lord with prayer and psalms and, thus, go to war against His enemies.

In the story of Jehoshaphat we learn somewhat of the weapons that have been entrusted to us as the people of God. We see the weapons of fasting, prayer, the Word of God, and the Psalms being employed as Jehoshaphat goes forth against the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites. If we were to survey the rest of the Word of God, we would discover other weapons that God has given to us, things such as reason and the keys of the kingdom (church discipline).

This morning I want us to learn more about the nature of these weapons and then focus particularly on one of them – psalm singing. The goal is that we would come to love the weapons that God has placed in our hands and that we would become even more skilled in their use, that we might be good soldiers of Christ Jesus and fight the good fight.

Worship Part I – The Battle is the Lord’s (2 Chron 20:1-30)

January 25, 2009 in

When Ezra and Nehemiah returned the the land of Israel from exile in Persia, what they found was enough to discourage the most stalwart saint. Jerusalem was largely in ruins; the population was compromising their allegiance to Yahweh by intermarrying with their neighbors; enemies thwarted their labor. As Ezra considered how he could provide these folks who had returned from exile with spiritual direction, he decided to write a history text, a text which we call First and Second Chronicles.

One of the lessons that Ezra teaches his audience conerns warfare. How are we as the people of God to thwart the attacks of the enemy? How are we to advance His kingdom? To teach this lesson to His audience, Ezra records an incident from the life of Jehoshaphat. The story contains numerous principles of spiritual warfare and enables us to get a grasp of the significance of our worship every Lord’s Day. So what are these lessons and why are they important?

Distinctives Part IV – With Reverence and Awe

February 3, 2008 in

How does the correlation between the Temple of God and the Church help us to understand what does happen and what should happen in worship each Lord’s Day? If we truly understand the correlation, then we will be astounded at the mystery of worship and we will enter the Lord’s Presence with reverence and awe and in a way that reflects our identity as the Temple of God.