If your church has a regular habit of celebrating and singing about America and its greatness in the world, the line between God’s sovereignty over creation and America’s sovereignty as a creation will become blurry. America is not God (nor is it Israel in the Old Testament), and you should not sing about a nation in church with the same enthusiasm with which we worship God. Worship God and celebrate your country, not the other way around.
On the one hand, it is a good thing that the internet has provided a lot of free older materials, now out of copyright, that one can access very readily. What it has not provided is the training to know how to properly analyze the data, nor does it provide the critical judgment to do so. I am all the time getting crazy questions about blood moons, Jesus’ wife, and on and on and on. Sometimes I feel like throwing up my hands and saying ‘don’t be so open minded that your brains fall out!!’
Sanctify one another, humble one another, scrutinize one another, pressure one another, embarrass one another, corner one another, interrupt one another, defeat one another, sacrifice one another, shame one another, judge one another, run one another’s lives, confess one another’s sins, intensify one another’s sufferings, point out one another’s failings…
So, when choosing songs for any worship gathering, some of the questions going through a worship leader’s head should be:
- Will these songs build up my church? (i.e. build them up into Jesus)
- Will these songs be clear/singable/accessible?
- Will these songs engage the minds and spirits of the people in the room?
- Will outsiders find it too difficult to try to sing along with us?
I believe one of our aims in preaching is to motivate our hearers to desire the “pure spiritual milk” that is God’s Word. In that sense then, preaching is the confluence of three important dimensions.
- First, our preaching must lift up Scripture as God’s authoritative declaration to us.
- Second, our preaching must flow out of a passionate, insightful, and personal experience we as preachers have had in our study of the Word.
- Third, our preaching must deliver practical application, model good scriptural reading and interpretation, as well as motivate our hearers to personally engage and apply God’s Word in their lives.
I have been in a lot of rooms over my lifetime. Rooms where new lives were just beginning. Rooms of grief where the family filled the first few rows and friends filled the rest. Locked rooms where I was the only one with the freedom to leave after a set amount of prayer and study time. So many rooms have filled our lives, but none offer the peace and hope of the room where every knee is bowed to the same God out of the same awe and reverence.
That room is also where we’re reminded that we’re not alone in this journey. Some of us will risk persecution and even death to join with others in a similar room this week. They will hide their Bibles and glance over their shoulders knowing that this may be the last place they will ever go. But they will go regardless. Because when we’re together, we are strong.
Henkel says her students’ memories were impaired because relying on an external memory aid means you subconsciously count on the camera to remember the details for you.
“As soon as you hit ‘click’ on that camera, it’s as if you’ve outsourced your memory,” she says. “Any time we … count on these external memory devices, we’re taking away from the kind of mental cognitive processing that might help us actually remember that stuff on our own.”