Blog

Blog

Displaying 76 - 80 of 255

Page 1 2 3 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 49 50 51


Don't Clang

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Don’t Clang

Wade Webster

For several weeks we have been discussing some things that we have learned or can learn about worship from the gym. I am convinced that in just a short time, we will all be in better shape spiritually. In the first lesson, we noticed that we usually feel better after we go to the gym/worship. In the second lesson, we noticed that going to the gym/worship helps us to make better choices. In the third lesson, we noticed that going to the gym/worship needs to be about growth and not about comparison. In the fourth lesson, we noticed that the gym/worship meets several needs. In this fifth lesson, we will notice the need to avoid clanging.

There is this guy at the gym who clangs. Every repetition is followed by a clang. There is a clang about every three seconds. One, two, three, Clang! One, two, three, Clang! One, two, three, Clang! I could kind of understand the clanging if he was lifting the equivalent of a small car. Some do, but he isn’t. In fact, he is lifting about what I lift, which isn’t much. It is certainly nothing to clang about. Yet, he does. I try to ignore the clanging. I really do. However, it is really hard to ignore. It breaks my focus. Maybe, I am the only one that notices. Maybe, I am the only one that it bothers. However, I don’t think so. Maybe, he doesn’t know that he clangs. Surely, he would stop if he did. Maybe, he thinks that everyone clangs. This must be what he thinks. However, they don’t! In fact, most people put forth great effort not to clang. Maybe, he knows that he clangs and just doesn’t care what others think. I suppose this could be true, but I don’t think so. I think that he is oblivious to the fact that he is clanging when those around him are not.

You may recall that Paul spoke of clanging in First Corinthians. He wrote, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1). Did you catch that? A clanging cymbal! Without love, even the great Apostle Paul would have been a clanger. Obviously, Paul was only using himself as an example. Few, if any, had more love for God or man than Paul did. In the second epistle to these same Corinthians, he would write, “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved” (2 Cor. 12:15). Although Paul was no clanging cymbal, some of the Corinthians were. Instead of coveting love, the best gift, they were coveting lesser gifts - spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:31). Instead of choosing the eternal (love- 1 Cor. 13:13), they were choosing the temporary (spiritual gifts - 1 Cor. 13:8-10). They seem to have especially been drawn to the gift of tongues. However, had they been able to speak with the tongues of men and of angels, they would have still been clangers without love. Of course, the same is true of us. Without genuine love for God and for one another, we will clang loudly (Mat. 22:37-39; 1 John 4:20-21). Likely, without love, we will make it hard for others to focus in worship. Imagine what they hear as they are trying to worship. One, two, three, Clang! One, two, three, Clang! One, two, three, Clang! Of course, worst of all, this is what God hears when our hearts are not filled with love for Him, for His word, and for His children.

As we get ready to worship this week, let’s make sure that our hearts are filled with love. Without love, we will clang in our worship and distract others.

A Number Of Needs Are Met

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Number Of Needs Are Met

Wade Webster

Over the last few weeks, we have been discussing some things that we have learned or can learn about worship from the gym. I am convinced that in just a short time, we will all be in better shape for worship. In the first lesson, we noticed that we usually feel better afterwards. In the second lesson, we noticed that going helps us to make better choices. In the third lesson, we noticed that it is about growth and not about comparison. In this lesson, we will see that worship meets a number of needs.

People go to the gym for a host of reasons. Some are trying to get into better shape. Others are trying to prevent illness and injury. Some are trying to relieve stress. Others are trying to improve balance and coordination. Some are trying to keep their heart healthy. Others are maintaining fitness. Some are rehabbing an injury. Others are toning and fine tuning. Some are receiving instruction and guidance. Others are targeting trouble areas. Finally, some are building muscle.

Just as a number of physical needs are met at the gym, a number of spiritual needs are met at worship. Some need to get into shape spiritually. They have looked into the mirror of God’s word and do not like what they see (Jam. 1:25). They are determined to change and to get back into shape spiritually (Rev. 2:5). Others are being proactive. They are trying to prevent illness and injury. They are trying to stay in good spiritual health. The psalmist declared, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11; cf. Prov. 4:23). Some need to relieve stress. They are casting their burdens and cares on Christ. David wrote, “Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psa. 55:22; cf. 1 Pet. 5:7). Others just need to maintain. They are in good shape spiritually. In Titus, Paul wrote, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Tit. 3:8). Some have been injured by their own actions or by the actions of others. They need to rehab an injury (Jer. 30:17). Others need further instruction and guidance (Mt. 11:29; 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 Cor. 11:1). Some need help with trouble areas. For example, some of the Hebrew saints were in need of endurance. We read, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Heb. 10:36). Others need to make minor adjustments. They need to go on to perfection or completion. In the book of Hebrews, we read, “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” (Heb. 6:1). Finally, some are simply trying to get stronger. To the saints at Ephesus, Paul wrote, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:10-13).

As we get Ready to Worship this week, let’s keep in mind the various needs of worshippers. God designed worship to meet our needs and to exalt His name.

Let This Cup Pass From Me

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Let This Cup Pass From Me

David Sproule

The anguish of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is one of the most moving scenes about which to read in the sacred text!  When He took His three close friends (Peter, James and John) with Him into the Garden, “He began to be troubled and deeply distressed” (Mark 14:33).  He told His friends, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death” (14:34).  Try to imagine (it’s hard, but try to get close) what Jesus was enduring.

Jesus went “a little further” from His friends and “fell to the ground” (Mark 14:35), “knelt down” (Luke 22:41) and eventually “fell on His face and prayed” (Matt. 26:39).  Why fall on His face?  Jesus prayed, “Let this cup pass from Me” (Matt. 26:39), using an imperative that means “to go forth away, to pass by without touching.”  Mark and Luke record part of the prayer with Jesus using another imperative, “Take this away, carry this away, remove it.”  Jesus’ anguish is building and will get worse (Luke 22:44).  What is “this cup”?

Not long before this time (perhaps even days), Jesus had talked with James and John about “the cup that I am about to drink” (Matt. 20:22), now He is praying in the Garden about “this cup,” and mere moments later He will say to Peter, “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” (John 18:10-11).  Jesus is getting ready to fully experience something (He is going to “drink” it), which is causing Him intense agony in the Garden, as He considers it.

Mark helps to identify “this cup.”  After Mark tells us that Jesus “fell on the ground,” he shows us that Jesus “prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him” (14:35).  The hour?  Reading through the book of John, one is repeatedly told that Jesus’ “hour had not yet come” (2:4; 7:30; 8:20).  But when Jesus prays before leaving the upper room, He says, “Father, the hour has come” (John 17:1).  And after praying fervently in the Garden, He told His friends, “Behold, the hour is at hand” (Matt. 26:45).

The words “cup” and “hour” are used interchangeably to encompass all that Jesus was going to experience (and endure) in the closing moments of His life—not only the mental and physical agony of the cross, but the spiritual agony of bearing the sin of the world and suffering the separation from His Father that comes from sin.  That thought deeply troubled our Lord (in His human emotions), but His love for you and me and His desire to fulfill Jehovah’s eternal will triumphed on that day.  He arose from prayer and said, “Let us be going” (Mark 14:42).  He had a mission to fulfill and a people to save.

Our Friend “has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2).  He drank the cup!

It Is About Growth And Not Comparison

Saturday, August 20, 2022

It Is About Growth And Not Comparison

Wade Webster

For the next few weeks, we will be discussing some things that we have learned or can learn about worship from the gym. In the first lesson, we noticed that we usually feel better afterwards. In the second installment, we noticed that going helps us make better choices. In this third installment, we will notice that it is about growth and not comparison.

I am middle-aged. There, I said it. I’m not proud of it. It just is what it is. When I go to the gym, I drop the middle and just feel aged. Many of the people at the gym are younger than me. I see those who are younger than me doing things that I can no longer do. I see them running on the treadmill. I mean running like the six-million-dollar man. Lee Majors? Doesn’t ring a bell? I guess that reference proves that I’m old. I can’t run anymore. At least, not very fast, not for very long, and certainly not on successive days. My knees and my ankles (and, possibly my heart) can’t take it. They snap, crackle, and pop. They swell (and, not with pride). I have to take a longer, less-impactful approach to the treadmill. I have learned that slow and steady wins the race. Okay, it doesn’t win the race, but it keeps me in the race; and for me, that’s a win. I watch the younger guys do multiple sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups. Oh, what it would be like to be young again. Middle-aged guys like me still do sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups; however, they are usually reserved for getting out of bed, out of a chair, or up from the table. Don’t laugh. Your time is coming. In addition to those younger than me at the gym, I see those older than me. I see those who don’t even try to get on the treadmill anymore. Their cardio is getting from the car to the gym. Their strength training involves the lowest weight on the machine. They move the weight only a few inches and only a few times. Although they can’t do much, they are still doing what they can. Compared to them, I am doing well. Compared to the younger people, I am not doing so well. The better comparison is to those of my own age, and even there I don’t really distinguish myself. I remind myself not to get encouraged or discouraged by comparisons. I remind myself that I am not competing with others. I am just trying to improve myself from week to week.

The apostle Paul declared, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends” (2 Cor. 10:12-18). The Corinthians were unwisely comparing themselves to themselves. Sometimes, these comparisons produced envy, sometimes pride, and other times, false security. The fact that they were better than someone else didn’t mean they were okay. The fact that they were worse than someone didn’t mean they should throw in the towel. Rather than comparing themselves to each other, they should have been comparing themselves to Christ. After all, we are not told to be like other Christians, we are told to be like Christ. We are told to think like (Phil. 2:5), forgive like (Col. 3:12), love like (John 13:34-35), forbear like (Col. 3:12), and walk like Christ (1 John 2:6). Rather than comparing ourselves to others, we need to simply measure our own growth from week to week. Are we gaining stamina? Are we increasing in strength? If we are, then that is the growth that we are looking for in our lives.

As we get ready to worship this week, let’s not compare ourselves to other worshippers. Let’s push ourselves to be the best that we can be. Let’s push ourselves to grow a little each week in our relationship to God.

We Make Better Choices

Saturday, August 13, 2022

We Make Better Choices

Wade Webster

For the next few weeks, we will be discussing some things that we have learned or can learn about worship from the gym. In the first lesson, we noticed that we usually feel better afterwards. In this second installment, we will notice that We Make Better Choices.

I will admit it. I make better choices when I go to the gym. When I am putting in the work, I watch everything that I eat and drink. Sodas, sweet tea, bread, pizza, pasta, chips, crackers, candy, and desserts are on the naughty list. They just aren’t worth the work that it takes to burn them off. Do you know how many steps and how much sweat it takes to burn off a can of soda or a candy bar? If you know, then they are probably on your naughty list also. If you don’t know, then I suggest that you go to the gym, get on a treadmill, and watch how long it takes to burn 200 calories. It will probably surprise you. It may convince you to reconsider the choices that you make every day. I know that it has that effect on me. I know that nutrition and exercise go together. I know that if I eat the wrong things, they will nullify much, if not all, of the time and effort that I expend at the gym. I know that I will make little or no progress toward losing weight and getting into shape until I coordinate my eating with my exercise.

Like the gym, worship drives us to make better choices. In worship, we are required to examine ourselves. On a weekly basis, we are required to take a serious look at the shape of our souls. In connection with the Lord’s Supper, Paul wrote, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Cor. 11:28; cf. 2 Cor. 13:5). This examination is good for us. It makes us think back over the past week and the choices that we made. It makes us consider whether those choices worked for or against our souls. We know that it does little or no good for us to draw nigh to God in worship on Sunday, if we have been friends with the world the past week (Jam. 4:4). When we get serious about worship, it will affect every choice that we make. It will drive us to gird up the loins or the loose ends of our minds that we may be holy as God is holy. Peter wrote, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Pet. 1:13-15). Fleshly lusts war against our souls. We must abstain from them (1 Pet. 2:11). Being in God’s holy presence in worship, compels us to be careful what we feed our hearts and minds during the week. Going to worship helps us to make better choices in our lives (Prov. 4:23). We know that we cannot feed our minds anything and everything during the week and benefit from worship on Sunday.

As we get ready to worship this week, let’s think of the choices that we made this last week. Were they consistent with those seeking to be in the presence of a holy God? How will going to worship affect the choices that we make in the upcoming week?

Displaying 76 - 80 of 255

Page 1 2 3 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 49 50 51