In the classic movie Shenandoah, Jimmy Stewart plays a hard-working family farmer from Virginia who is doing his best to stay out of the conflict that becomes the War Between the States. In one scene he offers grace before a meal, praying,
“Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvest it. We cooked the harvest. It wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be eating it if we hadn’t done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you Lord just the same for the food we’re about to eat, amen.”
Well, that sounds like a real salt-of-the-earth prayer, Jimmy, but let me ask you – where did the land come from? Or the soil, the seeds, the sun, the rain? The birds and the bees to pollinate your crops? The energy and the health you were given to enable you to work “dog-bone hard”? Who made the plants grow? Who takes that food that you have harvested and eaten and nourishes you by it? In fact when you look at it that way, your work is just a small part of the bigger miracle that takes food from the ground to the table to your belly to give you life. Everything is a gift. Everything is grace. Read more
The doctrine of the priesthood of all believers does not mean only that we can pray directly to God, though it does mean that. And it does not mean only that we can read the Bible for ourselves, it does mean that. But it means primarily that we have a holy, happy duty to worship the living Triune God and to do it as priests.
Our worship is intercessory. Priests represent God before the world and they represent the world before God. Read more
In the last entry it was proposed that mankind was created by God primarily for worship. Where do we get this idea?
From the first pages of the Bible we find that God created Adam, the first man, for worship. That is, Adam’s job and the purpose of his being was to glorify his creator by obeying Him and communing with Him and listening to His word and following it. And Adam was given a liturgical helper, Eve, who would worship with him. Out of their worship and obedience together would flow their dominion over the whole earth. God gave them children who they were to train up to be worshipers. They were to fill the earth with a race of worshipers and that purpose and calling do not change after the Fall. Read more
The statement “worship changes the world” strikes most Christians as a ridiculous proposition, because for most Christians attendance at worship is not a priority. It is secondary. It is non-essential. It is not perceived to be necessary for their lives, or their salvation. It is something that is okay to do, if you feel like it benefits you. Sure the church offers opportunities for fellowship and service and gives you connections in the community.
We think, preaching is okay, if it grabs your interest, but you can get that anywhere – radio, internet, television. Worship helps us along in our Christian life, a little bit. But it isn’t like it’s the end of the world if we miss it. It really is nice when you need it, but it has very little to do with our spiritual health. That’s what our quiet time is for. That’s what our private devotion is for. That’s how our thinking typically goes. Read more
How would you like to change the world? Does that sound exciting? I’m sure like most people, you don’t like the way things are. You don’t like the darkness and the ignorance and the poverty and the sin and the death. Great, let’s get started. What are we going to do?
When we ask that question, we start to formulate a plan. The first thing we need to do is raise some money, and figure out how we going to raise it. We need a good media strategy, some publicity. We need billboards and a website. We ought to get busy producing some videos. We need to think about getting the guys we want in office elected, or think about how we influence the guys who are already elected. So that’s a start, money, media and political influence, that’s how we change the world.
Those things are all okay in their place, but ultimately those things don’t change the world, because those are the tactics and the strategies of the world. The world is really good at those things already. It is good at defending against those weapons and really good at undermining your efforts. That’s their game, and one that they are way better at than you or I am. Read more
This coming Wednesday evening, we plan to begin a weekly study on the The Heidelberg Catechism. This document is one of the confessional statements Christ Church subscribes to and is a representation of the things we hold in common and believe together. It was written in the mid-1500’s by the German Reformer Zacharias Ursinus and is one of the clearest summaries of Reformed thought and faith available to us today. Read more