Archive for February, 2014

Singing As Worship

Greetings everyone,
Snow has fallen in Ericson. It is not heavy, just pretty. A picture of the purity of our Creator.

Today’s topic is singing. Specifically, singing as worship. Singing as a means of worship is spoken of many places in the Bible, and God’s people are encouraged to “sing a new song to the Lord.” Even so, occasionally, I see people in a worship service who don’t sing. Some will tell me they aren’t good singers, although they would admit to liking music. I personally believe that God is more concerned with our willingness to lift our voices in praise to Him, than he is with the quality of our voices.

The following words are from a blog written by a worship leader I know:
“The prophet Zephaniah wrote, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph 3:17).

When we can’t find adequate words to express our thanks, Jesus as our worship leader sings with us. He said, “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises” (Heb. 2:12).

For some of us, there may be a time when the circumstances of life actually discourage us from being able to verbalize our thanks. Since the Father is singing over us and Jesus is singing with us we can rest in the realization that we are not alone. With that assurance and encouragement how can we keep from singing?

My life flows on in endless song; Amid earth’s lamentation,
I hear the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn That hails a new creation;
Thro’ all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul, How can I keep from singing? ” (Dr. David Manner)

When Moses tried to excuse himself from speaking to Pharaoh, God said, “who makes mans mouth?” If God gave you a voice, don’t you think he would expect that you would use it to sing his praises? I encourage you, when you attend church next Sunday, whether you feel you are capable or not, to raise your voice in worshipful song to the Lord. I know you will be blessed.

Singing praises,

Pastor Jerry
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Just As I Am

Dear readers,

Last night (Sunday), we held another Valentine’s Dinner at the church. The meal was delicious, and the atmosphere warm and friendly. We were greatly entertained by Mr. Steve Swanson at the piano, sharing God’s perspective on love through music and song. Special thanks to all who decorated, and to the youth group for serving our guests. A big thank you also, to everyone who helped with cleanup. Plans are already being made for next year.

Lacking inspiration this week, I share the following: Charles Spurgeon, in a sermon given on February 17, 1861, said this: “When I stand at the foot of the cross, I do not believe in Christ because I have good feelings, but I believe in him whether I have good feelings or not.”

“The gate of Mercy is opened, and over the door it is written, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Between that word “save” and the next word “sinners,” there is no adjective. It does not say, “penitent sinners,” “awakened sinners,” “sensible sinners,” “grieving sinners,” or “alarmed sinners.” No, it only says, “sinners” and I know this, that when I come to Christ today, when I come to him, I dare not come as a conscious sinner or an awakened sinner, but I have to come still as a sinner with nothing in my hands.”

In the words of the song:

“Just as I am, without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,

O Lamb of God, I come.” (Charlotte Elliot)

 

In a line from another favorite song we get this:

“Could my tears forever flow, Could my zeal no languor know,

These for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.

In my hand no price I bring; Simply to Thy cross I cling.” (August Toplady)

Let us not complicate the gospel with our emotions or feelings. These are good things, but Satan can use them to give false assurance of salvation, and also to make sinners feel too bad to obey the Gospel and come to Christ.

In Christ alone is salvation. We bring nothing of value to the cross, but he values us highly. He gave his life for us.

Just thinking,

Pastor Jerry

 

 

What Is Love?

Hello friends,
We received some snow this weekend. It wasn’t much, but it looks nice compared to the dry, brown landscape we’ve had for most of the winter. I have to say I’m ready for spring, not because our winter has been particularly bad, I’m just ready for green grass and flowers.

Valentine’s Day is this week, and it’s all about LOVE. Here at our church we observe the occasion with a catered meal and entertainment, usually on the Sunday evening nearest to February 14. It’s not exclusively for couples, singles are welcome. Our motive is just to get people out for an evening of fellowship.

I thought I’d share a bit this week on the topic of love from a Biblical perspective. The Bible from beginning to end has much to say about love. Love, as promoted by the world, is romantic love, and I see nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, I believe love as God defines it, goes far beyond romance. It is a deeper and more committed love. Let me give some examples from scripture.

A familiar passage would be John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John expands on this statement in his first letter: “Dear friend, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4: 7-10).

The apostle Paul, teaching on the sacrifice of Christ for payment of sin, writes: “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8).

This sacrificial love is what Paul had in mind as he wrote to husbands and wives in Ephesians, chapter 4. 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, commonly called the “Love Chapter”, describes this deep, self-sacrificing love in detail. Your assignment this week will be to look up these passages and meditate on them.

Happy Valentine’s Day,
Pastor Jerry

Prosperity Gospel?

We had a rather uneventful week, something that is unusual for us. The next few days appear to be more of the same. I believe there will be at least six weeks of winter, and then it will be spring. This has nothing to do with a large rodent, it’s just the way God planned the seasons.

I will admit I watched the Super Bowl. Afterward, I wondered why I wasted the time. I did not watch the half-time show, since I was pretty sure the Gaither Vocal Band was not on the program.

If you read these commentaries each week, you know my purpose is to share the truth of God’s word. You also know that I am an observer of social media, in particular Facebook. Today, I will share some of those observations.

First, I see Christians who re-post those memes that promise blessing for reposting, and missed blessings for scrolling past them. I believe superstition is at the heart of these things. I, also believe, God is more concerned with whether or not we trust him to provide our needs, than if we are faithful to re-post everything that pops up on our Facebook page. In fact, He has stern warnings about following superstitions and man-made traditions. “Have nothing to do with godless myths (superstitions) and old wives’ tales; rather train yourselves to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7).

The second thing is the number of professing Christians who follow the teaching of the prosperity gospel preachers. God does not promise health and wealth to everyone, and if this is my best life, why am I looking forward to heaven? We are promised trials and suffering if we follow Jesus Christ: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds…” (James 1:2), and, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith…may be proved genuine…” (1 Peter 6-7).

Here is an insightful comment from an article on the so-called prosperity gospel: “The very thought that God owes us a relatively trouble-free life, and the anger we feel when God doesn’t act the way we believe he is supposed to act, betray a heart that expects God to prosper us because of our good works. That’s the prosperity gospel.” (9Marks Journal)

Meditating on His Truth,
Pastor Jerry