Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Preachers, Don't Go Vegan!

You’ve seen it haven’t you? It’s become one of my favorite commercials. Two antelopes standing in the dark night with night vision goggles. They easily see the Lion “Carl” approaching and let him know it. One says, “Come on, Carl, you’re better than this.” They mock him unmercifully. Then one delivers the line, “Have you ever thought of going vegan, Carl?”

There it is. When what you’re trying doesn’t work, Carl, go vegan. I fear too many pastors have taken the vegan route. They think that the old meat/solid food route won’t work anymore so they have taken the vegan route and removed the meat of God’s Word from their sermons. Their sermons become little more than sometimes skillful ramblings of the preachers personal opinions: what he thinks we ought to do; what he likes about Jesus; or even what parts of the Bible he likes the most.

Don’t do it, brothers! Don’t go vegan! Preach the meat of the Word of God. Study to show yourself approved. Rightly explain it. Give folks the true Word that will build them up in their faith.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Corporate Worship from Psalm 27:4

This morning Psalm 27:4 caught my attention, honestly, more from a questioning stance than a conclusion stance. There’s something here that is far greater than my comprehension. David’s desire is to “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” What could he possibly mean by that? He was not a priest and was not allowed to go into the Tabernacle to “live.” So this “dwelling” must be figurative in a sense.

Let’s fast-forward to our New Testament context and apply it there. The “house of the Lord” or “his temple” today is the Church, the Body of Christ. Of course, we’re not talking of the physical building we often call a church, but the community of people who make up the Church. I think we can benefit from David’s desire by seeing it in a context of gathering for worship with the Church.

David’s desire is 3-fold: to be there; to “see” the Lord; and to “inquire” (seek) there. For you and me this is a strong encouragement toward a right view of worship. First, we ought to desire to worship with other believers. Sadly, this is not the case for many. Many see “going to church” as a grind, not a gift; as a duty, not a delight. Ask God to change your heart if this is true of you.

Second, too often we go to church to see or be seen by other humans. Granted, one of the key aspects of gathering as a church is fellowship with other believers, but that should not be our primary focus. Our primary focus should be worship, “to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.” Ask the Lord to give you the desire and ability to truly focus on Him when you gather with the Church.

Third, as Charles Spurgeon has said, it is not only lost people who ought to be “enquirers.” Saints should inquire also. The word is the same root as “seek.” We ought to come with an inquiring heart to learn from the Lord through the experience of worship, especially the preaching of the Word.

Gathered worship is designed by God for His people to be one of the greatest means of grace in their lives for the building up of the Body of Christ, individually and corporately. Like David we should "seek after" it.