Why Do We Do the Things We Do During Church Services?

WHAT MAKES OUR WORSHIP SERVICES GENUINE?

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I was saved, became a true believer in Christ Jesus in 1972.  Almost 43 years ago this August.  My knowledge of church doctrine began and grew, increasing over the years.

And then, in 2006, my spiritual life took a 180 degree turn. [See my blog: My Spiritual “Rabbit Hole” and Taking the “Redpill” https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/my-spiritual-r…ng-the-redpill/]

Our Freedom of Worship and Praise Can Pose Perils–

WORSHIP must truly be worship!

TRUE WORSHIP isn’t religious excitement, nor appeals to the flesh.  Our worship services may take undesirable directions–there may be formality with lack of spiritual liberty, or there may be lack of scriptural order and control.

Spiritual leaders are responsible in bringing people into God’s presence and making them realize “God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth”  (John 4:24 NIV).  But formality can develop in the ritual of the informal church.

Meaningless HABITS can be hard to break–

Neither Pentecostal routine nor ecclesiastical liturgy is TRUE WORSHIP.  When we in the Pentecostal churches, or any Christian church throughout the world, follow an order of service that degenerates into meaningless habit, they have nothing more than ritual.

The apostle Paul outlined a beautiful WORSHIP PATTERN for the church:  “When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church”  (1 Corinthians 14:26 NIV).  

Notice TWO important words in Paul’s instructions: “everyone” and “all”.  

Furthermore, he said:  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16 NIV).  

Yes, while sitting, or standing in church during church services, we too can be the “spiritual leaders”.

We are told to EXHORT, urge one another, and not to forsake “giving together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching”  (Hebrews 10:25)

CONGREGATIONAL WORSHIP DESCRIBED:

Our church services then, should all be based on scriptural instruction; that all members of the whole body of Christ should SHARE in worship as the Holy Spirit indwells them, and then yielding to Him.  Then people who fill the church pews are no longer spectators, wondering how they will be entertained.  They become “spiritual leaders.”

QUESTION:  So why then, do we do what we do on Sunday mornings?

Assessing Praise & Worship On Sunday Mornings at Church –

Have we become so self-serving that a fellowship time, or lack of it, is a make or break thing for people in going to church?

What about where we put the offering, if we include it at the end of the service, as some would suggest, should I be so offended that I don’t go back to THAT church?

Her is another issue to think about.  I know a good number of people who HATE to sing, so should we do away with singing because so many people cannot carry a tune and they are afraid someone might hear them?

I once had a pastor who said he was tempted to put up tables in the foyer of the church.  A TABLE with hearing aids, for those who couldn’t hear; cotton balls, for those who said the music was too loud; binoculars, for those who couldn’t see, etc.  In other words, “no excuse tables”– for people who needed an excuse for not attending the praise and worship services.

Excuses are always present…

I think any excuse could be made for not going back to church: the PREACHING is too long…or too short; the MUSIC is too loud or too soft; there are too many gray hairs…or young people…oh, and I cannot deal with perfume, I wish people would quit wearing  it.

Even JESUS didn’t have everyone stay…He laid out the cost, and many left…so, a more important question to ask ourselves is,

WHAT MAKES OUR WORSHIP GENUINE?

“Worship is not dependant upon environment and circumstance but most people are not oblivious to environment.”  ~ G. Raymond Carlson

Real, Genuine, Heartfelt, and Relevant Worship at Church Services –

“MEET & GREET” Purpose, or is there a specific purpose?

In a recent Twitter poll (not scientific), asking first-time church quests, what factors made them decide not to return.  The surprise factor was the number one issue–Don’t like the time spent of stand and greet one another. *[See all 7 Answers to Twitter Poll–by Thom S. Rainer @ Christian Post Contributor]  

According to the Twitter responses and comments, many quests really don’t like it, so much so that they will not return.

So what is it about this “stand and greet” time that many guests don’t like?  

#7 Answer: Not only do some guests dread the stand, meet, and greet time, so do some members –

“I visited the church and went through the ritual of standing and greeting, but many of the church members looked just as uncomfortable as I was. We were all doing a required activity that none of us like.” 

My views are mixed about the practice.  Would I not attend church because of the practice? No! But I do have issue with the timing, the placement in the order of the service, the interruption in my spirit after praise, more than the actual practice.

So I decided to ask my pastor for his views, his desires, within church services, why we do what we do on Sunday mornings

[PASTOR KYLE HOPKINS – Lead Pastor at Valley Church, located in Nooksack, Washington.]

I believe that everything has a practical purpose, but also a deeper spiritual purpose. i.e. the Meet & Greet:  It practically serves a purpose, causing people to get to know each other, meet someone new, say “hello”, etc…  It spiritually is an opportunity for us to speak into someone’s life, give a word of encouragement and share a message of knowledge/discernment; to briefly connect with someone who the Spirit would lay on our heart to meet up with them, pray for them, etc…  The order is usually where does the Spirit want to lead us and practically, what makes sense to get us there. Like a piece of music, there should be a rhythm, a flow.  I think it’s good for every service gathering to have a crescendo, building to a place that God desires to lead us during that time.

2 Timothy 3:5 (KJV)

“…having the appearance of godliness…”

ENTER HIS COURTS WITH PRAISE – Psalm 95 – “O COME,…”

The first thing I consider when driving to church on Sundays, listening to PRAISE MUSIC on the car’s CD player is, “whom is it I coming to see?”

We are supposed to be coming into the presence of the living God, the Author and Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe; the God who was, and is and always will be.

We are coming into the presence of the God about whom the songwriter said,

“Before the hills in order stood or earth received her fame,

from everlasting thou art God

and to endless years the same.”

THE FIRST THING to consider about being in our church services,  in whose presence are we standing?  Why are we even here for one hour or so?  If we are attending church weekly, just to fill up a hour or so once a week… then leave and continue living in a godless world, forgetting who we are in Christ...then are we missing the point?

Let’s go over the Church Bulletin!

There are other aspects in the order of church services that vary from church to church.  But let me throw one more element of ‘why we do what we do’ and the religious placement where it’s found.

The Tithes and Offerings…

Psalm 96:6-8 NIV Bible:

[6] Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary.

[7]  Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

[8]  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; …

Now see the flow, the “rhythm” of the elements place in order.  No interruptions that I can see.

“…bring an offering and come into His courts”  (verse 8 b.).

The OFFERING was given after the glory was given to His name–the BLESSING then the GLORY.

The Placement of “things we do” is Important on Sunday’s –

Although our singing can and should be the beginning to PRAISE–but it will not produce WORSHIP.  And isn’t that what we are to suppose to be here for?  The MESSAGE is important, but is it the point of our attendance?

John MacArthur gives this helpful clarification (on qty.org. “Messiah: The Living Water,” part 2):

“Worship, by the way is not music.  Worship is loving God…Worship is honoring God…Worship is to know God for who He is, adoring Him, obeying Him, proclaiming Him as a way of life.  Music is one way we can express that adoration.”

After all that is said concerning the answers to the question, “Why Do We Do the Things We Do…?”, I had to ask a follow-up question…“How much cultural freedom has been substituted for TRUE WORSHIP in our church services?”

Almost every Sunday morning after singing praises to my God, there is a sense of infilling of the Holy Spirit, a continuance of PRAISE so that I can fully WORSHIP HIM.

This is probably a poor analogy, but it is like God’s Spirit has inflated [“infilled”] my spirit with His breath, like the filling up of a balloon.

Balloon-blowup

And then, STAND, MEET & GREET time begins, and afterwards…I feel like a deflated piece of latex.

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Is what we do, when we do it, a PRIORITY on Sunday mornings? The more important question becomes, “Is what we’re doing, worshipping in spirit and truth?

If your answer is “yes,” then forget all that I’ve said.  If your answer is “no,” then it’s time perhaps, to change the order, the placement of traditions on Sunday mornings, or whenever you are in WORSHIP & PRAISE.


 PHOTO CREDITS:

Hand shake–Christian Post photo insert by Thom Rainer.

Other Photos by Google Search Images [Balloon images].

BIBLE CREDITS:

As noted– New International Version (NIV), King James version (KJV).

Our Eating Habits Are Killing Us!

For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,  And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.            (2 Timothy 4:3-4 Amplified Bible)

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 Too Much is too much!

We are living in a day in which we’re continually being made aware of what we eat.  Going to the doctor’s office and sitting in the waiting room, you can’t help from picking up a Health Magazine and thumbing through the pages.  There are articles and ads reminding us as we wait to hear our name called, eat wisely, avoid junk food, and be sure to read labels on cans and boxes before we buy them.  All to confirm that the contents will be HEALTHY for us.  By the time the doctor finally enters the scene, asking the peruvial question–“So how have you been feeling since the last time I saw you?”  After spending 15 minutes reading every magazine available, I’m tempted to answer: “Evidently, LOUSY!”

But how many of us are as concerned about our SPIRITUAL DIETS as we are about are natural ones?  Are we using discernment in choosing the material we read, the Christian programs we watch, or the preachers we listen to?

Are we able to distinguish between the MEAT and the MIXTURE?  The HOLY and the PROFANE?

Many people today are so used to mixture, they’ve lost a taste for what is pure.  Lavish presentations, displays and methods to get our attention to the given message.  They often become more important than what is being served and the servers more important than what they serve–sitting down at the spiritual “table of reason”:  “If it looks good and multitudes are eating it, then it must be OK.”

EXEGESIS: A Healthy Diet Plan, Rich in Protein needed for a spiritual health awakening –

Rich in Meat
Rich in Meat

The definition of Exegesis: An “exposition or explanation.”  [*Footnote [i] ]

BIBLICAL EXEGESIS involves the examination of a particular text of Scripture in order to properly interpret it.  Good biblical exegesis is actually commands us in to do so in 2 Timothy 2:15:

Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth” (Amplified Bible).

Exegesis has many principles, as most diet plans do.  But in this blog, I want to put the emphasis on the Literal Principle to help in being faithful to the plan– [Note: See Footnote [ii] for the other principles of “exegesis’.) 

QUESTION:  “Can/Should we interpret the Bible as literal?”

Not only can we take the bible literally, we must take the bible literally.  

It is the only way to determine what God really is trying to communicate to us.  When we read any piece of literature, especially the Bible, you must determine what the author intended to communicate.

Over the years in my Christian life, I’ve listened to many sermon messages.  I’ve heard many well-meaning pastors, who will read a verse or passage of Scripture, then give their own definition to the words, phrases, or paragraphs, ignoring the context and the authors intent.

“JUNK FOOD” Preachers serve up a diet of unhealthy, fast food, but little else–real“meat” is never on the “reason table.” 

But this isn’t what God intended, which is why God tells us to correctly handle the Word of Truth (discernment)–the “meat”–the “spiritual food” according to 2 Timothy 2:15.

One Good Reason to take the Bible literally?

Because JESUS took it literally; He had no appetite for “junk food.”.  Whenever Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, it was always clear that He believed in its literal interpretation.

As an example, when Jesus was tempted by Satan in LUKE 4, He answered by quoting the Old Testament–word for word.  If God’s commands in Deuteronomy 8:3; 6:23, and 6:16 were not literal… then Jesus would not have used them and been powerless to stop Satan’s mouth, which by the way, certainly did!

The disciples also took the commands of Christ (which are a part of the Bible) literally.

Jesus commanded the disciples to GO–make more disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).

And in Acts 2, we find that the disciples took Jesus’ command literally and went through the known world of that time preaching the Gospel of Christ, telling them to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be SAVED” (Acts 16:13).

Just as the disciples took Jesus’ words literally, so must we.  How else can we be sure of our salvation if we don’t believe Him when He says “He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10); to pay the penalty for our sin (Matthew 26:28) and, provide eternal life” (John 6:54)?

A Side Note of EXEGESIS:  FIGURES OF SPEECH PRINCIPLE –

Although we should take the Bible literally, there are still figures of speech within the pages.  An example of a figure of speech would be if someone said, “it’s raining cats and dogs outside,” you would know they didn’t really mean cats and dogs were falling from the sky.  They would mean it’s raining really hard.

There are figures of speech in the Bible NOT to be taken literally, but those are obvious (See Psalm 17:8 for example).

“Junk Food” OR “Meat” on the table–It’s our CHOICE:

Some of what we are eating in these last days, is frighteningly unhealthy.  Let me give you some examples of the types of spiritual “junk food” (“wrong thinking”) being served, along with the “meat” (“solid food” – 1 Cor. 3:2) we should be eating instead.

FOOD CHOICES –

JUNK FOOD:  Times and conditions in our society have changed in defining gender roles in the church today.  Women can and should be designated Pastors; having authority over everyone in the body of Christ.  The principles instilled in the early church by the Apostle Paul were purely cultured, therefore inapplicable to believers in the church of the 21st Century.

MEAT:  “In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself (John 1:1); “O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination” (1 Timothy 6:20); “Let a woman learn in quietness, in entire submissiveness. Allow no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to remain in quietness and keep silence [in religious assemblies]. For Adam was first formed, then Eve”  (1 Timothy 2:11-13).

There are many roles today for a woman to serve in ministry along side of men–still adhering to the literal understanding of the Word of God.  Remember, God spoke through the Apostle Paul.

JUNK FOOD:  Because God “so loved the world,” we must accept all religions in the name of love without insisting the followers repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

MEAT:  “For God did not send His Son into the word to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil”  (John 3:17-19 NIV).

JUNK FOOD:  Apostles, prophets, and pastors have absolute authority. “Because I am your appointed leader, you are to respect and obey me without question no matter how I live or what I do.”

MEAT:  “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame–who set their mind on earthly things”  (Philippians 3:17-19 NKJV).

JUNK FOOD:  It’s not necessary to deal with your sin; just think positive thoughts about yourself and others.  Don’t worry, be happy!

MEAT:  “If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].  If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformance to His will in purpose, thought and action]”  (1 John 1:8-9)

JUNK FOOD:  “Michelle and I join our fellow Americans and others around the world in commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia tomorrow, May 17–2015.”  [the President of the United States quote: Constitution Rising.com].

MEAT:  “So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],  Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].  For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions…”  (Romans 1:20 b., 21, 23, 26 a). 

THE RESULTS OF OUR EATING POORLY:

In a spiritual sense, the result are numerous.  

— We forget our WITNESS in favor of majority thinking.

— Popularity overrules purity.

— Fear of man replaces the fear of God–“to RESPECT and HONOR God in our lives with the audacity to obey His Word.”

Acceptance of JUNK FOOD translates into allowance… and love loses its power because of our fear of being judgmental.

FINALLY, when we make ourselves as the final UMPIRE–of which parts of the Bible are to be interpreted LITERALLY, we elevate ourselves above God.

Who is to say then, one persons interpretation of a biblical event or truth, is more valid than another’s?  Confusion and distortions would inevitably result from such a system that it would render the Scriptures null and void.

THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORD to us and He meant it to be believed–literally and completely.  Are you ready to get started on the healthiest diet plan available?  It starts with Genesis and finishes with the Revelation to John.


 Footnotes & Credits for this post:

Footnote [i] and [ii] – What is good biblical exegesis? Got Questions.org

Credit to,  Ministry Today, Iverna Tompkins Learn to Discern Spiritual Junk Food.

Photo Credits:  Google Images and Photo Pin (Shutterstock).

Bible Credits:  Amplified Bible translation, except where noted in text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This Isn’t Another MESSAGE On ‘GIVING’ Is It?”

1 Chronicles 29:9 (KJV):

“Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD; and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.”

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ONE MOTHER’S TEACHING ON GIVING–

It was officially Mother’s Day on May 10th, 2015 and I thought, what better way of starting the conversation, but from a story regarding a mother’s teaching on GIVING:

A mother wanted to teach her daughter a moral lesson.  She gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church.

“Put whichever one you want in the offering basket and keep the other yourself,” she told the little girl.

When leaving thee church that morning, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given.

“Well,” said the little girl, “I was going to give the dollar, but just before the offering, the mn in the pulpit said, we should all be cheerful givers.  I knew I’d be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter…so I did.”

The mother may not have agreed with her daughter’s reasoning, but at the heart of the matter is the fact–the daughter gave in the way she believed.

True of all Christians–we give as we believe. 

In 1 Chronicles 29, DAVID led the people to BELIEVE in what they are given to.

David believed God deserved a TEMPLE.  At first, God would not let him build it because as 1 Chronicles 28:2-3 tells us,

DAVID wasn’t the type of man God wanted to have building the Temple.  BUT DAVID still believed the Temple for God needed building.

And so, in 1 Chronicles 29:2, David dedicated his own wealth to the project.

DAVID’S VISION IS INFECTIOUS (verse 6):

The leaders of the assembly dedicated money for the Temple.  And then (vs. 9), “the people rejoiced because these had given willingly, for with a whole and blameless heart they had offered freely to the Lord.  King David also rejoiced greatly.”

“the people REJOICED because”…

The Hebrew word here for “rejoice” or “rejoiced” is ‘samach’ [Strong’s Concordance #8055]: “Samach usually refers to a spontaneous emotion or extreme happiness which is expressed in some visible and/or external manner. It does not normally represent an abiding state of well-being or feeling.”  (See Footnote [i] ).

WOW! Rejoicing after giving.  What a concept and one that I surely need to give more attention to.  Remember, the people giving their offerings in 1 Chronicles 29 are giving willingly with a “whole and blameless heart.”

And they gave and they built because they believed in a VISION.

 The “What’s Happening Now Church?”

Flip Wilson was a popular comedian several years ago and one of his characters was a Preacher.  Flip did a skit once that I watched on television, where he told about this preacher.  He’d shout out:

“IF THIS CHURCH IS GOING TO SERVE GO IT’S GOT TO GET DOWN ON IT’S KNEES AND CRAWL!!!

And the audience yelled back,  “Make it crawl preacher, male it crawl!”

“AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO CRAWL, IT’S GOT TO GET UP ON IT’S FEET AND WALK!!!”

“Make it walk preacher, make it walk,”  the audience moaned.

“AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO WALK, ITS GOT TO BEGIN TO LEARN TO RUN!!!”

“Make it run, preacher, make it run!”

“AND IN ORDER TO RUN, ITS GOT YO REACH DOWN INTO POCKETS AND LEARN TO GIVE!!!”

(pause)  “Make it crawl preacher, make it crawl.”

A CHURCH CAN’T GROW IF IT DOESN’T GIVE.

And if our churches don’t give…it’ll crawl.

Inspiring People to Give–

Now when DAVID wanted to inspire people in their giving–he set the example.  He said–this is what I’m giving.  Then the leaders in the congregation stood up and set the EXAMPLE, the pattern for GIVING.

“TITHING” versus “FREE WILL OFFERING”:

In setting up the scene in 1 Chronicles 29, overlooking the “free will offering” principles would be detrimental to the whole MESSAGE on stewardship today.

Is there a difference between TITHING and OFFERINGS?

TITHING is giving GOD the first tenth of ALL your increase.  

In the Old Testament, most tithes were given from produce or herd.  But in modern times we tithe with MONEY since most of our increase is financial.

In the O.T. there were different types of tithes and different types of offerings.  TITHES were required giving according to the Mosaic Law, where OFFERINGS were voluntary.

Here in 1 Chronicles 29, the free will offerings given didn’t replace their tithes.  Their giving was above and beyond the Law of “10%”.

God trusted us with what is His in the first place:

He trusts us with an INCREASE–lets us have 90% of it–but places a 10%–the “sacred portion” aside (Deuteronomy 26:13; Numbers 18:28) which we are to tithe back to Him.  

This “sacred portion” is entrusted to us and we return it to Him.

TITHING TEACHES US Redemption–

The TITHE is the first tenth, the FIRST FRUIT of our increase.

Christ was God’s FIRST FRUIT.

When God gave to us His only Son to die on the cross for our sin, He REDEEMED us from the curse of the Law.  And when we give our TITHE, we are worshipping God by recognizing His REDEMPTION.

So then, we should recognize that through JESUS, we are redeemed and in turn God redeems and blesses the 90% that is our portion.

I remember after my wife and I were saved, our preacher gave a sermon on TITHING as many preachers try to fit in once a year, at least.  Afterwords, we both admitted to one another that “tithing” was out of the question.  We were overwhelmed at the time with debt and other obligations of a young family; we could tithe 10%!  But then, the Spiritual Light Bulb came on! God’s Word had penetrated our spirit, and we decided to be faithful and to trust God for the results.  We’ve been BLESSED ever since.

Is today’s Church suppose to adhere to the “giving principles” of the Old Testament?

Many people believe that today’s church should not follow the practice of TITHING–it was in the Old Testament–not mentioned in the New Testament except for reference.

But I say the LAW was given to help us see our need for redemption every time we tithe in honor and recognize our need for God and the amazing way He has blessed us and provided for us.

I think that many use the Gospel of Grace to free themselves from OBEDIENCE instead of discovering the GRACE OF GOD enables us to follow Him more passionately.

SO WHAT IS AN “OFFERING”, or generous giving?

1 Chronicles 29:6-8 (NASB):

[6] Then the rulers of the fathers’ households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king’s work, offered willingly;

[7] and for the service for the house of God they gave 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, and 10,000 talents of silver, and 18,000 talents of brass, and 100,000 talents of iron.

[8] And whoever possessed precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, in care of Jehiel the Gershonite.

[9] Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the LORD with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly.

OFFERINGS are something that you search your heart for (not your wallet), deciding to give beyond the tithe BUT NOT IN PLACE OF THE TITHE.

TITHES go to the local church but offerings are free for you to decide what to do with.  

Many people give OFFERINGS to their place of fellowship because they’re excited about what God is doing there and they know there’s a need.

Others use their OFFERINGS to support missions, a favorite radio or television preacher, maybe a local Christian para-church ministry.  ALL are great options as an OFFERING or GENEROUS GIVING.

Christian Maturity–

Christians mature (grow spiritually) as their FAITH grows in fiscal responsibility; in giving more and more generously to God’s kingdom through offerings that are over and above the TITHE.

Looking at a great verse where the Apostle Paul talks about offerings in his second letter to the church in Corinth:

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (AMP):

[6]  [Remember] this:  he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously  [that blessings may come to someone]  will also reap generously and with blessings.

[7]  Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].

[8]  And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].

“GIVING” FOR A REASON:

Now hopefully, we don’t give to the “building project,” and we don’t give to the Pastor.  And as we see in 1 Chronicles 29, the people gave to God, to GLORIFY HIM, to build up His Kingdom.

If the attitude out there is “Yeah, sure we do”, then reread 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 one more time, or as many times as it takes, to give with a “blameless heart.”

Hopefully, you can give with a VISION; that God is going to do something special with your offerings because of your faithfulness.

It’s about BELIEF…

In 1 Chronicles 29, David says something about our believing (vss. 10-17).

IN DAVID’S PRAYER…HE PRAYED acknowledging that they were giving to the building of the Temple because… the believed God would supply.  The funds all came from God’s hands in the first place.  They were only using His bounty to build a place of worship for Him.

Other passages of the Bible speaks of this kind of BELIEF (1 Corinthians 9:6-11; Malachi 3:10-11).  

This is all in agreement with the powerful message given to us in Hebrews 11:6:  

“But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] BELIEVE that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”

And so FAITH is important in all aspects of our Christian walk in Christ Jesus.  Especially in our giving.

TITHES & OFFERINGS:

Both our tithes and offerings (generous giving) should be a part of our lives as Believers–Christians. SO…

–GIVE “JOYFULLY” (1 CHRONICLES 29:9),

–GIVE THANKFULLY (1 CHRONICLES 29:10),

–AND EXCEL IN THE GRACE OF GIVING,

BUT NEVER FEEL PRESSURED TO GIVE!

It is NEVER about the amount you give, but about the JOY in your heart to give.

A song that almost every parent with small children have heard a million times and know the words by heart, is from the Disney movie, FROZEN – “LET IT GO”

Let me give you the words in the music lyrics that I thought might fit in perfectly to the message in our giving of tithes and offerings:

It’s time to see what I can do

To test the limits and break through

No right, no wrong, no rules for me

I’m free

[TO GIVE]

set-it-free

 

 


 

Footnotes, Credits, and Commentaries:

Footnote [i]:  Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.

Photos:

Google Search in 1 Chronicles 29 Images.

Bible References:

Amplified Bible except where Noted.

Commentaries:

ABC’s of Giving by Jeff Strite

Tithes vs Offerings by Patrick McCue

 

 

 

 

 

BEING “SOLD OUT” to God’s Character in SONG

I’m dating myself here, but in the late 50’s, early 60’s, I was obsessed as a teenager with the music, popularity and personalities of a men’s trio who sang folk songs.  I bought their records, attended their concerts when in town.  They made me smile every time I heard one of their tunes on the radio.

On April 4, 1960, The Kingston Trio (Dave Guard, Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds) put out a vinyl LP record that was #1 on the Billboard Charts for 40 weeks:  The Kingston Trio  SOLD OUT.

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The Free Dictionary defines SOLD-OUT: Having all tickets or accommodations completely sold especially ahead of time.

How does all this apply to our Bible text?

1 Chronicles 25 – Dedicated to the Song Leaders, Singers and Instrumentalists in the Assembly–

God works through those of us who are sold-0utsold out completely to His will and purposes.  God doesn’t work through buildings, plans or fads.

According to the following verses we’ll look at, it is His will that we PRAISE Him in song proclaiming His truths with music–sold out completely ahead of time.

1 Chronicles 25:1 (NIV):

DAVID. TOGETHER with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals.

Understanding The Character of the “Song Service” –

What do I mean by “the character”?  The New Roget’s Thesaurus says it this way: character, nature, make-up, mood, bent, frame of mind, emotions, disposition, caliber, quality, mannerism…

The character of the “Song Service” in churches today is to reflect singing that praises God in such a way that it prepares the spiritual heart to the presence of God into worship; and all in accordance to that which brings Glory to God.

That is my opinion and I’m sticking with it.  It’s what my CHARACTER needs to be before the worship and praise even begins.

The Pleasure of Music in the house–

MUSIC has always been a part of my life since I was three years old, hearing the stories from my mom and dad growing up.

One afternoon my mom came into our living room, and there, a three-year old little boy was standing on a chair in front of the radio, waving his arms and hands in every such way in directing the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra; totally unaware of the audience of one.  And my music appreciation went on from there…according to my mom.  That was 70 years ago and I still occasionally wave my arms and hands directing music from CD’s; but not standing on a chair.

There are many INSTRUMENTS found in the Bible–

And as you read along in Chapter 25, they are used by man for prophesying by singing about the TRUTHS & WORKS of God.

An INSTRUMENT of PRAISE
An INSTRUMENT of PRAISE

What does it mean,”PROPHESYING” – Hebrew word is han-nib ba – “to prophesy under the influence of divine spirit. [a] in the ecstatic state, with song.”  [*Note: See Footnote [i] for reference.]

In the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 10, we read of a “…procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps being played before them, and they were prophesying”  (1 Samuel 10:5).

I’m in agreement with those who say PROPHESYING here is not a prophetic utterance of future events, but singing the praises of God through songs proclaiming truths already revealed.

How can this be applied to the New Testament church in our song services?  The twin epistles of Paul to the churches at Ephesus and Colossae speaks to this matter:

“Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices  [and instruments]  and making melody with ALL YOUR HEART to the Lord”  (Ephesians 5:19 AMP).

“Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts”  (Colossians 3:16 AMP).

THAT’S BEING “SOLD OUT” to Christ before and during the church Song Services!

That is “prophesying” in a nutshell!  To who?  The people all around you on Sunday morning.

God Works Through Those Who Are “SOLD OUT!”

I believe that one of the character traits of the song service PRAISE TEAM is to lead and sing songs that please the LORD; to proclaim His mighty works.  When done correctly, SOLD OUT to Jesus, the devoted children of God can expect the presence of Holy Spirit in the house that will empower others to sing praises to the LORD and the mighty works of God.

The Human Voice: My Favorite Wind Instrument [*See Footnote [ii] ]

In studying this past week in 1 Chronicles 25, I ran across an article by Cheryl Hodge that lined up perfectly with my own musical past.  I have been asked many times over the years if I play an instrument based on my musical background.  My answer is “NO”:

“Hey, what instrument do you play?”  

Cheryl Hodge stated, “Whenever I answered that I was a singer or vocalist, I would see their faces fall.” Finally, I started to answer, “I play the VOICE.”  Often they would quip back to her, “What d’ya mean you play the voice?”  I love her reply and of course the answer was always obvious– “It’s a wind instrument, rigggghhhht?”

Biblical Truths Regarding Our Song Services Coinciding with Worship and Praise–

PSALM 98 clearly shows the TRUTHS that deserve our attention; in meditation, obedience and endurance, grasping the wisdom of God regarding today’s contemporary song services:

“O SING to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have wrought salvation for Him.  Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy, yes, sing praises!  Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the voice of melody.  With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!”   (vs. 1, 4-6 AMP).

HAVING A “SINGING FAITH”:

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QUESTIONS THAT NEEDS AN ANSWER:

What is it meant by having a “Singing Faith”?  Is our singing in faith just for the “upfronters,” or for all of us in the body of Christ?

The Song Service that has Biblical Character, is the service that has songs which are theologically literate.  Did I confuse you here?

The CHARACTER of the song service is to worship unto the LORD in accordance to that which brings Glory to God–not ‘which brings glory to the congregation; or to the song leader and musicians–but that which brings Glory to God.

Psalm 29:1-2 (AMP):

ASCRIBE TO the Lord, O sons of the mighty, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.  Give to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness or in holy array.

“ASCRIBE TO” simply means when you sing in worship and praise–when you are instrumentally praising God–you are referring to God’s glory!  Is that a challenge for most in a song service?  Perhaps, but that’s not the Holy Spirit’s doing.  It is simply a lack of preparation on our part.

In my studying this week, a Bible verse stuck out to me, one illustrating the character of the SONG SERVICE; our singing faith:

John 4:23-24 NASB:

[23] “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers.’

[24] “God is spirit, and those who worship Him MUST [I capitalized for emphasis] in spirit and truth.”

Those who truthfully desire the Lord to be manifested in their song service agree with the psalmist who wrote “Your decrees are the theme of my song…” (Psalm 119:54).

PSALM SINGING–(Ephesians 5:19)

With “psalms” we are to sing songs that consist of short sentences expressing praise for the Lord’s character or actions.

Several years ago, I attended a small church in Bellingham, Washington where the pastor occasionally would come up on the platform during the song service and express praise by singing prophetically in psalms.  He wasn’t a trained musician, vocally trained, but a man of God who displayed the Lord’s character in front of the body of Christ.

I am part of a church teaching ministry on Friday afternoons at a Alzheimer/Dementia unit nearby.  I was giving a devotional from Psalm 103 and at the end of teaching, we always like to sing.  This one particular Friday is sang a solo–I made up a tune that gave a foundation to God’s character–in spirit and truth:

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me,

bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.

Was the tune elegant?  Probably not but I sung it in “spirit and truth.”

With “hymns” we are to proclaim the wonderful works of God (Colossians 3:16):

Some say a HYMN is an anthem but a “hymn” can also be a proclamation to the promises and works of God.  I’m thankful that the church we are currently attending, the song leader brings into the song service old hymns.  Being in a young congregation, I hope it is not done for all of us ‘old folk’.   And no, I don’t actually believe that it is.

We are to allow time for “spiritual songs” brought forth as the Holy Spirit moves on those who are gathered together on Sunday mornings (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16):

There’s my take on the SONG SERVICES in churches today.  If you are a BELIEVER in JESUS, are you “SOLD OUT!” before coming to the worship and praise SONG SERVICE?  Spend some early time by reading in the Psalms before starting time, be in an attitude of prayer–praying that God will work through the gathered believers by His Spirit.  Song Leaders, Musicians, if you find yourself a bit discouraged on Sunday mornings because of the assembly’s response to the song service, maybe you might need more CHARACTER brought into the music.  Just a thought.  Remember, true revival begins with you…me first.


 CREDITS & FOOTNOTES:

Footnotes:  [i] Bible Hub/Strong’s Concordance #5012; [ii] The Human Voice: My Favourite Wind Instrument vocals:songstuff.com

Photo Credits:  Google Images; People Singing Photo is from Photo Pin.

Bible Translations: Amplified Bible, except where noted in the text.