We Become What We Worship

[413 words] Have you ever noticed the affect culture and trends have on our lives? Think about it. Doesn’t almost every person you know own an iPhone or smart phone of some sort? Things like movies, sports, clothing, and music have great influence over people. But do you ever wonder why we’re so heavily influenced by the culture around us? Well, it’s simple—whatever you’re consumed with, you’re going to reflect in your life. In other words, we become what we worship. If you look up synonyms for worship in your thesaurus, you come across words like revere, adoration and idolize....

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Why Do Some Attend the ‘Optional’ Worship Services and Bible Classes?

[388 words] It has always been a struggle to get every member of the local church to attend all Bible classes and worship services. Yes, they will come to the A.M. worship service, but not to the other periods of Bible study and worship. When asked why, they will respond: “Those services are optional. They are not commanded by God.” My question is: “If these are optional services, why do some people choose to attend them?” Could it be their love for God?Could it be their love for truth?Could it be their love for worship?Could it be their desire for...

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I Don’t Get Anything Out of the Services

[406 words] Has worship become a lost art? I’m afraid that many of us go through the motions without ever really reaching out to God. Consequently, we tend to leave a service much as we came in. Before long there is the tendency to dismiss the whole concept of assembling for worship. At its best it is boring. At its worst it is almost unbearable. So we throw up our hands, discard church attendance, and find something to do that we really enjoy. We see others that truly look forward to the experience, but for the life of us we...

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It Goes Without Saying

[318 words] We’ve all probably heard the adage that the majority of communication is nonverbal. This notion is from Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of the book Silent Messages. In his research, he found that only 7 percent of any message is conveyed through words, the rest (38 percent through certain vocal elements and 55 percent through nonverbal elements) is unspoken.  What we say is more about how we say it and the influence of other factors that make the message. Our smile conveys sincerity. Our dress imparts seriousness (or the lack thereof). A head nod implies conviction. This isn’t just...

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The Gathering

[333 words] The phenomenon is called “shikadamari“ in Japanese. A loose translation would be, “deer gathering spot.” A large population of free-roaming deer live in and around the Japanese city of Nara, spending most of their time in the city park. Every summer evening at around 6:30, over 600 deer gather in the same spot for the same amount of time. The deer quietly come together, sit down for about an hour, then stand back up and disperse to different parts of the park. While onlookers are impressed by the display of consistency of the gathering of the deer, nobody...

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Some See Less as Better

[293 words] There are some times when less is better. Sometime the less words we speak the better. The less fat intake, the better. The less sin, the better. Sadly, some see less as better in their Christian lives: Less time for worship Less time for Bible study Less time for gospel meetings Fewer verses sung in worship Shorter sermons Fewer fellowship meals Less Bible knowledge Less visiting of the sick and shut-ins Less evangelism Fewer days for VBS Shorter prayers Fewer works of the church that require our time When a church makes a decision to do less, many...

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Making Worship Meaningful

[172 words] In the first 5 verses of Psalm 63, David gives some great advice on how to make worship meaningful: “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water” (v.1) – Worship begins with a deep longing to be with God. “So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.” (v.2) – Anticipation for worship heightens as one is searching for the right attitude in which to worship. “Because...

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What You Do in the Church Pew Matters!

[461 words] “You mind your business and I’ll mind mine.” That is the motto of many and I, for one, like it! The Bible teaches us not to be busy-bodies. At the same time, we need to remember that what we do has an impact on others for good or bad. One of the reasons that God has us to come together in an assembly is to provoke one another to “love and good works” and to exhort those around us (Hebrews 10:24-25). What you do in the church pew matters to the preacher. He shouldn’t assume that you are...

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The Joyful Call To Worship

[115 words] We fail to appreciate many things until they’re gone. Ethan, the author of Psalm 89, possibly a Levite, writing after the nation of Judah had been desolated and the temple destroyed, remembers. “Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord” (Psalm 89:15). Many today hear the call to worship, but would rather follow their own desires, enjoy recreation, sleep late and rest, use the time for self. They do not appreciate the joy which this call contains. For the call to worship is the call...

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It is NOT ‘Just Church’

[577 words] Jesus promised to do something never before done on earth: He would build His Church upon the great truth that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God! “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Whatever your understanding of the Church may be, it is easy to see from what the Savior said that it must be important to Him. How important is His Church to you? “And they continued steadfastly in...

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Why Do You Go to Worship?

[300 words] Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation” (Psalm 111:1). We gather and worship on a different day than those spoke of in the passage above. Yet, God’s people have always been commanded to worship Him in a prescribed manner. The New Testament gives examples of what, when, why, and how to worship. Most Christians understand these things, yet, often many brethren go to worship out of a sense of “got to.” Think about our giving and the prescribed attitude we are to have...

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What Brought YOU Here?

[388 words] This morning churches across our nation will fill up with people gathering together for different reasons. For some it was the social interaction. For some it was to check the “go to church” box off our checklist. For some it was because someone made them. For some it was a habit. For some it was to see the visiting preacher. For some it was the dinner following services. For some it was the singing. For some it was a search for something that is missing. For some it was a desire to worship God in Spirit and truth....

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Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness

[163 words] Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;Bow down in reverence, God’s glory proclaim;Gold of obedience and incense of lowlinessBring now, adoring the Lord’s holy name. Low at his feet lay thy burden of carefulness;High on his heart Jesus bears it for thee,Comforts thy sorrows and answers thy prayerfulness,Guiding thy steps as may best for thee be. Fear not to enter God’s courts in the slendernessOf the poor wealth thou wouldst reckon as thine;Truth in its beauty and love in its tenderness:These are the offerings to lay on his shrine. These, though we bring them in trembling and...

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Worship in Song

[423 words] As a preacher I often sit and look around at the people who are singing. We are singing songs of praise to the God of the universe. We stand in awe at the power and majesty of God. We know this is the same God who created the universe and who will bring it to an end. This is the same God who raised Jesus from the dead and we are so happy that He did. We believe He is able to raise us from the dead also. We sing praise to God. We also are singing the...

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How Do You Approach God?

[207 words] “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Heb. 12:28-29). This description of acceptable worship begins many verses before with a very impressive list of descriptors for God’s dwelling place, then God, then Jesus, and then the power of His will through His voice. Two instructions are given to those who “have come to” Him: “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks” and “let us…worship God acceptably.” We get the idea,...

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Why I Go To Worship

[64 words] 1. I want to go, and I am wanted. 2. I need to go, and I am needed. 3. I had rather be there than anywhere else. 4. People will follow my example. 5. My soul is strengthened by the teaching. 6. My heart is warmed by the spiritual songs. 7. I am prepared to teach others. 8. I hunger and thirst after righteousness....

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‘Church Stuff’ Really Works!

[396 words] If I were to try to think of a word that best describes God, I suppose it would be “awesome.” Not in the trivial way it is sometimes used but in moments of quiet deliberation when I contemplate his Word, his purpose, and his ways which inspire awe. Throughout the course of my life, I have read things in his Word, abided by them, and watched them come to fruition. I have also read things, rebelled against them, and suffered because of that. In the lives of men, there are at least two dynamics known to have established...

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What He Was Looking For

[193 words] John went to church one Sunday morning. He heard the song leader miss a note, and he winced. He saw a teenager talking when everybody was supposed to be bowed in prayer. He felt like the usher was watching to see what he put in the offering plate, and it made him mad. He caught the preacher making a slip of the tongue five times in the sermon by actual count. As he slipped through the side door during the closing hymn, he muttered to himself, “Never again! What a bunch of hypocrites.” Ronald Doe went to church...

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The Lord’s Day

[269 words] The Lord’s day is my tower of strength. It is the day of days for soul refreshment. In my moments of quiet meditation I have often asked myself, “How long would strength remain in me and God’s reality remain in my heart, if it were not for the soul-renewing worship of the Lord’s day?” How wise my heavenly Father was to provide this day for His children. As the Lord ‘s day dawns and the hour of worship approaches, my hungry soul grows eager with anticipation. It is at this time that God has especially planned and provided...

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Leaving Your Bible?

  [507 words] My father and mother used to carry a Bible to church with them every Sunday. My brothers and sisters and I, when we were old enough to read, were given a Bible so we could do the same. We didn’t leave the house without our Bible because my father would surely tell us to go back and get it. Many people, however, have stopped carrying their Bibles to worship and Bible study. This is a mistake because it is impossible to study the Bible without one! While it was a long, long time ago, I remember that...

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You Preach First

  [183 words] The first sermon preached each Sunday is not by the minister, but by you. You preach a message about the importance of the Scriptures when you bring your Bible. You preach a message of good cheer when you say “Good morning!” to those you meet when you park your car and when you are in the hallway and classroom. You preach a message of hope and joy when you sing enthusiastically during the song service. You preach a message about the power of prayer when you fervently enter into our time of prayer together. You preach a...

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Don’t Follow the Crowd

  [289 words] God had heard the prayers of His people in Egypt. Though the Israelites murmured and complained most of the way, He had brought them from Egypt to the promised land. As they journeyed God protected them, fed them, clothed them, and had given them everything they needed. But the people still were not happy. Once in Canaan, they wanted a king to rule over them, like their neighbors had. They rejected God to follow a man! Today, some in the church want more than what God has given us. They reject His Word as being “bigoted,” “out-of-date,”...

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Advice for Worship from Hebrews 10:22

  [48 words] “let us draw near” — The obligation of worship. “ with a true heart” — The sincerity of worship. “in full assurance of faith” — The respect of worship. “having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” — The humility of worship. “and our bodies washed with pure water” — The purity of worship. Edd Sterchi Campbellsville, KY...

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Rally to Us There

[273 words] “And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, ‘The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there…’” (Neh. 4:19-20). Nehemiah, seeing his hard-working constituents separated along the wall, instructed them to rally together when they heard the trumpet sound; that is, they were all to come together in one place. It was imperative that they find their own place along the wall, but it was...

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When You’re Not at Church

[351 words] When you’re not at church, you are missed. You are missed by those you sit with during our assemblies. You are missed by those by our appointed shepherds. People are concerned about you when you are not present for our family’s time of worship. When you’re not at church, lots of people miss you because you are important to the church. When you’re not at church, you are missing. You are missing opportunities to be encouraged by people who understand how difficult it is to maintain your faith in our world. You are missing time away from the...

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Worship from the Heart

[309 words] A little boy asked his father what was the highest number he had ever counted. Replying that he didn’t know, the father asked his son his highest number. It was 973. “Why did you stop there?” wondered the father. “Because church was over.” I suspect that you have probably sat through worship services where your mind was focused on something just as trivial rather than on God. It’s easy to let the mind wander. “I can’t wait to see the ball game this afternoon.” “I wonder what we’re having for lunch.” “I never noticed before that the carpet...

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Who Will You Worship Sunday?

[89 words] The god of Ease? “Had a hard week, gotta rest some.” The god of Mammon? “Gotta get another dollar.” The god of Popularity? “Folks came, gotta stay with them.” The god of Pleasure? “Only day I have to hunt, fish or play.” The god of Self-Pride? “They do not do me right.” The God of Heaven? “I love God more than anything and I will be in the assembly for worship regardless.” “O come, let us worship and bow down: Let us kneel before the Lord our maker” (Psalm 95:6). via Rush Springs church of Christ Rush Springs, OK ...

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Faithful Attendance

[430 words] God expects (demands) His faithful followers to worship Him. The Scriptures are emphatic in the faithful child of God reflecting their love and loyalty by coming together with the saints, to worship their Heavenly Father, on the first day of the week. While attendance at worship services is NOT the only measuring stick of ones spirituality, it certainly is one spiritual barometer. In Hebrews 10:25 we read, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” The thought immediately...

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Who Are You Worshiping?

Henry Ward Beecher, the famous pulpit orator, once had to be absent and his brother was invited to speak for him. The church house was crowded, but when it became evident that the eloquent Henry Beecher was not going to appear, many started to leave. Beecher’s brother was not disturbed. He stood up before the murmuring crowd, called for silence and said, “All who came this morning to worship Henry W. Beecher may now leave. The rest will remain and worship God.” What are we doing in our assemblies? Some, like the Athenians, come only to hear the preacher say...

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Faithful Attendance

God expects (demands) His faithful followers to worship Him. The Scriptures are emphatic in the faithful child of God reflecting their love and loyalty by coming together with the saints, to worship on the first day of the week. While attendance at worship services is NOT the only measuring stick of ones spirituality, it certainly is one spiritual barometer. In Hebrews 10:25 we read, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” The thought immediately expressed after this admonition is:...

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Why Go to Church?

A churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. “I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the preachers are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.” This started a controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote...

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Maintaining the Connection

Summertime is in full swing, and with it the tendency for families to drift from closeness within the church because of family travel and activities. Here are a few suggestions to help maintain that connection. I will use the term “home church” for convenience and lack of a better one. Resolve that you will be present at assemblies when you are out of town. It is so easy to “take a vacation from the Lord.” The easiest thing to do is to do nothing. Tell someone your plans—preferably one of the preachers or elders. It will not be announced. This...

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In Season, Out of Season

On his second missionary journey, Paul came to the city of Philippi. There, while worshiping by the river, he met and baptized Lydia. But not all in Philippi listened to Paul and he was falsely accused of “troubling the city” (Acts 16:20). Beaten and thrown into prison, Paul and Silas did not let persecution stop their preaching. Instead they sang hymns to God. An earthquake gave Paul the opportunity to tell the jailor about the hope of eternal life through Jesus. The jailor gathered his family and they heard the precious message of Jesus Christ. He and all in his...

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Lest We Think God Doesn’t Care About How We Worship

[531 words] Worship is vital to the church. Reading the New Testament, we find the church coming together for worship each Lord’s day (Acts 20:7) and Christians being encouraged not to fall into a habit of being absent (Hebrews 10:25). We find that worship was regulated and that God, through the inspired writers, gave five avenues of worship: singing, prayer, Bible reading/study, giving, and the Lord’s Supper. But we are living in times when we are told that Christianity is not about what you do on Sundays, but what you do during the week. In fact, we are living in...

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Straying

[264 words] Recently I was asked the following question: “We are in a different time, yes, we serve the same God. However if our worship is sincere, yet strays from the old days, is that somehow less pleasing before God? I think not!” How would you answer this question? We do live in “a different time,” but couldn’t that be said of every generation? The people of David’s generation lived “in a different time” than Moses. And the people of Jesus’ day lived in “a different time” than David. Sincerity in worship is no doubt required of all generations (Joshua...

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Something Special About That Day

[329 words] “Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7). Note the time: the first day of the week. Note the purpose: to break bread (the Lord’s Supper, 1 Corinthians 10.16-17; 11:17-34). Sunday was quickly established as a meeting day for Christians, a day in which they partook of the Lord’s super. And is it any wonder? This was the day of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead! The day when Jesus was declared...

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Worship or Entertainment?

[387 words] Neil Postman described serious problems in modern culture in his insightful 1985 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death. His thesis was that public discourse has been reshaped to such an extent by television and entertainment that thoughtful discourse is missing. “Show business” hype has affected advertising, politics, and religion. Postman’s conclusion is that none of these changes have made for improvement. In our entertainment-oriented culture, many churches find themselves trying to “outdo” themselves with more and more elaborate additions to worship. What began as special music by a choir becomes a full orchestra with professional soloists. A dramaJc reading...

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Shall or May

Johnny Botts talks about his job as a police officer. In his line of duty “shall” and “may” are important words. Certain laws require an arrest or a ticket to be issued by the police. These laws use the word “shall” to indicate the requirement. Other laws use the word “may.” These laws allow discretion on the part of the officer. “Shall” tells Johnny he has no choice in the matter. “May” allows him to make a decision based on the circumstances in the case. For example if I am caught speeding l “may” be given a ticket; but if...

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Don’t Stay Away from Worship!

Because you are poor. There is no admission charge. Because you are rich. Money is not everything. Because it rains. You go to work, school and shopping in the rain. Because it is cold. It is warm and friendly inside. Because it is hot. So are fishing and attending ballgames and golfing. Because no one invited you. People go to a lot of places uninvited and even pay to get in. (Consider this your invitation!) Because of hypocrites. We associate with them in the world every day. Because of company. Bring them along; they will admire you. Because you have...

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Who Are You Worshiping?

Henry Ward Beecher, the famous pulpit orator, once had to be absent and his brother was invited to speak for him. The church house was crowded, but when it became evident that the eloquent Henry Beecher was not going to appear, many started to leave. Beecher’s brother was not disturbed. He stood up before the murmuring crowd, called for silence and said, “All who came this morning to worship Henry W. Beecher may now leave. The rest will remain and worship God.” What are we doing in our assemblies? Some, like the Athenians, come only to hear the preacher say...

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