What’s so special about Palm Sunday? – Mark 11, Preview

We observe Palm Sunday every year, but did you ever wonder why? I get why we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and of course his death and resurrection. Those are, by far, the three most momentous events in his life. But why Palm Sunday? It’s not nearly as important as Christmas and Easter, right? WhyContinue reading “What’s so special about Palm Sunday? – Mark 11, Preview”

Worship: Cry Out Together – Psalm 77, Part 5

This week I welcome guest blogger, Clint Watkins, as he shares with us how his personal experience of loss and pain led him to learn how to seize hope through lament. If you want to learn more about Clint, please visit his website. As we conclude our study of Psalm 77, did you notice thatContinue reading “Worship: Cry Out Together – Psalm 77, Part 5”

3 pitfalls of Evangelical Christian worship – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 4

In this week’s study of Ezekiel 45-48, we have been following a map to God’s heart. We now study chapter 46 which includes more detail about Israel’s sacrificial system.  What do we learn in chapter 46 about God’s heart? The sacrificial system teaches us that God desires worship that is gathered, consistent, and orderly.  InContinue reading “3 pitfalls of Evangelical Christian worship – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 4”

God’s heart for worship: participation and…atonement? – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 3

As we continue seeking for descriptions of God’s heart in Ezekiel 45-48, we notice that the next section, Ezekiel chapter 45, verses 13-25 is a retelling of the Jewish sacrificial system. What would that show us about God’s heart? That God wants us to sacrifice animals at a temple?  No.  Remember that famous saying ofContinue reading “God’s heart for worship: participation and…atonement? – Ezekiel 45-48, Part 3”

How to move beyond worship as infotainment – Ezekiel 33:21-22, Part 5

I recently attended a worship service at a church where the pastor regularly walked up on stage while the praise band was leading songs, and he pumped his fist, hyped up the crowd, and patted the shoulders of the various band members. How do you feel about that? Maybe I’m in the minority viewpoint onContinue reading “How to move beyond worship as infotainment – Ezekiel 33:21-22, Part 5”

Worthless religion focuses on information – Ezekiel 33:21-33, Part 4

We Christians have a significant focus on information.  Worship services are heavy on information. This sermon is all information.  We are studying the words of a biblical text.  Then we might attend classes or small groups in which we receive yet more information.  The information is usually very good.  It is designed to help usContinue reading “Worthless religion focuses on information – Ezekiel 33:21-33, Part 4”

The kind of life Christians are called to – Ezekiel 33:1-20, Part 5

There’s quite a lot of disagreement about what it means to live a Christian life. My guess is that in most local churches, if you surveyed the people in that church, asking them to describe what it means to live faithfully as a Christian, you would get numerous responses, some of which would conflict withContinue reading “The kind of life Christians are called to – Ezekiel 33:1-20, Part 5”

How false worship and social injustice grieve God – Ezekiel 21-23, Part 3

As we continue studying Ezekiel 21-23, God asks Ezekiel to perform another skit to dramatize the invasion of Israel by foreign armies.  Look at Ezekiel 21, verses 18-23.  Ezekiel is to make what was probably marks in the dirt in front of his house, illustrating two roads.  Much like children would do with their toysContinue reading “How false worship and social injustice grieve God – Ezekiel 21-23, Part 3”

How to have the right kind of worship service – Ezekiel 6, Part 5

I’ve heard a variety of opinions about Faith Church’s worship service over the years. Maybe you’ve heard similar sentiments about your church’s worship.  “We should be more liturgical.”  “We should be more traditional.”  “We should be more contemporary.”  “We should be more professional…” including the suggestion that we hire instrumentalists.  Lot of opinions. Often theyContinue reading “How to have the right kind of worship service – Ezekiel 6, Part 5”

How Christian worship can become idolatry – Ezekiel 6, Part 4

“That’s not worship!” The person saying this to me was sitting across the table from me, while we were having a worship meeting in our church conference room. The person was a long-time member of the church, and they were upset. We had been experimenting with worship, and they declared that one of the experimentsContinue reading “How Christian worship can become idolatry – Ezekiel 6, Part 4”