On Saturday, I attended the Wonder Worship Conference along with seven members of our worship ministry. For me, it was an opportunity to reflect on what God is doing in this area of the church. This week, I’d like to look at some of the lessons people should learn from the contemporary worship movement. Next week, I’ll address some of the lessons I feel people should learn from what I’ll call the traditional worship stream. My hope is that as people on both sides of this discussion are able to listen to each other in light of Scripture, our preferences will give way to greater unity in how we approach this topic. So, let’s start with what you should learn from the contemporary worship movement even if you don’t like guitars and drums.
Last week, I took a course in church revitalization. As the name suggests, it was about restoring to life to churches that have lost their vitality. Over four days, four pastors shared lessons and insights they had learned in leading their churches through renewal. What was so refreshing was that none of them pointed to gimmicks or novel ideas. The course focused on the fundamentals but with clear strategies on how to grow in them. Whereas 20 years ago churches were talking about shorter sermons, skits, interpretive dance and avoiding words like sin or hell, today growing churches are focused on prayer, evangelism, discipleship and glorifying God. The conversation has changed – for the better! Let me share one of their stories.
The church wasn’t born until the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. And as it was being established, it was clear that the Holy Spirit was the One building and expanding it. His presence is obvious and prominent in the biblical record. Is His presence obvious in your church? Is His presence obvious in your life? Here are four signs that you don’t think you need the Holy Spirit.
It’s easy to get confused about prayer. When I first began to pray as a university student, I started to pray enthusiastically about everything. The idea that God hears my prayers was exciting. I prayed readily but not always discerningly. I didn’t give much thought to God’s will or it’s role in prayer. And so when God didn’t give me what I wanted, I was left confused. Then as I began to study more and learned that God knows what I need before I even ask Him (Matthew 6:8), I started to wonder whether prayer was so important after all. Am I just telling God things He already knows? Then when I learned that God hears prayer that is “according to his will” (1 John 5:14), my prayer life took another hit. How do I know what God’s will is anyway? And if He only answers prayers that are according to His will, is there any point in praying at all? Thankfully, I was never brought to total despair. And chances are you haven’t been either. But without a clear understanding of prayer, it’s easy for our prayer life to lose steam over time. Here are 7 reasons to pray when you find that happening in your life.
In the last decade, public opinion on issues related to the LGBT+ community has shifted so rapidly that many Christians are still trying to catch up. It’s never helpful trying to understand an issue from a distance but the reality is that many of us have never sat down and had thoughtful conversations with people who have a first-hand understanding of same sex attraction and transgender temptations and are also fully committed to the Scriptures as the Word of God. That’s why I found Christopher Yuan’s workshop on “Christianity and Homosexuality” so helpful. Let me share some of what I learned.