Oct 31, 2014

Hiding God’s Word in Your Heart

Psalm 119:9-16
I can still hear the voices of my Sunday school teachers as they taught me to memorize Psalm 119:11 in the classic King James Version: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Hiding God’s word in one’s heart was a matter of...Read more +
Oct 30, 2014

A Radically Different Vision of Community

Ephesians 5:21
In yesterday’s reflection , I explained how the imperative “Submit to one another” might be disturbing to us, even as it was almost certainly disturbing to those who first encountered it in Ephesians. People who lived in the Greco-Roman world were completely familiar with submission. The whole society with its...Read more +
Oct 29, 2014

A Disturbing Dictate

Ephesians 5:21
Ephesians’ teaching on household relationships begins with what one might call a disturbing dictate: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” In fact, the original Greek of verse 21 doesn’t use an imperative, but rather a participle that’s dependent on the imperative in verse 18: “Be filled with...Read more +
Oct 28, 2014

God’s Word and the Challenge of Culture

Ephesians 5:21- 6:9
If you’ve spent a lot of your life reading the Bible, as I have, you might forget that it wasn’t written directly for today’s world. It can seem so familiar that we overlook ways in which the world of Scripture is not like our own. But, if you’re relatively new...Read more +
Oct 27, 2014

Your Relationships Matter to God

Ephesians 5:21- 6:9
Today we begin looking at a new section of Ephesians. No, I did not forget about verse 20, which encourages us to give thanks to God. I’m saving this verse for a month in order to use it as the basis for our reflections during the week of Thanksgiving in...Read more +
Oct 24, 2014

The Lord Is for Me

Psalm 118:1-29
Psalm 118 was written in the context of hostility. The unnamed psalm writer was facing threats from his enemies who hated him and sought to kill him. But the Lord rescued and protected him (118:6-13). Yet in the midst of his struggle, when the outcome wasn’t clear from a human...Read more +
Oct 23, 2014

How Can I Sing to the Lord from My Heart?

Ephesians 5:18-19
According to Ephesians 5:18-19, as we are filled with the Spirit, we will, among other things, “sing and make music from [our] heart to the Lord.” What does it mean to sing to the Lord, indeed, to worship God from our hearts? It’s good to ask this kind of question...Read more +
Oct 22, 2014

Avoiding the “Audience Temptations” of Worship, Part 2

Ephesians 5:18-19
In yesterday’s reflection , we considered the first of two “audience temptations” of worship, the temptation to consider ourselves as the primary audience for worship. Indeed, that is God’s place and prerogative. We are the performers who honor and delight the Lord through our worship. The second “audience temptation” is...Read more +
Oct 21, 2014

Avoiding the Audience Temptations of Worship, Part 1

Ephesians 5:18-19
In yesterday’s reflection , we considered an analogy from the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. He said that when it comes to worship, God is the true audience. We who gather are the performers. Those who lead—pastors, choirs, bands, readers—are the prompters of worship. This notion of worship fits well with...Read more +
Oct 20, 2014

Who Is the Audience for Worship?

Ephesians 5:18-19
If you were to eavesdrop on the conversations of churchgoers after a typical worship service, you’d hear comments like, “I loved the band this morning” or “The choir was a little off” or “The sermon was great” or “Pastor Mark missed it this morning.” If you didn’t know anything about...Read more +