Oct 21, 2014

Avoiding the Audience Temptations of...

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 +
Oct 19, 2014

Do You Remember Your Baptism?

Romans 6:4
Her name was Krystal. Yes, with a K . She was ten and had asked Jesus to come into her heart the way most ten year olds do, with simple childlike trust. I told her a good next step was to follow Jesus’ example and be baptized. Krystal said okay...Read more +
Oct 18, 2014

Menu Planning

Matthew 6:26
On Mondays, I plan the week’s meals. At the kitchen island with laptop, notebook, and pen I tick through a week of food blogs, scribble down notes, half-inspirations, check the calendar for people coming over or us heading out of town. Meal planning was habituated first out of the necessity...Read more +
Oct 17, 2014

Worship With Transparent Windows

Psalm 117:1-2
One of the greatest challenges and joys of my life was leading a church during the building of a sanctuary, the space many would now call a “ worship center .” When I began my tenure as pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, the first major item on my plate was...Read more +
Oct 16, 2014

Sing to the Lord!

Ephesians 5:18-19
I grew up singing lots of wonderful songs in church, Sunday School, and youth group: “Jesus loves me, this I know … Deep and wide, deep and wide … Trust and obey, for there’s no other way … On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross … The...Read more +
Oct 15, 2014

You Have a Hard Time Praying, Don’t You?

Ephesians 5:18-19
About twenty-five years ago, I had lunch with Henri Nouwen. If you’re not familiar with this name, he was a spiritual writer who influenced millions upon millions of Christians to grow in our relationship with God. He was truly one of my heroes of the faith. The occasion of our...Read more +
Oct 14, 2014

Why the Worship Wars Never Should Have...

Ephesians 5:18-19
I believe that the infamous “worship wars” never should have happened. Which wars are these? If you study church history, you’ll discover that we Christians have been fighting over worship for centuries, bless our hearts. But I’m thinking specifically of the so-called “worship wars” that erupted in the 1970s and...Read more +
Oct 13, 2014

How Can We Speak to Each Other With Songs...

Ephesians 5:18-19
At first glance, Ephesians 5:19 seems to be confusing, if not just plain confused. According to this verse, we are to be filled with the Spirit, “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.” The verse goes on to say that we should also “sing and...Read more +
Oct 12, 2014

God Will

Colossians 1:16-17
We spend a lot of words on intentionality these days. We seek intention in all we do—a gesture, I think, toward interpreting by lived performance the Scripture about all our words and deeds being hid in the purposes of Jesus. But we do ourselves a disservice in these conversations. With...Read more +