Friday, February 10, 2012

Living Witnesses

As baptized disciples of Jesus the Christ why are we here?

I believe that we are here to glorify and praise God and take our faith out into the world and make new disciples. We are the living witnesses of God’s salvation through Jesus and we are the living proof of God’s love in the world.

When we gather to worship as the church it is good to be reminded that we worship the one true God, that we have one faith in Jesus as the Son of God, that we have one baptism that gives us spiritual birth.

If you love Jesus be a living witness every day and invite some one who is with out faith to come and worship with you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It is a Daily Choice

People in the Bible like Joshua can teach us about the process of faith as a growing and learning experience. Joshua in fact gives us a basic biblical methodology for growing in faithfulness day by day. Choose this day whom you will serve.

The surprising thing is that the people Joshua led into the Holy Land had many choices to make as they settled into the land they had just conquered. The people who already lived there worshipped many gods and the land the Hebrews had come from in Egypt had worshipped many gods. Some of the Hebrew people had idols in their possession at the time like an insurance policy.

It was so tempting to worship like the locals. Do like everyone else and party every Saturday night. But they had been called and chosen by God Almighty, who had said, “Do not worship any other god.”  So now they must make a decision.

It was not a once and for all decision either. Each succeeding generation also had to make that same decision. In I Kings 18:21 “Elijah went up to the people and said, `How much longer will it take you to make up your minds? If the Lord is God, worship him; but if Baal is god, worship him!’” 

Each individual must make the same choice every day. That includes you and me!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Let Us All Praise the Lord

We were tent camping by a lake and I took a morning stroll with the sun glimmering off the lake. It was fall and the autumn leaves were in brilliant colors. There were birds singing as if praising God. It seemed that all of nature had read Psalm 150 that says, “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!”

 There is something special about being out in nature and being able to appreciate all the blessing we have. I think God every day for my darling bride of over thirty three years and for our two daughters.

Praise God every day with every breath for every day is a blessing even when we do not see it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Take Off Your Shoes

In the third chapter of Exodus Moses hears the voice of God from a burning bush and God said to Moses, “Remove the sandals from your feet for the place which you are standing is Holy Ground.”

I remember being in Jerusalem and visiting the “Temple Mount.” As we were about to enter the shrine of the Dome of the Rock we were asked to take off our shoes. It seems that Islam takes this injunction to Moses very seriously so that any time you enter a place of worship you remove your shoes. The place you are standing is holy ground. It is part of the awareness of being in sacred space.

I was sitting in church Sunday wondering about being in a sacred space and how often we American Christians enter the sanctuary with out awareness of holy ground. It is not in our tradition to remove our shoes in the sanctuary. After more than forty years of serving as pastor of congregations I am always very aware of the sacred space. The whole church building is dedicated to God but the place of worship is the most sacred to me. The Communion table and baptistery are places of holy actions and we need to know it.

How do you make yourself aware of Holy Ground?    

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Christian Sunday Worship

In the very early days of the church the followers of Jesus were all Hebrews. As such they followed the tenants of Jewish worship. For the Hebrew people of Jesus day Sabbath began at sundown on Friday and lasted until sundown on Saturday. Most worship was done in the home or synagogue on Saturday.

For Hebrew Disciples of Jesus they would fulfill their worship as Jews and then at dawn on the first day of the week they would gather to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. At this worship the Gospel was preached, prayers said, new believers baptized and communion celebrated. As Sunday was a work day then they would go off to work.

Later when Gentiles, non-Jews, joined the growing ranks of the Disciples of Christ they would for go the Hebrew worship and only attend the Sunday gathering at dawn to celebrate the resurrection. As the percentage of gentile Christians increased First Day worship became the most common form of Christian practice. Later Christians would begin calling Sunday the Sabbath even though that was not strictly true.

Today most Christians but not all practice Christian worship on the first day of the week to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. I do every Sunday.