In the fall, I was enrolled in a class on worship. One theme we discussed on a regular basis was how people often use enjoyment instead of theology to decide if they will become a member of a church. We also touched on the fact that people tend to think that their experience in worship is the only “right” way. These false beliefs have led to many not wanting to attend a certain church based upon the type of service (contemporary or traditional) that the church offers. They have also led to the individualization of worship. Historically worship was a community practice, something done with other believers. However in the last century, worship has shifted to a more individualistic self-centered practice.
Sadly church attendance has become something that is all about how well “I like it” and how much “I enjoy it”, instead of being about how much God likes it and how much He enjoys it. Nowadays we often make it about how good it makes us feel and if we don’t like the music or are offended by the sermon we complain or simply walk away.
Just before Christmas I read a blog which emphasized this point and highlighted how self focused our society has become. It was entitled “This is not a daycare. It’s a University!” It was a response by Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University to a student who complained about being offended by the chapel message. (I’ve included a link to the blog below.)
Church is for worshiping the Creator of the Universe. It is, and should be, all about Him. But somehow we become bored if the music doesn’t suit us, upset if the sermon steps on our toes, offended if the Pastor doesn’t greet us and disgruntled if we are asked to serve in a way that stretches us beyond our comfort zone. In doing so, we make church/worship all about us and less about Him.
Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
In December, Rodney and I celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary. Twenty years! I am so excited and blessed to celebrate this milestone and know that it is only by the grace of God that we have privilege to celebrate these years together.
Twenty years is a long time. I didn’t attend school for 20 years, I have never lived in the same town for 20 years, I didn’t live with my parents for 20 years. I believe being married is the longest thing I have ever done.
During these 20 years life has not always been easy. We have gone through times where we could not get along, had financial struggles and health issues. We have experienced tremendous loss and sorrow. We have also experienced amazing blessings and seen many hopes and dreams fulfilled. We have watched God move on our behalf and know that without Him holding us together we would probably not have made it.
I thank God for sustaining us when we wanted to quit, holding us together when we wanted to walk away and for allowing us to grow and mature in love, patience and respect for one another.
I stand in awe at God’s mercy for allowing us to celebrate 20 years of marriage together and I look forward with anticipation to the next twenty.
Several years ago God told me, “Kina, You Can’t Sprint a Marathon!” Guess I’m not the only one God is talking to about slowing down.
Eric Raymond has noted his experience with this concept in the blog linked below. Amazing it only took him 10 years to learn something that took me nearly 20 to understand. LOL
Hope you enjoy his post.
When we moved to Mexico we put a few of our “most cherished items” in my in-laws attic. A few years ago, I decided to go through those plastic tubs. To my surprise most of their contents, I either threw out or gave away. The things we once thought we couldn’t live without no longer held our affection.
Lately, we’ve been cleaning out our house. Unfortunately the more we clean, the more unnecessary items we discover. It’s amazing what lurks in the tops of closets, on book shelves, in kitchen cabinets and especially in the laundry room. I have collections of the oddest things: old jars, magazines, water bottles, kitchen gadgets, half used make-up, old CDs, & scraps of paper.
Our girls cleaned out their rooms and each threw away 2 large bags of trash. We gave away another 8 bags of clothing and shoes. (Yes, count them, eight bags!) One day I went through our bathroom. I threw away old makeup, nail polish and to my chagrin, medicine that had expired in 2012.
How did our house get so out of hand? I don’t remember buying any of these items, and I especially don’t remember how they took up permanent residence with us. For Pete’s sake, how did we not realize this before now? All this stuff arrived under the radar and has remained there for quite some time.
Now it’s a long painstaking process to get rid of all these treasures. And honestly, I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface of what really needs to go.
All this cleaning has gotten my attention! It makes me wonder, what other things have taken up residence in my life: bad habits, ungodly attitudes, unforgiveness, judgmental thoughts.
Things I also don’t remember “buying”, but are now unequivocally mine. Wonder what other gems I’ll find lurking in my heart and the corners of my mind?
Well let’s just say that we may need to extend house cleaning to a few more areas.
What about you?