Before we take this week’s lesson title (Conformity, Compromise and Crisis in Worship) as an excuse to proscribe forms of worship that we do not like, we need to consider worship in its wider context. There are three aspects of worship (Yes I am well aware that my classification is not the only one but this one helps me)
Personal worship: this is the time that we spend by ourselves in prayer, study and meditation
Community worship: this is the time that [...]
Friday morning I woke up, turned on my computer, looked at the news headlines and got a shock. One of the headlines read, “In Jerusalem, scholars trace Bible’s evolution.” The first two paragraphs were most unsettling:
JERUSALEM (AP) — A dull-looking chart projected on the wall of a university office in Jerusalem displayed a revelation that would startle many readers of the Old Testament: the sacred text that people revered in the past was not the same one we study today.
We often think of God as the creator and the one who keeps us alive. We look at Him as the one who blesses us by supplying all our needs and many of our wants. But how often do we really think about the extent that God is involved with us? The writer of Hebrews speaks of Jesus as the Son of God in this way, “who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, [...]
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21, NASB
Today, most Christian denominations are hierarchical in structure with layers of clergy administering other clergy from the top down until reaching the level of the local church where a carefully controlled laity works in secular occupations to support that structure.
Some laity and [...]
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.” Matthew 27:51-52, NIV
Have you ever told someone that you were spiritual but not religious? Or has someone ever said that to you about themselves? The implication is that there is something wrong with institutional worship that can be avoided by dropping [...]
Sometimes we get confused about the sanctuary as described in Scripture. Is the earthly sanctuary of Old Testament times an exact replica of the heavenly sanctuary? If so, why? Do God and the angels need a visual representation of God’s holiness when they have the very presence of God Himself with them?
Certainly the items and the ritual of sacrifices in the temple courtyard do not exist in the heavenly sanctuary. The ultimate sacrifice, Christ’s death, has already happened, as prophesied. [...]
Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father’s [...]
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Revelation 14:6-7, NIV
Have you ever wondered why so many people are so eager to state that they cannot [...]
“Do not come any closer, God said. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5, NIV
The opening chapters of the book of Exodus represent a low point in the history of God’s people. From calling upon the name of the Lord in the early chapters of Genesis, they had come, after 400 years in Egypt, to the point where many had adopted the customs and patterns of worship of the Egyptians.
Entering the [...]
Some Bible stories seem to indicate that God’s will was done by ignoring one or more of His commandments. What does this say to us? I would like our readers to suggest some answers.
In response to the lesson plan for “Two Classes of Worshipers,” one of our readers concluded (in an unpublished comment) that “God is not such a rigid leader as we make Him out to be.” Perhaps he’s right. Perhaps God isn’t nearly as “rigid” as we make [...]