A Better Understanding of Worship

hands-raisedOur church is in the midst of an incredible journey toward a better understanding of worship. I’m not sure this journey is ever complete until we get to heaven. But I do think we can dispel some myths and gain a deeper realization this side of heaven.

My hope has been to challenge our people to grow in their prayer lives and in their passion for worship. We’ve provided a daily devotional for everyone, a weekly family devotion, small group lessons, as well as a Sunday morning sermon all centered around the same theme.

Our culture, specifically our current church culture, has defined worship very narrowly. Most people think it has to do with a style of music or the type of song. Confusion about worship is not new. In fact, John 4 records a woman who had similar questions about worship. She was concerned about the external symbols of worship and not the internal realities of worship.

In John 4:24, Jesus responds to her and says, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” He adds that God is seeking those kind of worshippers! I will readily admit that I don’t know everything that means. But I do know a few things. Continue reading

Peyton Manning vs. Richard Sherman

As much as I love football, this is not a post about football. It could be, maybe it should be, but it’s not. This is a post about pride. And how pride can be so dangerous in our lives.

I watched the playoffs this past Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed the games. Football is my favorite sport. Hands down. Nothing quite like it. I played quarterback in high school so in a small way I understand the passion, the intensity, and the excitement. And I don’t mind Richard Sherman being excited. That’s the way you have to play the game. What I do mind is what he said. It’s not how he said it, it’s actually what he said. Here’s the video.

My thoughts – which are worth less than “two cents” I’m sure. You’re going to the Super Bowl, rejoice in that. You made a great play, celebrate with your team. You tipped the ball, congratulations. Instead, he says, “I’m the best cornerback in the league.” Seriously? I’m blown away by the arrogance. Sheer pride on display.

Contrast that with Peyton Manning’s interview after their big win over New England. I couldn’t even find this interview on youtube because no one is talking about it. I remember him saying something like this: “New England is a great team, you could name the AFC Championship after these guys because they’re in this thing every year. Hats off to them. They played a great game.”

Instead of praising himself, he praised the other team and their efforts. Here’s what is absolutely amazing to me. The quarterback, who is most likely the best in the league and possibly the best of all time, doesn’t even mention his own ability. But the cornerback, who is no doubt extremely talented but most likely not the best in the league, decides to state his own superiority.

Again, I get it. I understand the game of football. No, I’ve never made it to the Super Bowl but I have a deep love for the game. In the end, there’s a much larger principle at play. Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” And there it is. If you really are the best cornerback, or the best quarterback, you really don’t have to tell anyone. Others will know.

Pete Carroll, coach of the Seahawks, said he had a talk with his cornerback on Monday. It was clear that Sherman’s rant took away from the team’s victory. And I’m sure that wasn’t Sherman’s intent. This is why pride is so dangerous. It is insidious, ugly, and self-deceiving. It creeps into marriages, into families, into pulpits, into churches and it shifts the focus off Christ and off others, and onto self. We all fall victim to the snare of pride. This is just one more reminder of how destructive it can actually be.

Get Connected!

2014 Is Going To Be An Incredible Year! Everything we do as a church is centered on connecting with God in worship, growing in Christ-likeness, and serving in ministry and mission. It’s a simple process with profound implications. A fully-devoted follower of Christ will faithfully connect, grow, and serve. Building on this foundation, 2014 is going to be our Year of Connect at Second Baptist Church. Here’s what the Year of Connect will look like:get_connected_logo Continue reading

It Seems Like We’re Losing Ground

Today, in a landmark and wide-sweeping decision, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (among other things). While I don’t pretend to understand all of the implications that exist here legally, one thing I know for sure – traditional marriage took a big hit. Because of this ruling, gay couples have the same rights federally as straight couples. This is a major battle lost for supporters of traditional marriage. And it seems to be a major step on the way to legalizing same-sex marriage completely. supreme-court

While the moral decay and cultural decline of our country is stunningly evident, some secularists view it as progress. Sadly, they view the decline of traditional values and the destruction of the family as necessary to accomplish their agenda.

As followers of Christ, what should we do? How should we respond? It’s easy to bemoan the moral slide of our nation. Many have been predicting it for years. It’s easy to curse the darkness. It seems to be ever-growing. But there must be a clear and compelling Christ-centered response in moments like this. Here’s what I say… Continue reading

Why I Love Vacation Bible School

Summer doesn’t slow down for churches. In fact, the opposite is true. While many people travel, go on vacation, visit family, and hit the lake, the church takes it up a notch when it comes to ministry. Summer is one of the most busy and fruitful times in the life of the church.

For instance. The first week of June was Beach Retreat, last week was College Week, this week is VBS. Then in July we have Preteen Camp, and missions trips to Brazil, the Ukraine, Las Vegas, Cherokee, NC, and around our city. Busy, busy, busy.

But this week is Vacation Bible School week here at the church. And, if you know anything about Vacation Bible School, it is anything but a vacation for the workers. A lot of planning, preparation, prayer, and (something else that starts with a “p”) went into this week. The goal is to show genuine love to kids and families, teach them the Word of God, and see many saved through the grace of Jesus Christ.

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With all the energy and activity around here this week I began to think – I really love this time! It’s a joy to see all the kids, workers, leaders, helpers, and teachers. There are several reasons I love VBS.  Continue reading