Jon David Schwartz – Estes Homecoming
Jon David Schwartz – Estes Homecoming
What Are You Getting Out of Worship? (Part 1)
When you assemble with the saints for corporate worship, what are you getting out of it? Do you find the atmosphere less than inspiring? Is the preaching dull and boring? Is the song service lacking in enthusiasm? Are the prayers dry? Has communion become predictable and routine? Does the weekly collection make you feel like the church is trying to get something out of you? Is observable spirituality deficient in the people around you?
Perhaps you would get more out of worship if the atmosphere were different. What if the surroundings were more appealing, the preaching was more dynamic and interesting, the music was livelier, the prayers were more stirring, communion was spruced up, and there was less pressure to contribute?
Maybe you would receive greater satisfaction if the scheduling of services was more convenient, the seating was more comfortable, and your felt needs were being met. Are you longing for a better worship experience?
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God …” (Acts 16:25a). Who helped set the mood for these guys? Who was responsible for getting them in a worshipful frame of mind? Who provided an atmosphere conducive to an uplifting experience? Who made their comfort and convenience top priority? Who directed their attention to spiritual things, ensuring they got the most out of worship?
These servants of Christ had been unfairly treated, falsely accused and arrested, severely beaten, locked in a dungeon and fastened in stocks amongst a bunch of criminals (Act 16:20-25). Yet somehow they managed to offer praise to the heavenly Father. How is this possible? There were no worship leaders, praise teams, choirs, or orchestras. There were no special lighting effects, motivational videos, air-conditioning, padded seating, or free coffee. Neither convenience nor comfort was afforded them. How on earth were they able to engage in meaningful worship under such unfavorable conditions?!
Apparently Paul and Silas had something deep within themselves that was not dependent on (neither bolstered nor hampered by) externals. Irrespective of their dismal circumstances and gloomy surroundings, they demonstrated an inner conviction with an unyielding commitment to and focus on God. Worship was not done for them. Worship was not done to them. They assumed personal responsibility. They took initiative. Their experience was void of complaints or excuses. They set their minds on things above and dutifully expressed their heartfelt devotion. Are you longing for a better worship experience?
–Kevin L. Moore
Gospel Meeting with Keith Parker
Sunday @ 9:30 a.m. Do you want to be great?
Sunday @ 10:30 a.m. Will you not revive us again?
Sunday @ noon Potluck lunch
Sunday @ 1:00 p.m. Will God run?
Monday @ 7:00 p.m. Why has all this happened to us?
Tuesday @ 7:00 p.m. What must I do to be saved?
Wednesday @ 7:00 p.m. Why do you wait?
All adult Bible classes will meet together Sunday morning.
Clone the Shepherd!
In 1997, when Dolly the Sheep was cloned, Newsweek’s Kenneth L. Woodward famously asked “Today the Sheep…tomorrow the Shepherd?” This title of the news magazine’s article was the start of a flurry of moral, philosophical, and religious debate over the ethics of human cloning. Whether or not scientists achieve this ability or governments allow the practice, perhaps Christians could place a more important metaphorical focus on the question posed by the Newsweek writer all those years ago.
Yes, we should “clone the Shepherd!”
Too many times we are cloned from other sheep or those in the world. We want to LOOK like everybody else, DRESS like everybody else, SPEND like everybody else, BE like everybody else. When others change, we change. We do everything we can to fit in with the Smiths and keep up with the Joneses. We are simply cloning ourselves after sheep.
There are examples of those in the Bible who had a choice between being cloned after the sheep or the Shepherd. In 1 Sam. 15 Saul had a choice to make. He could utterly destroy the Amalekites as the Lord instructed (vs. 3), or spare the best as the people desired (vs. 21). We know his choice (vss. 9, 24). He was cloned after the sheep. We also know the result (26).
The rulers in Jn. 12:42 faced much the same decision. They heard the word of the Shepherd proclaimed and believed it. But would they be cloned after Him? At the present they were cloned after the Pharisees. They decided to stay as they were, “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (vs. 43).
It is time to clone the Shepherd! The apostles were His clones. In Acts 5 they are being persecuted for following Him, but in vs. 29 they boldly say, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Oh, for more people with that attitude today!
Paul makes it clear after whom he is cloned. In Gal. 1:10 he says, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Notice that Paul admits at one point in his life he was cloned after men (“if I STILL pleased men”). But in Acts 9 the Shepherd comes into Paul’s life, and he becomes a changed man. In 1 Cor. 11:1 we see the cloning of Paul to be like the Shepherd when he says, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
Can we speak like Paul to others? Are we imitating the Savior to that degree? Have we cloned the sheep or the Shepherd? Clone the Shepherd!
–adapted from Bulletin Fodder, Valley Station Church of Christ
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Sunday Bible Study at 9:30 a.m.
Sunday Worship at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Evening Worship at 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday Bible Study at 7:00 p.m.
3505 Highway 45 South, Henderson, TN