Thursday, April 30, 2015

Worship as Performance


Institutional worship is something done to you, in front of you, or for you, but not by you. The congregants come as passive recipients, unconsciously thinking, “I hope this is good today.” People arriving for corporate worship in this frame of mind can leave worship as unmoved as when they arrived. After all, pastors are paid to put together the order of worship, exude charisma, insert moving musical selections, and then preach a stirring message. Since the dynamic is essentially a performer-audience relationship, the worshipers are put in the position of being critics of the latest pastoral effort.
Somehow we don’t think it unusual for the remarks at the door after a church service to focus on evaluating the morning message or worship service. This audience-performer mentality had become so much a part of our mind-set that George Plagenz, who wrote a weekly column for a Cleveland newspaper, took to rating the quality of worship. Churches dreaded this clandestine reporter sneaking in and slipping out of worship, for the next day a review of their service would appear in the local newspaper.

Greg Ogden, Unfinished Business: Returning the Ministry to the People of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010).

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Spirit of Entertainment


This spirit of Babylon, in the form of entertainment, has not only seeped into the Church but has also been welcomed through the front door with inviting arms and has come in like a flood. It seems so incongruent to me that a generation of Christians should so loathe the accomplishments of their forefathers and the sacrifice associated with the faith once delivered that they would court the frivolous attitude and spirit of “entertainmentism.” We are not worshiping God on the throne but have come to the point of worshiping the shadow of the throne.
The average Christian today is addicted to exterior pleasures. Can any Christian church survive today without a heavy dose of entertainment? It is the culture of fun, fun and more fun. Performance has replaced worship. We no longer have worshipers but rather observers and spectators who sit in awe of the performance. The demand is for something that will make us feel good about ourselves and make us forget about all of our troubles.
The Church Fathers were fanatic worshipers, and their worship carried with it a heavy cost, which incidentally, they gladly and eagerly paid. The grandsons are now observers with an appetite for entertainment that has gone wild. They are addicted, with an insatiable appetite, to have one thrill followed by an even bigger thrill. They are as fanatic about entertainment as their fathers were about worship, which explains the difference.
To confuse the matter and make it even worse, we have now what I shall call a performance-oriented worship. Just because you tack the word “worship” onto a phrase does not mean that it is worship acceptable to God. We dance before God, wearing our silly little costumes and doing our silly little jingles, thinking that this in some way impresses the God Almighty, Creator of the heavens and the earth.
The Church Fathers came into the presence of God with a sense of overwhelming reverence, which captivated them and brought them before God in holy silence. What has happened to reverence today? Where are those who get caught up in the spirit of reverence before their God? Where are those who have experienced the holy hush in the presence of God?
Then we have celebrities who are leading our so-called worship today. This mirrors the culture around us. To be a leader in the Church, a man does not have to have spiritual qualifications as much as a personality and a celebrity status. The converted football player wields more influence in churches today than the man who is before God on his knees with a broken heart for his community. Celebrities are now leading us, but they are not leading us down the same pathway the Fathers of the Church established.

A. W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual Lethargy, ed. James L. Snyder (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2012), 18–20.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Making Light of God


The people of Israel did not perceive the sweetness of every taste in the manna, though it was there, because they would not limit their desires to it alone. The sweetness and strength of the manna was not for them, not because it was not there, but because they longed for other meats beside it. He who loves any other thing with God makes light of Him, because he puts into the balance with Him that which is infinitely beneath Him.

John D. Barry et al., eds., DIY Bible Study (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Inexhaustible Word of God

Generic Green Trees Quote
I cannot emphasize this enough. The Word of the living God is the source of our messages, and its truths are inexhaustible. There is simply no excuse for a man stepping into the pulpit without having something profound, insightful, and rich to share with his people.
My father is an expositor, and one thing he hammered into me when I was young was the importance of preparation. He told me again and again, “Don’t you ever go into a pulpit unprepared. And if you say ‘The Bible says …’ you make sure to the best of your ability that it truly does say that.” Lack of preparation leads to poor preaching, offends God, and leads people to weakness, not strength.

David C. Deuel, “Expository Preaching from Old Testament Narrative,” in Rediscovering Expository Preaching (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1992), 297.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Who’s Got the Authority

Cita Cielo

If impressions are the better part of conclusions, the pulpit is responsible to impress its hearers with four vital conclusions about the Bible: it is believable; it is understandable; it is applicable; and it is inexhaustible.
The Bible needs no endorsement, but it will be more readily perceived as believable when preachers approach the Bible as their authority rather than themselves as an authority on the Bible.
When preaching communicates the Bible in the spirit and enthusiasm of its purpose—God wanting to make Himself known—it prompts its own hearing. It is when the Bible is handled as difficult material, fully known only to the spiritually elite, that it is deemed elusive to those for whom it is meant.

Charles Fuller, “Preaching and Education,” in Handbook of Contemporary Preaching, ed. Michael Duduit (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1992), 466.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Importance Of Our Concept Of God

Clouds Vintage Quote

Tozer was a man driven by a desire to know God in His fullness. Jon Graf, in his study guide to The Pursuit of God, said that Tozer once confessed to his lifelong friend Robert Battles, “I want to love God more than anyone in my generation.” Graf goes on to say, “To some of us that may sound selfish and arrogant, but for Tozer it wasn’t. It simply came out of an honest desire to enrich his relationship with the Lord.”
The desire to know God more deeply and more intimately naturally led Tozer to study God’s attributes. As he himself said in this very volume,

  Christianity at any given time is strong or weak depending upon her concept of God. And I insist upon this and I have said it many times, that the basic trouble with the Church today is her unworthy conception of God. (p. 41)


A. W. Tozer and David E. Fessenden, The Attributes of God: Study Guide, vol. 1 (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2003–), 5.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Become A Better Christian By…

Hanging Paper Quote

It is not by reading the Scriptures in the original languages or in some contemporary version that makes us better Christians. Rather, it is getting on our knees with the Scriptures spread before us, and allowing the Spirit of God to break our hearts. Then, when we have been thoroughly broken before God Almighty, we get up off our knees, go out into the world and proclaim the glorious message of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

A. W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual Lethargy, ed. James L. Snyder (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2012), 22.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Why Do We Assemble?


Book Texture Quote

In a normal preaching situation the purpose is worship. Or is it? If a survey were taken and you could somehow read the real motivations of every person in the auditorium, what do you think would be the most common purpose for being there? Many might say, “To attend the service.” But what does that mean? Are they there from habit? Are they there to socialize? Are they there out of a sense of religious obligation? According to Young, an authentic audience requires a specific purpose. If a worship service group has no common purpose, can it really be an audience?

Wayne V. McDill, The Moment of Truth: A Guide to Effective Sermon Delivery (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1999), 40.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Families are to Glorify God

Book Stack QuoteBlue Circles Quote

If the theological message of Gen 12–50 is God’s faithfulness to his promises, then the social message might be the importance of family and community. Family relationships are central in these narratives—parents and children in Gen 12–25, brothers in Gen 25–36, and the complexities of a large family in Gen 37–50. This emphasis on community does not provide a universal model for family relationships, however, because patriarchal family dynamics are filled with conflict and tension. The descendants of Abraham have been called to be God’s chosen people and the conduit of blessing to the world (Gen 12:3), but their internal conflicts consistently limit their effectiveness.

Our family units, like everything, are meant to glorify God. They are a vehicle for us to praise him. In Genesis, we see examples of true love and terrible family dynamics. Ultimately, we see that Yahweh is the only truly good one in this story—he is the one all of us should follow.

John D. Barry et al., eds., DIY Bible Study (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Consider the great honor and privilege that is ours

Do we ever stop to consider the great honor and privilege that is ours? We have been invited, even commanded, to look on, to contemplate, the glory of God. We don’t need to cover our faces before the Lord (as the angels must), nor do we need to be protected from God’s glory by God’s hand (as Moses was) because we are in union with his Son; Jesus Christ is the Rock in whom we are hidden.
Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson, Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2009).

Friday, April 3, 2015

Our Response to God’s Work

Open Bible Quote

… Psa 105 alludes to various aspects of the patriarchs’ sojourning and has many parallels with the Abraham and Abimelech story. While extolling God’s providential care for the Israelites (even in light of their repeated mistakes), the psalmist recalls God’s promises to Abraham and his offspring (Psa 105:8–11). In Psalm 105:12, he recounts their sojourning, bringing to mind Gen 20:1, 15; 21:34. Psalm 105:14 evokes the imagery of God rebuking Abimelech in Gen 20:3, 6–7. Furthermore, the psalmist, when speaking on behalf of God, refers to the patriarchs as “prophets” (Psa 105:15; navi in Hebrew)—the same word used of Abraham in Gen 20:7 (the only time a patriarch is called “prophet” in the Pentateuch).
The psalmist’s purpose in doing all of this is clear: Remembering God’s covenant faithfulness to Abraham (through his repeated mistakes) will help readers worship in a more informed way (see Psa 105:1–6). God’s faithfulness to Abraham in the Abimelech episode is characteristic of His dealings with the nation of Israel as a whole. By remembering God’s wondrous protection and faithfulness to Abraham and his family, the psalmist recalls God’s same activity in the life of the nation. This is even more amazing in light of Israel’s history of covenant unfaithfulness. The only appropriate response for the people is to worship God.
The same concept is true for us today. As we read Abraham stories, we’re reminded of our own shortcomings in light of God’s promises. We often fail to believe them fully—particularly when times get tough—and we revert to sinful behavior. But when we see God’s continued faithfulness through our mistakes, our response should be one of gratitude and worship.

Michael R. Grigoni, Miles Custis, Douglas Mangum, et al., Abraham: Following God’s Promise (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), Ge 20:1–21:34.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March Ministry Update



As February drew to a close we announced that we would like to do a singspiration on March 8th. Most of our people had never heard of that before and on person couldn’t remember the term so instead called it a sing-a-long. It was certainly a new concept for our people but it was well received.


Missionary Harold Pierce

Harold Pierce who serves with Armed Forces Baptist Missions presented his work with those who serve in our armed forces. It was encouraging to hear how he is continuing to labor with our veterans and provides specialized counseling for those who have PTSD.




Visit From Family

Becca’s sister Amanda was able to spend a week with us during March. It was a big encouragement to Becca to get some projects done around the house.


New Faces

We are continuing to get new people showing up at our church. I’m in the process right now of discussing membership with two different family units. We also have had several make decisions for Christ lately that have been very exciting.

For a more pictures please visit our and click on “Pastor’s Page” or visit

Thanks so much for your prayers and support,

Jason, Becca, Elizabeth, Andrew, & John Miller