Category: church

The Gospel Groove

rutsWhen I was in the 10th grade I was in a play called Thurber’s Carnival.  I had only one line, and in spite of rehearsing that one line over and over again, I still barely managed to say it.  If you asked me today I wouldn’t be able to tell you my line in spite of rehearsing for several months. In the same way, I forget the gospel.  Of course I don’t forget the basic truth of the gospel that Jesus died for my sin, but I do forget the gospel in many, many other ways.

For example:
• I forget the gospel when on a scale of 1-10 (10 high) I believe that God loves me less than a 10 because I fail at a consistent devotional life, and I forget that God’s acceptance of me is not based on my devotion to Him, but on Jesus’ devotion to obey the Father, even to die on the cross.
• I forget the gospel when I feel I need to make up my shortcomings to God, and I don’t remember that Jesus gives me his perfect record as my own.
• I forget the gospel when I feel crushed that my church isn’t as big as the church down the street, and I forget that God doesn’t measure me by the size of the church but by the success of Christ’s finished work for me.
• I forget the gospel when I feel bitter toward people who have offended me and owe me an apology that’s never coming, and I forget that every selfish, sinful act of mine is a deep offense against God. Yet, he forgives me not because I was the most sorrowful, but because He is the most graceful.
• I forget the gospel when I look to success, approval, sensuality, food, etc. to satisfy me, and I forget that God has given me the only thing that can truly satisfy me – Himself.
• I forget the gospel when I present my “resume” to God and others so they will like me, and I forget that the only resume that counts is Jesus’, and He puts my name on His resume.

Therefore, our attempt at a rehearsal of the gospel every Sunday is because it’s so easy to forget.  At GBCK we want to develop deep grooves of the gospel in our soul.  The songs, the sermon, and the sacraments serve to put the gospel on repeat in our minds and our hearts.  They serve to retell the gospel drama in all its parts.

The singing, the preaching, and the observing of the sacraments heal us from gospel amnesia and returns us to our true source of joy, peace, and contentment.  May we never try to escape the groove of the gospel, but may we ask the Spirit to continually etch the gospel on our hearts.


Transformed Worship

blue-worship-hand2-1Over the years in Christian ministry I’ve often heard that we need to teach people how to worship.  I interpret this to mean that we need to teach people a way to show worship. Depending on your church tradition, you can show worship by standing, sitting, clapping, eyes opened or closed, dancing, staying still, loud singing, reflective singing, hands and arms raised, folded, clasped, shaking, etc.  Over time I’ve come to understand that you can’t teach people to worship because we are born worshippers; we will worship something.  Our hearts are wired to proclaim that something or that someone has our ultimate affection, and without it we will die.  The problem with worship isn’t how we worship, it’s what we worship.  Paul says in Romans that we sinful humans “exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…”

So the aim isn’t to teach people how to worship, the aim is to point ourselves and others to a new object of worship, who is Jesus. Paul prays in Ephesians 1 that the eyes of our heart be opened so we can see the beauty of God’s work in Jesus to rescue the rebellious by forgiving sin and imputing righteousness.  God’s rescue clears the way for us to receive the ultimate, most satisfying gift – God himself.

As this good news washes over us again and again, our heart’s affection begins to change.  After a while, we begin to see the emptiness of the things we worshipped, we see that rust and moth will eventually have their way with our “idols” which will end up in either a landfill, or a grave.  Ultimately, our worship isn’t learned, it’s transformed.