Siloam's Pool
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Hey guys! I am honored that you would take the time to read this blog. I hope that what I have to share will be worth your time. You may ask yourself, "What's up with the title of this blog?" The title Siloam's Pool comes from John 9:7. There was a man who came to Jesus who was born blind. As Jesus and the disciples passed by the man, Jesus used this man's condition to teach an important spiritual lesson to his followers. Jesus affirmed that the man had been born blind in order that God might be honored through this man's life. Then Jesus said in a dramatic statement, "We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9:4-5). He then told the man to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. The name "Siloam" means "sent." The man went and washed and came back seeing. It is my hope that through this blog, that perhaps someone might see as a result of the truth that is shared here. I will do my best to honor your time. God bless!

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09
Oh What a Feeling
September 9, 2013

                What does the band Boston and the current culture of many churches have in common? Perhaps it could best be summed up by Boston’s hit song “Oh, What a Feeling.” Many of today’s churches have bought into a culture of emotionalism and consumerism. You may be scratching your head a bit and wondering what I mean. Let me explain.

                Many churches thrive on trying to achieve that “feeling” of worship where the emotions reach some sort of nirvana and tingles run down your spine as you sing that worship chorus for the ninth time straight. People will respond with phrases like, “I could’ve stayed there all day and just worshiped,” or “I just felt so close to God in that service.” I once heard someone say that they just felt like God was shaking them all over! This is what is meant by the term emotionalism. But, is it biblical?

                In the Bible we can find many references to worship and worship encounters. David even danced before the Lord when the Ark of the Covenant was being brought back into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:16). Song and dance were an integral part of the ancient worship practices of Israel. However, was it pure emotionalism or was it driven by something deeper? I believe it was driven by a realization of Who God is.

                In most of the “emotional” encounters of the Old Testament, the encounter with God happened first, followed by a controlled emotional response of worship. Don’t get me wrong, God does want us to worship Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37). However, notice that our mind is involved as well as our emotions. Paul puts it this way, “

13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider[b] say“Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. (1 Cor. 14:13-17)

                You may be reading this and think that I am a conservative, traditionalist that is just against the new “praise and worship” music and that I just simply love to find fault in anything new. You would be wrong! I actually am a huge fan of contemporary Christian music. I also am a huge fan of classic hymns of the faith. So what is the distinguishing mark of genuine worship music? The answer lies in the character and nature of God and also in verse 15 above – worship that engages the mind.

                 Mindless worship is not worship. I mentioned above that the church has fallen victim to emotionalism and consumerism. So, what does consumerism in worship look like? It is an “all about me” approach to worship. We need to sing certain songs because that is the music that I like. Another way of putting it would be to say that we should sing songs because that is what a certain group in the church would like to sing. May I ask one question though? What does God want?

                The problem with some……I say some, not all….worship today is that too many people are asking the question, “What kind of music do you prefer?” They are also asking what kind of worship practices do we enjoy. We have forgotten that our worship is not about us! Our worship is about God and it should be focused on Him and not us.

                In the Old Testament, the Israelites were not free to approach God in any way that they liked. Moses was commanded by God in Exodus 19:12 to set limits around Mt. Sinai so that the people would not come too close and be killed. There were limits set as to who could enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and how often they were allowed to enter. David danced before the Lord in 2 Samuel 6, but only after learning the hard way in 2 Samuel 5 that God would not allow careless worship of him. Uzzah was struck down for touching the Ark of the Covenant to steady it when it was being transported in a manner that God had not allowed.

               Some may think God is asking too much or that God is different now that we are in the New Testament church age. Is this really so? The Bible says in Malachi 3:6, "For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” Thank God that we can count on something to remain constant in our ever-changing world!

               God is holy and we should not take His grace for granted. We should not tread lightly on holy ground but should reflect on Who we are worshipping. We should show respect in how we dress (not that we have to have formal attire) and offer God our best. We should remember that what may be could Christian entertainment is not necessarily the same as good Christian worship. Worship exalts God. Entertainment exalts man.

                So how do we get the focus back on God and still connect with a new generation of believers? The same as faithful Christians always have. We have to go back to the Scriptures. God’s word is the real agent of change. God’s Word must become our guiding principle in how we worship. We must remember that it is okay to sing new songs, but we must teach old truths in these new tunes. We must never forget the heritage of faith that has been passed down to us throughout the ages, no matter how broken the container may be that brought it to us. We must remember that there is room at the cross for all of us. If you really want to taste what heavenly worship will be like, learn to love all kinds of music. God will be exalted by all of it, so long as it proclaims His truths through His word! Now, where is that old Boston cd! 

 

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