Posts Tagged ‘worship’

Any time a quote is attributed to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it demands attention and possibly the breaking out of a handy Moleskin because memorization may help you become a better person.

He once was quoted discussing the issues associated with the Church when he said, “11 a.m. Sunday is the most segregated hour in America.” For years, pastors among diverse congregations have either combated or contributed to this axiom for decades.

Although some may have no clue this aphorism was ever uttered, it seems one man in Florida with quite the ecumenical legacy not only knows about it, but also is heaven-bent on doing something about it. Tullian Tchividjian is a man with both an incredible anointing on his life, and one huge pair of feet. Why? The shoes this cat has been placed in some massive shoes to fill.

Dr. Martin Luther King and Dr. Billy Graham

Who knew a guy named Tullian could connect these dots?

His first pair of wing tips belong to his granddaddy, a gent named Billy Graham? Maybe you have heard of him? I was told he was a big deal. Moreover, Dr. Graham has met the aforementioned Dr. King, so he would know a lot about the hour of segregation.

The second pair of Hush Puppies belonged the highly esteemed Dr. D. James Kennedy. A couple of years ago, Dr. Kennedy went home to be with Jesus and left the pulpit of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) vacant. After what seemed like American Pastor Idol was complete, the Elder Board called upon young Tullian to pastor the historical church.

It wasn’t without creating some cantankerous hullabaloo that needed to happen, but once cooler minds prevailed, the church lowered their old-man pants from midriff and got a little more progressive.

And now, thanks to this article in the Christian Post, we see things are even more progressive – and somewhat inspired by Dr. King.

CRPC in Fort Lauderdale now offers only one service at 10:15 a.m. with, essentially, blended worship – that means no more separation based on age, likes and comfort. The aim by church leaders, including Senior Pastor Tullian Tchividjian, was to unite the congregation and demonstrate the power of the Gospel.

Praising God should be without face, but all voice

How old is this person? Does it matter?

Naturally, there will some compromise between the “Old Rugged Cross” and “For the Cross,” but despite the whimsical guitar riffs and slow melodious chords on the pipe organ, the object is getting everyone to the Cross.

Yes, Dr. King was clearly discussing race, but Pastor Tullian took another demographic clearly segregated more seriously and decided that wall needed to come tumbling down.

The best way a church can demonstrate unifying power of the Gospel before our very segregated world is to maintain a community that transcends cultural barriers,” Tchividjian said in a sermon earlier this month. “The church should be the one institution, the one community – this countercultural community – in our world that breaks barriers down.”

Man, preach that. Saints, we need to learn because this decision – as bold as it was – reflects the microcosm that exists inside the entire Church, not just his. Go to any church or watch TBN for any period of time and you will easily see we are not a “Catholic” church. There is nothing universal inside of it.

Country clubs have strict rules about keeping out the riff raff. Why? Because they can. The only difference with churches is that there are no printed signs in the parking lot. This may seem like a stretch to make an ideological statement out of removing the Gomer worship service, but there is validity in it.

Churches should dig internally and discover ways to unify their congregations in every way possible. And if that means worship leaders can mix in a classic hymn with an upbeat twist versus some random David Crowder tune no one outside of folk with the CD has heard, then so be it. If you don’t believe, check out the guy who sounds like he is channeling Grandpa.

Explaining the significance of removing barriers, Tchividjian told the congregation, “The only way to know God deeply is to have many different types of Christian people in your life since each person will reveal a part of God that you cannot see by yourself. That means this: that the great tragedy of segregation is not so much that we see less of each other but that in seeing less of each other, we see less of God.”

Yeah, the next time I am in Fort Lauderdale, I am so checking out this worship service. I’m sure the pastor isn’t that shabby either.

When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them. (Acts 2:1-4 MSG)

Yeah, those were the good ol’ days, eh?

Today, the church spends cash, not time, to muster God

Courtesy: Jews for Jesus

Folk gathered together. In one accord even. Ready to worship God just because he is God.

They were not concerned about what tunic to wear in case “that saint” sees them. They did not get all up in a stiff wind when Captain Christian walks by and does not call on them to be the fill-in usher.

No, these were people who loved Jesus because he loved them, didn’t have sins in the closet (largely because they didn’t know how to hide them) and most importantly, discovered that it didn’t matter what song was playing softly in the background, they could still press in and experience Christ.

It seems people are spending all kinds of cash to bring God down to their level instead of time in prayer to get the Church to go up to his level. That should not be. Big churches are nice only if they can be broken down one small church at a time.

These days? Not so much.

People are pretentious, megalomaniacal, self-centered and disinterested in dealing with common prayers. And those are just a smattering of today’s megachurch pastor. Let’s not discuss the “Sunday brunch attending, no manners having, get on my last nerves being” saints just warming a pew. Lord have mercy.

There are some that desire to touch the hem of his garment still, which is why, according to this story in the Denver Post and Yahoo! News, some folk are leaving the church and deciding to be the Church elsewhere.

Megachurch, meet microchurch. Growing numbers believe the tiny house church, also called a simple church or an organic church, might be the mightier transformer of Christian lives. A recliner becomes a pulpit. A sofa and some armchairs serve as pews… The key element is that the group is small enough for everyone to participate fully and to connect intimately. In this, the new followers believe, they are like the earliest Christians, who also met in small groups in homes.

See through a brand to get to the man Jesus

Go to the Golden Gates! Not the Arches.

To many Christians these days, size indeed does not matter. And egos are still in check. People no longer want to sit in a cozy chair and hear about Jesus. They want to get involved in a group and experience Jesus!

They aren’t interested in “Mr. Megachurch’s Ego Boost Tower of Babel.” They believe they have as much right into the Holy of Holies as the guy with the stained collar does. So why not demand it, or better yet, change your surroundings to demand it? Many already are, but why now?

Religion surveyors, theologians and other experts say millions of American adults are experimenting with new forms of spiritual communities. Many are abandoning traditional church because, among many reasons, the Americanized church has become, for them, too corporate and consumeristic.

Odd, isn’t it?! America sits through church on Sundays minding their watch religiously. And why? To get to Luby’s.

Sunday is not about an embrace; it’s about a brand. Worshiping God is not about the music carrying you into heaven; it’s having a concert with eardrum splitting decibels so loud, you can shout to heaven.

There are ATMs in churches. Starbucks in churches. Merry go rounds in churches. And I get it, so spare the rhetoric of “we need to attract the lost before we bring them to Jesus.” Yes, but you are allowing the church to do all the work.

Get that? “WE bring them to Jesus.” Not the church, not the church’s accutrements, not the megachurch pastor’s whimsical way with ministering the Gospel. All that is fluff. It is about you getting off your blessed assurance and making the invite.

Perhaps that invite would be easier to someone’s living room than a nouveau riche ‘Upper Room’? Who knows?

“It’s kind of seen as an alternative or radical kind or approach,” [Reggie McNeal, church consultant] said. “An increasing number of people are saying that they don’t want to go to (any) church so there better be a way for church to just be where people already are.”

By and large, folk are tired of being fake and wearing a mask. They already do it to work, around “Friends” and even at home. Let us begin to be real at church and if you can’t, perhaps you should consider finding another place to worship.

Only understand this: There is no perfect church, only a perfect Jesus. Serve wherever. Worship whenever. Pray however. But, for the love of God, if you can’t do any of that in the privacy of your own home, church is nothing but lip service.

Spare the Carmex, folks and get real with Jesus!

Ever heard people say to plan for Christmas, you should begin in the summer? That phenomenon is already happening and raising quite the kerfuffle in the global media.

But for the ubiquitous festive stocking of the yuletide shelves that you would think.

Jesus ad campaign depicting the holy fetus?

So, what happens when this one says "Da-Da!"

First seen on KDFW in Dallas, by way of the UK’s Telegraph, it seems a British-based organization is not only interested in taking another ‘invasion’ but also doing with the Christ child taking a Polaroid… while in-utero.

ChurchAds.net has concocted what they believe to be a quippy ad campaign with the headline, “He’s on his way!”

Francis Goodwin, chairman of ChurchAds, said: ”This is the kind of thing proud ‘parents-to-be’ show their friends and family – passing round the scan of the baby, or even pinning it up in the office. Our poster reflects this new way of announcing the news of a new arrival and places the birth of Christ in an ultra-contemporary context.”

“Ultra-contemporary.” Sweet.

I agree the pregnancy became tangible when I got the print off in two versions of my first child – one, when I saw the full body and two, when I saw the close-up of his business. (What a proud daddy!)

But, do you think Mary would know that her baby boy would one day be posted on a sonogram-ish advertisement plastered all over the UK? Although this is good for the giggle, I feel you ChurchAds.net.

Here’s why:

Research has revealed that 85 per cent of people agree with the statement that “Christmas should be called Christmas because we are still a Christian country”. But it also shows that only 12 per cent of adults know the facts of the Christmas story in any detail.

Folk still pray to Santa-Baby-Jesus-Claus thinking salvation comes in a wrapped box. They’re not as ignorant as they are apathetic.

I applaud efforts like this because at least they are trying to wake folk up and make them think. Albeit, six months early, people are definitely thinking.

Parents? What do you think? The superimposed halo kinda’ throw you off? Don’t let it. Just think about it like this: Jesus really isn’t ‘away in a manger’, he’s warm and cozy in another kind of inn.

Merry Christmas.

Giving at church has been about as flat as, well… attendance in church since the bottom dropped on the national economy. However, when God is alive in your heart, quit is nothing more than a dirty four-letter word.

Just ask Archbishop Dorian Baxter who holds church services in a Royal Canadian Legion Hall as a notable Rock and Roll singer. (Shout out to another brick on the Wall, Bene D the Canuck).

Baxter knew the secret to driving attendance into his hallowed halls – a certified gimmick.

Welcome to Blue Suede Pews (Source: Jim Wilkes | Toronto Star)

And he found one in the most obvious of places – his mirror.

It seems this raven-coiffed, seemingly half-baked son of the 60s shares an obtuse and no-way-close resemblance to a young man named Elvis.

At least that’s what his friends say, but who am I to argue?

I’m sure he gets slammed enough with that shingling he’s rocking around his ears.

Baxter, who also performs as impersonator Elvis Priestley, is quick to point out, the main reason they assemble in the Spartan surroundings of the Royal Canadian Legion hall is to praise God. “We honour Elvis’s commitment to the Lord,” said Baxter, 59… “Like Elvis, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, we worship Jesus, the King of Kings.”

Church is free and I would pay money to see that tomfoolery.

What’s next? A Christmas message proclaiming when there was no room at the Inn, Mary went to the “Heartbreak Hotel” instead? How about testifying to the omnipresence of God? You’ll never have to cry out “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

Evidently, the Elvis dedication hour got him in hot holy water with the Bishopric as Baxter was removed from his original parish in 1998. I know what some of you cynical Wall Watchers are thinking, “At least he has a career in Vegas at the local chapel.” Not according to the Anglican parish, he was stripped of his right to perform marriages. How daftly ironic is that?!

Despite the irony and impersonations, Baxter forged ahead glorifying God while sporting his mutton chops and pompadour when he formed the – wait for it – Christ the King, Graceland Independent Anglican Church in 2003.

Obviously, someone is being more than amused by this stage show – it’s more of a blessing. Baxter is exalting God by toasting a peanut butter and banana sammich. Who would have thunk it?

Baxter’s church sponsors a breakfast program, Christmas hampers and 92 orphans. He said he thinks Elvis would have liked that. He’s also made peace with the main body of the Anglican Church, but has rejected offers to rejoin it.

Ah well, God’s word never returns unto him void, we read in Isaiah 55:11. Or would that be “Return to Sender,” I can’t remember.

Ah yes. It’s back – Christian marketing.

A while back, Wall Watchers were bemused by a visual onslaught of lovely t-shirts and branding that’s the equivalent of a six-year-old with crayons watching commercials. Today, we find a story that makes the church look a skosh better and a tad more current.

Celebrity endorsements, how novel. But who? Would you believe the Newsboys on a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse All-stars?! I know!

Hey now, you're an all-star... wait, that's not their song!?

Hey now, you're an all-star... wait, that's not their song!?

The band who almost began “borrowing” something for the secular [Originally, their name was “The News” in the 80s, but Huey Lewis may have had something to say] now dawns the most sacred and regaled kicks on the market.

Nice.

“The opportunity to be associated with Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars is exciting,” says newsboys [sic] manager Wes Campbell. “I have personally worn them for years. newsboys is a great choice to break into this market. We launched the shoes on newsboys’ current The Way We Roll Tour, which kicked off October 1 in Greensboro and will run through mid-November.”

Nice plug for the tour, Wes. Only one small issue, boys.

Before you can “Shine” with these shoes, you may want to sell them on your Web site’s store. Just sayin’.