The Worship Quote of the Week for (09/30/2003):

Form and Faith
Have you ever noticed that you may respond to a prayer, a song, a Scripture passage, or even a sermon differently than the person sitting right next to you in a worship service? Todayís WORSHIP QUOTE is from a book in which author Gary Thomas explores the various pathways for the soulís true communion with God.

It is possible to serve God religiously for quite some time without actually knowing him. Samuel is a good example of this danger. First Samuel 3:1 tells us that "the boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli," yet in verse seven weíre told, "Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him." Samuel was intimately involved in the religious observances of Israel, but he didnít know the God of Israel personally.

The world is full of religions and religious people who donít know God. Religion can serve faith, but it doesnít substitute for faith, and it can never replace faith. Meaningful expressions of the heart, mind, and will become lifeless if theyíre not mixed with a deep and abiding faith.

ó Gary Thomas, SACRED PATHWAYS: DISCOVERING YOUR SOULíS PATH TO GOD (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), p. 89. ISBN 0-310-24284-3.

[NOTE: We are seeking a "deep and abiding faith" in God. Of course, it must be a faith in God through Christ aloneónot a faith in our feelings, or a faith in religious forms, or a faith in our faith, or a faith in our faithfulness. Yes?]

Have a great week.

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky