Worship Is Moral
There is a cancer update at the end of this message.
CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE: BE THE MATCH
HAITI RELIEF: Please send a generous contribution for Haiti's earthquake relief. If your trusted friends, church, or denomination can't help you with the choice of an agency, I would be happy to make a suggestion. There are lots of good options. email@example.com
INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN WORSHIP LECTURES THIS WEEK AND NEXT
Deanna Witkowski, Jazz Pianist, Composer, Vocalist, February 18-20, 2010
Andrew Peterson, Author, Songwriter, Performer, February 25-26, 2010
I am often reminded of those haunting passages in the Scriptures where God reveals the kinds of things that hinder our worship and prayer. Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is from John Stott's THE LIVING CHURCH and is actually a follow-up to last week's focus on worship being the preeminent duty of the church. The author-pastor describes faithful Christian worship as biblical, congregational, spiritual, and moral; but what does it mean for our worship to be moral?
WORSHIP IS MORAL
The kind of worship that is pleasing to God has one more major characteristic. True worship is moral worship, that is to say, it must not only express what is in our hearts but also be accompanied by an upright life. Samuel put this beyond doubt in his explicit words to King Saul: "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams" (1 Samuel 15:22).
Yahweh was even more outspoken in his declaration to Isaiah. He had had enough of Israel's offerings. He took no pleasure in their sacrifices. Indeed, their sacred assemblies were an abomination to him, and he would not even listen to their prayers. Why so? He tells them: "Your hands are full of blood." If they would "stop doing wrong, and seek justice, encourage the oppressed," they would be forgiven (Isaiah 1:10-19). It was this mixture of religion, wrongdoing and injustice which Yahweh could not abide. Worship without holiness was hateful to him.
I cannot think of a better place to conclude this chapter on worship than at the beginning of Romans 12. For here Paul describes the Christian life to which he summons us as our "spiritual act of worship."
For eleven chapters the apostle has been unfolding "the mercies of God." And now, in view of God's great mercy which we have received, he appeals to all the members of God's international family to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God. He calls this physical offering our "spiritual" act of worship. LOGIKOS is the word he uses, which could be translated either "reasonable" (logical in response to God's mercy) or "rational" (intelligent, the offering of heart and mind, spiritual as opposed to ceremonial).
It is clear that Paul is thinking of a worship which is expressed not only in a church building but in the home and in the workplace. One kind of worship is unbalanced without the other.
— John Stott, THE LIVING CHURCH: CONVICTIONS OF A LI
FELONG PASTOR. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2007, pp. 45-46. ISBN 978-0-8308-3486-0. Highly recommended.
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 1 (Ed Willmington):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 2 (Carl Stam):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 3 (Donald Hustad):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 4 (Ron Man):
Blessings to all!
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, CANCER PATIENT
Thanks again for praying for my cancer treatment and for my healing.
Detailed journal entries and some new photos about my cancer treatment are available at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam (click on "journal" or "photos").
After a three-week break from close medical scrutiny, we went to the cancer clinic yesterday (Feb. 15) for lab work. Several of my key blood levels were low (white cells, red cells, platelets, and more). That explains why I have been taking monster naps the last few days. Since there is still not a good stem cell match, the doctors have decided on another one-month cycle of chemotherapy, with the treatments beginning Monday, Feb. 22-24. Towards the end of March, they will do another PET scan to see how the lymphoma is responding. At that time we will discuss the using an imperfect match for the transplant or one of my unmatched siblings. Each of those options has a different set of risks--lots of uncertainty. (Certain cures can kill you, the nurse told us.)
We are very excited (and deeply humbled) by the effort of many to make the STEM CELL DRIVE a great success. Last Thursday at the seminary, we had a event at which over 500 people were added to the national registry. Another 100 have gotten swabbing kits in the mail. This is a great start. Read on.
BE THE MATCH—CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE:
In conjunction with the national BE THE MATCH FOUNDATION, and with the help of some former students (now good friends), we have launched the CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE. Please take a look at the site: (www.carlstam.org/stemcelldrive). Distribute that link widely to anyone who might join us for one of the on-site drives or the virtual drive in order to SAVE LIVES. (Upcoming drives in Chapel Hill on February 28; and at Notre Dame on March 18 and 19). The web site includes a three-minute video in which I explain what is involved with the process. Cell donors must be 18 to 60 years of age and in relatively good health. The site will help you get all the information you need.
Keep praying; and don't forget to care for the cancer patients in your families, churches, neighborhoods, and places of employment.
In Christ's perfect love,
WORSHIP QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
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