Thoughts on Corporate worship

Pastor Mark Balthrop has a post he titled "Outreach vs. Worship". It is a good post, and I'd like to post some thoughts on the subject here.

Indeed it is disheartening to see the church in America miss the priority of worship in scripture. When I first began to see things from a reformed perspective, I found that the purpose of man, according to the shorter catechism, is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. I wasn't sure where that came from, but it was the first time I had heard something concrete regarding man's purpose. At that point I began noticing and often underlining the numerous times in scripture that God says He is doing something to make His name known. I then found Ephesians 1 where God says 3 times that the purpose for Christ's death and resurrection, our adoption, and our salvation is to praise His glorious grace.

It has become very clear that God desires to be worshipped. Take this in light of Romans 1 where Paul tells us that the problem with mankind is that we refuse to worship God as creator and trade the truth for a lie. Paul says we worship the creature, and this is the underlying issue of sin. The Holy Spirit's regeneration removes the hunger to deny our knowledge of God and to not worship Him as He deserves to be worshipped.

With all this being said, the main movement in America seems to be focused on making people turn their lives over to Jesus Christ, but the full message isn't articulated. Isn't faith in Christ an outworking of God's grace in our lives. We are saved by faith alone and even faith is a gift. God predestines, calls, justifies, adopts, sanctifies, and glorifies. The regenerated heart is looking to worship and rich public worship overflows into a lifestyle of worship where God is all in all and people see this in the regenerated believer.

Yes, the gospel call to repent is needed, but the message must be purely one that calls us to repent of our denial of God as Lord and creator. We should be called to turn to God trusting that our very being is in His control. We must be called to repent of our sin and become active worshippers of God. Corporate worship encourages us and spiritually moves us to be Holy and Blameless, but the church today tries to make Holy and Blameless evangelists without emphasizing the importance of corporate worship.

Evangelism is an outflowing of a heart that truly recognizes God's power, holiness, and grace. Evangelism is praise of God in that we pass on the good news of God's mercy. The message of grace and mercy flows out in our thoughts, actions, and conversations when we truly believe the word of God and experience God's renewal regularly. This renewal comes through interaction with God through prayer, sacraments, and the word read and preached. So, I agree that corporate worship is extremely important in the life of the believer.


Kate-20 months old-8-22-06

My dear Kate,

Today you are 20 months old. I thought I’d run out of things to say to you but there is so much to write. You are starting to speak a few sentences which is really cute. You say “Where’s the other ____(bear, cup, shoe, etc)” all the time. You can say “I don’t know”, “Claire’s hungry” (which you say every time she cries) and many others. It’s amazing to watch you learn and grow. You love when I scratch your back and you’ll say more scratch “mo skatch.” If I’m only using 1 hand you’ll always look at me and say, “2 hands.”
Your favorite thing to do this month has been to go swimming “swimmy” at aunt Sarah’s condo. You can count to 4 (well almost). You’ll say 1, 2, 3, 4 SHUT THE DOOR!! I was watching the news one day this month and you said “no news” and I said that I wanted to watch the news for just a few minutes and you looked at me and said “2 minutes.” You sleep with your 2 little blankets that you just love! You also rotate between sleeping with either 3 bears or 3 bunnies. I don’t know why you like to have SO much with you.
Today you have 2 ear infections (again.) You’ve had a lot of these and always seem to get them in both ears at the same time! You got that from your father I’m sure because I’ve never had an ear infection and he had them growing up.
Claire can hold your thumb now so you love to hold hands with her.
You’ve really started to follow me around and always want to be right with me doing whatever I do. It’s very sweet and I really enjoy this time with you because I know it will go by too soon. Please know when you are reading this that I love you. You are a joy and a delight. Besides your father, I love you and your sister more than anyone else.

I love you and I’m thankful for you,

Here is the verse your father picked out for you this month.
Deut 6:4-6
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your
God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.”


Claire-4 months old-8-19-06

My dear Claire Elizabeth,

Today you are 4 months old! You have changed and grown a lot this month!
You’ve started to suck your thumb, you grab your feet, you are laughing, eating cereal and no longer like to be held like a baby (which is a little sad)…you like to sit up on my lap (with my help of course!) Your daddy always comments how much your hair is falling out and that you are paying attention to things around you more. I guess you are just interacting with the world which is fun to see. Kate keeps getting you sick but then you’ll turn around and get her sick (which isn’t a fun cycle.) You went swimming for the first time this month at aunt Sarah’s condo which was really fun! EVERYONE we meet, says you look just like Kate but see your uniqueness.
It really is amazing how quickly you grow and change. I always like to think of what you learn about God from having children and this month I really thought about how creative and powerful He is. He is the one who keeps you alive each day. He has given you your personality and your looks. He is the one who enables you to grow and learn new things. It’s really amazing to watch. It’s also a glimpse for me as to how He loves me. I am your mother and of course I will always take care of you and feed you and give you everything you need. How much more will God take care of us as He is the one who is the giver of all things? Our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever and I do think that you help me do that.
I will always love you-

PS. Here is the verse that your father has picked out for you for this month:

Gen 1:27-28a & 31b
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them…… And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”


5 Things about Rick on our 5 Year Anniversary

Today, August 18, is our 5 Year Wedding Anniversary!
To celebrate, here are 5 things I love about Rick:

1. He gets up an hour before anyone else to pray and read the Bible.
2. He has integrity and does what he says he will do.
3. He is very smart and fun to talk to.
4. He works hard at whatever he is doing.
5. He is a great father and loves his little girls. He values our family and our time together.


Practicing the Catechism

As we continue to work with Kate to teach her the truth of scripture, we had this conversation tonight:

Me: Kate, who made you?

Kate: God

Me: What else did God make?

Kate: All things

Me: Who made all things?

Kate: Daddy

Me: No. Who made all things?

Kate: Mommy


Google updates tools (Picasa Web and Blogger)

Looks like blogger is about to get more functionality (read about it). It's about time. The functionality provided by blogger is very limited and there are basic blogging features that are very useful that we've done without. Hopefully blogger will move out of beta soon.

Also, I've enjoyed Google's picasa photo organizer, and am glad to see it now has a web component. Not sure how long it's been around, but I found it yesterday. Click Here to see an album I uploaded from a recent trip we took to the beach.

So, yes, it's safe to say I'm on the google bandwagon. I like the way they put out updates and new tools randomly. Some people would like to see more organization from google, but I like new surprises. It's more fun this way!


God made all fangs!

Would Calvin approve of these answers?


Watch this Hilarious Video !

I haven't been a YouTuber prior to today, but I may spend more time on the site after seeing this video!


Try Gliffy for diagrams

At work we have a guy that draws screen mock-ups for us to view during design meetings. He'll design a new screen for our software, and provide us with a visual representation of what that will look like. He uses Microsoft Visio to create the drawings, and does an excellent job with them.

Today, he introduced me to gliffy. It's simply amazing. If you need to draw out a room arrangement, create flow charts, or basically create a graphical representation of any type of design, this is the place to go. It's free (supported by ads with a pay version available), and it works great. Its extremely easy to use. I was up and running in less than 5 minutes.

The coolest feature is that it automatically saves versions every few minutes. So, if you realize you need to go back to what the screen looked like 2 hours ago, and hitting undo 125 times isn't an option, simply click on one of the automatically saved versions and your back to where you need to be.

I love it. I don't work with this type software often, but occasionally I need it, and this will be the place for me from now on. You should try it out. I'm sure you'll love it to.

Oh, and it's definitely web 2.0 style. You can save it online (of course), and share it publicly on the web or privately with your friends and/or coworkers. You can imbed it into web pages, blogs, etc. seamlessly. It will take quite a bit to top this offering.