We all have beliefs about various things. This is fine. However, some people expect everyone to agree with them. Or in other words, they expect everyone should share their beliefs. The thought process is like this: “(I believe) this is true, so everyone else must acknowledge it is true also.” This is a problem.
I think people confuse truth and belief. The truth is true unconditionally, no matter what. But our beliefs are in flux. Truth doesn’t need our belief nor anyone else’s in order to be true. Our belief however is a process, a journey. We aren’t born with perfect beliefs about everything in the world. Actually we aren’t born with beliefs about anything at all.
So as we grow, our beliefs begin to form—mostly through our Continue reading
Dave Ramsey has become a well known name, mostly due to his syndicated radio show I believe. Nevertheless, I have been unfamiliar with him until the past several months. As you can see from the picture, quite a lot of items are included in the package for Financial Peace University (FPU). One of these is the book, “Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money”. FPU is a nine week course consisting of an hour or so long video and a subsequent small group discussion of similar length. The FPU kit also includes a workbook with a chapter to accompany each session and home work to do each week. Those enrolled in the course also have access to the FPU website which contains related resources (and which is well design I must add).
One of the Continue reading
“Falling in Love for All the Right Reasons” is a book by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony. The book describes all of the dimensions which eHarmony has come up with which make for good, long-lasting relationships. I personally think this book is an excellent reference which I’d recommend to almost anyone who is dating or would like to be. This book could be your brain when your judgement is foggy due to your feelings of attraction. It contains a bunch of solid, well researched advice. It’s logic minus the feelings which can help with the perspective you may wish you had when in love. However, if you’re a person who just wants to go with whatever you feel at the moment and don’t really want to think about it, then you aren’t likely Continue reading
The book “5 Paths to the Love of Your Life”, while accurately titled, is also potentially misleading. This isn’t a “how to” guide on finding a romantic partner. Rather it covers a range of philosophies on moving from singleness to marriage for Christians—what is descriptively called by one author, “premarital relationships”. I think the premise of the book is great: have five intelligent authors representing a range of views each write a chapter describing their thoughts on this topic. The book is eight to nine years old at this point; it was written in the wake of the dating controversy sparked by Joshua Harris’ book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” in the late nineties.
The views contained in this book range from betrothal on one end to Continue reading
Allow me to get straight to the point—I really liked “Hearing God” by Peter Lord. I was not familiar with Lord before reading this book. However, of the several books I’ve read on the topic of listening to God, this is definitely my favorite so far. Lord gives the most information and practical advice out of all these books. I am keeping this book around as a reference, and I expect I’ll probably re-read it in the future. I’m not sure what else to say about it, so this may be my shortest review ever. Nevertheless, I definitely recommend this book.
I spent some time talking about how worship services don’t equal church and about worship/praise music in previous posts (see part 4). I will now take a brief look at sermons/preaching and wrap this series up.
There tend to be a couple of different types of sermons. The primary types I’ve observed I’d categorize into either motivational speech or college lecture. The former tends to be a teaching on a general biblical principal with a primary message of what you should or shouldn’t be doing (which could include evangelical messages). The latter may well be an exposition of a particular bible passage. These can be quite informative but also tend to have a lesser amount of practical value (though this isn’t always the case).
In Continue reading
The events of this week have left me nearly speechless. I’m just now trying to figure out what to possibly say. I have a couple of main thoughts. First, I’m hurt by how Christians have been acting. Granted, the behavior is nothing new. But it has been brought poignantly into focus this past week. The actions which Christians have taken seems wrong to me in a way that deeply disturbs me. The second thought I have in mind is respect for those whom I disagree. In my hurt and anger I want to respond by criticizing and condemning. Yet I know there are many respectable people who disagree with me. There are some who are sincerely trying to follow Christ who will land on the other side of this. So I want to be careful in any critique I Continue reading
Music in Worship Services: Divisiveness of Worship Music?
In part 3, as I was considering the genres of music used in worship services, I an idea occurred to me. This may be a bit tangential to our discussion, but it’s certainly related.
It’s been said that Sunday morning (when people go to church) is the most segregated time of the week in America. I suspect many of us have a hunch this isn’t a good thing but have little idea why or what to do about it. I believe the main reason for this is that people are looking for something which matches their own culture. Preaching style and theology reflect culture to a certain degree, but I think music is the most obvious and central piece of culture in most protestant worship Continue reading
Music in Worship Services: What Genre?
The last point I made in part 2 brings me to the next. If God wants us to worship him in a way that we enjoy, then when we use music to worship it makes sense for us to use music which we like. But… not everyone listens to or likes the same music, right? In our culture today, there are more options and a wider array of genres than ever—virtually anything conceivable. In a traditional church setting, where there is often anywhere from 50 to 5000 people, not every musical style can be represented. You can’t even come close to representing the breadth of music in our culture. So what is a church to do? I don’t know that most have even considered the question, they are simply moving along with the Continue reading
(Note: this is part 2 of a post I started here.)
Now that I’ve talked about church, I want to begin looking at the worship service. There are typically two main parts to evangelical worship services: singing and a sermon. I’ll talk a bit about each.
Music in Worship Services: Worship or Concert?
Mention the term “worship” and the first thing many people will think of is music. In fact, the phrase “worship music” is used often. However, this phrase is a bit frustrating to me because typically what people are referring to is what could be called “praise music”. Hymns can offer more depth, but what is most popular today (after the “worship wars” circa the turn of the millennium) is contemporary praise choruses. (Older people often Continue reading