Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Where Do We Go From Here?

Today starts the 2nd week of our vacation on Topsail Island in NC. We spent the first week recuperating from pneumonia. God's timing on this was perfect, as usual. All our doctors had told us to 'take it easy' and that's just what we did for the first week.

Both of us are feeling much better now. Still, close friends have cautioned us to be careful so we will listen to the wisdom of their experience and continue to relax in the sun!

We have been truly blessed by the number of emails we've received. We've been doubly blessed by the prayer requests. Kelly and I have prayed for each one and we continue to pray for the needs of the congregation and friends. One of the huge blessings we get from our time away together is the opportunity to talk and pray and share our hearts with each other in a way that's almost impossible when we're at home.

One of the ongoing themes of our chats has been, "Where do we go from here?" We've just finished 1 Corinthians. For Kelly and I, the entire book has been a growing experience. I think it has been the same for our church. 1 Corinthians was challenging and convicting on so many levels. I know the things I've learned from it will stay with me for the rest of my life.

So, what do we do now?

Well, for the rest of the summer, I feel strongly that we need to take a close look at worship. I don't want to do a 'nuts-and-bolts-of-how to-worship' teaching. I think we need to take a close look at what worship is and who it's for. I'm convinced that the church, the universal church, has allowed worship to become a self centered experience with our engagement dependent upon how we feel about the music, about the words and about the morning in general.

I've been reading Donald Peterson's 'Engaging With God, A Biblical Theology of Worship" in preparation. I'm also going through D.A.Carson's 'Worship, Adoration and Action', a book he edited that has contributions from a number of authors with a diverse background in worship. Both books are fascinating so far as they both assert, in their own way, that worship is a response to the presence of God (the theme of our 2nd Family Camp a few years ago). Both sources (Peterson's most eloquently) go on the add to that phrase, "by his directives". I've also been carefully reading the Book of Exodus, where God provides his first directives on corporate worship and ecclesiology.

So, our goal for this teaching will not be to get everyone to raise their hands or to assume a particular posture or engage in an activity, but to look closely at where our worship is directed....toward us and our enjoyment of the experience, or toward God and our desire to give Him adoration, honor and glory.

I pray this will be another challenge for us as a body.

As far as the fall is concerned. I'm not yet sure which direction we will go. I am sure, above and beyond all else, that we will be in another book of the Bible. It has been my desire to do a book of the Old Testament but, as we pray about it, I'm not totally sure that's where we should go. We've had a number of folks suggest we do 2 Corinthians, a suggestion I'm not opposed to. If we stay in the New Testament, I'd like to stay in the Epistles.

In any event, I want to go where God leads us. I'm open to suggestion and totally open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Will you pray with us? I'd love to hear from you if you have an inclination or an idea. We're both looking forward to seeing all of you next Sunday! We miss our church family!


  1. Do we have to do a "book" of the bible? What about something related to "current events"? OR is that too sensitive? I was just thinking on the lines of "How are we christians supposed to live in the world we are in and be a light - in the midst of all the chaos." I love listening to Lon Solomon ont he radio - he always gives a connection from his sermon to Monday morning living. That seems to help me the most.

    In one sense - It doesn't really matter to me what you choose to do or rather which direction we go, because I have seen the Lord use any subject of sermon to reach me right where I am in my walk.

    I'll be praying.

    Carol P.

  2. I'm all about doing 2 Corinthians! I've learned to love these people (maybe because I've resembled them - argh! not a compliment!!) I WANT to see the lessons they learned as they progressed - I want us to learn those lessons, the easy way, by reading/absorbing/incorporating the Word into our lives BEFORE the struggle comes.

    I am also amazed that 2 Cor is where the Lord has me personally parked for the time being. I'm thrilled that there are others who have recommended it as the followup to 1Cor, but I also know that God will use whatever you feel led to - because you will teach us THE WORD, which does not return void.

    With respect (and love!),
    Kel (his wife) :)

  3. At WBF, we have made a firm commitment to the exposition of Scripture. We feel quite strongly that the answers to how to handle the pressures of everyday life are found in the word of God.

    Every week, we try to devote a portion of the sermon to 'application', how to realistically and practically apply the lessons taught in the sermon to the situations and people in our lives.

    God has given us his word as a timeless and appropriate guideline for living our lives in a manner that honors Him. Through its study and in its proclamation we as a body, are nourished, edified, strengthened and grow.

  4. I'd go for any of the areas you've mentioned... along with my favorite ministry topic of course. Sermon titles could be: kids in the 2Corinthian church; teaching kid to worship; kids in the Old Testament; ministry to kids; how to help kids live in the world as light; how to teach kids exposition of Scripture; or my favorite - real men teach preschool. OK, I admit I'm bias towards children's ministry!

    I pray God ministers to you this week in a fresh way. Enjoy the beach!

  5. WOW!!! I am so excited!!! I am praying that God directs your path of teaching and what HE HAS TO TEACH all of us! I'm with Kelly, I'd LOVE to continue on with Cor II - God has SO much to teach me! BUT! I am just so excited that God would give you a heart to teach on WORSHIP!!! I truly don't know of another subject that is more worthy of our attention - to learn what GOD HAS TO SAY ABOUT WORSHIP! Our attitude in worship and not how we feel while singing, etc! To worship God is such a humbling experience and it keeps me in balance with my Heavenly Father! The Holy Spirit seems to be more powerful when in the act of true worship - giving all honor to God! Anyway, I just can't wait to hear what God has to teach us through you.
    We all miss you both! I am so thankful that God gave you two this precious time with HIM and with each other - in Him! He's just SOO good, isn't He!
    Blessings and Love,
    Donna H