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Christian Blog Christian Living

Majoring on the Minors

It was Wednesday night at the little community church—business meeting time. (A monthly meeting, open to all members, where church financial matters are discussed).

And people came from miles around, because they knew Mildred had an “axe to grind.” The meeting started with a holy hush; but it didn’t take much time. Until, you know who, stood up from her favorite pew and said, “There’s something on my mind!”

We don’t need a neon sign out in front of our church. It reminds me of a night club–where people dance and flirt. Let’s tear it down and build a brand new sign, with letters big and bold. And if the preacher minds his “p’s” and “q’s” we’ll put his name in gold.

Mildred

The sign she wanted gone said “First Baptist Church” (gasp)😳. And it had stood in front of the building for over 50 years. After much debate, Mildred’s motion was tabled for further discussion.

But before the next monthly meeting came along, Mildred died. Arriving in heaven, she waited for her turn to see The Boss. And when she made it to the head of the line, God Almighty looked her right in the face and said, “Mildred, it’s about time!”

I don’t mind a neon sign out in front of my church. It reminds folks to come to the light, so I can heal their hurts. Mildred, I don’t care if the pulpit’s pink and the carpet’s lime green. I just wanted you to do what I said and love me more than anything.

God

Do you ever find yourself majoring on the minors? As I’ve mentioned before, I have a “That’s not fair!” button and it’s way too easy to press. And, once the push is made, a lengthy bout of self-pity inevitably ensues.

Please don’t be like Mildred, or me. Don’t let those little minor-monkeys out of the barrel!

The very fact that you have legal disputes among yourselves shows that you have failed completely. Would it not be better for you to be wronged? Would it not be better for you to be robbed? Instead, you yourselves wrong one another and rob one another, even your own brothers!

1 Corinthians 6:7-8 (GNT)
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Christian Blog worship

Strike Up the Band!

My best friend in college went to a large high school who had a major cross-town rival. Each fall, the annual football game between the two schools was an epic event.

Game day at my friend’s alma mater was a sight to behold! The whole school shut down after lunch to hold a huge pep rally for the game. After a boisterous cheer fest in the gymnasium, all 1000+ students lined the hallways in anticipation.

“What’s going on?” I asked my friend. “Just wait,” he said. Sure enough, in a few minutes I heard the 85-member marching band coming down the main hallway blasting the school fight song. Everyone was chanting and cheering and shouting at the top of their lungs!

Yet amid such pandemonium, I heard God’s still small voice. As the band came into view, the Holy Spirit whispered, “I wish someone would do this for me.” And like the prophet Isaiah, I heard myself saying, “Here I am, Lord. I’ll do it!” (Isaiah 6:8)

At the time, I was the 19-year-old music minister at the little Baptist church where I grew up. It was a wonderful, loving congregation. But most of our worship services started at 11 o’clock sharp and ended at 12 o’clock dull.

I had no idea how to translate the atmosphere at the school into a church environment. We didn’t have a band. The only shouting was when one of the deacons called out an occasional, “AMEN!”

Over time I realized you don’t need to recreate the ambience of a raucous school pep rally to honor God. You just have to want to. True worship is a “pedal to the metal” reality—whatever form it takes. God seeks authentic, heartfelt praise. THAT’s what He wanted me to know.

“Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds!” – Psalm 66:1-3 (NIV)

“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” – Psalm 34:3 (NKJV)

Strike up the band!


Photo by u0410u043bu0435u043au0441u0430u043du0434u0440 on Pexels.com

This piece originally appeared on Devotional Treasures as a guest post. If you don’t already follow Alan Kearn’s excellent blog, please check it out!

Categories
Christian Living

The Power of Suggestion

Last week one of my kindergarten music classes played rhythm sticks. I came down the rows afterwards giving each child a squirt of hand sanitizer. One little guy asked, “Is that hypnotizer?” I immediately realized what happened: he substituted a word he’d heard for a term he hadn’t yet mastered.

With a chuckle, I told him it was only hand sanitizer. But I kept thinking about what he said. What if there really was such a thing as hypnotizer in a bottle? I’d give each kid a squirt, and as they rubbed their hands together they’d become open to the power of suggestion.

Me (in a soothing voice): “You will keep your hands and feet to yourselves. You will listen while I am talking. You can wait to got to the bathroom.”

Oh how grand it would be!

Sometimes, when I get my spiritual hands dirty, I wish there was a bottle of heavenly hypnotizer. God gives me a squirt or two. I rub my hands together. And I’m suddenly open to the power of holy suggestion.

God (in a soothing voice): “You will be more patient with the children. You will listen (really listen) to me. You should spend time in coffee shops–like Matt, from jesusluvsall.”

Free will is overrated. “Lord, just tell my subconscious mind what to do and let’s get this over with!” But that’s not how things work in the Kingdom of God. In reality, we’re free to choose our thoughts and behaviors. There are always options: good ones, bad ones and somewhere in between.

There’s no such thing as heavenly hypnotizer. And this is a GOOD thing. Robot Christians would be as inauthentic as puppet children. We are designed to love, listen too and obey God (and fallible humans) by choice.

My favorite “Free to Choose” scripture:

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

Today, and every day, may we choose to serve the Lord.

🙏❤️ prayers and love.