Archive for May, 2012

My Trip to Israel

What’s the good word? On Tuesday I leave with 21 people for a pilgrimage to Israel. This is more than a trip. This is more than a vacation. This is a journey, a pilgrimage. I have been spending the last month putting a bible study together for the trip. Each night, for those wishing, we will be visiting the stories in Scripture that match where we were that day. I expect nothing less but to see these stories that I have learned about, read about, and preached about seen in a different light. My hope is those going will as well. I can’t believe that after all these years of reading about Nazareth, they went to Bethlehem, and all these other places, that I will finally be able to get to see them. There’s an old says, “Seeing is believing”, well that isn’t what our faith is about, however, there’s something about seeing for us. I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe he existed and was here on this earth, but I don’t have to see him to believe that. Yet, there will be something about seeing the land where he walked, there will be something about sailing on the sea that he sailed on, there will be something about walking on the very places he walked that will make it something more for me. At least, that is what I am expecting.

I will be able to blog while there, I think! I have looked at some of the hotels we will be staying at and they do offer free Wi-Fi. If not, hopefully I can find an internet cafe somewhere. I hope to blog about some of the experiences and keep you posted. If that doesn’t happen, I will most certainly blog about it upon my return. And that’s the good word for today.

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What’s the good word? This past weekend our synod assembly focused on Worship. What actually is worship? Worship comes from the word meaning, worth ship. In other words something that shows worth. When we come together for worship, we come to show God’s worth in our lives. By name alone worship has every thing to do with God, and nothing to do with us. Yet, for many, worship is about what “they” get out of it. “What can worship do for me?” I have longed tried to get away from using the term worship service, because it seems to have taken on a connotation of a service done to us, rather than a service done for God. If you think about it, it makes sense. When a service is performed for us, we pay for that service. If a worship service is about us, and is about a service done to us, then does the offering take on a meaning of “payment” rather than a return of blessing? Perhaps. And perhaps then our view of worship needs to change.

For some, they go to church out of a sense of obligation. But think about that for a minute, is that what God wants? If we go out of a sense of obligation, is that bringing worth to God? Suppose for example I went out and got my wife some flowers and gave them to her. She got them and then asked, “Why did you get me flowers?” “I’m your husband, I’m supposed to,” I respond. Doesn’t make the flowers look to appealing does it? Or what if I said that they were on sale, or they were cheap, or it wasn’t  a big deal, or I figured you needed them? Does she even want them anymore? NO! And why? Because she wants my heart. If I am not giving to her with my heart, my actions don’t mean a thing. Does God feel like this with us and our worship sometimes? Look, we can sing all the right songs, recite all the right prayers, but if it is just going through the motions, what’s the point? The Book of Isaiah says: “These people, they honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” Sometimes we have to stop and ask ourselves, why do we do what we do? To keep the God happy? So that we don’t feel guilty?

When we come to God with our hearts, we show God his worth, which is what worship is about. And that’s the good word for today.

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