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1. Being a worshiper of God

FROM R.C. Sproul Mar 13, 2010 Category: R.C. Sproul “Church is boring”—this is the most oft-stated reason why people stay away from church. It raises some important questions. How is it possible that an encounter with a majestic, awesome, living God could ever be considered boring by anyone? God is not dull. If worship is boring to us, it is not because God is boring. Sermons can be boring and liturgies can be boring, but God simply cannot be boring. The problem, I think, is with the setting, the style, and the content of our worship. The New Testament gives us little information about proper Christian worship. It establishes some guidelines, but does not offer much content. In contrast, the Old Testament provides a panorama of worship information. This poses some dangers, as well as some vital clues, for worship. We cannot simply reinstate the elements of Old Testament worship, because many of them are clearly fulfilled once and for all with the finished work of Christ in His offering of the perfect sacrifice. The Old Testament does provide a key to elements involved in worship. We see, for example, that the mind must be engaged in worship. The centrality of preaching underscores the crucial role of the Word. Full worship, however, is both verbal and nonverbal. The whole person is addressed and involved in a worship experience. We note that in the Old Testament, worship intimately involved all five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Coram Deo: Is church boring to you? What do you think might be the reason? Spend some time in prayer asking God to show you how to become a true worshiper. Psalm 132:7: “Let us go into His tabernacle; let us worship at His footstool.” Psalm 86:9: “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.” Psalm 29:2: “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” 

2. Being a student of the Word

Posted by Scott Thomson on May 14, 2012 in Digital Life, Digital Ministry “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 It is our responsibility to become a student of the Word. Being a student of the Word does not mean the Bible is something that we casually read. We must be committed to studying the Word of God. So many have lost the desire to study the Word of God. When we watch our favorite sports team or the next big movie we get excited, and we can’t wait until the next Harry Potter book comes out. How come we don’t get excited about the Word of God? Today there are 215 seminaries in the United States. Seminaries in and of themselves are not bad, but it is my opinion that they have fostered an idea that they are necessary to create students of the Word. We should not let the fact that we did not attend seminary hinder us from becoming a student of the Word. 1 Peter 2:2 reminds us that we should desire the pure milk of the Word so that we may grow. We are called to be Holy (1 Peter 1:16), and the Lord has given us resources to be Holy. We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. (1 Corinthians 6:19) We also have the Word of God that will last forever (1 Peter 1:25, Matthew 24:35). When we enter into eternity, one of the few things we will have is the Word of God. It is clear that we must become students of the Word. When I first felt convicted that I needed to be spending more time studying God’s Word, my first decision was determining what Bible I should use for studying. My journey started with a wide-margin Bible, then on to a journaling Bible and finally with the use of an iPad to study God’s Word. Yes, an iPad. Each form of study had its benefits and drawbacks of which I will discuss. When I first started to use a wide-margin Bible it was a little difficult for me. As I took notes or wrote something in the margins, I would either become unorganized or my writing became illegible, preventing me from being able to review it later. With the intentions I had in mind, this Bible just didn’t work for me. I do have a good friend, however, who it does work for. He organizes his wide-margin Bible in a unique way. If someone is speaking about prayer, he automatically turns to 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.” When he thinks of prayer he thinks of this verse. Using this method allows him to refer to various notes on prayer. Admittedly, his Bible has arrow after arrow all over the pages and I would find it difficult to read and refer back to at times. The next Bible I used in my journey to become a student of the Word was a journaling Bible. I thought this Bible had solved all of my “problems”—it had lines in the margins. I thought I would be able to organize my notes and it would be much neater with lines. Unfortunately, I found that I could only fit so much and therefore I had to be selective in what I would write in the margin. One plus about this Bible was that it was inexpensive, only $20. I finally decided to give the iPad a try. I saw numerous people using their iPad as their Bible. I would always wonder what was so special about it but nothing ever wowed me. Someone then told me about Olive Tree Bible software for electronic devises. There is an Olive Tree “app” you can download to your iPad. I thought it looked very useful. I decided to try out the software on my Mac before making the purchase of an iPad. I immediately loved it. Among many others, here are just some of the features of the Olive Tree software: the ability to highlight text in any color, the option to create a note on any verse or even on any word (most Bible apps don’t allow you to create a note on a single word), and the option to add note categories. If you want to have a category of notes on prayer or New Testament principles, you just add a category. The Olive Tree iPad app is also preacher friendly. You are able to split your screen and have notes on one side and the Bible on the other side. The split screen is also very useful for taking notes and using the resources that are available. The resources are also very valuable. You can get Bible maps, different commentaries and Bible tools such as dictionaries and cross-references. One of the first potential drawbacks to this form of study that I thought of was, “what would happen to my notes years from now if I get a new computer or iPad?” With Olive Tree however, everything is synced over the Internet so the migration of my notes to a new device is not a problem. All you need is an e-mail address and a password to access your content. If you do not have an Apple device, don’t worry— Olive Tree is also available for Windows and can sync from your PC to your iPad as well. Any good thing comes with a price, however. The Olive Tree app itself is free– but the only version of the Bible you get for free is the KJV and the ASV. The ESV, NIV and NKJV do cost extra. I personally purchased the ESV with Strong’s numbers. It cost $28 but it is money well spent. I have found there are numerous other benefits to using an iPad over a traditional Bible for study other than the Olive Tree app, however you can research those on your own. As I continue my journey to become a student of the Word, I feel comfortable with the Bible I am using. I

3. Being a member of the body of Christ

One reason why you need to be connected to a church family  is to fulfill your calling to serve other believers in practical ways. The  Bible says, “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a  separate and necessary part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT). Your service is desperately needed in the Body of Christ —  just ask any local church. Each of us has a role to play, and every role is  important. There is no small service to God; it all matters. Likewise, there are no insignificant ministries in the  church. Some are visible and some are behind the scenes, but all are valuable.  Small or hidden ministries often make the biggest difference. In my home, the  most important light is not the large chandelier in our dining room but the  little night-light that keeps me from stubbing my toe when I get up at night.  There is no correlation between size and significance. Every ministry matters,  because we are all dependent on each other to function. What happens when one part of your body fails to function?  You get sick. The rest of your body suffers. Imagine if your liver decided to  start living for itself: “I’m tired! I don’t want to serve the body anymore! I  want a year off just to be fed. I’ve got to do what’s best for me! Let some  other part take over.” What would happen? Your body would die. Today, thousands of  local churches are dying because of Christians who are unwilling to serve. They  sit on the sidelines as spectators, and the Body suffers. God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could  ever imagine. He created you for a  life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for you to do (Ephesians  2:10). Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God. Talk About It How are you serving the Body of Christ through your church? Have you ever taken a “break” from serving? How do you think  it affected your church? Rick Warren is  the founding pastor of Saddleback  Church in  Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches.  Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His  book, "The Purpose Driven Church,"  was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is  also the founder of Pastors.com,  a global Internet community for pastors. This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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