Monthly Archives: June 2017

Entertainment in the Church, Escape or Worship

Entertainment, Escape, or Worship

At Fellowship, we are certainly blessed with a host of wonderful musicians who comprise our worship team. And, not only do these folks display enormous talent, but they also exude a fervent, deep, and passionate love of God. Week after week, we are beautifully led in worship by people who have devoted much of their lives and many hours of time to prepare themselves for whole-hearted adoration of our Savior. If you have not done so recently, take a moment to pass along a compliment to members of the worship team, thank them for their devoted service, and remember to pray for them and their ministry.

Leading in worship can be a bit hit and miss. When it is good, and thankfully, it most often is, our time of worship here at Fellowship is supremely uplifting. But, sometimes our worship time is not so hot. Now, do not get me wrong; I am not suggesting our worship team is lacking. No, I am talking about us. I am talking about, sometimes, myself. Our worship team prayerfully prepares and masterfully delivers their worship. But, as anyone who has ever tried to lead can tell you, sometimes those you are leading are disinclined to follow. Sometimes, we are content to just be entertained. Sometimes we sit back and enjoy “the performance”. Honestly, our musicians and vocalists are so good, it is easy to fall into that trap. Don’t do it. As much as you might enjoy the beautiful music, your joy can never be complete unless you firmly join in with your heart as well as your voice. Other times, the worship music becomes background while our minds wander to other, more secular concerns. Or, we spend the time escaping, sending our minds into a session of suspended animation. What a horrible waste of your time to miss a perfect opportunity to join with the worship team in joyful song of praise for our Lord!

Psalm 150, a hymn of the Hebrew people, tells us,

“Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!

Worship time is our time with God. The worship team, as wonderful as it is, is not the object of our adoration. Those folks are here to encourage and facilitate our worshipful experience with our Lord. Join with them. After all, if we do not, as Jesus said in Luke 19:40, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”

Do not leave worship to the worship team, or the rocks.

~ Hudd ~

Kevin Huddleston is and Elder at Fellowship at Cross Creek in Branson, MO

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Pick up any magazine, from Time to Redbook, and you will be confronted with the comingling of politics, lifestyle, and morality. It is even more true when you click on your internet “news” source or social media. Or, remember these, a newspaper?! Stories that could have been about politics get wrapped around lifestyle and marinate in morality. Try an issue – gun control, abortion, climate change, or homosexuality – and there is a political component to the issue. But, in our increasingly personalized culture, and as organized religion is diminished in its influence, a person’s political position often becomes a molding framework for their lives; a self-identifier. There is, also, an element of morality, a “right” and a “wrong” position. Take the present conflagration regarding climate change. President Trump has just decided the United States is pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords. That is a political decision. But, immediately there were denunciations from those who style themselves as green that the decision to reverse the U.S. government’s position on Paris is driven by science deniers and, as such, is wrong and is to be opposed by all right thinking people. Unless one conforms to the orthodoxy that the earth’s days are severely numbered due to global warming caused by man, then that person is wrong, not entitled to share his thoughts, and is to be figuratively but socially stoned for his heresy. And, this is not always a Left to Right process. Consider, if you will, the Pro-Life movement, and then follow that same process. The process of politicization, life-stylization, and moralization works both ways.

Please do not label me to be a science denier (not completely, anyway). I do not deny that it appears the earth is warming, and we see extreme weather phenomenon on a more frequent basis. How many Floods-of-the-Century have we been subject to in just the past decade? And, I am always mildly surprised when the annual prediction that “this will be the most active hurricane season on record” due to climate change does not pan out. I get that the globe is warmer. But, climatic time is long and very slow, and should not be measured in tiny increments of decades. Is it wrong of me and am I to be labeled a science denier if I am skeptical that man is its one and only cause Is it morally repugnant that I believe our God has enduringly crafted Creation to be resilient to change? I think not.

What we need to learn, both on the right and the left, is some discretion. It used to be accepted that polite conversation did not involve politics or morality. Today, assaulted by cable TV talking head shouting matches, ugly Facebook postings, and 140 character rants, there seems to be no escaping the process outlined above. Today, to be informed is to be opinionated. And to be opinionated is to be deemed right, to the exclusion of any other possibilities. While we have a right to our opinion and a right to express it, we are not always right to do so. It seems to me that we need to re-establish some boundaries of civility. We need to build some fences around our personal feelings regarding social and political issues, with appropriate gates in the fence to allow suitable exchange of ideas. We need to determine which of our positions take on the role of conviction, and are to be defended when someone comes over the fence to attack them. We should always remember the words of Paul, written in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” When possible, deal with others in a peaceful, respectful manner. As many have said, no souls are won to Christ by winning an argument.

It has also, often, been said that good fences make for good neighbors. In this electronic age, where everyone can be our virtual neighbor, good fences have never been more necessary.

~ Hudd ~