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[thoughts] Sincere Worship (July 2-8, 2001)

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  • Mark Roth
    New at Anabaptist Bookstore: http://www.anabaptistbooks.com/added.html Now for this week s thoughts.... ... This edition goes out today to 1449 subscribers.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2001
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      New at Anabaptist Bookstore:
      http://www.anabaptistbooks.com/added.html

      Now for this week's thoughts....



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      This edition goes out today to 1449 subscribers. Thank you!
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      Israel's Hypocritical Worship
      (Amos 4:2-5; 5:14,15,20-24)


      Just how sincere is my worship?

      My dictionary defines *sincere* this way: "1. Not feigned or
      affected; true. 2. Presenting no false appearance; not
      hypocritical; honest." That sounds like sincerity is the opposite
      of a deliberate decision to be misleading. That certainly fits
      the question above, but it isn't what I mean to ask. So I'll ask
      my question a little differently -- Just how intelligent is my
      worship?

      Intelligent?! Yes. But never mind the dictionary definition of
      the term. I simply want to know if our worship is with
      understanding. Let's focus on our singing. Do we know the
      meanings of the words we sing? Are we conscious of the statements
      we make while we sing? I suspect that we know so many of the
      songs and hymns so well that the words float out our lips without
      registering in our minds. That sounds like vain (empty)
      repetition to me.

      Maybe we could solve the problem of unintelligent singing by
      simply not singing. That would do the trick, alright. But that
      solution is intellectually and spiritually lazy. The more
      sensible, discerning solution is to address the real problem: an
      unfocused heart.

      When I catch myself singing without thinking about what I'm
      singing, I shouldn't stop singing. No! I should start thinking...
      about what I'm singing. Instead of taking our tongue out of gear,
      we should get our heart in gear. We need to discipline our minds
      and spirits to focus on the *object* of our worship (God Himself)
      as well as on the *vehicle* of our worship (the words of our
      songs).

      I propose we stop singing empty songs. Instead let's sing songs
      full of meaning, spirit, understanding and even feeling. That
      doesn't mean changing hymnals or singing songs we've never sung
      before. That means singing the same old songs...from our hearts
      and not simply our lips.

      Here is a group exercise for you. What was the last song your
      congregation sang together? Recite (or read) some of the
      significant phrases from the song. What do they mean to you right
      now? Is that what they meant to you when you sang them last, or
      did they mean anything at all that time?


      Crossing the *t*'s and dotting the *i*'s.

      In our handwritten communications, we need to major on some minor
      little details. At least, they seem minor when you do them. But
      they can become quite major if they get ignored or misused.

      When a writer does not cross his *t*'s and dot his *i*'s, the
      reader may find it difficult to distinguish between the writer's
      *l*'s, *t*'s and *i*'s. And if the writer starts dotting and
      crossing the wrong letters.... Then you can *really* appreciate
      the major importance of such little details!

      Of course it would never do for the writer to major on dots and
      crosses to the point of leaving other penmanship details to fend
      for themselves. And what if he decided that dots and crosses are
      so important that they are *all* on which he needs to
      concentrate!

      When we just cross and dot as we ought, crossing and dotting is
      not burdensome. It's normal. But when we balk at doing it and
      decide to skip it, then we have succeeded in doing something very
      counterproductive. We have taken something normal, and made it
      burdensome. We have taken something minor, and made it major.

      Many people do that with the dots and crosses of Christian
      living. Tragic!



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