Jesus Christ

Short on Worship for Nominal Christians

Today's Worship Quote is a reminder that we are often tempted to worship the trappings of Christianity, rather than the person of Jesus Christ.

WORSHIP FOR THE NOMINAL CHRISTIAN
The nominal Christian, then, will see Jesus as a name, a representative, a symbol, a personification, a prototype, a figure, a model, an exemplar for something else. The nominal Christian pays homage to something about Jesus, rather than worshipping the man himself. For this reason, nominal Christians will extol the moral teachings of Jesus, the faith of Jesus, the personality of Jesus, the compassion of Jesus, the world view of Jesus, the self-understanding of Jesus, etc. None of these worships Jesus as the Christ, but only something about him, something peripheral to the actual flesh-and-blood man. This is why when the almighty God came into the world in Jesus, he came as the lowest of the low, as weakness itself, as a complete and utter nothing, in order that men would be forced into the crucial decision about him alone and would not be able to worship anything about him.

- Robert L. Short, The Parables of Peanuts, Harper and Row, 1968.


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

Lord Jesus Christ, show us yourself. Help us to worship you in spirit and in truth. Amen.

Have a great week!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Augustine on Joy

Today's Worship Quote of the Week is another from the quill of St. Augustine-a testimony to the total life of joyful worship.

THERE IS A JOY
There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other.

-Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions.


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

Lord, tune our hearts to sing your praise. May our prayer and worship be to you, of you, and for you alone. Amen!

Have a great week!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Kendrick on Where Worship Begins

Today's Worship Quote is from songwriter Graham Kendrick.

WHERE DOES WORSHIP BEGIN?
Everybody worships. Whether it is a hero, possessions, success, pleasure, a political cause, a carved idol or oneself, the way we live and behave makes evident the things we love and give ourselves to. It is in our very nature to worship, and that inner drive is God-given; the disaster is that as part of a fallen race, we have replaced the object of our worship. To be converted to faith in Jesus Christ is to return to the worship of the true God, and to dethrone all rivals to his authority.

- Graham Kendrick, Worship (Kingsway Publications, 1984), 24.


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

May we continue to turn our God-given worshiping nature toward the only worthy object. The source becomes the goal.

Have a great week!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Buechner on Prayer

Today's Worship Quote comes from Frederick Buechner and deals with an aspect of prayer that is sometimes difficult to understand - for me, at least.

ON PRAYER
According to Jesus, by far the most important thing about praying is to keep at it. The images he uses to explain this are all rather comic, as though he thought it was rather comic to have to explain it at all. He says God is like a friend you go to borrow bread from at midnight. The friend tells you in effect to drop dead, but you go on knocking anyway until finally he gives you what you want so he can go back to bed again (Luke 11:5-8). Or God is like a crooked judge who refuses to hear the case of a certain poor widow, presumably because he knows there's nothing much in it or him. But she keeps on hounding him until finally he hears her case just to get her out of his hair (Luke 18:1-8). Even a stinker, Jesus says, won't give his own child a black eye when he asks for peanut butter and jelly, so how all the more will God when HIS children... (Matthew 7:9-11).

Be importunate, Jesus says-not, one assumes, because you have to beat a path to God's door before he'll open it, but because until you beat the path maybe there'll be no way of getting to YOUR door. 'Ravish my heart,' John Donne wrote. But God will not usually ravish. He will only court.

-Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner, ed. George Connor (New York City: Harper Collins, 1992).


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

I had to look up "importunate." The Random House Dictionary had some help for me. "adj.  1. urgent or persistent in solicitation.  2. pertinacious, as solicitations or demands.  3. troublesome, annoying." It sounds a bit like nagging, doesn't it? Keep praying!

Have a great week!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Stott on Spiritual Worship

What do you think of when someone is referred to as an "idolater"? Today's Worship Quote is from Christian Basics by John Stott.

SPIRITUAL WORSHIP
Instead of worshiping God "in spirit" (recognizing that he is spirit himself and asks for spiritual worship), idolaters become preoccupied with external, visible and tangible objects.  Even the worship of the people of Israel had a constant tendency to degenerate into formalism and even blatant hypocrisy. The seventh and eighth century prophets were scathing in their denunciation of Israel's empty religion, and Jesus applied their criticism to the Pharisees of his own day: "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their  hearts are far from me'" (Isaiah 29:13; Mark 7:6). So whatever outward forms we may use in Christian worship (liturgies, processions, drama, ritual, kneeling or raising our arms), we need to ensure that they escape the charge of idolatry by passing the double test of being "in spirit and in truth."

- John Stott, Christian Basics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), 94-95.


CHIP'S THOUGHTS

Note that Isaiah, Jesus, and John Stott are not condemning all outward forms of worship; rather they are warning Israel, the Pharisees, and us that without hearts for God, our worship is empty, and definitely not "in spirit." See also Isaiah 1:10-20.

Have a great week!


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Dudley-Smith on Christ's Enfolding Love

Today's Worship Quote is a poem on the theme of Christian experience and discipleship. I think it would make a good benediction.

MAY THE LOVE OF CHRIST ENFOLD US
May the love of Christ enfold us
    as we walk his way,
his eternal arms uphold us
    even as we pray;
strong in faith beneath his blessing,
every tongue his Name confessing,
every heart his peace possessing,
    this and every day.

May the word of Christ direct us
    as we walk his way,
and his providence protect us
    even as we pray.
May his Spirit's power defend us,
love and joy and peace attend us,
his companionship befriend us,
    this and every day.

May the living Christ renew us
    as we walk his way,
and with gifts of grace endue us
    even as we pray;
send us forth, his banner bearing,
all the truth of God declaring,
Heaven's love for sinners sharing,
    this and every day.

-Timothy Dudley-Smith, from Great is the Glory: 36 New Hymns written between 1993 & 1996, Hope Publishing Company, 1997.

© 1997 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
For permission to copy or use this hymn, please contact:
Hope Publishing Company, 380 S. Main Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188
Phone: 1-800-323-1049 Fax: (630) 665-3200
Email: permission@hopepublishing.com www.hopepublishing.com


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

Here's what the hymn writer says about this poem:
"Though the text is a prayer for ourselves and our own daily walk, it began from thoughts of thankfulness and the desire to write a 'litany of thankfulness' - a task which still lies ahead of me. Note that along with the request that we may know Christ's enfolding, upholding, directing, protecting, defending, befriending, goes the call to mission - 'his Name confessing,' (verse 1), while verse 4 calls us to witness, proclamation and service 'this and every day.'"

May the love of Christ enfold you this and every day.


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

St. Richard of Chichester's Thirteenth Century Prayer

Today's Worship Quote of the Week is the prayer of St. Richard of Chichester. One can easily see that "Day by Day," the familiar song from the musical Godspell, is based on this ancient prayer.

A THIRTEENTH-CENTURY PRAYER
Thanks be to Thee my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits which Thou hast given me;
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me. 
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
May I know Thee more clearly;
Love Thee more dearly;
And follow Thee more nearly. Amen.

- St. Richard of Chichester (1197-1253), who was Bishop of Chichester from 1245 to 1253.


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Dudley-Smith on the Lord of the Church

Today's Worship Quote of the Week is the middle stanza of another wonderful hymn text by Timothy Dudley-Smith. Perhaps these lines can help us focus our thoughts as we pray for God's blessing on our country and cities, communities and schools, churches and families. This hymn can be sung to the tune LONDONDERRY AIR (Danny Boy), but you have to put three notes on the word "serve" in the last line.

LORD OF THE CHURCH
Lord of the church, we seek a Father's blessing,
A true repentance and a faith restored,
A swift obedience and a new possessing,
Filled with the Holy Spirit of the Lord!
We turn to Christ from all our restless striving,
Unnumbered voices with a single prayer-
The living water for our soul's reviving,
In Christ to live, and love and serve and care.

-Timothy Dudley-Smith, from "Lord of the Church, We Pray for Our Renewing" (verse 2), 1976, as found in The Worshiping Church, Hope Publishing Company, 1991.

© 1991 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
For permission to copy or use this hymn, please contact:
Hope Publishing Company, 380 S. Main Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188
Phone:1-800-323-1049 Fax: (630) 665-3200
Email: permission@hopepublishing.com www.hopepublishing.com


To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.