December 30, 2007 Commentary:
Hello and welcome back to the White Horse Inn today. Are churches too happy-clappy? Is the happy-clappy attitude the right fit for church? Think about the Psalms. The Psalter, the songbook, the hymnal of the church down through the ages and you have the whole range of emotions expressed there. Do we have that range of emotions expressed in the church today? What happens when one is suffering, and is forced to sit through a worship celebration, or as we talked about in the last program, a funeral that no longer can be a funeral anymore because Christians have been told that because we don’t mourn as those that don’t have no hope, we don’t mourn at all. Let’s just turn the funeral into another opportunity to just praise the Lord and celebrate. Times of tragedy, times of difficulty when they strike really to the degree that they are debilitating, to that degree you need to have a faith that can withstand it. And a lot of times what we find is that in this day and age people are so ill-equipped to face suffering, and death and sickness and trouble and tragedy precisely because over the years the soil in which they have been nurtured is so thin that they have not been prepared for what they are about to face.
In this program we will be looking at the psalms. We will be taking a look at some of the themes that we find there, that not only highlight the happy, bold, bright tones, but also give us that “blue note,” that broken note that is difficult to transpose on a sheet of paper, just as suffering is difficult to transpose and explain rationally. When we think about a good God and a God that is all powerful, but we live in brokenness, and that broken note in our music just has to be there to express the reality of our lives. Is our theology realistic? That is one of the things we are going to be talking about on this program. Is our church today so happy-clappy, so upbeat, that we don’t really face the music?
December 23, 2007 Commentary:
O Come Let Us Adore Him
Hello and welcome to the White Horse Inn where we are continuing our discussion of worship, and in this program "O Come Let Us Adore Him", Christ-centered worship. Why should our worship be Christ-centered as opposed to merely God-centered or Holy Spirit-centered or Christian life centered? Do we have Biblical evidence to lead us to the conclusion that our worship should be Christ-centered in the first place? That's going to be the focus of this edition of the White Horse Inn.
December 16, 2007 Commentary:
Hebrews 12:18-29 (NIV)
18You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned." 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear."
22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." 27The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our "God is a consuming fire."
Our subject on this program of the White Horse Inn is worship. We are in a series on "Heavenly Worship" and this particular program we are going to focus on what it means for us to worship on earth as it is in heaven. Clearly we are not in heaven yet, our lives now are the anteroom, the narthex if you will, of the service that is already going on in the heavenly sanctuary, and yet our worship in some sense participates even now in that heavenly worship. And in this program we want to see exactly how it is that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places, and how our worship here and now, even if it seems mundane to us week after week, really is a significant event--participation in the age to come. In this program we want to especially get beyond the" worship wars", the debate whether you should have guitars or organs and say this is a much bigger issue. Why are we getting dressed on Sunday morning and coming to church? Why is this an important event in our lives? Why are we shaped by this event that occurs every Lord's Day? What is the biblical meaning of worship?
December 9, 2007 Commentary:
Worship in Spirit & Truth
Hello and welcome to another broadcast of the White Horse Inn. Under the old covenant getting God's address was very important. It was a matter in fact of life and death. In Israel's march from Egypt through the desert, God was mobile, attaching his holy presence to the tent and tabernacle as he led his people to the earthly Canaan. And once in the land, God had a more durable address, Number One Temple Mount. Yet in the fullness of time, the true and everlasting sanctuary appeared, the Word became flesh John tells us and pitched his tabernacle among us. Jesus Christ is the temple, Immanuel, God with us.
So one day Jesus met a Samaritan woman. The Samaritans were both in terms of ethnicity and religion mixed. Partly Jewish partly Gentile, made up mainly of the apostate nation of Israel that had separated from the southern nation of Judah. The Samaritan women cared about getting God's address right too. "Our ancestors say we must worship at this mountain in Samaria, at this temple. You Jews say it's the temple in Jerusalem, so which is it?" she asked. Jesus told her that there was a time when that really was the crucial question, and the right answer, by the way, he said was the temple in Jerusalem. Nevertheless he adds, "the time is coming and now has come when people will worship neither on this mountain nor at the temple in Jerusalem, for the Father is seeking worshippers who will worship him in Spirit and in truth." Jesus announced himself as that true temple. The "Spirit" here refers to the Holy Spirit who is the harbinger of the Kingdom of God in the last days. "In truth " refers to himself. The temple in Jerusalem was never the real thing, but only a copy of the heavenly sanctuary. It was God's address only inasmuch as it was there that God appointed ceremonies and sacrifices and priests. The whole system looking forward to the true temple who would become flesh and be for us both high priest and sacrifice. No longer worshipping in types and shadows we worship in Spirit and in truth. Jesus angered the religious leaders of his day when he offered forgiveness of sins directly though his person rather than people having to go through the temple and its ceremonies. The Christ has come. God's real address is no longer named One Temple Mount but Jesus Christ, Immanuel.
What does this mean for our services today? How is our gathering each Lord's day different from the gathering of God's saints in the old covenant? How should our services be constituted today in order to reflect this new reality? Has God given us specific instructions for the ministry and methods that are employed in the church today? And how does all of this fit with our contemporary church life? These are just some of the questions that we will exploring as we wind up our reflections on this last sola, Soli Deo Gloria, to God alone be glory. And in fact as we wind up this whole year's theme, "A Time for Truth".
December 2, 2007 Commentary:
What is Worship?
Hello and welcome to another broadcast of the White Horse Inn. Where we are winding up our series on Soli Deo Gloria, to God alone be glory. What is worship? We've seen in these programs on this theme of "to God alone be glory" that we were created to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Of course, the Fall threw this design out of whack and ever since we seek to glorify and enjoy ourselves. The ultimate goal of our redemption in Jesus Christ is to restore in the midst of creation a choir that sings God's praises, answering back "Amen" to all that he is and has done. If we had plenty to sing about before the Fall, we have even more reason for praise and thanksgiving after we have been redeemed from its curse. What a wonderful and very important subject for us to talk about "what is true worship?" Beyond the worship-wars and all the superficial issues and questions about organs and guitars we want to go to the theology of worship. What does it mean to worship the true God in the way that he's prescribed?