Spring Cleaning Treasure

I was doing some early Spring cleaning on my computer today and ran across this:

Notes From the Road

My first blogging venture. Sadly, I had forgotten about it. Brought back a ton of wonderful happy memories.

I love to travel and I’m now craving adventure again more than ever.

Are you a traveler? What’s your favorite place you’ve been?

Heartless Worship

“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” – Amos 5:21-24

To be honest, before now I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in the book of Amos. When I asked my pastor for his commentary on the book, he gave me a really odd look and just kind of laughed before pointing to the book on the shelf.

But, that scripture has been heavy on my heart since someone shared it with me last Thursday. I’ve read it over and over. Read commentaries on it, cross referenced it, all sorts of stuff. Spending my days planning “religious feasts” this scripture struck a cord with me and I can’t help but wonder if what I’m doing is beneficial or if God sits up in heaven laughing because it’s so absurd.

Then I stop myself.

It’s not worship that God “cannot stand.” It’s worship without heart, faith without action.

And I start to think I’m okay.

Then I stop myself again, wake myself up, and remind myself to be on guard against such worship and faith everyday, because I’ve been guilty of it, and am just as capable of it as the next person.

How can we prevent worship that God “cannot stand” from becoming the norm in our churches?

The Rhythm of Worship

A quick Google search on a definition for “rhythm” provides, among many, the following:

  • In the widest sense, a dividing into short portions by a regular succession of motions, impulses, sounds, accents, etc., producing an agreeable effect, as in music poetry, the dance, or the like.
  • The harmonious flow of vocal sounds.
  • The pattern of recurrent strong and weak accents, vocalization and silence, and the distribution and combination of these elements in speech.
  • Procedure marked by the regular recurrence of particular elements or phases.

We are surrounded by a variety of rhythms in our lives everyday. We tend to intentionally create rhythms (a.k.a. schedules) to provide order and structure for life. I think we are naturally inclined to live in rhythm. After a really busy season of life we naturally are drawn to take a step back, take a few days off, maybe a vacation. We can’t live in high gear all of the time, it wears us out.

I wonder if the same is true for our worship gatherings – they need rhythm, which by definition is variation. Perhaps the high times of great celebration would be a little bit more meaningful if we had more subdued reflective times in between. And then, maybe there are times when we don’t need to live in either extreme.

I think how we go about creating rhythm looks different in every church’s context. I had a discussion this past week about the church year calendar. For us at The CORE, celebrating specific times of the church year builds a natural rhythm of highs and lows, busy and calm, celebration and reflection, into our worship gatherings.

Do you think rhythm in worship gatherings in important? Do you build rhythm into your church’s worship gatherings? If so, how?

There’s No Place Like Home

“There’s no place like home.” Or is there? What is “home” after all? Where is it?

I’m sitting here in an apartment that I love with the sun shining in. It’s beautiful.

But in my hand I hold a cup of Drew’s Brews coffee.

And today, it’s taking me back to Nashville where I spent most of this past week. And my heart is sad, a piece of it almost feels empty. Is it possible that a place you have spent less than 72 hours in can feel like home?

Today, I think it is. And to be honest, it’s not a good feeling. I don’t know what God is up to in my heart but I sure can’t wait to figure it out.

Where is “home” for you? Is it more than one place?