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Signs of the Times

By: Dr. Skip Myers
web posted March 3, 2008
COLUMNIST – Every once in awhile I get something on my mind and I have to let it out. This article is one of those times. Let me begin by issuing a warning: I will most likely say something in this article you do not agree with but rest assured nothing written here is meant to insult or accuse. I offer this only by way of reminder and encouragement. So take what is offered with a grain of salt and let it settle in your mind and heart.

I love to read church signs. They actually reveal quite a bit about the church itself. They seem to fall into several basic categories. Some are purely informational. They tell you what’s going on in the life of the church and give important dates and times. Others are thought-provoking in nature. They offer a quick little tidbit of knowledge or insight. The only problem is that many times there’s so much on the sign you can’t read it all as you speed by at 65 mph. And the next time you go by someone has changed the sign and you never know “the rest of the story.” Then there are those church signs that make a statement.  The meaning may be unknown to many who pass by but it is intended to make a point to those who do understand.

One of the favorite subjects of these statement signs is worship. Recently, I have seen two church “statement signs” dealing with the subject of worship style. I’m not going to tell you what they said because then you might know the church. The point is not to criticize churches but to remind us of an important point of worship: don’t criticize what God is obviously using. I had a man once tell me that if we stopped talking about the different styles of worship the conflict would go away—wrong! It’s not simply a matter of chorus vs. hymn; praise band vs. organs; casual vs. suits. Some feel as though it is now a matter of right vs. wrong—worship my way or you are wrong!

I simply suggest that we should be cautious making statements—on church signs or verbally—about things God is obviously using. Every Sunday, people find a personal relationship with the Lord while the church is singing “Amazing Grace” and a pastor preaches in a suit and tie. And others come to Jesus while the church praise band leads “Shout to the Lord” and the preacher preaches in a golf shirt. We have to remember that worship isn’t about us—it’s all about Jesus. And if what we are doing is Biblically honoring to Him, we need to thank Him that we have found a place where the style draws us closer to Him. Take it one step further. Thank Him that there is a place where those who choose to worship in a different style can go and be drawn closer as well. What matters is that both styles are drawing us to the same Lord.

Jesus met a woman coming to a well to draw water. As they talked, she turned the conversation to worship and the difference between the place the Jews worshipped and the place the Samaritans worshipped. Jesus answered her with the greatest statement regarding worship recorded in the Bible. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers.  John 4:23

The story is told of Martin Luther, the great Protestant Reformer, who was told that the instrument beginning to be used in the church of his day should remain in the taverns where it belonged. The instrument spoken of was the pipe organ. Times change but people don’t. We still want to call the shots and give our permission before anything is used or changes. Instead of criticizing, why not praise the creativity of our Lord. Worship is the church coming together to exalt and experience Jesus as Savior and Lord. Try concentrating on that and thanking Him that you have found a place where you can experience Him.  Take it one step further—thank Him for those churches doing the same thing with a different style.

The important thing is to find a place where you can worship. Worship is like soap—there are a lot of different fragrances, shapes, and forms but basically they all do the same thing—they clean. Find the Lord and draw closer to Him by finding a church that fits your style. Oh, and pay attention to those church signs they might just point you to the love of God.

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