a quote about worship from “simply christian”

A book I’m currently reading and enjoying immensely is Simply Christian by N. T. Wright. This morning I read the chapter on worship and was struck by the following quote. Given the preceding post about worship I thought I’d share it here.

This brings us to the first of two golden rules at the heart of spirituality. You become like what you worship. When you gaze in awe, admiration, and wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object of your worship. Those who worship money become, eventually, human calculating machines. Those who worship sex become obsessed with their own attractiveness and prowess. Those who worship power become more and more ruthless.

So what happens when you worhsip the creator God whose plan to rescue the world and put it to rights has been accomplished by the Lamb who was slain? The answer comes in the second golden rule: because you were made in God’s image, worship makes you more truly human. When you gaze in love and gratitude at the God in whose image you were made, you do indeed grow. You discover more of what it means to be fully alive.

chicago gospel music festival

On Friday afternoon I found myself deep in conversation with a couple of PCC friends about the nature of worship. Specifically we were wondering about the differences and similarities between worshiping God and honoring God. Like many conversations with these two friends I walked away with more questions than answers! One of the questions our conversation kept returning to was, Where can worship happen? Is it only corporate or can it take place individually? Is music necessary? Must the setting necessarily be intentionally Christian? Turns out our conversation was a perfect set-up for the next afternoon.

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the top 9 volunteer list

The PCC staff recently pulled together a list of priority volunteer positions for those finishing up the Network class. If you don’t know, the 6-week Network class is designed to help folks discover their spiritual gifts and then get plugged in to service that matches those gifts. Thought I’d post the list of volunteer positions here as well. If you know someone who might be interested in one of these positions, then have them leave a comment on the blog or call the appropriate staff person.

And here they are, in no particular order:

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volunteer celebration and summer funner theatre

Thought I’d mention that Austyn just stopped by with some great photos of Ignite (our High School Youth Group) she took for the Volunteer Celebration. We had to pick just one for the display we’re putting together. That was tough! OK, that’s all I’m saying. Just remember to RSVP this Sunday in the lobby.

One other sign-up note: Summer Funner Theatre is rapidly approaching (6/18-23). There will be a sign-up table in the lobby on Sunday. If your kids aren’t already signed up, this is the time to do it. Before the staff moved into our lovely new office suite, my desk was located behind the baptismal. This meant that I had a front row seat to the week of Summer Funner rehearsals each summer. I usually had all the songs memorized by day 3. I’m sure those songs were great- the kids sure love them- but I won’t pretend that I miss that office!

the community-ist

We’ve had a great time in Mason City the past few days. I even went fishing with my uncle and caught three (small) bass. It’s been over 15 years since I’ve been fishing, so even three little fish was pretty amazing to me. I think we may go out again today before Maggie and I drive home this afternoon.

Yesterday at church (First Covenant Church of Mason City) the sermon was given by the part-time music pastor. Dave is just a year out of college, but he’s doing a great job leading worship. As we learned yesterday he’s also a great communicator. The title of his message was, Is God a Communist? You’ve got to be impressed with anyone gutsy enough to have that as a sermon title! Dave took Acts 2 as his text and talked about how the early church was completely dependent on God working through the community to meet each other’s needs. Here’s the quote of the day from his sermon,

Is God a communist? No. But God is a community-ist.

I’m pretty sure “community-ist” isn’t a word, but maybe it should be. As Dave pointed out yesterday, so many of us live as if an individualistic and autonmous life is our goal. The Scriptures point to a very different ideal however, beginning with God existing forever in community as the Trinity. As those created in God’s image, we’ve been made for the hard, messy, confusing, and ultimately redemptive community that we get a taste of in Acts 2. We’ve been made to be community-ists.

Have a great Memorial Day.

ray’s random thoughts: work


OK. . .so these thoughts aren’t so random. But I’ve been wondering, how has 30% of your week gone? You know, your hours at work? Did you thank God on Monday for the opportunity to do what you do?

As I continue to study what Scripture says about work, the amount of guidance and wisdom God provides is astounding. In preparation for this weekend, here are some texts which address various issues related to our work lives.

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west to iowa

Maggie and I are driving to Mason City, Iowa after lunch tomorrow to spend the Memorial Day weekend with some of my family. I’m not sure either of us could have told you anything about Iowa when we moved to Illinois 7 years ago. OK, so I still couldn’t tell you much. But we do like visiting the family, despite the lovely smell from the soybean processing plant. We do a lot of laughing with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. A lot of laughing. A visit with them is always a really good reminder not to take myself too seriously.

If you’re traveling this long weekend drive safe- especially if you’re inclined to coast on the downhills to save gas. You know who you are. Hope you get some chances to laugh hard. And if you’re worshipping away from PCC this weekend take a moment to thank God for his global Church.