April 5, 2016
READ: Matthew 3:1-10
My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin (1 John 2:1).
My pastor deftly delivers his sermons with the logical approach of a professor. Going verse by verse through a passage of the Bible, he carefully references other Scriptures to provide historical context. Despite rarely raising his voice, his passion for truth is evident.
I sometimes attend another church with a dramatically different service structure. The praise and worship portion lasts 45 minutes. The minister will then speak even longer. As his sentences rise and fall in a lyrical cadence, the congregation responds in a verbal, almost musical way.
These different churches hint at the different facets of God’s character. We dare not confine Him to one style of worship. He created us with diverse personalities; it’s only natural that we have diverse local—church cultures. Yet there’s a unity of Spirit in the congregations. And if the Spirit is present in both, who’s to say which is better?
Appealing to different audiences, John the Baptist and John the apostle used contrasting tones and words. John the Baptist was very direct and used strong terms in addressing the Pharisees (Matthew 3:7—8). The apostle John exemplified the warmth of a doting father for his kids as he called his readers “my dear children” and “dear friends” (1 John 2:1,7). Yet the Holy Spirit used both men to communicate God’s heart and message.
So it’s not surprising that our churches practice a wide range of worship styles. We serve a God who gives us serene sunrises but also the occasional hurricane. He provides the evening dew and the fury of the thunderstorm. He can’t be defined, contained, limited, or constrained.
Worship style simply blends into the background when it points to Jesus.
365-day-plan: 2 Samuel 11:1-27
Read 1 John 2:28–3:10 and note John’s relational, loving style as he addressed his readers.
What aspects of God’s character can you identify in your church services? How does your personality reflect Him and His ways?