Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. By now, dinner is reduced to a plateful of leftovers. Christmas decorations escape the attic. Black Friday deals cause us to lose our minds. (It always amazes me how we’re thankful for what we have and rush down Walmart aisles for what we don’t have on the same day). But for those who follow Christ, Thanksgiving is more than a yearly holiday. It’s a way of life.
The apostle Paul writes, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6-7 ESV).
On this day after Thanksgiving, I want to study these two verses. May God open our eyes to His Word and stir our affections for Him.
I admire the apostle Paul for a number of reasons. One of them being his persistent prayer for the churches to whom he ministers. He makes it clear in his letters how thankful he is for the churches and how he prays for them often.
One of those churches is the church in Thessalonica. Allow me to share some verses with you from his two letters to this church.
Our history surrounding slavery never fails to stun me. What kind of evil man would whip another man senseless for the sake of money and power? What kind of evil man would ignore the suffering of another for the sake of keeping his own status? What kind of evil man would withhold from another man his needs in order to maintain his own luxurious lifestyle? I mean, how can so much evil and hatred fit within the human heart? These are the questions which haunt my mind. Until I realize that I’m that man.
I’ve never owned a slave. But my sin put Jesus Christ through the most dreadful torture known to man. Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah.
Hope can be hard to come by — at least, that’s what people think. According to the American Psychological Association, the suicide rate in the United States has risen nearly 33 percent since 1999. Nothing so clearly suggests a lack of hope.
Maybe it’s because we have an arsenal of feeble hopes. Money and relationships. Power and possessions. But none of those things last forever. And when those feeble hopes disappear, we think we have no hope at all.
Each summer, my entire family goes on vacation together. I’m talking about my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins. It’s a tradition of sorts. Now, maybe you don’t go on vacation with your extended family each year, but you have traditions. We all do. And if we’re honest with ourselves, traditions mean a whole bunch to us.
This week, I’m writing about the traditions of worship. Let me begin with a question: “What does traditional worship look like?” Does it involve hymnals? An organ? Choir robes? A grand piano? Electric guitar? Or does it involve any instruments at all? Now, it’s important to mention that I’m not referring to biblical traditions like communion and baptism. Those are God-ordained practices for His Church. Rather, my aim in this article is to discuss extra-biblical traditions like music style, dress code, decorations, and other “touchy” subjects. But how do these traditions influence our worship?