April 2008


I used to love hearing people say, “Great worship today.” Not so much anymore. Although I understand their intent and they believe God was present among us, I also know what they’re really talking about is the music. Somehow it’s become less acceptable to “compliment” musicianship, and more acceptable to only categorize it as being worship. It’s as if we’ve somehow decided music is now the only acceptable form of worship, and in many churches I’ve attended that’s reflected in the attitudes of the worshippers.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe music is an incredible form of expressing our emotion and thought and as such should be a powerful part of our corporate experience. But if music is the only form our expression takes then our worship is lopsided and incomplete. Be assured, God will always accept our offering of love when we come to Him with clean hands and a pure heart, but there are so many more ways of expression than music.

I love my wife Jacque more today than I ever dreamed possible back in 1977 when I first said, “I love you.” That being true, I try to find new ways of expressing my love so it’s an accurate reflection of the depth and richness of my emotion. If I only said those three words over and over again, at some point they’d become commonplace and lose their appeal and impact. Out of love it’s up to me to keep my expression fresh and appealing.

In recent years I’ve learned to express my love for Jacque in ways that are meaningful to her. Before then I guess my expressions of love were based more on my preferences than hers. I don’t think this was a conscious thing on my part but more an indication of the maturity level of my love. As my love for her has grown and matured so has the variety and depth of my expression. In that process I’ve grown to understand that if my love is pure then my expression needs to be focused on her preferences more than my own, otherwise it’s about me. While she never tires of hearing the three words I would daresay they’ve become far more meaningful as I’ve expressed them more on “her terms” than mine.

So, how does God want us to express our love to Him? In as many ways as our God-given creativity will allow. It’s for sure we’re not limited to music, and definitely not one style or sound of music. The options are myriad and God stands ready to receive whatever we offer Him. So when you say, “Great worship today,” what do you mean?

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A community is a group of people who care about each other more than they should.

This quote is from a significant business book of 2000, The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual. I’ve been reflecting on that quote and have come to like it on multiple levels. When you place it within the context of Christian community it becomes especially interesting.

Have you ever been part of a group of people where things have just clicked? You loved being together. You’d do anything for each other. You looked for excuses to spend time with each other, and when you were together the conversation flowed effortlessly. By all outward appearances you cared about each other more than you should – at least that’s what some were maybe thinking.

I believe this is the kind of community Jesus speaks of, and longs for us to experience. The Acts 2 kind of daily gatherings where people just did life with each other. From the outside looking in I imagine there were many people who thought they cared about each other more than they should. But that’s part of what happens when there’s a supernatural kind of connection between people. You can’t explain all of the reasons why you just love being together.

I’m not talking about some kind of exclusive group that keeps others out; that’s not Acts 2 (the Lord added to their number daily). I’m speaking of true community where people join together largely because of shared experience, shared purpose and goals. A community where God is really at the center and life is truly a shared experience. You can call it whatever you like: Small Group, Sunday School, Church, Affinity Group, Organic Church, Body of Christ, Community.

No huge point here, just a reminder that God flows through community; the body of Christ.