Worship

Unified Worship: A New Season for Churches

I started holding separate worship services in 1995 at my previous church in North Carolina. The church was a traditional, downtown First Baptist church, and its worship style wasn’t connecting with the surrounding community—composed mainly of young, military families from all over the country. So our leadership did what many churches did in that era…

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An End to the Worship Wars

“Worship Wars” is an awful term—but an accurate one. On the one hand, it’s painful to describe anything that goes on in a congregation as war. Church is, after all, a place where there should be peace. On the other hand, congregational conflict erupting over musical styles has been so intense in  some places that…

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God and Time

Pam and I arrived in Tokyo yesterday morning after a marathon series of flights from Columbia. It was quite a journey, taking us west to Houston then on to Los Angeles. After wandering through the endless hallways, elevators, moving sidewalks and shuttle routes of the LAX International Airport we miraculously found our seats on our…

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Five Steps to Starting a New Worship Service

I believe in multiple worship services. At our church, we now have five Sunday worship services. Four are on Sunday morning and include two large services in our Worship Center, with a blended style utilizing a large choir and orchestra. The two in our fellowship hall are contemporary, praise-band driven with one of those including…

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Prayer, Healing and Our Miracle-Working God

Before Christmas I developed a voice problem. I noticed my voice growing weaker over the course of several Sundays, a trend that grew so bad that I finally sought out a specialist. He took a look at my vocal cords and immediately saw my trouble. I had a nodule—a callous—on one of my cords, caused…

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New Year's Resolutions, Tightropes and Prayer

Making New Year’s resolutions is a time-honored road to self-improvement. Right now, the local gyms are full of people determined to lose 25 pounds before summer. The schools are full of students ready to get better grades this semester. Families are trying to get their finances in order. Churches see their highest attendance of the…

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Praying Your Kids Through Christmas

My daughter Katie married a Navy pilot last January and the first thing he did was to get himself transferred to Japan for three years. It made me think about withdrawing my blessing on the marriage to begin with, but I love the guy so I had to roll with his plans. This in-law gig…

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Dancing bears or the River of Life?

It’s no accident that the prophet Ezekiel used the image of a river to describe the experience of worship the Lord wanted for the ancient Jewish people. In Ezekiel 47 the prophet describes how the river of worship has its origins in God’s temple then flows through history with a life-giving flow. His vision is…

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Stumbling into Prayer

Pam and I visited her parents in the upstate Sunday night, and on the way back home yesterday made a detour through Abbeville. I had read of the opening of a new religious-type establishment and wanted to check it out for myself. The establishment, if you want to call it that, was actually a monastery…

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Authentic Worship

 Worship is the primary action of the church—the first and highest pursuit of every local congregation. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light,” 1 Peter 2:9 says…

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