Preparing to Worship

Mount Helix

Photo copyright 2011-2015 by Randall J. Ehle

Rock music was part of my teen world. In those days before earbuds were ubiquitous, I would sometimes pull the stereo speakers down from the shelves, place them on the floor facing each other, and lay with my head between them while Led Zeppelin or the Eagles pumped into my ears like an IV. The same music filled my head on Sunday mornings, too, while I was getting dressed for church…until, that is, my dad would ask me to turn it down or even off, replacing my selections with Bach, Beethoven, or whatever he had in the way of Christian music. His reasoning: we need to prepare our hearts for worship. I grumbled about the change then, with the same type of argument my kids give me today.

As parents ourselves now, my wife and I have one-upped my own parents and talked about how preparing for worship needs to begin on Saturday nights, not just Sunday mornings. Sometimes those preparations are practical, like laying out clothes for the next day; sometimes they’re mental or even spiritual in nature—after all, how well does watching Braveheart prepare my mind to hear from God? But preparing to worship is not only about music and movies and clothes. It is about my heart, my mind, my soul… this is starting to sound like something God said on more than one occasion, and saw fit to write down for us:

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” —Mark 12:30

In fact, this command is repeated several times throughout the Bible and, for Jews, has been a centerpiece of twice-daily prayers for thousands of years. It’s also a good guide to preparing for worship. Here are some thoughts on how to do that:

Heart: Think of the heart as the seat of our emotions. We can prepare to worship God by keeping our emotions and relationships in check. This might be as simple as a pleasant morning greeting or a hug and kiss for our family members, or as difficult as intentionally avoiding a relational conflict about clothes! (That’s one reason setting out clothes on Saturday night can help so much on Sunday morning.)

Soul: The soul represents what we most often think of as the spiritual. We can point our soul toward God by listening to God-focused worship music—as my dad exhorted—or by reading a devotional book or the Bible (especially some of the Psalms). The discipline of silence is also helpful; not just refraining from speech, but blocking out the noise around. I know what you’re thinking: “But I’ve got three kids under age six—where am I supposed to find silence?!” Be creative in location and brief in duration. You may not find silence on the couch, but bathrooms—even the shower—are usually good alternatives. And if you’ve never intentionally sat silently before, then you’ll find that even thirty seconds seems long…and can do wonders.

Mind: Reading the Bible can focus the mind as well as the soul, though this is a different type of reading. If you can find out ahead of time what passage the sermon will be focused on, read that. Or if your pastor sends an email or newsletter during the week, read that. These can get your mind pointed in the direction the message will soon be taking it.

Strength: Loving God with your strength isn’t about doing push ups in the morning (though that may be good for you, too). Rather, it is about preparing your body to worship Him. That can mean anything from the clothes you wear to the breakfast you eat to the sleep you get on Saturday night. Setting out clothes the night before—especially for kids or indecisive dressers—can reduce worship-inhibiting morning stress.

All of this can be challenging enough when you’re single; add a spouse and any number of kids—from infant to teenager—and it becomes exponentially more difficult. My wife and I, for example, have opposite ways of getting ready to go to church on Sunday mornings: she prefers to wake up leisurely and relax with a cup of coffee as she slowly dresses and does makeup, then rush the drive to church. I’d rather quickly get myself all ready to leave so I can relax for ten or fifteen minutes before we get in the car, then drive casually, and have plenty of time to find parking and seats before the service starts.

Here’s the rub: going to church is easy. Preparing to worship the Creator of the universe, though, takes forethought and planning… and that can’t happen on Sunday morning. Sometime this week, take time to think through and write down how you can best prepare for worship. Include each of these areas—heart, mind, soul, and strength (body)—noting what is needed in each and what time constraints there may be. If you’re married, do this together; if you have kids, share it with them (or better yet, work with them on it). Here’s a quick sample, assuming your church service starts at 9:00am.

Saturday evening: after dinner, everyone sets out clothes—right down to underwear, socks, shoes, and jackets—and gets appropriate approvals (from mom, dad, husband, wife). Iron what needs to be ironed. Do something fun together as a family, like a board game, puzzle, or fun G or PG movie that ends by 8:30.

Sunday morning: everyone is up in time for showers, breakfast, and coffee. Get dressed, put on makeup. Mom helps younger kids with hair; Dad helps them get dressed while Mom does her makeup. Aim for everyone to be dressed, hair combed and teeth brushed, and ready to leave fifteen minutes before departure time. Relax. Be quiet. Read. Listen to worship, praise, or instrumental music. Finish coffee. Five minutes before you have to leave, get out the door. 

A word of caution: this isn’t simply about having a preset morning schedule; it may mean changing your perspective on things. It may mean that the time nazi who’s always watching the clock needs to chill out, and the one who has no concept of time needs to gracefully receive reminders. And as far as time is concerned, keep in mind that this isn’t about “being on time for church,” it is about preparing to encounter and worship God—and in that worship, we get to bless God.

Measuring “Success” – A Guest Post

Emotionally Healthy SpiritualityI received the following today in an email from Pete Scazzero, founding pastor of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York; author of two books, The Emotionally Healthy Church and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality; and, with his wife Gail, founder of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, a ministry that equips churches in deep, beneath-the-surface spiritual formation paradigm that integrates emotional health and contemplative spirituality. I encourage you to check out these books and other resources from Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.

I particularly appreciate the bullet points Pete includes, which offer the best and most measurable guidelines for transformation that I have seen. Now to work on putting these principles to work in my own life and ministry. From Pete:

Measuring ministry impact with numbers is biblical.

The book of Acts uses numbers to describe the impact of the gospel – about 3,000 baptized (Acts 2:41), about 5,000 believers (Acts 4:4), crowds coming to faith (Acts 5:14). We have a whole book in the Bible called Numbers. So, in the context of the church, it is good to measure things like attendance, baptisms, membership, number of small groups, and financial giving.

The problem comes when that is all we measure.

Measuring deep, beneath the surface transformation in people’s lives is also critically important – if not more important. (Consider Paul, Gal. 4:19, Jesus mentoring the 12). The specifics of these internal markers will differ from ministry to ministry and from context to context.

The following are several examples we set to measure at New Life Fellowship Church:

  • Each leader at New Life will develop his or her relationship with God by spending ten to thirty minutes in prayer and Scripture reading in the morning, and a few additional minutes of prayer and reflection in the afternoon/evening.
  • Our staff, board, and key leaders will slow down their lives by practicing Sabbath for twenty-four hours each week.
  • Our staff, board, and key leaders will pray the Examen at least once a day in order to discern and follow God’s will in their lives.
  • Every member of our pastoral and administrative staff team will consistently seek to integrate emotionally healthy skills into their ministries and relationships.
  • Each member at New Life will develop a personal Rule of Life that enables them to receive and give the love of God. They will share it at their membership interview.
  • Eighty-five percent of our members will connect in a small group or ministry (i.e. a smaller community) for support as part of their spiritual formation.
  • Every child will participate in a discipleship small group with an appointed leader.
  • Fifty percent of married couples will go through training to view their relationship as a living sign of God’s passionate love for the world.

Some of these are fairly easy to measure, but others have proven to be more difficult. Yet, even when the measurement is fairly straightforward, it is vitally important to humbly acknowledge our limits in “measuring” a person’s transformation into the image of Jesus.

But one thing is sure. Every one of us must wrestle with our teams and do the painstaking discernment work of identifying precisely what those internal markers of success are for us at any given point in time.

-Pete

Church Music

My mother-in-law shared an article on Facebook that got me thinking about church music. What she shared was a blog post called “13 Solutions for a Church That Just Won’t Sing,” by Jonathan Aigner, the Director of Music in a United Methodist church. I’ve never heard of Jonathan before; all I know about him is what he wrote on his blog, www.theologyinworship.com, where he says he grew up Southern Baptist, has Bachelor’s and a Master’s degrees in music, as well as Master’s degrees in both theology and educational leadership. In other words, he seems to have some credentials backing what he wrote. And what he wrote was good, even if I don’t agree with some of his proposed solutions.

You really should read Jonathan’s article because I’m going to respond to some of his thoughts and there’s a good chance that something will get lost in translation going from him to me to you. I don’t want to misrepresent him; neither do I want to come across as disagreeing with everything he says. Rather, I want to use his article as a springboard for some of my own thoughts. Briefly, here are his thirteen solutions (all are direct quotes except where italicized):

  1. Teach—how, what, and why to sing.
  2. Dust off the organ console.
  3. Bring the choir back.
  4. Don’t perform.
  5. Get rid of the lead soloist.
  6. Don’t sing so much.
  7. Sing all the time.
  8. Build a resonant sanctuary.
  9. Encourage and support the arts in the community.
  10. Bring the kids back into corporate worship.
  11. Use hymnals.
  12. Make the music worth singing.
  13. Stop doing the same songs over and over and over.

For starters, I agree that churches can teach us how to sing, what to sing, and why to sing. That’s how learned: standing in church between my alto mother and my bass father, I learned to follow the little black dots as they floated up and down the clefs. Those lessons laid the foundation for my three years of clarinet, a year of high school chorus, and four years in a singing and drama club.

But learning to sing—even for the purpose of worshipping and praising God—is not what church is really about, so I’d go a step farther than Jonathan suggests and use music as a teaching tool. After all, many of the great hymns were written, at least in part, to teach about God, not only to praise him. Since music by its very nature tends to stick with us, the songs we sing on Sunday mornings have the potential to stick in our minds far longer than the words of my sermon. We need to tap into that potential.

As for choirs and organs, I agree with Jonathan’s reasoning even if I don’t think his solutions are necessarily the right or even best options. What he wants is instrumentation “able to support sustained, hearty congregational singing” and “a sizable, confident, prepared group” to lead that singing. Both of those goals can be achieved with options other than an organ and a choir, but it takes a skilled and intentional worship leader and team to do so…just as it would demand a skilled organist and choir. I’ve seen—or rather heard—the difference in singing when a well-trained and versatile person is on the piano instead of someone who simply plays the little black notes. No instrument in the world will make an average musician sound great; on the other hand, a truly exceptional musician can make an average instrument do wondrous things.

Having said that, I certainly agree with Jonathan that an organ is a uniquely adept instrument for supporting congregational singing. But that doesn’t apply to every organ; electronic organs can be little more than glamorous synthesizers. A pipe organ, though, is unbelievably versatile, especially at the hands and feet of a well-trained organist. [Full disclosure: I married into a pipe organ family; my father-in-law has been building them for longer than the half-century I have been alive, so I’m just a little biased. That said, if you are at all interested in church music—which you probably are if you have read this far—you owe it to yourself to get in on some good pipe organ concerts.]

Let me take on several of Jonathan’s points together—numbers 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, and 13—and boil them down to this: if you want the congregation to sing, then invite them and allow them to do so. Don’t drown out the congregation with amplified instruments (even a pipe organ) or worship team (even a choir). As Ed Stetzer has written, sing singable songs in singable ways. Follow these ideas and you will probably avoid having your up-front team being performers before an audience. Hymnals can help people sing…if they’re inclined to sing, know how to read music, and are familiar enough to find the song in the time they have to do that. In other words, hymnals might help church people sing. But if you’re trying to help non-church people encounter God, then projecting the words on a screen is a far better choice. (Just be sure your tech people are good enough to stay with the musicians and get the right words on the screen at the right time.)

I may write about worship again another time, but let me close with one more encouragement to read Jonathan’s blog for yourself, and not simply to either argue against or agree with, but to reflect on and impact your own thinking about corporate worship.

Dear Pastor

Old BibleDear Pastor,

Last week I wrote to Youth Pastors asking them to encourage kids to bring their Bibles to church—and to use them there! Not because it makes them look holy, or just because it’s a good habit, but to help them learn to read, know, and understand God’s Word. I acknowledged the changing technologies (from scrolls to books to smart phones) and the changing cultures (from oral to visual and, some say, a return to oral).

Now, thanks to one of those Youth Pastors, it’s time to put in a request to you: encourage us to bring and use our Bibles at church; help us as adults also learn to read, use, know, and appreciate God’s Word. This idea isn’t mine; one of my former pastors put it in my mind when he stood in front of the church and announced that we would no longer be projecting the day’s Scripture reading, for just those purposes: to help train us. Here are some practical suggestions:

  • Don’t put the main Bible passage on the screen. Instead, ask people to use their own Bible, whether print or electronic. Make sure there is enough light for people to read by. Verses read during the message may be projected, but not the whole text.
  • Have Bibles available in the sanctuary. If you don’t have Bibles in the seats, be sure they are readily available at the entrance doors. For a while, you may even offer a Bible to each person entering, along with the bulletin or other printed materials. Well before you are ready to read the passage, ask if anyone needs a Bible, and have ushers ready to pass them out. Oh, and be sure they are all the same translation and format (see next point).
  • Announce the passage at least twice. Make sure the reference is in the bulletin and put it on the screen.
  • Help us find the passage. Tell us the page number in the available Bibles, but also give some hints on finding it in our own Bibles (e.g., table of contents, general location, major books before or after the passage, etc.). Give us time, too! You may even print a QR code in the bulletin, linking to the passage in an online Bible such as www.biblegateway.com. (QR codes are easy to generate and can be used to link to just about any website. But be sure to test it each week, or you might end up with some surprises.)
  • Give a Bible to anyone who wants one, no questions asked! This should be the first priority in your annual budget, or at least a non-negotiable. They don’t have to be high-quality leather Bibles; inexpensive paperbacks are fine. But be generous with God’s Word!

One last thought: Ask everyone to stand up when reading the main passage. In this we follow the example of the people of Israel, who stood in honor of God’s Word when Ezra opened the Book of the Law (see Nehemiah 8).

If God’s Word is worth proclaiming each Sunday, and worth teaching our kids, then it’s certainly worth these simple steps. And you just may convince me, too, Pastor, that knowing and listening to God is even more important than listening to you!

5.25.15

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

marble whitecaps undulating on seas of green
each cross, each star, an etchéd mem’ry
	of some fallen one
heroes all, though none would deign
	to claim the title
we’ve given them today

they trained for war yet prayed for peace
	and wrestled freedom from tyranny’s grasp
while longing for home and love and life
	and one more day with son or wife

for us they fought, who never knew
	the battles’ fears and weapons’ fury
for us who now too oft forget
	the price our precious freedoms carry

they fought in wars not understood
	in fields and jungles, skies and seas
in desert sands, on snowy peaks
	in skirmish lines or unmanned planes
through rifle sights or satellites
	with bayonets and house-to-house
in blood-filled trench or concrete bunker

while some returned to ticker tape
	or ship’s first kiss
		or great surprise
still others came in flag-draped box
	or not at all—
		interred at deep
			or buried ‘neath some foreign soil

today we stand beside the sea
	of marble white and fescued green
unable now to fully grasp
	the weight of sacrifices past
the names unknown to but a few
	rememb’ring what we never knew
		and cannot know…
we honor them no less


Poem and Photo Copyright 2015 by Randall J. Ehle. All rights reserved.

Dear Youth Pastor…

Dear Youth Pastor,

Every Sunday morning as we are about to walk out the door to go to church, I ask my kids, “Do you have your Bibles?” More often than not, the answer is, “No, we don’t need them. The words are always up on the screen.” And every time I hear that answer, I get sad.

Lest you think I am just a disgruntled old man clinging desperately to the twentieth century… well, maybe there’s a little truth in that. But this isn’t primarily about expecting or even just encouraging kids to have one of those old-school, black leather-bound, gilt-edged, words-of-Christ-in-red Bible-thumper Bibles… though there’s something to be said for those, too (even if a few details are changed, like the cover and the gold edges). It’s about training kids—discipling (matheteuo) them—to read, know, use, honor, and love God’s Word. 

I know that times are changing. I’m sure that Gutenberg’s mother was upset after he invented the printing press, because “no no one will bring their scrolls to the cathedral anymore. And just how do you expect someone to carry that big book-thing with them, anyway?” (Have you seen a Gutenberg Bible? The thing is gargantuan!) Yes, I am old-school enough that I’d like my kids to know their way around an actual printed and bound Bible. I’d also like them to be able to tell time on one of those ancient watches with hour hands and minute hands, and to do long division with a pencil on paper. But just like calculators and timepieces have evolved, so has how we interact with Scripture. The Bible app on my smart phone helps me track down Nahum in a pinch, but I can still find most passages quicker in my paper Bible. Word searches are far easier on my phone, too, versus the fifteen-pound Exhaustive Concordance I bought in my twenties; so is comparing mulitple translations. 

I also recognize that we are living in a world far more reliant on audio and video than when I was a kid. In fact, some scholars suggest the West is again becoming a predominantly oral culture. If that’s true, then we as pastors have much to learn from missiologists who work in other oral cultures. We will need to learn, for example, about “Bible storying” and how to apply orality concepts to our Western churches. It’s not just about literacy, either—whether someone can read; it’s about how people learn, take in information, and engage with that information. 

But we’re not there yet. We still live in a rich and highly literate nation; reading and education are still highly valued in most segments of our society. And if we (the church) are about discipling—training—young men and women to be mature followers of Jesus Christ who are equipped to disciple others, then surely a part of that training ought to be familiarity with, comfort with, and knowledge of the Word that has been passed down for the better part of two millennia. 

So next Sunday try something different. Turn off the projector, hand out some Bibles, and say, “let’s all turn to __________. Need some help? Here’s how to find it….” Then tell the kids to bring their own Bible the following week, and offer to give them one if they don’t have one. (Better yet, sell them one for $5 or two memorized verses!) It’s not your job to teach my kids to know the Bible, but you can certainly help me in the task.

Of Canes and Cancers

Many years ago I had the privilege of meeting the late Dr. Vernon Grounds, then Chancellor Emeritus of Denver Seminary. I never knew him well; my introduction came while the then-80-year-old theologian and scholar was in the middle of making himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! But the few things I learned about him told me he was a very interesting man whom it would have been fun to know. For all his learning and influence in the world of today’s Christian leaders, my own takeaway from Dr. Grounds has nothing to do with theology. Instead, it is all about canes.

When I met with the Chancellor in his office, it wasn’t his personal library of some 25,00 volumes that caught my attention, but the dozens of canes from around the world hanging on his walls. Intrigued by this unique collection, I asked Dr. Grounds about it. Although I don’t recall the exact story, it began with one walking stick picked up as a souvenir during a trip. After that humble beginning, friends and co-workers began returning from their own travel adventures with a cane or walking stick to add to Dr. Grounds’ growing collection. Eventually the canes outgrew the stand by his office door and were hung on the wall. As I picture the scene in my mind, the collection adorned the upper third of the high-ceilinged office wall behind his desk.

I have been a collector since I was a child; in less-gracious times, my mother called me a packrat, but I prefer how Gallup’s Strengths Finder assessment describes it: I have the signature theme of Input. On my family’s first ski trip to Austria when I was fourteen—just a few months after we had moved to Germany—I bought my first cane, intended to display small souvenir shields from the places I would visit during our time in Europe. I picked up a dozen or so of the shields over the next few years living in Germany and later in England, and continued to collect them after returning to the the U.S. Today that cane is covered with reminders from Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, England, and Wales; as well as California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. As it filled, I began to add not more shields, but more canes.

I bought my second walking stick—a beautifully and intricately carved piece of mahogany (I think) inlaid with copper—when I went to Ethiopia for the first time. When I went into a shop and told the shopkeeper what I was looking for, he joked that “walking sticks are for old men going to church!” In the post-9/11 world I was not allowed to carry the cane home on the plane with me, so it joined the other luggage in the vast underbelly of the aircraft…where some of the carving broke.

My next cane was from my parents’ trip to North Africa, then I bought one in Liberia, then a long hiatus before I found one that may prove to have more significance than any other. The irony is that it was purchased not on some adventurous trip to a distant country, but in a souvenir shop at, of all places, Disneyland! But the significance of that particular outing was great.

In late summer 2013, my wife’s younger sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her battle has been long and hard. Days of tremendous struggle have been followed by reports of miraculous progress…only to be followed again by the cloud of a tumor that continued to spread in spite of every possible form of treatment. In late March, 2015, we learned that the treatments were not working and there was no other viable options. The news ripped into our family’s hearts. For me, it brought back too-vivid memories from decades earlier, when my brother’s battle with cancer reached a similar point.

Exhausted by the nearly two year fight to save her life for her childrens’ sake, my sister-in-law decided that the battle now was to live—really live—with her children as best she could, while she could. And so the next day (35 years to the day after my brother’s battle ended), the whole family—three sisters, their husbands, and seven kids—went to Disneyland! While the kids rode as many rides as they could, the adults spent as much time talking as possible, laughing at times, crying at times. And as we walked mindlessly through one of the many gift shops I saw it: a cane, nicely carved and beautifully painted. I picked it up to look closer and was surprised to find a label proclaiming that it was hand-carved in Africa. Maybe I just want to believe that and maybe it really was made there; in either case, the design and the price were both right, and now I have in my collection a walking stick that will forever be a reminder of my dear sister-in-law, her love for her husband and kids, and their love for the Magic Kingdom.

Jeaneen Blackinton Davis died peacefully on April 27, 2015, slipping from her cancer-stricken body into the eternally-healing arms of her savior, Jesus.

Death Is Dead

jesus statue kneeling

Though death is dead
        to death he wages war
Each death a vict'ry
        in this lovers' quarrel
'tween sin and death—
        two partners in the fight
to steal mens' lives
        and lay them in the grave
 
Yes death is dead
       but still death carries pain
As one much-loved
       slips out beyond our grasp
And leaves a hole
       that never shall be filled
Though life and time
       for us yet linger on
 
Yes death is dead
        and sin's defeated, too
That much made known
        one Resurrection Day
When One who died
        for sin lay buried in the ground
And three days on
        no longer to be found
 
Yes death is dead
       and life is sweeter far
When lived with hope
       of life beyond the grave
A life for Him 
       who buried death itself
To give us life
       eternally with Him


[Written in honor of my sister-in-law, Jeaneen Blackinton Davis, as she fought a brain tumor that finally stole her life on April 27, 2015.]

The Steadfast Love of the Lord Endures Forever

Photo copyright 2014-2015 by Randall J. Ehle. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright 2014-2015 by Randall J. Ehle. All rights reserved.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

So begins Psalm 136…and then continues for twenty-six verses with the same refrain: “for his steadfast love endures forever.” This was never one of my favorite psalms. I always thought it was too choppy and repetitive, not flowing well in my prose-centered, Western mind. The only words that stood out to me were those repeated lines. Okay, I get it already. “The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.” Next psalm. Or do I get it? I never took the time to analyze the psalm because it’s a song—emotional, not intellectual. Shouldn’t poems and songs simply float into our minds, their meanings gently wafting into our subconscious with hardly a notice from us? Or, as Archibald MacLeish penned, “A poem should not mean | But be” (Ars Poetica).

Only when I took the time to read between those obnoxious, repetitive lines in Psalm 136 did I notice what this psalm is doing. It is not merely a call to gratitude, though it is that. The first three verses and the last all begin with, “Give thanks to….” Give thanks to the Lord, the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the God of heaven. He is the object of our gratitude, the Source of all we have and are. He is above everything we worship or serve, like money and security and family and even health; yet He is at the same time a personal God with a personal name (Yahweh or YHWH, also written as LORD). Give thanks. A good and needed reminder. But there is more.

It is also not simply a mantra of God’s love, though it is most certainly that. His steadfast love endures forever. We Westerners—and certainly we Christians—are not accustomed to mantras. These repeated words used as aids in meditation stem from the Eastern religions of Hinduism and Buddhism; since we have lost the art (and meaning) of meditation, we run from anything that resembles it. (Don’t get me started on Christmas trees and Hallowe’en.) Yet repetition runs throughout Scripture and church history, and we do well to employ it in our communion with God.

Between the exhortation to gratitude and the mantra of God’s steadfast love, Psalm 136 simply tells a story: God’s story. Israel’s story. Our story. Each line is a reminder of who God is or what He has done: He made the sun, moon, and stars (verses 7-9); He rescued Israel from Egypt (10-16); He led them to victory in battle (17-20) and gave them a homeland (21-22); He remembers and watches over His people (23-25). And at every step of creation, salvation, destination—at the very core of who God is and what He does—is His steadfast love.

It’s easy to breeze right through the Psalm and miss its depths and richness, to let the repeating words slip across the tongue without ever digesting them. But don’t. Instead, sit and soak in this Psalm as in a hot tub, basking in its truths and comforts, remembering God’s presence and activity…and His steadfast love. And someday—some quiet, rainy day with a cup of coffee by your side and a pen and journal in hand—write out your own story, then go back and insert this lines between each event:

“…for the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.”

 

Why You Shouldn’t Go To Seminary

I have just started writing for a couple blogs, published by Logos Bible Software, which are geared toward current and prospective seminary students. My first post was just posted at best-seminary.com and, ironically, is titled, “Why You Shouldn’t Go To Seminary.” Now I need to hurry and finish a follow-up piece that will be titled, “Why You Should Go To Seminary”—before Logos decides they don’t want me writing anymore!