Inspiring Quotes and Scriptures about Worship- Part 1

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Aug 252019

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: Inspiring Quotes and Scriptures about Worship- Part 1 By:  Ron Woodrum

  Worship is how we express our love, adoration, admiration, and wonder at God’s presence. The Christian breathes in God’s goodness and exhales worship. For a lot of the church, worship has become synonymous with singing—but that’s just one way that worship expresses itself. True worship happens when our entire life becomes a declaration of trust in God’s incredible mercy. Paul expressed this very idea when he said, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom. 12:1) The very best quote I have ever heard about worship is by William Temple. He says, “Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of our minds by His truth; the purifying of our imagination by His beauty and perfection; the opening of our heart to His love; the surrender of our wills to His purpose; All this gathered up in adoration is the most selfless emotion of which our human nature is capable!” A.W. Tozer calls worship- “The Missing Jewel of the Church!”


1. Worship is practice for eternity

“I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.”—A.W. Tozer

Someday worship will be an integral part of our everyday existence. It will not be an activity that comes from faith, but will be a natural response that arises from first-hand experience with being eternally in the presence of the the living God. Christians who have no desire to spend time worshipping God, at Church with others who share the same love and adoration for Him, are a paradox. They might just be fooling themselves!


2. We desperately need to worship

“I need to worship because without it I can forget that I have a big God beside me and live in fear. I need to worship because without it I can forget his calling and begin to live in a spirit of self-preoccupation. I need to worship because without it I lose a sense of wonder and gratitude and plod through life with blinders on. I need worship because my natural tendency is toward self-reliance and stubborn independence.”—John Ortberg.

We need to stop arguing about contemporary worship, traditional worship, and start offering Biblical worship to our people every worship service! God uses worship to re-center our priorities and reestablish where our security lies. We can be taught why it’s important to praise and glorify God, but until it’s a regular part of our lives, we’ll never understand how God is using it to keep us focused. Jesus said “God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth…for the Father seeks such to worship Him.” (John 4: 23-24).


3. Seeking a worshipful spirit

“You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You. Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us. Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.”—Augustine of Hippo.

The Old Testament says, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise will always be continually in my mouth.” (David-Psalm 34:1). The New Testament affirms the same thing. Hebrews 13:13 “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name!” In this world, our hunger for worship will wax and wane. It’s appropriate and imperative that we ask God to rekindle a worshipful spirit within us. Sometimes the most powerful prayer we can pray is, “God, make me a worshiper.”


4. Worship springs from amazement

“We are perishing for lack of wonder, not for lack of wonders.”—G.K. Chesterton. That is why Vance Havner always said, “Worship starts at 10:30 sharp and ends at 12:00 dull!” We live in an amazing world that doesn’t lack for awe-inspiring marvels of nature and technology. It’s critical that we don’t become deadened to wonder, because astonishment is a raw material for worship. The moment we lose that childlike sense of wonder, it’s hard to worship with any real vigor.


5. Worship arises from right priorities

“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of God, and His Son, as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.”—Charles Spurgeon

Every human being has a natural inclination toward worship. If our world isn’t rightly ordered, we will end up worshiping and serving things besides God. It isn’t until we’re able to rightly prioritize God above everything else in our world that we can begin to worship in spirit and truth.


6. We worship an amazing God

“Many Spirit-filled authors have exhausted the thesaurus in order to describe God with the glory He deserves. His perfect holiness, by definition, assures us that our words can’t contain Him. Isn’t it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?”—Francis Chan

It’s mind-blowing to think that we can worship God for thousands of years and never exhaust his worshipful attributes. If we become bored with worship, it’s likely that we’ve lost sight of this truth. Some Christians get frustrated that God is beyond our comprehension! Any other kind of God is not worthy of our devotion!


7. Music is a divine gift

“Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through music.”—Martin Luther.

Enough said! We have the very best of both! Amen? There’s a reason that nearly every culture and religion incorporate worship into the act of worship. Music stirs some portion of our hearts that intellect alone cannot touch. When you think about it, it’s strange that music should exist at all. But somewhere, at some time, someone sang the first song—and it was a gift of His grace!

 Posted by at 3:11 am

“But for the Grace of God”

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Aug 182019

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “But for the Grace of God” By:  Ron Woodrum

 Once a year doorbells all across America ring and residents answering that summons will discover some of the most hideous faces, monsters, and figures standing on their doorsteps beckoning “trick or treat!” Admittedly there is much debate in the Christian realm whether this is a holiday that Christians should participate in with such enthusiasm! Some Churches have resolved the dilemma by having a trunk or treat experience where Children experience goodies as a gift in the Church parking lot, with tracts pointing them to the Savior. Not a bad idea, I guess. But then I also see a hidden bit of wisdom in this annual charade. Truth be known we all wear masks. We all hide the true person we are-sometimes even from ourselves! Maybe this is a holiday we should participate in as a reminder of facing the reality hiding in the deep recesses of our inner-most being and reminding us of who we would be apart from the Grace of God active in our lives. We all have heard the phrase-“but for the Grace of God go I”. The story is widely circulated that the phrase was first spoken by the English evangelical preacher and martyr John Bradford (1510-1555). Bradford, upon seeing a group of prisoners being led to the scaffolds to be executed reportedly said, “There but for the Grace of God goes John Bradford”. Bradford may have been paraphrasing a statement of the Apostle Paul’s in I Corinthians 15:8-10, where the Apostle tells the Corinthians “I am the least of the Apostles, not even fit to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God…but because of the Grace of God I am what I am: and His grace was bestowed upon me not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the Grace of God that was with me!” Truth be known, apart from the Grace of God, all of us “paint a pretty ugly portrait!”

I love the story that Eugene Peterson tells from his days as a seminary student. He was working at a Presbyterian Church as an intern, in New York City. He became friends with a man who was working as a janitor at the Church. They became good friends. This encounter changes Peterson’s life. Listen to how he tells it-from his autobiography Running With Horses: “Willi Ossa was an artist, the first artist I had ever known personally…Willi was the Church Janitor. But janitor was not who he was. Janitor was his job. He himself was a painter, a serious painter. He painted mostly on canvas with oils…Willi had a severely negative opinion of the Church. Severely negative is an understatement. It was outraged hostility. He had lived through the War and had personally experienced the evil of Hitler, perpetrated by the German church. His pastor had become a fervent Nazi…and He couldn’t understand why I wanted anything to do with the Church. He warned me of the evil and corrupting influence it would have on me…He liked me and didn’t want to see his friend destroyed. He asked if he could paint my portrait. I agreed to sit for him, at his apartment, one hour a week. He wanted to work on a new form of painting so he would never let me see the portrait until it was finished. One afternoon, as the project neared completion, his wife came into the room bringing refreshments. She looked at the portrait and exclaimed ‘Krank! Krank!’ I knew enough German to hear-‘Sick! Sick!’ In rapid exchange of sharp words between them, I caught Willi’s ‘Kicht krank, aber keine Gnade’-‘he’s not sick now, but that’s the way he will look when the mercy gets squeezed out of him’. He had painted me in a black pulpit robe, seated with a red Bible on my lap, my hands folded over it. The face was gaunt and grim, the eyes flat and without expression. I asked him why he had painted me that way. I did not resemble that image at all! His response was twenty years from now you will if you continue on with your aim of being a Pastor in the Church”. Peterson put that painting up in his study for years as a reminder of what he could potentially become if the Grace of God ever was withdrawn from his life. It was a daily reminder that without the Grace of God that all of us, like the Church that fell under the influence of the evil of Hitler, can become evil and corrupt. We all have potential for evil beyond our own understanding. That is why Jeremiah warned us in Jeremiah 17:9 that “the heart is desperately wicked-who can know it?”

Adrian Rogers, Pastor of the Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee used to tell his people that there are three people in your pew. There is the person you currently are. There is also the person you could be if you had never experienced the grace of God in the forgiveness of sins, and transformation of the indwelling of the Spirit of God, as a believer; but there is a third person potentially there. The person that you could become if you would choose to fully surrender yourself to God, no holds barred. We need to face up to who we are really. We need to confess our worst selves to God. He has dealt with those sins on Calvary’s cross. We need to deal with them rather than conceal them! That is why Soren Kirkegaard wrote “No one is so terribly deceived as he who does not himself suspect it!” It is time to quit kidding ourselves. Take off the mask. Bring the real you and me to the foot of the cross. Let the grace of God that transformed Paul transform us. It will make a Grateful Saint out of us for the rest of our days! Today’s message is about a woman that experienced that Amazing Grace. Her sins which were many were forgiven. She showed her gratitude by washing His feet with her tears. Tears of repentance and tears of rejoicing. Jesus asked the question “who loves the most?” The answer is the one who fully understands the magnitude of his or sins as an affront to the holiness of God and has experienced forgiveness fully, freely, finally forever!

 Posted by at 3:21 am

“Dorian Gray: The High Cost of Low Living”.

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Aug 112019

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Dorian Gray: The High Cost of Low Living”.  By:  Ron Woodrum

In his book, Death In The City, Francis Schaeffer, in 1969, saw with an accurate prophetic eye, what we are living out today. He begins his book with these words-“We live in a post-Christian world!” He details the enormity of what this means, and then says, “Do not take this lightly! It is a horrible thing for a man like myself to look back and see my country and my culture go down the drain in my own lifetime”. He declared the West was in the process of abandoning its spiritual heritage and is now wallowing in sin, immorality, and apostasy. (I would love to hear his opinion of where we are today). He continued, “The only perspective we can have of the post-Christian world or our generation: an understanding that our culture and our country is under the wrath of God. This is serious business. Do you think a country can throw away its Christian base and remain as it has been? Jeremiah would say, ‘you should be crying!’ ” Ravi Zacharias has picked up the mantle of Schaeffer, and in his book Deliver Us From Evil, warns of the same calamity, and tries to show us how to recover from this Evangelical disaster, though he is not optimistic that it will happen. In that book Ravi names one of the popular influences that contributed to the collapse of the Christian moral point of view. It is the book by Oscar Wilde titled The Picture of Dorian Gray. The book was written in 1890, but it still having a detrimental effect upon our culture. Zacharias says, “If there is an image that mirrors the mind of the West today, it is strikingly reflected in… The Picture Of Dorian Gray“. This familiar story describes an exceptionally handsome young man so physically captivating that he drew persistent and awe-stricken adulation of a great artist. The artist talks him into being the subject of a portrait, saying he had never seen a face more attractive and pure. When the picture is done and presented to young Dorian, he is so fixated and enraptured with his own looks that he expresses the longing to live any way he pleases, utterly abandoned to any passions and desires, without restraint, and without consequences! Any disfigurement from such a dissolute life, he wished would mar only the picture, leaving his pristine face unblemished! Like Faust of old, Dorian gets his wish granted. He launches off into a life of uncontrolled wickedness. The details of the novel shocked the Victorian culture of the 1890s both in England and France! He plumbed the depths of sin and wickedness, sensuality and even murder! All his vices left his physical appearance completely untainted. One day, he encounters that portrait he had hidden away, only to discover it bore the horror and scars of a life scandalously lived! Being afraid that someone else might see the portrait, and discover his hidden life, he buried it among goods he kept in the attic. But one day, his artist friend discovers it. Overcome with grief the artist confronts Dorian and implores him to turn from his wasteful life and seek God’s forgiveness! The artist tells him, somewhere it says, “Come let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be white like wool.” In a fit of rage Dorian grabs a knife and kills the artist, silencing his convicting voice! The story reaches an emotional climax when, Dorian, no longer able to stand the indictment of the picture, reaches for the knife once more to destroy the portrait and remove the only visible reminder of his wicked life! The moment he thrust the knife blade into the canvas the portrait returns, miraculously, to its pristine beauty, and Dorian Gray himself lay stabbed to death on the floor. The ravages that marred the picture now disfigured his own countenance that he was unrecognizable to the servants who heard the scream of death and came rushing in to help!

The power of this book lies in the question: Can an individual or society live with complete disregard for the moral and spiritual laws that God has placed within His creation without paying the ultimate price? Can the soul of a people abandon God’s laws without paying a high price? As much as we may wish we can abandon all restraints, and go our own willful and sinful ways, calling black white and white black, there is still a high price to pay. There is a high cost to low living, our generation has even rejected the message of Oscar Wilde in this book, and lived more according to the life Wilde lived early on. Wilde is famous for advocating living however one wants to live. He said, “nothing succeeds like excess”, and “nothing is good or bad, only charming or dull”. He said, “I can resist anything…but temptation!” That kind of life left him dead at the age of 46, dying ten years after his masterpiece! What most people do not know is that Oscar Wilde, before he died, is said to have repented of his wicked ways, sought to join the Church, and was refused because of his famous wicked past! He is quoted as saying, “Ah! Happy day they whose hearts can break, and peace of pardon win! How else may man make straight his plan, and cleanse his soul from Sin? How else but through a broken heart may the Lord Christ enter in?” His prayer? “Come down, O Christ, and save me, reach thy hand down for I am drowning in a stormier sea than Simon on thy lake of Galilee”. He had made several trips to the Holy Land and was amazed at the accuracy of the Gospel stories and their accuracy concerning Christ. In one of his children’s books he tells the story of a giant whose life becomes only winter. One day a child comes and invites him to come to a garden of paradise that is Spring returned. When the giant questions who this child is, he discovers this is a child who has nail scars in his hands…and those scars are the price paid to enable the return of Spring and Paradise. Oscar Wilde wanted to write a fifth Gospel story to elaborate on the truth of that message. He never lived long enough to write that book. Maybe the miraculous restoration of the picture of Dorian Gray was parable of the picture of one Oscar Wilde finding restoration in becoming renewed in Christ? God only knows. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “We are saved by grace, through faith, it is the gift of God, not of ourselves lest any man should boast.” We seldom read Ephesians 2:10. It says, “for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works”. The word “workmanship” is the word “poema”. It means “masterpiece”. Our saved, redeemed, restored souls and lives are God’s eternal artwork and masterpiece. When we see our own portrait, and that of our society marred by unbridled sin and wickedness, bearing the high price of low living…the only hope for our generation is a new portrait, one bearing the marks of our Savior’s transforming touch. The Portrait of a New Creation! Let the new painting begin! Our world desperately needs His artistic touch! We all need to be transformed by the Love of God, from the God of Love. What a Loving Portrait He makes of us!

 Posted by at 3:30 am

“Life saving station or lovely clubhouse?”

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Aug 042019

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Life saving station or lovely clubhouse?”  By:  Ron Woodrum

Let me begin by saying it this way. Everything great in life, everything worthwhile, everything significant, everything supremely impactful and fulfilling is the result of someone’s undeniable and unstoppable passion. The things that mark human history as unique events are the result of people who have a deep and consuming desire to see something come to pass. And if Christianity is to impact the world, it must be carried by people who have a consuming desire to see it reach the ends of the earth. There must be a certain passion involved in Christian evangelism. But because we live in an age which literally overwhelms us, which overpowers us, which dominates our thinking, the age in which we live tends to dull our sharpness. It tends to blunt our commitment. It tends to obscure the reality of what is a genuinely legitimate goal and what is an illegitimate involvement in nothing more than trivia. We live in an age that robs our faith of its inflammatory power. And for the most part, it seems to me that Christians are content to sort of set out their faith in mental crystals. It’s just sort of hard and clear and clean-cut and that’s about it. There are Christians today, it seems to me, that sort of are a cold bath for every fiery heart. In fact, when we meet someone with passion who is concerned about some spiritual enterprise, we don’t understand that because that is not the norm. The norm is to sort of have your Christianity fit in somewhere so it doesn’t disrupt your life style, or it doesn’t…it doesn’t create discomfort for you. It doesn’t break into your leisure.

Many in Christianity today have a big brain but a very small heart. And the church’s temperature has dropped. Her step is leaden and her spirit is somewhat apathetic. Whenever I think about that I am reminded of something I found years ago in the Presbyterian Journal that I think is so powerful, I read it to you about seven years ago, in a message I preached. And I want you to read it, and take it to heart again. It is a modern parable.

“On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut and there was only one boat but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea and with no thought for themselves they went out day and night tireously searching for the lost. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little life-saving station and it became famous. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and wanted to give their time and money and effort for the support of its work. So new boats were bought and new crews were trained and the little life-saving station grew. Some of the members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt a little more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. So, they replaced the emergency cots and beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely because they used it as sort of a club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life saving missions so they hired life boat crews to do the work.

The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decorations and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where club initiations were held. About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. And the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So, the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where the victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside. At the next meeting there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life. Some members insisted on life-saving as their primary purpose, pointed out they were still called a life-saving station. They were finally voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast, which they did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that occurred in the old one. It evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself. And if you visit that coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters but most of the people drown”.

You get the idea. It’s a parable of the church. And we have to ask ourselves the question: where has the passion for life saving gone? Where is the burden for evangelism? Why is it that evangelism seems to be a distraction for the church rather than its central function? Where is the spirit of Jeremiah who in chapter 9 verse 1 said, “Oh, that my head were waters and mine eyes a fountain of tears that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people?” He wished that he had a head filled with water so that it could gush out with all of the emotion bottled up inside, escaping only minimally through his tears. Has the church settled for a self-indulgent kind of Christianity that makes of the church nothing more than activity center? Are we all content with comfort and personal prosperity? If you look back at history, the record of history is that all of its greatest ages have been marked by certain valiant efforts of men. Men who have bridged the gulf which threatened to destroy their society by walking over the body of some fanatic who made himself a highway for his people. The world has always been turned by fanatics. It has always been turned by the passionate people. John Stewart Blackey said many years ago, quote: “The early church worked by a fervent contagion, not by the persuasion of a cool argument. The Christian method of conversion, not by logical arguments but by contagion and the power of the Holy Spirit, has with the masses of mankind always proved itself the most effective,” end quote.

What he’s saying is, evangelism is effective when it comes from what the Africans Christians used to call the “hot heart” rather than the cool mind. It is the passion for holiness and the passion for lost people to come to Christ that fires the church and makes it powerful. When the church is preoccupied with its comfort, something wrong has taken over. When that happens-The life-saving station becomes a lovely, useless social club! May it never be so at Tri Valley Baptist Church? You and I are the only ones who can guarantee that it does not! We need to pray the pray of one of Illinois’ greatest Southern Baptist Evangelists, Leon Kilbreath, from Benton, Illinois. I remember hearing him pray one time, “Lord, don’t ever let me get used to seeing people go to hell!”

 Posted by at 3:25 am