“Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.” — 1 Corinthians 14:7-8
The men who wrote the word of God were concise, clear, and effective in sharing, teaching, and preaching the word of God. As a result, people were taught faith, grew in faith, and obeying the faith.
Today, we must be just as clear, concise, and consistent when proclaiming the truth and for the same reason! The Lord is depending on us to preach the truth in love so that others will come to know, understand, and obey the truth!
If we decide to be, unclear, confusing, and vague in our teaching and preaching God’s Word, then we have missed the heart of what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church.
This certainly doesn’t conflict with what Peter said about some of Paul’s writings (2 Peter 3:14-16). Peter says that few of Paul’s teachings were difficult to understand. Which is certainly true. I do believe that even though they were difficult to understand they were nonetheless understandable. A little more digging and studying would certainly reveal the truth that God intended and therefore be understood. The meat and potatoes of the Word take a little longer to prepare, serve, and eat. While it might take a little longer to get to eat and digest it is certainly worth it.
However, don’t miss the fact that Peter says there are the rest of the Scriptures. Scriptures that are easy to understand.
Paul was referring to (in 1 Corinthians 14:7-8) to teaching a clear and concise message. Preaching should always be understood and simple in order to produce obedient faith!
As we move forward and grow in Fulshear we are determined that our message will be easy to understand so that we aren’t only speaking into the air.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” — Romans 10:17
The first song I remember my mother and grandmother singing to me was, “Jesus Loves Me.” As a three-year-old I sat on my grandmother’s lap in a lawn chair and I remember asking her to sing it over and over again. I have heard our teachers sing, “Jesus Love the Little Children” and I myself still sing this song to my granddaughter. When we have her for the weekend she asks, “We going to church papa?” We have a great influence on people by our actions in worship. We sing these songs to our children and grandchildren today. We hummed these songs to infants when they are sick, hungry or just crying. Why? Because we were made to worship.
To worship God is to walk through the shadows into a familiar welcoming place, where the fire never dies, and the light is soft and glowing. To worship God is to know we are truly home, acting on a desire deep in our souls. Long before we rationally understand the truth of Christ, we want to praise someone or something for bringing love, joy, and hope into the world. We are made to be worshipers -- worshipers of God from the heart. Thinking worshipers. Working worshipers.
Teach us to worship, Lord. Not just to be emotionally ecstatic or to just feel good, but heart-based worship of You, my spirit with Your Spirit. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Psalm 95:6-7). “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.” (Psalm 89:7) The text
stresses the need for reverence on the part of those who would draw nigh to God and the Bible commands this throughout. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Worship literally means to kiss toward; the act of homage or adoration paid to God. The concept of reverence raises certain questions which need to be answered for us to more fully understand its significance. Read Psalm 89:7 again. “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.” God is to be exalted above all else. The natural question then is this: Have you personally placed Him above everything? Have you worshipped Him reverently? This is something we must ponder with ourselves and family.
A study was done by a researcher in which he attended 18 different churches on successive Sundays to rate their friendliness and warmth factor. He sat near the front of the auditorium each time and walked slowly to the rear then returned to the front using another aisle. On each occasion, he was dressed neatly and with a smile asked at least one person to direct him to the fellowship hour or a Sunday School Class.
He used the following point scale to rate his reception:
10 - for a smile from a worshiper
10 - for a greeting from someone nearby
100 - for an exchange of names
200 - for an invitation to Bible Class or fellowship time 1000 - for an introduction to another worshiper
2000 - for an invitation to meet a church leader
Each of the 18 churches earned less than 100 points. The researcher concluded: "The preaching may be biblical, the singing inspirational and the service uplifting but when a guest finds no one cares whether or not he is there, he is not likely to return.”
Friends remember to be the gracious, hospitable smile of Jesus to everyone you meet when we gather together. Why? Because I know you care and because they will know we are Christians by our love! (written by Gregg Lee)
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Psa. 136:1)
You know, mercy always precedes grace, but they always go hand in hand. Before God gives us what we do not deserve (grace), He first withholds from us the judgement we have coming (mercy). Our God is, by nature, merciful: He does not treat us as we rightfully deserve. Rather, in loving grace, Our Father pours out His forgiveness over us. For such mercy and grace, we can never praise Him enough.
Imagine if God’s mercy were to somehow expire. What if one day He’d had enough of forgiving our sins - those sins that we can’t seem to master or turn away from? What if He were to reach a point where He decided to mete out exactly what we deserve as punishment for our sins, our faithlessness, and our self-centered ways? This is something to really ponder.
Of course, that turn of events would violate His own gospel: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) If God’s mercy were to expire, we would perish.
“Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever. (Psa. 136:26) God is the only doctor will never send you a bill.
Let us thank God for loving us unconditionally! Amen.
This past Tuesday Jonathan and Kathy Furlong drove to George Bush Intercontinental Airport to greet our new daughter and welcome her into our Fulshear Family. The Furlongs fought Houston traffic, bad weather, and time just to say “HELLO.” (Sorry for bringing attention to your kindness but this was beautiful!!). It was a moving and certainly a very appreciative response.
They brought flowers, warm smiles, love, and kindness. The extension of love, support, and hugs were a special touch for an apprehensive soul, who wasn’t sure about the journey, the language or people.
Love is a universal language that breaks down barriers. Kindness is a gift that has no parameters. You have heard that it actually takes fewer muscles to smile than to from — Well ...that may not be true. However, you would rather receive a smile than a frown because it’s a welcoming invite into a beautiful place. These are gracious gifts for all people, all times, genders and all places.
We have visitors who come into our presence here among our Fulshear Family who are just as apprehensive, nervous, and unsure about what to expect when they arrive. What these precious souls need is love, kindness, a smile, and a gentle warm embrace. It might very well be the response that helps them to understand this is a beautiful place!
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…” Rom. 12:9-10