Ugliness Into Beauty #3: The Witness of Nonviolence #podcast

The third blessing of the cross is its witness of nonviolence which has provided the basis for an entirely different way of living and pursuing political causes. Nonviolence is not acquiescence, politeness, or passive aggression. It confronts violence; it tests the authenticity of love; it depends upon the truth; and it seeks communion. Here are my sermon slides and audio. If you would like to receive the audio in a form that you can listen to when you go to the gym or commute to work, subscribe to my podcast.

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Worship not performance

In contemporary Christian worship, a distinction is often made between worship that is “really worship” versus “just a performance.” For example, does the music invite authentic congregational participation or is it filled with guitar solos, pyrotechnics, and fog machines that make the service a concert that gives people goose bumps for cheap manufactured reasons? I want to look at a different contrast between worship and performance that I see at the heart of the gospel. I believe we were created to worship every moment of every day. The purpose of gathering to sing and pray and learn each weekend is merely to retune ourselves for a week of worship. The problem is that we misunderstand what worship means: we think it’s performing for God, putting on a show to prove to Him that we really believe in Him so that He won’t throw us in hell. But performance is actually the greatest obstacle to true worship, the definition of which is summarized in a single verse — Psalm 37:4: “Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” It’s not hard to learn how to worship; my three year old son knows perfectly how. The impossible challenge that Jesus died on the cross to make possible is unlearning performance. Continue reading