Why Do You Worship?

Worship BG - Not To Us

This blog post was adapted from a sermon that I gave at the Harvard Avenue Student Ministry youth group on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Key Text: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

WHAT IS WORSHIP?

You and I are worshiping every second of every day. We are continually pouring ourselves out for people, causes, things, or experiences. Worship never stops.

So what is worship? It is much more than just singing songs or playing an instrument (though that is certainly part of it). Christian worship is a biblically faithful response to a biblically faithful understanding of God. It is both internal and external. The internal spirit of worship comes from experiencing and treasuring the beauty and worth of God as presented in the Bible. This results in an external response that shows what we have experienced and treasure. Worship begins in the heart as a matter of spirit and truth, and then flows out of the heart to impact every part of our daily life.

The opposite of selfless Christian worship is selfish worship, or idolatry. Idolatry is an unbiblical, unfaithful understanding of God and/or an unbiblical, unfaithful response to Him. Just like true worship, idolatry begins internally long before it manifests itself externally. And like true worship, it eventually flows from our heart to impact every area of our life.

John Calvin famously said, “The human heart is an idol factory.” Because of the sinful tendencies of our heart, we can twist things that are meant to bring glory to God and make them into idols. In other words, sin is not just doing bad things, but also making good things into ultimate things. This turns selfless worship into selfish worship. This is the very issue that Paul is addressing in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34Read more of this post

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3 Distinctives of Christian Business Ethics

Business ethics are a hot topic these days. With everything from insider trading to employee theft on the rise, it is no wonder that businesses are beginning to focus on the impact of ethical leadership. But along with this new focus comes a lot of “gray area.” Many times, managers are forced to decide on issues where there are arguments on both sides – a problem that makes ethical decision-making very difficult.

 “Business ethics” is often regarded as an oxymoron, in the way that “military intelligence” and “open secret” are considered to be counterintuitive. Given that business has to do with promoting one’s business for profit or self-interest, while ethics concerns serving or caring for others, the term “business ethics” sounds contradictory. For this reason, important questions arise concerning the possibility of business ethics as such: How is business ethics possible? Is there such a thing as business ethics?

Philosophers would try to answer this question through the so-called bottom-line approach (aka someone is ethically good as long as he or she does not break any of the laws of society). How should a Christian, then, respond to the question? Is it good enough for a Christian not to break any laws in the business world? If not, what makes Christian business ethics unique and distinguishable from the general philosophical approach?

First we’ll look at general business ethics, followed by what I think are three important Christian distinctives.

Read more of this post

Motivations for Discipleship

White Arrow On Blue Ground

This blog post was adapted from a sermon that I gave at the Harvard Avenue Student Ministry‘s Disciple Now event on Friday, October 25, 2013.

Key Text: Colossians 3:1-13

Each follower of Christ, no matter how young or old, needs to take up his cross daily and pursue Jesus. Most Christians know that they need discipleship, but how do we get motivated to be and make disciples?

Apathy is a growing problem in America. The combination of economic and societal changes with an increased “busyness” has left many without the drive necessary to pursue bigger and better things. In 2011, the motivational market hit $11 billion in revenue. The average motivational speaker gets paid $4000-5000 per speaking event, with some commanding fees in excess of $100,000 per engagement.

Christians aren’t immune to apathy. In fact, one of the largest problems in the church today is biblical illiteracy stemming from believers not reading Scripture for themselves. Even fewer share the gospel or form discipleship relationships with other believers.

Motivations for Discipleship

To overcome this tendency towards apathy, here are 6 motivations for discipleship from Colossians 3:1-13:  Read more of this post

6 Tips for Empowering Employees

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Once or twice a month, I go to Waffle House with Chad Mann, the youth pastor at Harvard Avenue Baptist, after the Wednesday night service. I always get a chocolate chip waffle. Chad orders a bacon, chicken, and cheese wrap with ranch dressing. Last week, they didn’t have any ranch dressing. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but here’s how the conversation with our waitress went:

CHAD: Can I get a bacon, chicken, and cheese wrap with a packet of ranch dressing please?

WAITRESS: We don’t have any ranch dressing.

CHAD: Bummer. You didn’t have it last time I was here either.

WAITRESS: Yea, we haven’t had any for a few weeks. Our manager is on vacation, so we haven’t ordered any.

ME: Couldn’t one of you all just run over to Walmart and get some so customers can have ranch on their wraps and salads? (This particular Waffle House is in the parking lot of the Siloam Walmart)

WAITRESS: I guess so, but the manager isn’t here, so we don’t know if that’s ok. He always makes us ask for permission to do stuff like that. Plus, it’s getting cold outside.

CHAD: That’s fine. I’ll use salsa instead.

Fear-Driven Management

Why do I share this example? It highlights the problems that result when employees don’t feel empowered by their managers. Read more of this post

Finishing Well

 

Footrace finish line, 1925

If you’re like me, you’ve been watching a lot of Olympic coverage over the past few weeks. This year, over 10,000 athletes from 205 different countries have converged on London to compete in 300 events.

For many of the athletes, the Olympics is the end of a multi-year journey of training, dieting, more training, self-discipline, and (you guessed it) more training. Depending on what event the athlete competes in, they do all this training for just a few minutes (or just around 10 seconds if you’re Usain Bolt) of actual competition. Needless to say, the stakes are high.  Read more of this post

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