Rick Warren spoke in Rome, today. He is one of the featured guests at a conference called “An International Interreligious Colloquium on The Complementarity of Man and Woman.” The host: Pope Francis, leader of the apostate Roman Catholic Church.
Austen Ivereigh, a London-based Roman Catholic journalist, is at the conference. Ivereigh tweeted (see above image) that one of his favorite moments of the day came when Rick Warren referred to Pope Francis as “the Holy Father.”
What would you consider essential to worship? What is truly necessary if true worship is to occur? Is it a certain style of preaching? Is it a certain type of music? Is it a sense of reverence and awe? Is it a sense of excitement and praise? Of course it is important to be intentional and thoughtful about our preaching and singing in worship. And it is important that we respond in appropriate ways as we worship. But Jesus points us to something deeper at the heart of worship.
In John 4, in the midst of a conversation at the well with a woman from Samaria, Jesus revealed the essence of true worship. He said in verses 23–24:
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24).
In these verses Jesus teaches us two essential truths about worship. Those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth. These are not two different or distinct ways of worshipping God, but two essential parts of the same worship.
Worship is frequently a controversial topic, and it’s not my goal with this post to add to those debates. I also realize that the focus of worship is God. Any attention we give to the human component of worship might send us in the wrong direction, but that’s not my intent, either. I simply want us to think about aspects of worship over which we have some control – and that we might improve for God’s glory.
Based on my work as a church consultant, reports from our consultation “secret shoppers,” interviews with church members, and my own experiences, here are ten far-too-common distractions during worship services.
By Amy Spreeman
Stand Up For the Truth Radio
This radio Episode with Warren B. Smith and Amy Spreeman
What if you are a major publisher like Thomas Nelson and you suddenly discover that your mega best-selling book Jesus Calling was inspired by a channeled New Age book? And what if you find out that some of the “messages” your author “received” from her “Jesus” weren’t really from Jesus because they contradict what the real Jesus Christ says in the Bible? Do you deal honestly with these problems with your millions of readers? Or, do you protect your multi-million dollar franchise by whitewashing the red flags?
The brand new special 10th anniversary edition of Jesus Calling has undergone a sudden, miraculous “transformation,” without any explanation from the publisher or the author.
Want proof? Warren Smith, a former New Ager who wrote the book, Another Jesus” Calling: How False Christs are Entering the Church through Contemplative Prayer,” has just published a new 16-page tract, Changing “Jesus Calling”—Damage Control for a False Christ. Warren is here with us today, and we’re going to give away 10 of those pamphlets in the next segment.
If you’ve never heard our original interview with Warren about Jesus Calling, you’ll want to take some time and listen to: Which “Jesus” is calling? An interview with Warren Smith. It’s an interview that many of our listeners have shared widely with their loved ones.
Warren spent many years in the New Age practicing the very types of spiritual exercises put forth by Contemplative Prayer proponents. He knows full well that not every experience is from God but in fact can be from familiar, seducing spirits. Warren and his wife Joy have committed their lives to Jesus Christ and to warning others about the false christs that are deceiving masses of people and coming in the name of the true Jesus Christ.
John Boehner welcomed a Muslim Imam on the House floor last week. This is a stunning development. Has America now gone too far?
A critic of today’s Muslim prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral is giving three reasons why he’s concerned.
During an interview on “Sandy Rios in the Morning” on American Family Radio, Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy, stated that the people the Cathedral entrusted this first-ever Muslim prayer service to are “known Muslim Brotherhood operatives and front organizations.”
“The Muslim Brotherhood’s mission in America, we know from their own internal strategic plan, is – quote – ‘to destroy Western Civilization from within by their hands’ … meaning our hands, as well as the hands of the believers so that, as they put it, God’s religion is made victorious,” he explained.
Let me give a shout out to our national heroine of the week, Christine Weick. She’s a 50-year-old woman who felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to drive from Tennessee to Washington, gain entrance to the Cathedral, and stand up and make a public statement condemning the apostasy she was witnessing.
Just as the imam was approaching the podium, she boldly stood up, pointed to the cross and shouted “Jesus died on that cross. It is the reason we are to worship only Him. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. We have built enough of your mosques in this country. Why don’t you worship in your mosques and leave our churches alone?”
Obama is doing precisely what he promised during his 2008 presidential campaign, to cheering and mesmerized crowds: “We are going to fundamentally change America” and “We will change America. We will change the world.” Obama is living up to those pledges by subverting our Constitution and adopting the political style of a banana republic dictator.
Will the U.S and the global economy survive the end of Quantitative Easing (QE)? Or will the stock market plummet as a result, finally pushing the financial markets over the edge? The pattern since 2008 stocks is that stocks have risen dramatically throughout every stage of quantitative easing, but have always declined substantially when the various QE phases have ended …………. Click here for full story
November 17, 2014
No. 674: October Industrial Production
• Unexpected Production Decline Was on Top of Downside Revisions
• Annual Growth Dropped to Six-Month Low
• Implied Fourth-Quarter Production Pace Slowed Sharply
• Continued Contractions in, and Downside Revisions to, Auto Production Should Hammer Inventory and Third- and Fourth-Quarter-GDP Estimates
November 14, 2014
No. 673: October Retail Sales, Consumer Liquidity, Updated Hyperinflation and DollarRisks
• October Retail Sales Were Near Consensus, with Minimal Revisions and A Sharply-Slowing Pace of Fourth-Quarter 2014 Growth
• Negative Surprises on the Economy and in the Political Arena Are Among Imminent Top Threats to U.S. Dollar
November 9, 2014
No. 672: October Labor Data, Money Supply M3, Federal Deficit, Election 2014
• October’s Labor Numbers Skewed by Seasonal-Factors Distorted by Last Year’s Government Shutdown
• Resulting Understated October 2014 Unemployment Rates: 5.8% (U.3), 11.5% (U.6), 23.0% (ShadowStats)
• Election Polling Again Indicated No Economic Recovery, With Pocketbook Issues Dominating the Voting – New Proprietary Analyses
• GAAP-Based 2014 Federal Deficit Was About $6 Trillion, Versus Headline Cash-Based $0.5 Trillion Shortfall
• 2014 Net Federal Obligations Approached $100 Trillion, GAAP-Based, Net Present Value
• Reporting Shenanigans: Headline Deficit Well Shy of Jump in Debt
• Fed Monetized 78% of Headline 2014 Federal Deficit
• Annual Money Supply M3 Growth Held at 4.2%
November 4, 2014
No. 671: September Trade Deficit and Construction Spending
• The Happy News Begins to Falter
• Third-Quarter GDP Growth Faces Downside Revision, Given Deteriorating September Trade and Construction Reporting
• Trade Deficit Widened Sharply
• Quarterly Construction Spending Growth Turned Negative from Positive
• Risk of Unexpectedly Weak October Payrolls
• Craziness in the Financial Markets Cannot Prevail, Assumed Underlying Reality Is Not There or Will Prove Fleeting
October 30, 2014
No. 670: Third-Quarter 2014 GDP, Money Velocity
• Happy Election-Eve Numbers!
• GDP up by 3.5% (+/- 3.5% Range of Reporting-Confidence), Boosted by Guessed-At Trade Numbers and Resurgent Defense Spending
• Significant Downside Revisions Loom for Third-Quarter Growth
• End of Declining Velocity of Money
• Disappointing October Jobs Growth?
October 28, 2014
No. 669: September Durable Goods Orders, New-Home Sales
• Broad Weakness in September Durable Goods Orders
• New-Home Sales Remained Stagnant, Despite Nonsensical Reporting Volatility
• Expanding Scope of Data-Falsification Issues at the Census Bureau?
October 23, 2014
No. 668: September CPI, Real Retail Sales and Earnings, New-Home Sales, Prospective GDP
• U.S. Government Prepares to Use Reduced-Inflation Index for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)
• 2015 Social Security COLA at 1.7% Would Have Been 9.4% without Existing Gimmicks for Understating Inflation
• September Annual Inflation: 1.7% (CPI-U), 1.6% (CPI-W), 9.4% (ShadowStats)
• September Real Retail Sales Fell by 0.4%
• September Real Earnings Fell by 0.4%
• Existing-Home Sales Headline Gain Dominated by Surge in Distressed Properties; Year-to-Year Sales Contracted for Eleventh Straight Month
• Real-World Indication of Faltering Third-Quarter Economic Activity
Earlier this year, I told you about some of the challenges in reaching Millennials for Christ, that is, young adults aged roughly 18 to 33. While 55 percent of Baby Boomers say they’re religious, only 36 percent of Millennials do. “Today,” University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox notes, “fully 29 percent of Millennials consider themselves religiously unaffiliated, a record postwar high ……… Click here for full story
by Christine Pack
Pastoring 101 – here’s what should happen when seminary students show up for their first day of class: they are handed two live sheep. And the professor then tells them this: your assignment is to look after these sheep for the next semester. You are to feed them, care for them, tend them, comb their wool, and protect them from wolves. If, at the end of the semester, you return both of these sheep to me, alive and in good condition (i.e. they not frightened, malnourished or missing any limbs), then you will have earned the right to graduate to the next step: learning how to minister to actual people.
As a pastor, I regularly meet with people who are intent on overcoming a serious sin in their lives. Yet, as you well know, those serious sins rarely yield easily. Far more often than not they demand a long and intense battle.
To help in this battle I have put together what I call Battle Plan. Battle Plan is a worksheet that is primarily meant to be used with the assistance of a mentor or pastor (though it can be used individually as well). It is heavily dependent upon John Owen and his instructions on overcoming sin. It begins by identifying and understanding a sin and its consequences, and then progresses to a plan to overcome that sin. There is also a weekly sheet that is used to track progress.
When Canadian native Wayne Hilsden moved to Israel in 1983 to help establish a fledgling congregation in Jerusalem, he didn’t know that he would wind up staying for three decades, or that King of Kings Community Jerusalem would turn into a multi-faceted ministry that has helped give birth to six churches, a Bible college, a thriving prayer initiative and various outreaches………. Click here for full story
by David de Bruyn
When we studied the great priority of the Christian life, we saw that ultimate love for God is based on God’s unchallenged status as the only God. Humility gets the human into the posture for worship: acknowledging that Yahweh is God, and there is no other; there is no God besides him (Is 45:5). Humility acknowledges the ‘solitariness’ of God: that he is solely God. The humble Christian recognizes that God alone deserves worship, and that he alone deserves ultimate need-love, and gift-love.
For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. (Psalm 96:4-5)
If we are to live in God’s presence and come to know him and love him, then we must deny ourselves, “deflate” ourselves, so that we are once again truly in our correct place under God. We reject the “I AM” and “I will’ attitudes of pride. This is simply a just posture: a correct evaluation of our standing before God.
by Bill Muehlenberg
Regrettably far too many Christians like Christianity primarily just for one thing: it is a neat form of life insurance. They have made a decision for Jesus at one point in their lives, and they figure that really is about all there is to it. Now they have promise of eternal life, and everything is just peachy.
They can go on living pretty much as they have always lived, but when they die, they get a free pass to heaven. A pretty good deal: live for self now, and still get a spot in heaven. Who could ask for more? The problem is, the Christian life does not work that way.
Jesus came not just to deliver us from the penalty of our sin, but to deliver us from the effects, influence and power of sin. If anyone thinks that Jesus died a horrible death on a cross just to forgive us but not to transform us, he is kidding himself.
A reporter offers his insights on a religious movement everyone talks about but few understand. Read more