Being foster parents is showing us so much about the Father’s love for us. We came to God with nothing, and He loves us with no promise of receiving love in return. He provides for us and nurtures us. He makes Himself so vulnerable to rejection, but never stops opening His heart to love us with absolute abandon.
There is one song in particular that I commend to you this Advent, an especially lovely song of yearning. The Bible calls it the “Song of Songs,” that is, “the best song.” It’s a song about yearning for love—and especially during this particular season of Advent-waiting, I’d offer it as genuinely “the best song.”
Although overwhelming, the peculiarity of this year offers an opportunity to participate in “traditioned” innovation. With the hunger for community and a taste of normalcy felt among us all, perhaps our creativity ought to begin at the table.
It has taken a crisis to help us do what we didn’t think we could do, namely, to connect the worship of the family of faith with our families at home. To be sure, it is only a start, but it is a promising start and one that will help all churches make more and better worshipers.
I love God’s Church. Her diversity is her beauty—ancient songs and styles woven together with modern melodies and musings all straining to give voice to praise that will never be exhausted.
Today, online church services have a tendency to look and feel isolated. However, even when the congregation is remote, is there a way to see and hear their reaction? Are there techniques to use in order to create a more immersive experience? Yes, there are some tools we can use to restore the two-way communication between the servers and those we serve and thus thrive, not just survive, today’s challenges.
How does our perception of the “them” influence our own understanding, not only as Christians but also as humans? Worth, dignity, rights, responsibilities, and what it means to be human are matters that undoubtedly should be at the center of our conversations and prayers within the church. Our perception of “the other” must be beyond the object of our evangelistic endeavors, or charity; forgetting this is mostly neglecting our identity as the people of God.
In the psalms of joy, praise arises out of contexts of suffering and it does not ignore that suffering. It declares itself in hope, not in a denial of reality. This is why, as the psalms see it, joy always makes space for sorrow, while happiness, as it is usually understood in our society, cannot. This is why our acts of praise often involve a sacrifice of praise, with our eyes set on the fulfillment of praise.
So the critical question is, what is God asking of us as Christians, creatives, and worship leaders at this very moment? How we answer this question will assist us in discerning the right posture with which we enter worship. It will determine how we as leaders guide other Christians through these times, pastor them through the emotions they may feel, and use the spaces available to us in any given moment. It’s critical that we judge this rightly.
How can we attend to the heart-longings of those who come seeking rest for their weary souls? Are we offering people more of the same, or something from a different world…a world centered on God's heartbeat? What does it mean for us to be counter-cultural?