From Jewish chants in the early church, to praise choruses in our day, the sound of singing in Christian assemblies has changed significantly. The changes have seldom gone smoothly. In some ways, Anabaptist groups have been less vulnerable to worship fads. They have historically kept a strong hold on their worship traditions. But the switch from German to English in the late 19th century broke that continuity and left the Anabaptists scrambling to borrow worship materials from the nearest Protestant sources.
On the Arctic tundra in Svalbard, Norway, about 800 miles from the North Pole, there are no gardens, no trees. Yet, deep beneath this barren surface lies the largest concentration of agricultural diversity anywhere on Earth.
It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham received his son back from the dead. Heb 11:17-19
Jesus has an interesting conversation in the account in Luke 10:25-37. A lawyer approaches Jesus with a very serious question. “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Truly this should get Jesus’ attention. Jesus answered with another question. “What is written in the law? How readest thou?” Now this man, being a lawyer, knew the law. The lawyer quoted the law perfectly, and Jesus said, “This do, and thou shalt live.” Then the lawyer posed another question, “But Jesus, who is my neighbor?” To this question, Jesus shared a true to life account.
One day I was appalled to find that one of my students had been using curse words in school. When I took him aside to deal with the issue, his response was, “There is nothing wrong with those words; everyone uses them.” While it is tempting to pass that response off as a typical teenage excuse, wisdom calls for a deeper examination. There are really two parts to this excuse. We will take a look at the last part first.
“Everyone uses them”
God has chosen to use men to lead in His church. Any call to administration brings its challenges and blessings. People bring with them a leader’s greatest challenges but also his greatest blessings. Church groups vary in their methods of administration. Understanding needs and addressing them is one of the biggest challenges of any church group.
In our local science center, that we enjoy visiting from time to time, are several mirror displays. These mirrors are all different from the normal mirror we look into at home to get an understanding of our appearance. These mirrors all distort the reflected image. If you don’t like your physic, you can find mirrors that will alter it for you. Short people can see themselves as tall people. Someone who is overweight can see themselves as thin.
How much should children of God know of the world, its people, and its practices? At what point does knowledge of evil affect righteous living? Is Gospel simplicity and innocence a thing of the past? The devil has always been busy getting his “news” into the hands of the masses. He has hijacked postal mail, radio, television, and now internet to carry his corruption in abundance. In our "Google Society," one now has the unprecedented capability of asking the medium questions on any subject that comes to mind.
What is the mind of Christ? Or how can we know what His mind was and is? "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?" (Rom 11:33,34).
Global tensions are mounting—that is not news. Political chaos abounds, especially among Tier 1 nations jostling for supremacy—that is not news. Downward spiraling moral and economic situations are the norm with anarchy given as one solution—that is not news either. Even public radio newscasters and talk show hosts discuss these things and joke about them, too. Plus Hollywood dramatizes and glorifies Armageddon! What do they know about that?