Categories
Bible Insights

David’s Last Words

Psalm 168 from Beyond Psalm 150

As the book of 2 Samuel winds down, so does David’s life. In the penultimate chapter, we read David’s final recorded words. In this short psalm of praise, David recites the words God spoke to him, affirming David’s godly character and righteous reign.

“Yahweh’s Spirit spoke by me.
    His word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel said,
    the Rock of Israel spoke to me,
    ‘One who rules over men righteously,
    who rules in the fear of God,
shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun rises,
    a morning without clouds,
    when the tender grass springs out of the earth,
    through clear shining after rain.’
Isn’t my house so with God?
    Yet he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
    ordered in all things, and sure,
    for it is all my salvation and all my desire,
    although he doesn’t make it grow.
But all the ungodly will be as thorns to be thrust away,
    because they can’t be taken with the hand.
The man who touches them must be armed with iron and the staff of a spear.
They will be utterly burned with fire in their place.”

2 Samuel 23:2–7

Reflection on David’s Last Words

The last words we say in our life here on earth may be recorded for others to read.

In doing so, we can talk about ourselves, or we can talk about God. Or we can do both, reminding others of our relationship with the Almighty and the lifetime of blessings he provided.

What can we do to make sure our final words matter the most for those closest to us? Should we write them down so that future generations can read them and praise God?

May our last words celebrate Yahweh and point others to him.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Insights

Praising God through Scripture

Mary’s Psalm of Praise

Luke 1:49–55

“Holy is his name.” (Luke 1:49)

Mary’s psalm of praise continues by commending God for who he is. Her recitation of his attributes builds on Old Testament truths, quotes, and allusions, presenting an informed scriptural understanding of how God has been at work.

She starts by declaring that he has done great things, which is supported by Psalm 71:19. And his name is holy (Psalm 111:9). Also, consider Isaiah’s vision where he sees seraphim praising God as “Holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3).

Next, she affirms that God offers mercy to those who fear him generation after generation. This comes from God, through Moses, in what we call the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:5–6).

Mary continues praising God for the mighty deeds he has performed (Psalm 98:1) through the strength of his arm (Isaiah 40:10). In doing so he scatters the proud (Genesis 11:8).

God removes kings from their thrones (Daniel 4:31) and lifts the humble (2 Samuel 22:28, Psalm 18:27, and Psalm 147:6).

God also feeds the hungry and gives them what is good (Psalm 107:9).

In addition, God helps his servant Israel (that is, God’s chosen people) and shows them his mercy by providing salvation (Psalm 89:3) to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised (Exodus 32:13 and Deuteronomy 7:8).

This passage in Luke shows Mary’s deep knowledge of Scripture and her ability to weave disparate passages effectively into her psalm of praise. She has surely hidden his word in her heart (Psalm 119:11).

Though Mary’s song looks back to what God has done, it’s also a hopeful confidence in what he will do through Jesus, the child that she will soon bear. It looks forward to the salvation he will offer to all future generations.

As such, Mary’s prayer emerges as a timeless testimony to the Almighty Lord.

How well do we know God’s Holy Word?

How can we give it back to him as a song of praise in reverent worship, just like Mary did?

Prayer: Father God, may we read, learn, and meditate on your Word. Holy Spirit, speak to us and give us greater understanding of what the Bible says. Jesus, thank you for coming to save us from our sins.

[Mary’s Song in Luke 1:46–55 is also called the Song of Mary, the Canticle of Mary, or the Magnificat (Mary’s Magnificat), as in “My soul magnifies the Lord.” This song of praise reads like a psalm. Learn more about other psalms scattered throughout Scripture in the book Beyond Psalm 150: Discover More Sacred Songs of Praise, Petition, and Lament throughout the Bible.]

[This devotional is taken from the December 13 reading from The Advent of Jesus.]

Celebrate Christmas in a fresh way with The Advent of Jesus. It’s a forty-day devotional that prepares our hearts to celebrate the arrival of Jesus in an engaging read. Begin your Advent journey now and gain a greater sense of wonder for the season.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Insights

David Praises God

Psalm 164 from Beyond Psalm 150

After a fatal first attempt to move the ark of God (1 Chronicles 13:3–14), David successfully brings the ark of God into Jerusalem and places it inside the tent he has prepared for it. David then gives offerings to God and appoints Levites—including Asaph— to lead worship.

The Bible credits Asaph with twelve chapters in the book of Psalms. This may be his thirteenth one, though David could also have penned it.

Regardless of the authorship, here is this psalm of when David praises God to celebrate the arrival of the ark of the covenant.

Oh give thanks to Yahweh.
    Call on his name.
    Make what he has done known among the peoples.
Sing to him.
    Sing praises to him.
    Tell of all his marvelous works.
Glory in his holy name.
    Let the heart of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.
Seek Yahweh and his strength.
    Seek his face forever more.
Remember his marvelous works that he has done,
    his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth,
you offspring of Israel his servant,
    you children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
He is Yahweh our God.
    His judgments are in all the earth.
Remember his covenant forever,
    the word which he commanded to a thousand generations,
    the covenant which he made with Abraham,
    his oath to Isaac.
He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
    and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,
saying, “I will give you the land of Canaan,
    The lot of your inheritance,”
    when you were but a few men in number,
    yes, very few, and foreigners in it.
They went about from nation to nation,
    from one kingdom to another people.
He allowed no man to do them wrong.
    Yes, he reproved kings for their sakes,
“Don’t touch my anointed ones!
    Do my prophets no harm!”
Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!
    Display his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    and his marvelous works among all the peoples.
For great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised.
    He also is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
    but Yahweh made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him.
    Strength and gladness are in his place.
Ascribe to Yahweh, you relatives of the peoples,
    ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength!
Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due to his name.
    Bring an offering, and come before him.
    Worship Yahweh in holy array.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
    The world also is established that it can’t be moved.
Let the heavens be glad,
    and let the earth rejoice!
    Let them say among the nations, “Yahweh reigns!”
Let the sea roar, and its fullness!
    Let the field exult, and all that is in it!
Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before Yahweh,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
Oh give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good,
    for his loving kindness endures forever.
Say, “Save us, God of our salvation!
    Gather us together and deliver us from the nations,
    to give thanks to your holy name,
    to triumph in your praise.”
Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting even to everlasting.

1 Chronicles 16:8–36 (WEB)

Reflections on David Praises God

It’s human nature to want to receive credit for what we have done. Though we’re not sure who wrote this psalm—David or Asaph—the author is not the issue. The point is worshiping Yahweh, and this psalm does a superb job at it.

When have we strived to receive recognition for our work and in the process distracted others from worshiping God? Are we willing to set aside our pride so that others can best connect with the Almighty?

As John the Baptist said about Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

May we adopt the same humble perspective.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Insights

Hannah’s Prayer of Praise

Psalm 161 from Beyond Psalm 150

Hannah lives a difficult life. First, she must share her husband’s affections with another woman. Second, Hannah is childless, while her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, isn’t. And Peninnah repeatedly mocks Hannah for her infertility.

Despite his love for her, Hannah’s husband dismisses her pain over being childless. He doesn’t understand her emotional anguish. At the temple Hannah prays earnestly for a son. But the priest accuses her of being drunk.

No one understands her, but God does. He hears her prayer and gives her a son, Samuel.

Here’s Hannah’s psalm of praise to God after the birth of her son.

“My heart exults in Yahweh!
    My horn is exalted in Yahweh.
My mouth is enlarged over my enemies,
    because I rejoice in your salvation.
There is no one as holy as Yahweh,
    for there is no one besides you,
    nor is there any rock like our God.

“Don’t keep talking so exceedingly proudly.
    Don’t let arrogance come out of your mouth,
    for Yahweh is a God of knowledge.
    By him actions are weighed.

“The bows of the mighty men are broken.
    Those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread.
    Those who were hungry are satisfied.
Yes, the barren has borne seven.
    She who has many children languishes.

“Yahweh kills and makes alive.
    He brings down to Sheol and brings up.
Yahweh makes poor and makes rich.
    He brings low, he also lifts up.
He raises up the poor out of the dust.
    He lifts up the needy from the dunghill
    to make them sit with princes
    and inherit the throne of glory.
For the pillars of the earth are Yahweh’s.
    He has set the world on them.
He will keep the feet of his holy ones,
    but the wicked will be put to silence in darkness;
    for no man will prevail by strength.
Those who strive with Yahweh shall be broken to pieces.
    He will thunder against them in the sky.

“Yahweh will judge the ends of the earth.
    He will give strength to his king,
    and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

1 Samuel 2:1–10 (WEB)

Reflections on Hannah’s Prayer of Praise

There’s no guarantee our life will turn out as we wish. And even when it seems everyone is against us, we can take comfort, knowing that God is always with us and will provide.

Do we praise God for his provisions? Are we willing to praise him during our discouraging times too? May we offer our praise to Yahweh during the good times and the not-so-good times.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Insights

Deborah’s Song

Psalm 159 from Beyond Psalm 150

After Moses dies, his successor, Joshua, leads the people to conquer and settle in the promised land. Then a series of judges (leaders) work to free the people from recurring cycles of oppression.

The book of Judges lists one female judge among many male counterparts. Deborah, a judge and a prophet, takes the mantle of leadership when Barak lacks the courage to do so by himself. Through her direction, God provides the nation of Israel with victory. In doing so, another woman, Jael, plays a decisive part.

Deborah (along with Barak) then offers this psalm of praise to God for delivering them from their enemies.

“Because the leaders took the lead in Israel,
    because the people offered themselves willingly,
be blessed, Yahweh!
“Hear, you kings!
    Give ear, you princes!
I, even I, will sing to Yahweh.
    I will sing praise to Yahweh, the God of Israel.
“Yahweh, when you went out of Seir,
    when you marched out of the field of Edom,
the earth trembled, the sky also dropped.
    Yes, the clouds dropped water.
The mountains quaked at Yahweh’s presence,
    even Sinai at the presence of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
“In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath,
    in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied.
    The travelers walked through byways.
The rulers ceased in Israel.
    They ceased until I, Deborah, arose;
    Until I arose a mother in Israel.They chose new gods.
    Then war was in the gates.
    Was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?
My heart is toward the governors of Israel,
    who offered themselves willingly among the people.
    Bless Yahweh!
“Speak, you who ride on white donkeys,
    you who sit on rich carpets,
    and you who walk by the way.
Far from the noise of archers, in the places of drawing water,
    there they will rehearse Yahweh’s righteous acts,
    the righteous acts of his rule in Israel.
“Then Yahweh’s people went down to the gates.
‘Awake, awake, Deborah!
    Awake, awake, utter a song!
    Arise, Barak, and lead away your captives, you son of Abinoam.’
“Then a remnant of the nobles and the people came down.
    Yahweh came down for me against the mighty.
Those whose root is in Amalek came out of Ephraim,
    after you, Benjamin, among your peoples.
Governors come down out of Machir.
    Those who handle the marshal’s staff came out of Zebulun.
The princes of Issachar were with Deborah.
    As was Issachar, so was Barak.
    They rushed into the valley at his feet.
By the watercourses of Reuben,
    there were great resolves of heart.
Why did you sit among the sheepfolds?
    To hear the whistling for the flocks?
At the watercourses of Reuben,
    there were great searchings of heart.
Gilead lived beyond the Jordan.
    Why did Dan remain in ships?
    Asher sat still at the haven of the sea,
    and lived by his creeks.
Zebulun was a people that jeopardized their lives to the death;
    Naphtali also, on the high places of the field.
“The kings came and fought,
    then the kings of Canaan fought at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo.
    They took no plunder of silver.
From the sky the stars fought.
    From their courses, they fought against Sisera.
The river Kishon swept them away,
    that ancient river, the river Kishon.
    My soul, march on with strength.
Then the horse hoofs stamped because of the prancing,
    the prancing of their strong ones.
‘Curse Meroz,’ said Yahweh’s angel.
    ‘Curse bitterly its inhabitants,
    because they didn’t come to help Yahweh,
    to help Yahweh against the mighty.’
“Jael shall be blessed above women,
    the wife of Heber the Kenite;
    blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
He asked for water.
    She gave him milk.
    She brought him butter in a lordly dish.
She put her hand to the tent peg,
    and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer.
With the hammer she struck Sisera.
    She struck through his head.
    Yes, she pierced and struck through his temples.
At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay.
    At her feet he bowed, he fell.
    Where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
“Through the window she looked out, and cried:
   Sisera’s mother looked through the lattice.
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
    Why do the wheels of his chariots wait?’
Her wise ladies answered her,
    Yes, she returned answer to herself,
‘Have they not found, have they not divided the plunder?
    A lady, two ladies to every man;
to Sisera a plunder of dyed garments,
    a plunder of dyed garments embroidered,
    of dyed garments embroidered on both sides, on the necks of the plunder?’
“So let all your enemies perish, Yahweh,
    but let those who love him be as the sun when it rises in its strength.”

Judges 5:2–31 (WEB)

Reflections on Deborah’s Song

Like Deborah, we may find ourselves in positions we didn’t want. And like Barak, we may cower from what God wants us to do.

When faced with what we don’t want, do we pull back in human fear or move forward in godly power? Are we able to praise Yahweh for the results? May we have the courage to do what’s right and what God calls us to do.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Visiting Churches

A Spirit-Led Service: Visiting Church #66, Part 2

Several months later we have a chance for a return visit to this same church. The opportunity to experience a normal service with their regular pastor should provide the chance to experience what we missed the first time. 

I hope to experience a spirit-led service.

Consider these seven discussion questions about Church 66.

1. The church moved since our first visit. An exterior sign guides us to the entrance, but that’s it. We walk down a long corridor and eventually find an open door.

How easy is it for people to find us?

2. We sing four songs, filling most of an hour. I try to worship God, but we don’t connect. I should have prayed with greater intention for this service.

Who’s to blame when we can’t connect with God?

3. As we sing, several people ease toward the pastor and surround him. They place their hands on him. Their lips move in quiet prayer.

Do we pray for our ministers before the service, during the service, or not at all?

4. The pastor begins with prophecies and prayers for healing as the Holy Spirit directs him.

Do we let God’s Spirit guide us to prophesy and pray for supernatural healing? If not, is he not speaking or are we not listening?

5. The pastor says to not preach against other religions, but to preach Jesus. Too many people fail to follow his advice, suggesting why so many view Christians negatively.

Do we rant about what we’re against or celebrate what we’re for?

6. When the minister shares a verse, I never see him glance at his notes. The text and reference gush forth as regular speech.

Do we know Scripture well enough to quote and cite it as normal dialogue?

7. The Holy Spirit powerfully directed our time together through both the teaching pastor and the worship leader. I’ve seen few church services this Spirit-led.

Does the Holy Spirit direct what we do when we gather with other believers?

[Read about Church 66, part 2 or start at the beginning of our journey.]

If you feel it’s time to move from the sidelines and get into the game, The More Than 52 Churches Workbook provides the plan to get you there.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Insights

Do You Offer God a Sacrifice of Praise?

Embrace a Different Way to Worship God

The term “sacrifice of praise” is only found in one verse in the Bible. It’s a curious phrase. What does it mean?

Whatever it may refer to, the first thing we see is we are to do it continually. We are to offer a constant sacrifice of praise to God. To do this, we must adopt a wider understanding of praise as more than just singing.

It certainly includes the things we say, as well as the things we don’t say—praising God with words we use as well as the words we keep to ourselves. This offering of praise could also encompass our attitude as we go about life, even our demeanor.

While sacrifice of praise could include everything we give up—that is, what we sacrifice—for God as an act of adoration, I don’t think that concept ties in with this verse because we can’t continually offer sacrifices.

We can indeed praise God through our sacrificial living and giving, but this isn’t what phrase means.

Let’s look at the Old Testament for insight. Prior to Jesus, animal sacrifices are common—and commanded according to the law of Moses. Those sacrifices must be repeated because their covering is only temporary.

When Jesus comes along to become our sacrifice it is permanent. It doesn’t need to be repeated. It’s once and for all. This means that in the New Testament, the sacrifice of animals is obsolete. Could it be that a sacrifice of praise replaces it?

May we continually offer our praise as a sweet sacrifice that to God the Father, Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit for their glory.

How do you praise God? Should you add anything to your practice?

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Hebrews 11-13, and today’s post is on Hebrews 13:15.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Save

Categories
Christian Living

Live for Today

Celebrate the Past, Anticipate the Future, and Embrace the Present

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). Yet most people only celebrate what he has done or anticipate what he will do. They fail to see what he is doing now. That’s why we must live for today.

Yesterday

The Bible records what God has done in the past. We read these accounts and celebrate what he has done, of him saving his people from danger and rescuing them from their enemies. We take comfort knowing that our all-powerful (omniscient) God loves us and cares for us.

In the same way we celebrate what he has done for us in our past, of his provision and protection. Through our dark moments he was there. When we didn’t think we could go on, he walked with us. And for those times when the situations of life weighed us down, he lifted us up.

We praise God for what he has done as revealed in Scripture and as experienced in our own lives.

Tomorrow

The Bible also records what God promises to do in the future. We look forward to eternity with him in heaven. Yet we also anticipate his provisions for what he will do for us while we’re still here on earth.

Just as people in the Bible placed their hope in their Lord, we do as well. In the same way that he has cared for and protected us in the past, he’ll do so in the future.

Today

A friend once lamented about an elder in our church, “He’s so heavenly minded, that he’s no earthly good.” [Though this hails from Johnny Cash’s 1977 song “No Earthly Good,” it goes back much further to Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr about a century earlier.]

In being so future focused, like this church elder, we can forget the wonder of the present and fail to live in the moment of today.

Just as we can celebrate what God has done for us in the past, we can also wallow in sorrow over our mistakes and missed opportunities. While we want to learn from the past, we shouldn’t let it hold us captive to any shame we might have over what we once did.

Scripture Tells Us to Not Dwell on the Past

Paul writes to the church in Philippi to forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead (Philippians 3:13). Paul also tells the church in Corinth, reminding them that in Jesus we are a new creation. The old is gone, and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Much earlier in the Bible, God tells Isaiah and his people to forget what was and don’t dwell in the past. This is because he’s doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Embrace Today

We need to embrace each new day for the potential it provides. An inspiring quote attributed to Charles E. Dederich, a reformed alcoholic, is “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

I understand that Alcoholics Anonymous follows this sentiment. Though I don’t drink and never have, I often begin each day with the perspective that fresh potential awaits me.

Some mornings, before I even open my eyes, I encourage myself for the day ahead with the reminder that, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” It sets in motion what happens next.

What I did yesterday—be it good or bad—is in the past. Today presents a new opportunity for me to embrace. I shouldn’t coast on my accomplishments of yesterday anymore then I should be held captive by my disappointments.

Though God’s greatest gift is eternal life through Jesus, another amazing gift is the gift of today. With God’s help, may we strive to seize the day and make the most of it.

Live for today.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Bogged Down Reading the Bible?

10 Essential Bible Reading Tips, from Peter DeHaan

Get the Bible Reading Tip Sheet: “10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight.”

​Enter your info and receive the free Bible Reading Tip Sheet and be added to Peter’s email list.

Categories
Bible Insights

The Dangers of Christian Celebrity

Don’t Place Ministers on a Pedestal

It’s sad when it happens, but we don’t need to wait long before another prominent Christian leader falls from his pedestal. Yes, it is usually men. While their moral failings are the reason, we, too, are to blame.

With ungodly fervor, we elevate our cherished leaders, hoisting them to lofty expectations that no one can maintain. Our unbridled admiration only increases their risk of failure and our profound disappointment when they stumble.

This is not just a modern occurrence, however. Two thousand years ago, the Christians living in the city of Corinth also suffer from this unwarranted celebration of its leaders.

The people there exalt the missionaries who stop by: Paul, Apollos, and Cephas, following them with great zeal (1 Corinthians 3:4-5).

This adoration approaches the level of hero worship, just as often happens today when people gush with praise for well-known Christian teachers. The risk is that the fame of these superstars threatens to supersede Jesus.

While the Bible celebrates our faith’s heroes, such as in Hebrews 11, it does so posthumously. Their record has been set; they can no longer disappoint us by their human failings. We know their strengths and their weaknesses.

We esteem them accordingly, celebrating what is good and guarding against what is not.

Christian celebrity is dangerous, both for them and us. May we not fall victim to it; may we keep our focus on Jesus. We need to follow Jesus and no one else.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 1-4 and today’s post is on 1 Corinthians 1:11-13.]

Read more in Peter’s book, Love is Patient (book 7 in the Dear Theophilus series).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Visiting Churches

Commitment Sunday and Celebration

Discussing Church 32

This church has been homeless for a while, but they moved into their own space last week. Today they celebrate God’s faithfulness on a trying journey with their annual commitment Sunday.

The 52 Churches Workbook, by Peter DeHaan

Consider these four discussion questions about Church #32

1. We arrive to learn that it’s commitment Sunday for them, with contribution pledges sought for the upcoming year. The woman who explains this is embarrassed that our first visit falls on their annual plea for money. 

When you ask for money, how can you help visitors feel welcomed and not obligated?

2. When their minister learns we’re not used to liturgical services, she introduces us to someone who can guide us. He takes his job seriously and performs it admirably. 

How can you apply this visitor-friendly gesture to your church services?

3. The guest speaker says, “Bigger is no longer better in the church world,” and “Smaller is where the work will be done.” He’s so right. 

What is your attitude toward church size? Does something need to change?

4. Afterward is a brunch to celebrate God’s provision and praise him. “We don’t want to intrude on your celebration,” I say to one lady. Her response removes all doubt, “You are one of the reasons we’re celebrating.” 

How well do you celebrate visitors?

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.