Sunday

Why Do We Sing in Church?

Tomorrow morning we will gather at Malmo again, as we have been doing faithfully for 125 years or so, to worship together through fellowship, prayer, scripture reading…and singing.

Singing has been a part of Christian worship since the first Christians gathered. In fact, some parts of the Bible are widely believed to be taken from early Christian songs of worship. For example, Philippians 2:6-11 is often referred to as the “Christ Hymn”:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (NIV)

These stanzas contain not only generic praise to God, but they tell a story—the salvation story, in fact: God becomes human, dies on the cross, is raised from the dead and made Lord and Messiah.

But why do we do this? Why do we sing together in church, especially when some people don’t like singing or think they don’t have a good voice?

I can think of several reasons, and none of them have anything to do with being able to sing or carry a tune: singing brings glory to God; it helps us remember the gospel story; it is modelled and encouraged (even commanded!) in scripture; it brings believers together and encourages them (have you ever been at a concert or worship event where thousands of people sing along together? There are few things more unifying and beautiful).

(There are more reasons, I’m sure. In fact, here are a couple of further explanations for Christians singing that I have come across that you might find helpful: “The Three Rs: Why Christians Sing” and “Seven Biblical Reasons Why Singing Matters.”)

So as we gather tomorrow and in the weeks to come, consider: can I choose to participate in worship, including the singing, even if I (think I) don’t sing very well, even if I don’t fully understand why we do it?

Author and pastor Eugene Peterson wrote, “Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship.” Often we talk about worship, and especially the singing part of worship, as an expression of our feelings for God. That may be true, but there are some people who do not express their feelings for God in that way, and there are some days when my feelings for God are not great.

In a much more important way, whatever our feelings may be on a given day, our singing praise, our singing the gospel, plays a significant role in transforming us bit by bit over time, through low seasons and high seasons, as individuals and a community, into the people of God…if only we will open ourselves up—both our mouths and our hearts!

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Healing Today

You know the church’s history of praying for healing for people has been a bit of a come and go thing over the past 2000 years. There are seasons where we practice it well and then there are seasons of quiet. We see seasons of incredible miracles and then we see nothing for a hundred or so years. While that may be a part of our past story, there is biblical reason to believe that it can be a helpful part of our ministries today, if we will have the courage to try.

I think some of us are generally afraid of the whole topic, so we end up saying that those sorts of things were for the early days of the church and are not for today.
I also think that we see the things we have simple faith to see.

During the past two weeks we tackled the difficult topic of Healing in the church and we explored some reasons why we may not see the answers we are looking for. It’s certainly not the definitive piece on healing, but it’s a good place to start looking at these things and perhaps to be challenged about our own thinking on it.

Part One: Praying for healing, an Overview

Part Two: What Happens When We’re Not Healed?

 

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Refreshment after a busy week

It’s been a busy week here in the office.  For you too?  Are you busy in the fields?  Or busy homeschooling your kids?   Or involved in a big project at work that is taking all of your time & energy?  Or been fighting the many sicknesses that have been going around? Or – or – or…there’s just countless things to do in a week, isn’t there?  However your week as gone, let me encourage you that Sunday – our Sabbath –  is coming.  Exodus 20:11 says, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

This Sunday (our Sabbath) we’ll be worshipping and sharing in Holy Communion together…coming to God with our busyness & our tiredness & hopefully with a ready heart to hear what God is saying.  Would you take some time to read and reflect on this prayer, as you prepare for the upcoming Sabbath & Holy Communion?

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Kaila Johnson and her work in London

We had a great time last Sunday hearing from Kaila Johnson on the work that she is doing with ‘Greater Europe Mission’ (GEM), in London England.
Here are the internet links she shared so that you can keep up with her and the work she is involved in.

If you’d like to read more about her ministry & the mission that she is involved with, or if you would like to support her financially, please visit her blog at
freshpagenewchapter.blogspot.co.uk
To learn more about ‘Greater Europe Mission’, visit their website at: www.gemission.org
To learn more about the ‘Sophie Hayes Foundation’, visit their website at: www.sophiehayesfoundation.org
To see what’s happening at the coffee place called Kahaila, visit them at kahaila.com.

 

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