Friday, September 24, 2010

Chanak Up A Child

Proverbs 22:6 tells us to "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."

Now look at these verses:

Gen18:19 For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

Deut 20:5 Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it.

Ezra 6:16 And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.

1 Kings 8:63 Solomon offered as peace offerings to the Lord 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the people of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.

So, what does it mean to train? What is "the way he should go?" And what does it mean when it says, "...even when he is old he will not depart from it?" And why am I talking about all of this anyway? I don't even have and children!

Let's look at the first part. Training. In the verse from Genesis listed above we see the first time that God initiated this idea. He is speaking in relation to the covenant made with Abraham to become a great nation. We can see that it was Abraham's responsibility command his children to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice. In the other verses above you can see that I have emphasized the word dedicate. The word is chanak. It means to 'dedicate' or to 'initiate.' The reason I have done that is because it is the same word used in all of the instances listed, including the word 'train' in the initial verse. So, this gives more meaning to the word. We may see the word 'train' and think that we need to tell them to read the Bible and pray and expect that they will grow up fine. This isn't the case. In the verse from Genesis not that it says, "command his children and his household after him." The word that is translated 'after' is the Hebrew word 'achar. It means to 'follow in the way of.' We have the responsibility to initiate the instruction of our children. First by living in the way of the LORD, and then by dedicating our children to God and clearly instructing them in His way. Which leads to the next part:

The Way He Should Go. It is very clear in the verse listed about from Genesis that "the way of the Lord [is] by doing righteousness and justice." Simply put, we are to lead our children verbally and in their sight to walk in the way of righteousness and in justice.

As far as the last part of the verse goes, I believe the Word of God. When the Word of the LORD says, "...even when he is old he will not depart from it," I believe that IF we properly do our job, our children WILL NOT depart from righteousness and justice in the LORD. Plain and simple.

Because I believe this, I believe that it translates into all areas of our lives. Our children listen to us. They see what we do. They hear everything we say. They know what we watch. They know what we read. They know how we act. They know who we really are.

I'm applying this to the area of worship. Too often we, the institutional church, send our children off to another building while we, the grown ups, have church. We don't want to be distracted in worship. We don't want children running around and acting like a fool while Pastor is trying to speak. So, one adjustment that we have made is to have the children join us during the singing worship portion of our service. We want our children to see what it looks like to intimately share time together singing praises to God and offering up ourselves to Him in song, prayer, and any other way we may worship Him. Then, we want to speak to them and tell them why we do what we do. We want to tell them how to worship. We want them to know how to walk in God's righteousness and justice. Yes, the children will still depart for a portion of the service, but this is intentionally for their growth and benefit. We have teachings of different age levels so that they can learn weekly what it means to be a Christian. However, that is not their most important learning experience of the week. The most important times are the times that they spend with their parents. Make sure you are living righteously at home and openly instructing your children in the way of the LORD.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Heart and Methods of Eagle's View Worship

Expressing your heart is always somethings that proves to be exceedingly difficult. At least it is to me. How do I separate the poetic from the truth? Furthermore, how do I make the truth poetic?

What is the heart anyway? No, I'm not talking about your blood machine. You know that thing that people refer to when they are pointing to your deep emotions, your true intentions, your soul, and the very depth of you? That's the thing I'm talking about.

Your heart.

The heart carries with it a number of preceding reputations. For one, it has the reputation of being your true emotions and intentions. Deep within you heart lies all that you really feel and think. Within it are the motives of your thoughts, actions, and words. Out of your heart comes the real you.

Secondly, your heart can deceive you. As the prophet Jeremiah says, 

"The heart is deceitful above all things, 
and desperately sick; 
who can understand it?" 

Yet here, I try understand.

Though I may not completely understand the heart of a man (or my own heart for that matter), there is a certain level of understanding I can come to about this deeply intriguing vessel. 

First, out the heart the mouth speaks. If it is truly inside of me, it is going to come out.
Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, 
and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Secondly (and most importantly), I can be given a new heart; one that isn't tainted. 
Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. 
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 

Lastly, my heart can be guarded by the Peace of God; which is accessible to me. 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-6; Philippians 4:7 ESV)

So, in Christ Jesus (what that means is an entirely different blog), via the Peace of God, in response to my praise and prayers, my heart (in a way I will not understand, as noted in the text) will be guarded (along with my mind).

With all of that being said, this is our heart (true intentions and emotions) at Eagle's View Church for worship:

We desire to be believers who are true disciples of Christ Jesus.
We desire to abide in His love and grace.
We desire to seek Him diligently, as He gives grace.
We desire to be in His mind, His Spirit, His Truth, and His guiding.
We desire to dig in to His Word, which He has so graciously provided for us that we may
grow and come to know Him deeper.
We desire to love one another as He has loved us and commanded us to do so.
Through this, we desire to see our hearts be reflected in our lives.
Our mouths will sing praises.
Our hands will help the poor.
Our prayers will go out for the afflicted.
We will weep for the lost.
We will mourn for the broken.
We will give where there is need.