Honoring Pastor Ken Pruitt

I said this at the quarterly business meeting at King’s Grant Baptist Church in June 2022, just one month after the departure of Dr. Ken Pruitt.

Over the past several months, and even several years, I’ve regretted that many of my colleagues have decided to end their ministerial careers, apparently feeling it’s no longer worth it to be in the ministry, to be a pastor.

Today, I want to take a look at some words of encouragement from the Scripture regarding pastoral ministry, and ask if THIS is who we are. Is this something we can say about our pastor. Even though he is no longer with us to hear it, is this something we would like for him to have said before he left?

I wrote some things out with some Scripture offering some words of affirmation.

1) We affirm that the Lord has designed and organized a local church to be led, guided, and shepherded by Spirit-filled, God-called, and Christ-following pastors. That statement certainly describes Ken Pruitt.

2) We are firm that King’s Grant Baptist Church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ and not the members who make up the congregation. Jesus is the head of the church and we are his body.

3) We affirm that our pastor has been called by God to serve and lead this local body of Christ and we agreed to that in a special called business meeting in April 2017, by unanimous approval.

Here are some verses to describe a local pastor.

Second Timothy 4:2-5
I solemnly exhort you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But as for you, use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Acts 20:27-31
For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore, be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.

The shepherd’s responsibility is described in Ezekiel 34 and Zachariah 11, there are seven types of sheep for whom the shepherd is responsible. He is called to…

  • Strengthen the weak
  • Heal the sick
  • Bind up the broken
  • Bring back the scattered
  • Seek the lost
  • Seek the young and
  • Feed the standing

First Peter 5:1–4
Therefore, I urge elders among you, as your fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and one who is also a fellow partaker of the glory that is to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not with greed but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as domineering over those assigned to your care, but by proving to be examples to the flock.

Hebrews 13:17
Through Him then, let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips praising His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them—for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account—so that they may do this with joy, not groaning; for this would be unhelpful for you.

4) We affirm that the role of Pastor is to be held in honor and respect and the pastor must be given the respect for a person in such a position of overseer and shepherd of our souls.

5) We have firm that our pastor is called to lead us toward greater commitment to and involvement in the great commission of the great commandment. That is our mission and our methods must change to reach the current community and culture around us.

6) We affirm the importance of Christian unity and reject any attempt toward division and disunity, as it says, in first Corinthians 1:10 – Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you.

I regret that I didn’t get a chance to say all this to my pastor before he left. Perhaps this is something that you would like to say to him as well.

That’s why I brought this up during the pastor’s time of encouragement at the beginning of this meeting. I wanted to affirm what Ken did here and what he tried to do here, and I wanted to publicly appreciate him.

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We Are Transformed People

I presented this devotion at the quearterly business meeting at King’s Grant Baptist Church in August 2022.

I’d like to look at Ephesians 4:17-20.
So I say this, and affirm in the Lord, that you are to no longer walk just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their minds, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecent behavior for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,

We recognize that we are transformed people, having been changed from what we used to be. Paul gives us some admonishment by saying… you did not learn Christ in this way.

Words of kindness, words of hope, words of encouragement, words of support, words of challenge, words that are going to build up the body of Christ; those are the things that the body of Christ is supposed to embrace.

So, Paul is basically saying, let us behave as those who have Jesus Christ living inside of us.

Imagine the church being fully devoted to what Jesus Christ wants to do through us, his church. How did we learn of Christ? We learned of Christ by faith, and when we came to him in faith, we learn to become obedient. We learned how to be an example of Jesus Christ. Being an example does not point to us at all, but it points to Jesus who is abiding in us, taken up residence inside of us.

Let Jesus shine.

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Identifying with Nehemiah

This was what I said at the beginning of the quarterly business meeting of King’s Grant Baptist Church in December 2022.

Before I read a Scripture tonight, I want to share something that came from Lynn Hardaway, our Director of Missions with The Bridge Network. I read it on August 9. This is a part of his email series called push to start.

If you feel like walking away from pastoral ministry, you’re not alone. All across the country, as Barna Research pointed out in March 2022, that 22% of pastors have seriously considered quitting full-time ministry. That is up 13% since January 2021. These are tough times to be a leader in any organization, especially in an organization, like the church, that is completely dependent upon the volunteer attendance of its members.

Barna point out three main drivers causing pastors to resign: immense stress, loneliness and isolation, and then the political divisions in the nation. Anecdotally, I would add the lethargy toward the church in the lives of post pandemic Christians and the feral anger and dissatisfaction many are displaying coming out of a two-year lockdown. He goes on to compare these pastors, who have decided to leave the ministry, to Jonah and his call to a specific work. And now we find ourselves in the hold of a ship setting Sail toward Tarshish.

I just wanted you to know that this is happening all across the country, not just here. Barna does his research. Tonight, I want you to know, after being 15 years, that I love this congregation. When Pastor Skip and Dan Cooper met with me that summer before my arrival on Labor Day weekend in 2007, God was opening a door for me to come and serve here, and you affirmed that calling by approving the recommendation of the personnel committee to bring me on staff. So, tonight, I just want you to know that God has not released me from that call.

I realize that we’ve had several things going on with the previous two pastors. Many times when you get badgered and bullied, there comes a certain point when you just asked the question, “why am I still doing this?” But I realize that God has me here for such a time as this, He has some reason. Likely it is to walk with you through this pastoral transition. I don’t know what it is, but my hope is that we can work through whatever is going on to get back to the task and the mission that God has given to us.

That’s why I’ve included those handouts, they are basically clippings from my reading over the last several months, about churches and mission and change, note especially the one about Canoeing the Mountains.

I want to share with you today a Scripture that comes out of Nehemiah’s story. Nehemiah 6:2-9. Dan preached on Nehemiah a couple of weeks back but but when I went back to read the chapter on my own, I had to ask God, “are you saying something to me personally?”

Nehemiah 6:2
Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to me, saying, “Come, let’s meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they were plotting to harm me.

This was reminiscent of the ambush meeting at the home of one of my members. Amy (our children’s minister) and I attended with about 20 people who have proven to be antagonistic to the state of the church and the change that gradually happened over the world-wide pandemic. We thought it would be a conversation to set straight some one the misinformation that has permeated the members, some were outright lies that persist even when third parties have attempted to set the record straight. When it was all over, I thought this verse was appropriate, “they were plotting to harm me.”

Nehemiah 6:3
So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and am unable to come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”

Nehemiah tells them that he is doing a good work, and cannot stop this good work to come down to your meeting. That spoke to me. God was telling me to keep my eyes on my calling and to maintain the good work that He has started. Let the church grow in spite of the negativity of a few.

Nehemiah 6:4-5
Then they sent messages to me four times worded in this way, and I answered them with the same wording. 5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me in the same way a fifth time with an open letter in his hand.

Nehemiah had repeated invitations to meetings and then there was an open letter presented to him. All I could think about was certain members having repeated meetings with my pastor to complain about what they didn’t like, and to belittle his leadership and authority. Then came the infamous 10-page letter of complain, criticism, and bullying.

Nehemiah 6:6-7
In it was written: “It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; for that reason you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports. 7 You have also appointed prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem concerning you, ‘A king is in Judah!’ And now it will be reported to the king according to these reports. So come now, let’s consult together.”

Nehemiah is accused by the opposition of ulterior motives for his building project. We know while you’re building this wall, according to the report, you plan to be their king. And you even appointed prophets to prophesy in Jerusalem saying there’s a new king of Judah. You know this report will get back to the true king so I suggest that you come to our little meeting.

So much misinformation and outright lies. I never told the PSC to not bring in a potential preacher. 1) All I suggested is that the preacher they bring in should be trained in relational conflict and experienced in transitional pastoral change. The PSC chair pulled the trigger on that one. 2) Who would ever believe that I have enough relational clout to tell “one influential member of the PSC” to do or not do anything? Apparently I quashed one candidate and no amount of truth will change some people’s minds.

There was a false story that I was doing all I could to mold this congregation into a purpose driven church. This means, remove the choir, dress casually, marginalize the older members, and making authoritarian decisions without the congregation voting (referring to the needed change to our schedule in 2021 and then an adjustment in 2022). While I read Rick Warren’s book, I never used a 25-year-old text to architect a takeover of the church.

Nehemiah 6:8-9
Then I sent a message to him saying, “Nothing like these things that you are saying has been done, but you are inventing them in your own mind.” 9 For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, “They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done.” But now, God, strengthen my hands.

Nehemiah’s response is, “you know that you’re lying, you were making this up in your own head.” There is no truth in any part of your story. He adds that the opposition was just trying to intimidate them. They wanted to break their resolve and to stop the good work. so he prayed for strength to continue the work.

When I read this, I was reminded of the noble mission that God has given us, to fulfill the great commission and live out the great commandment. We’ve got to do these if nothing else. We have to remember that whatever we do, no matter what our personal preferences, no matter anything, the mission trumps everything.

Something came to my attention the other day, a text from one of our members, about the city of Chesapeake allowing the Satanic Temple to start a Satan Club in one of their public schools. Imagine that, an after school program in our elementary school called the Satan Club. Like our children need a club influenced by a the father of lies teaching them to be free-thinkers and reject the authority of parents over their lives. As a church, our mission is to be out in our community, to be salt and light, fulfilling the mission that God has given us. This satanic activity is happening because we are not on the front lines. This is happening on our watch, and the city has to let them in the schools, because if they allow the good news club, for fairness, they have to let in all clubs. That’s what we’re up against. This generation is not the same as it was decades ago. We’ve got to be on the cutting edge of challenging and confronting this darkness. That is our mission, and all the things that we are arguing about and all this conflict, is it about the mission?

No, it is a distraction from the mission. It’s about power and control. Who has control Jesus’ church? A few vocal members believe the pastor is a hired hand, saying, “we pay your salary and you work for us.”

We have a lot of people in this congregation who want to be all about the mission. They want to be disciples. They want to grow in their faith. They want to share the gospel. They want to bring new people in, reaching those who are far off from God. I have to admit that it is often hard to bring people in thinking, “what are they going to do when they hear complaining and grumbling coming from our people?” Will they want to stay here? It’s hard to get people to want to be here. When guests come here, they need to hear about the love of Jesus Christ demonstrated through how we treat one another.

So, my thought is this, we are doing a good work here. And that’s what we need to be about, the good work that God has us doing, the mission. We don’t have time for these complaining meetings, we don’t have time for things like that. As Nehemiah says here, we are not going to come down to attend your meeting and to listen to your complaining. We have a task, a noble work of building this wall, and you will not distract us from that noble work. It’s too important.

I see many families, most of whom are at the other end of the hallway, and we see in that area growth and joy and life. That’s where we’re going to invest because we want to raise children and teenagers in the knowledge of the Lord. If we do that, they won’t even be tempted to go to the Satan Club on their school campus. That’s the good work we’re doing, sharing the light and life of the gospel.

So, I invite you to join us on the good work that God, getting the gospel outside the walls of this congregation. If we need to complain about things, we need to go off to the side, rather than making it center stage. we need to protect the flock from the poison that we get from certain members of our congregation. We have to encourage people to stand strong in the Lord and to be about the mission.

I had to share that Scripture with you tonight because God said something to me. Hopefully you will resolve to be all about the mission and not your personal preferences.

Another thing Hardaway writes in his email, I encourage you to stop looking at your situation through your eyes and try to see the church through the eyes of your next pastor. Man, when I saw that, I thought, “would any pastor want to come here?” I can confidently say, “not until we get back to the mission.” That’s what we need to be doing.

* This is the same meeting where we opened the sanctuary early, for 30 minutes of personal prayer, to sit in the sanctuary in silence and pour out our heart to the Lord, confessing sin, and putting all this at the feet of the one who can change hearts and lives.

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ReFocus on Worship – Psalm 15


A Description of a Worshiper in Psalm 15

If we are going to ReFocus on worship, perhaps we need to define by what we mean by worship, explaining what it IS and what it is NOT. When you hear the word “worship” what comes into your mind? If we’re honest, we probably picture this sanctuary at 9:30 or 11:00, basically, the event that takes place in this room each week. Or maybe you might think about hymns, or a choir, or listening to the preacher for 30 minutes, or offering prayer, or a collection plate.

Worship is not just something in the church because we have all heard the phrase, “hero worship.” Maybe it’s your favorite athlete or actor. Maybe you’re a Swifty or a fan of some other popular musician or artist. People can become blinded by their loyalty to their chosen hero. It becomes hero worship when they are all-in with that person with a blind eye to their limitations or faults.

As far as an ACROSTIC for this week… here it is… TRUTH, taken from John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

T – Theology of Worship – Human beings are created to worship. Throughout the centuries, mankind will worship something, from the living God of Israel, to rocks, trees, the sun, the stars, the horoscope, or even possessions, or popularity, or pleasures, or position. All these things can consume our minds and our hearts.

The Old Testament regularly calls for God’s people to worship him…

Psalm 29:1–2 – Ascribe to the Lord, you angels, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 2 Give honor to the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.

1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Philippians 2:9–11 – For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The purpose of the church, beyond serving the Lord and spreading the gospel, is to worship God through Jesus Christ. Here is a picture of the church…

1 Peter 2:5 – you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

In John 4:23–24, Jesus made it clear that the physical location of our worship is no longer relevant: “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23–24). True worship takes place on the inside, within our hearts or our spirits, WE are the dwelling place of God.

Why do we worship Him? Psalm 103:1–2 – Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;

Ephesians 2:19-22 – So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

Believers are temples of the living God, shining his glory.

When the Old Testament prophet Jonah said, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land” (Jonah 1:9, NLT), he was speaking of a lifestyle wholly dedicated to glorifying God. The apostle Paul also defined worship as an all-encompassing way of life: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1).

Believers participate in specific acts of worship whenever they celebrate God’s worthiness and His greatness by giving honor and glory to His name. Worship can be expressed in words, shouts, singing, bowing down, raising hands, and many other ways. In Psalm 95:1-2, the psalmist urges God’s people to engage in acts of worship: “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and let us sing him songs of praise.”

We’re talking about a theology of worship, (theology is literally, “words about God”). Here is a certain foundation, God is the object of our worship. It’s not about a place, like a sanctuary. It’s not about our attire, like wearing your Sunday best or a tie. It’s not about the equipment used in worship, like hymnbooks, choirs, or a pulpit. God alone is worthy of worship (1 Chronicles 16:25; Psalm 96:4–5). Worshiping God means acknowledging His absolute worth that He alone deserves. He is our Creator (Acts 17:28; James 1:17; Revelation 4:11), our Redeemer (Colossians 1:12–13; 1 Peter 1:3), and the Lord of all (Psalm 22:27).

A biblical theology of worship involves praising God and giving Him glory with our lips and with our lives; with our words and with our works; with our physical bodies and with our spiritual hearts. Worship that pleases God is authentic, offered with clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 24:3–4; Isaiah 66:2).

So, the T is all about a Theology of Worship. The R in TRUTH is for…

R – Righteous Behavior – what we say or believe must be backed up with what we do and how we behave. If not, our faith is just a game we play at certain times during the week. Psalm 15:1-5, (along with Psalm 24) may have been inspired on the occasion of moving the ark to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:12-19). Or the psalm may have expressed David’s deepest thoughts when he was in exile and was deprived of worshiping in God’s house.

The upright man of Psalm 15 is a complete contrast to the fool of Psalm 14 (in heart, word, and deed). The foolish person of Psalm 14 had forsaken the Law and the Lord, while this group in Psalm 15 is a remnant that kept faith alive in the nation of Israel (Malachi 3:16-18).

David’s Worship (15:1)

  1. A Pilgrim Worshiper – Who may abide in your tent or tabernacle? This language is similar to the tent of meeting during the Exodus. God met with his people for worship and sacrifices. For us, this is a real reminder that our worship can be on the move, wherever you are. All over the world, you can find God’s people and worship together. This also deals with the universal church, which are all believers who are united in Christ.
  2. A Permanent Worshiper – Who may dwell on your holy hill? Eventually, the transient Israelites found their capital city, the City of David, and worshiped on a holy hill, called Moriah. It was this same location where Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his one and only son Isaac, as a test of his faith. For us, there’s something to be said about gathering in a specific location on a regular basis. This is your local community of faith.

David’s Walk (15:2-4) – He who walks uprightly; who walks with integrity. This psalm helps us to see the connection between what we believe, what we do, and how we behave in public life. They say that integrity is all about “being the same person even when no one else is watching” … but we must always remember that someone is ALWAYS watching!

  1. His Works (15:2a) – He works righteousness.
  2. His Words (15:2b-4)
    1. Secret Words (15:2b) – … He speaks truth in his heart.
    2. Spoken Words (15:3-4)
      1. Restrained – He does not backbite or slander with his tongue.
      2. Righteous – He does not do evil to his neighbor.
      3. Responsibility – He does not take up a reproach or cast blame against his friend.
      4. Respectful – He despises a vile reprobate person but honor those who fear the Lord.
      5. Reliable – He swears to his own hurt and does not change.

David’s Ways (15:5)

  1. They Were Fair (15:5a) He doesn’t change interest on a loan nor take a bribe against the innocent.
  2. They Were Fixed (15:5b) He who does these things will never be moved.

This psalm helps us see a picture of a true worshiper whom God accepts into his sanctuary. But then, we come to the U in TRUTH…

U – Unacceptable Worship – Not everything we offer up to God, and we call worship, is acceptable worship to God.

A biblical theology of worship is concerned with the true worship of God.

True biblical worship must be reverent (Hebrews 12:28).

We must understand who is being worshiped. God is holy, just, perfect, powerful, loving, etc. On the flip side, we are sinners saved by grace, and we come before our holy God on the basis of our Redeemer, Jesus.

There is no room for pride in adoration (see Luke 18:9–14). If we feel we deserve being in his presence, it is a sure sign that we have missed the mark.

Those who wish to worship biblically must worship God as He is revealed in Scripture. Unbiblical views of God must be rejected.

Here are a few verses of unacceptable worship:

Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Genesis 4:4-5 – Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.

Matthew 15:7-9 – You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”

And, we should beware of casting judgment based on another group’s style or preference or worship expression. That would be ok if you are the object of worship, but since you are not, how dare anyone say that God is not pleased with that type of offering or sacrifice of praise. Because it is different than yours.

The second T in TRUTH is for …

T – True Worship (John 4:19-24) Did you know that we can worship in ignorance? You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. (John 4:22).

WHAT or WHO does God seek? The lost? Converts? Disciples? Missionaries? Laborers? According to John 4:23, But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. The Father seeks worshippers. So, what is a worshiper? What does a worshiper do? What does a worshiper look like?

We must know the endgame at the beginning or else we may only develop into a worshiper by accident, or we’ll miss the target all together. Look back at Psalm 15. It helps us see how a worshipper acts. Here are a few verses that support the need for Holy Spirit inspired transformed behavior:

Ephesians 4:1 – Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,

Philippians 1:27 – Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Colossians 1:10 – so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

1 Thessalonians 2:12 – so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

1 John 2:6 –the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

1 Peter 2:21 – For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.

The point is that worship is way more than gathering here on Sunday believing that if I do, that’s all God wants from me. We need to know the truth, because in reality, ignorance is NOT bliss. God knows who’s serious about their faith and who is going through the motions.

There is only one way to renew our minds, and that is by the Word of God. This book is the truth. This book reveals the Truth, Jesus our Lord and Redeemer. To know the truth, to believe the truth, to hold convictions about the truth, and to love the truth will naturally result in true spiritual worship.

And finally, the H in TRUTH is for…

H – Hymns and Spiritual Songs – What were the ingredients of worship that we find in the New Testament? In the first century church, on any given Sunday…

They Observed the Lord’s Supper – On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. (Acts 20:7),

They Offered up Prayers – What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. (1 Corinthians 14:15),

They Sang Songs to the Glory of God – speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; (Ephesians 5:19)

They Took Up a Collection – On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. (1 Corinthians 16:2)

They Read the Scriptures – When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. (Colossians 4:16)

They Proclaimed the Word of God – On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. (Acts 20:7, until midnight I might add).


When we talk about worship being a lifestyle that includes transformation of the mind and the body; it is more than simply keeping the rules.

We know that the rabbis had 613 commandments to obey if they wanted to be righteous; sort of a fence around the Law to keep us from breaking God’s Top Ten. Moses ben Maimon (AD 1138–1204, commonly known as Maimonides) compiled a list. (His tomb is in Tiberias, on the western Sea of Galilee).

In Psalm 15, David lists 11 things that is practiced by a true worshipper of El-Shaddai, (God Almighty).

Isaiah 33:15-16 cut that list down to six, very similar to what David records in Psalm 15.

Micah 6:8 brings it down to 3. 1) To act justly, 2) to love mercy, and 3) to walk humbly with your God.

Habakkuk 2:4 brings it down to 1, the righteous will live by faith.

Where are you on this continuum of worship and lifestyle? What changes do you need to make? How must your life be transformed by the renewing of your mind and the modification of your behavior?

True worship is not confined to what we do in church. True worship is the acknowledgment of God and all His power and glory in everything we do. The highest form of praise and worship is obedience to God and His Word. To do this, we must know God; we cannot be ignorant of Him (Acts 17:23). Worship is to glorify and exalt God—to show our loyalty and admiration to our heavenly Father.

Let’s pray about it.

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