worship

Taste and See #NaPoWriMo2017 #GloPoWriMo2017

How sweet are His words
Ears test words as the tongue tastes food
Taste and see that the Lord is good

For Day 28 of Na/GloPoWriMo, NaPoWriMo.net reminded us that many poems explore the sight or sound or feel of things, and Proust famously wrote about the memories evoked by smell. The prompt challenge was to write a poem that explores your sense of taste – this could be a poem about food, or wine, or even the oddly metallic sensation of a snowflake on your tongue.

This poem drew inspiration from the Old Testament, and in particular lines from Job and the Psalms.

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Worthy of Praise #NaPoWriMo2017 #GloPoWriMo2017

Calling to the Lord, most worthy of praise
He gave me a new song, a hymn of praise

Praise the Lord, my soul, enthroned Holy One
To your holy name be eternal praise

All my inmost being, will sing and rejoice
Unseal my lips, Lord, to declare your praise

All praise the Lord, you his faithful people
Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise,

Shout for joy to the Lord, shout all the earth
Rejoice and sing to him a psalm of praise

Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous people
In glory of his name, make raucous praise

He holds keys to your hearts, by faith unlocked
Let all generations proclaim his praise

The NaPoWriMo.net official prompt for Day 13 of Na/GloPoWriMo2017 is to write a ghazal. The form was originally developed in Arabic and Persian poetry, but has become increasingly used in English, after being popularized by poets including Agha Shahid Ali. A ghazal is formed of couplets, each of which is its own complete statement. Both lined of the first couplet end with the same phrae or end-word, and that end-word is also repeated at the end of each couplet. If you’re really feeling inspired, you can also attempt to incorporate internal rhymes and a reference to your own name in the final couplet.
NaPoWriMo.net

Your Promise Preserves #NaPoWriMo2017 #GloPoWriMo2017

Do not let me stray
From the steadfast way,
May the path of purity
Steer all my steps,
Let me always accord with
The law of my loving Lord;

Before, I was afflicted –
Arrogant, and accursed;
As a lost sheep, went astray,
I applied my own way –
Your Word admonished me,
Now I adhere to your words;

I rejoices in your riches,
I delight in your decrees,
Your promise preserves my life;
As I persevere to serve,
Let me not be put to shame,
Help me to glorify your name.

Day 12 of the Na/GloPoWriMo2017 challenge, and today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo.net is to write a poem that explicitly incorporates alliteration (the use of repeated consonant sounds) and assonance (the use of repeated vowel sounds).

This poem was inspired by the lines of Psalm 119, which employs a lot of alliteration in its original Hebrew text.

His Territory

Self-imposed exiles,
Slaves held in captivity,
Your King sets you free;
Our hearts are his territory –
He bids come beside His throne

written in response to today’s prompt at The Daily Posttoday’s prompt at The Daily Post

May the Nations be Glad

Lord be gracious and bless your people;
Make your face shine on us,
May all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad,
With cause to sing for joy;
May your ways may be known across the earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

A quadrille (44 words) based upon Psalm 67

All Hail the King!

Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge

There will be a day
Each and ev’ry knee shall bow –
Hail the risen King!

written in response to this week’s RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge #139 – “King” and “Day”

Quotes on Church Unity

“Church isn’t the sort of thing you can go to. You can be the church, you can become the church, you can even do church, but you can’t go to church. (Nowhere does the New Testament mention going to church.) One way of saying it is that church is the sort of thing that you become part of at the cost of your life. You’re the church whenever you’re with other Christians in such a way that you depend on each other enough that to do it you have to die to yourself. In that situation and almost only in that situation, can you love each other, serve each other, live in unity, and speak the truth to each other in love the way Ephesians 4 teaches.”
― John F. Alexander, Being Church: Reflections on How to Live as the People of God

“I don’t believe God wants our church life to be centered on buildings and services. Instead, God wants our churches—whatever specific forms our gatherings take—to be focused on active discipleship, mission, and the pursuit of unity.”
― Francis Chan, Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We Made Up

“When the people in a church dwell together in the unity of the gospel and together pursue the building up of one another in love, they are providing fertile soil for the roots of deep joy. But […]”
― Matt Chandler, To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain

“On the concept of unity- “Thatʼs right – Jesusʼ[s] most pressing concern before leaving the earth was our unity. He was looking ahead, to every generation of believer. And as he prayed, he made it clear that our witness as his body in this fractured , messed-up, chaotic world would depend on our love for another.”
― Ed Galisewski, A Simpler Faith: Hope For Those Who Struggle With Church

“I believe that there is still much hope for the church to attain deeper and purer doctrinal understanding, and to overcome old barriers, even those that have persisted for centuries. Jesus is at work perfecting his church “that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27), and He has given gifts to equip the church “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph. 4:13). Though the past history of the church may discourage us, these Scriptures remain true, and we should not abandon hope of greater agreement…In this book I have not hesitated to raise again some of the old differences in the hope that, in some cases at least, a fresh look at Scripture may provoke a new examination of these doctrines and may perhaps prompt some movement not just toward greater understanding and tolerance of other viewpoints, but even toward greater doctrinal consensus in the church.”
― Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine

“The church is constituted as a new people who have been gathered from the nations to remind the world that we are in fact one people. Gathering, therefore, is an eschatological act as it is the foretaste of the unity of the communion of the saints.”
― Stanley Hauerwas, In Good Company: The Church as Polis

“We tend to lament this seemingly endless parceling of Christianity (which, let’s face it, can indeed get out of hand), but I’m not convinced the pursuit of greater unity means rejecting denominationalism altogether. A worldwide movement of more than two billion people reaching every continent and spanning thousands of cultures for over two thousand years can’t expect homogeneity. And the notion that a single tradition owns the lockbox on truth is laughable, especially when the truth we’re talking is God.”
― Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

“Why is understanding church models essential in enabling a city’s churches to work together in unity? Without this understanding, there will be no catholicity in your city. Unless you accept the fact that there is not one exclusively biblical church model, you will not see the need for strong fellowship and connections to other denominations and networks, which usually embody different emphases and strengths than the ones that characterize your model. What’s more, there also will be no catholicity in your church, denomination, or movement.”
― Timothy J. Keller, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City

“Worship at its best is a social experience with people of all levels of life coming together to realize their oneness and unity under God. Whenever the church, consciously or unconsciously caters to one class it loses the spiritual force of the “whosoever will, let him come, doctrine and is in danger of becoming a little more than a social club with a thin veneer of religiosity.”
― Martin Luther King Jr, The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr

“…If a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing [for Satan and his devils to do] is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that “suits”him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches. The reasons are obvious. In the first place the parochial organization should always be attacked, because, being a unity of place and not of likings, it brings people of different classes and psychology together in the kind of unity the [Lord] desires… In the second place, the search for a “suitable” church makes the man a critic where the [Lord] wants him to be a pupil.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“No one is perfect—there are always going to be little things that people disagree about. Nevertheless, we should always get on our knees together and seek to maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace (Eph 4:3)”
― John F. MacArthur Jr, The Master’s Plan for the Church

“Election has nothing to do with the eternal salvation of individuals but refers instead to God’s way of saving nations. It was a major mistake of the Reformation to have decided to follow Augustine in this matter, taking election to refer to grace and salvation. It manages to make bad news out of good news. It casts a deep shadow over the character of God. At it worst, it can lead to awful consequences in terms of pride, arrogance, superiority, and intolerance as the ideology of election takes hold. It causes the church to become, not a sign of the unity of humanity in the love of God, but the sign of favorites in the midst of the enemies of God.”
― Clark H. Pinnock, A Wideness in God’s Mercy: The Finality of Jesus Christ in a World of Religions

“Unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, charity in all things.”
― The Puritans

“Unity in the church will not happen if members have unforgiving hearts.”
“few things can destroy the unity of a church like gossip. A unified church is powerful. Gossip tears apart that unity and renders a church powerless.”
― Thom S. Rainer, I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference

“Sometimes it takes having differences, not understanding one another, and even being a little bit irritated by and bored with one another, to remind us that the church is a family and not a club. At its best, this family dynamic of the local church functions as God’s fertile soil for growing us beyond mere tolerance toward true expressions of love and unity.”
― Scott Sauls, Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides

“The level of rhetoric and discourse [in the election season] has been so divisive. I think it is important to remind believers that their identity is in Christ, and that we are called to unity and reconciliation. In my own church there are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We are wanting to call people to remember that only in Jesus is there ultimate hope.”
― C. Christopher Smith, Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus

“All Christians enjoy a unity of mission in which we have one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Eph. 4:4–5). There is surely disunity in the visible church, but that is not as important as the reality of the unity that we enjoy by virtue of our shared communion in Christ.”
― R.C. Sproul, Everyone’s a Theologian

“It should be evident that there can be no true Christian sharing unless there is first an impartation of life. An organization and a name do not make a church. One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.”
― A.W. Tozer, Man: The Dwelling Place of God

“Unity in the church is so important that the New Testament gives more attention to it than to either heaven or hell. God deeply desires that we experience oneness and harmony with each other. Unity is the soul of fellowship. Destroy it, and you rip the heart out of Christ’s Body. It is the essence, the core, of how God intends for us to experience life together in his church. Our supreme model for unity is the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are completely unified as one. God himself is the highest example of sacrificial love, humble other-centeredness, and perfect harmony.”
― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

“I saw a lot of working class men and women – myself included – living a deeper, more thoughtful life than would have been possible without the church… The sense of belonging to something big, something important, lent unity and meaning.”
― Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

“The church is not simply a religious body looking for a safe place to do its own thing within a wider political or social world. The church is neither more nor less than people who bear witness, by their very existence and in particular their holiness and their unity (Colossians 3), that Jesus is the world’s true lord, ridiculous or even scandalous though this may seem.”
― N.T. Wright, Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Issues

Thank God for Jesus

Overwhelming mercy
God’s undeniable grace –
Give thanks for Jesus

written in response to The Daily Post prompt of “overwhelming”The Daily Post prompt of “overwhelming”