I think the only kind of worship service I haven't participated in is one with snake handling. Believe me, I'm content to leave that one alone. All that experience is worth something - I once wrote a blog for Tracy over at Abundant Life... like most guest-bloggers, it had to be one of my best evers! IMHO - it was. ;) It's taken a long time (since March), but here is the sequel.
In my most sarcastic style (which my wife won't let me use at home), I thought I would follow up with, in no particular order, 10 more popular hot-button issues in the church today.
-1 Building Funds: According to Dave Ramsey, most Christians don't tithe - I've been there. Some folks think that a church buildings (along with Christmas and Easter) are just a pagan tradition from the third century, and they also believe only house churches are the "true church."
So how much pressure can churches put on believers to make love offerings, give tithes, gifts, alms and donate to special projects like a building fund? I don't know, but it sure is a hot-button issue.
2 Kings 12:10 Whenever they saw that there was a large amount of money in the chest, the royal secretary and the high priest came, counted the money that had been brought into the temple of the LORD and put it into bags. 11 When the amount had been determined, they gave the money to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. With it they paid those who worked on the temple of the LORD -the carpenters and builders, 12 the masons and stonecutters. They purchased timber and dressed stone for the repair of the temple of the LORD, and met all the other expenses of restoring the temple.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
-2 Length of the Service: I don't care where yo go, it seems folks always have something to say about the length of the service. My Catholic friends like the quick ones: in-and-out-in-20-minutes quick. I went to a church for a few months that the services pushed 3 hours.
My favorite quote: "The service went 30 minutes longer that the Holy Spirit did!"
Luke 2:36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
1 Devil OK 2 Devils for the 3-hour service!
-3 Song List: Next to volume, it seems everyone has an opinion about the song list. The worst are the musicians themselves!
Really, who's list is it anyway?
1 Corinthians 14:26 [ Orderly Worship ] What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.
-4 Holidays: Everyone has an opinion about holidays - especially Halloween, Easter, Christmas and occasionally Valentines Day. All four were set up to compete with traditional pagan holiday traditions - some were even idol worship. Only Easter and Christmas coincide with a historical biblical event.
Some purists think that we should only celebrate the Jewish feats. Other say only communion because Jesus commanded us to do that.
Me I like Pentecost, it is both Jewish and historical - how pure can you get?
2 Chronicles 30:23 The whole assembly then agreed to celebrate the festival seven more days; so for another seven days they celebrated joyfully.
4 Devils - mostly because of Halloween!
-5 Volunteers: What is with Christians? As soon as they volunteer for something, it drops to the bottom of their list of priorities - OK, maybe not yours.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
5 Devils - because you didn't show up for children's church, and your spouse blew off worship team practice again.
-6 The Web Site: I have been a web designer for almost 20 years. All I have to say is that the church web site is the result of - umm - volunteers.
Job 8:15 He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold.
-7 Satan: Lucifer can get a bad rap some days. I mean, the poor guy is busy making every one's life miserable; causing them to sin and do stuff that only priests can hear about in a confessional. I could be wrong, maybe Satan can't touch us because we are God's chosen. There is always a debate.
1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
-8 Relationship: If you have been in the church any length of time, you've been offended. We try to love others so we let down our guard. They are all there in line for coffee: Gary Gossip, Needy Nan, Eric Exec and Milk-Toast Mary the intercessor. It is tough being living stones. It's even tougher loving the unlovable.
John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
-9 Wealth: Some church folks have a pet peeve, and it's people having money. They have some warped sense of Scripture that does not allow anyone to be successful and make a lot of cash, especially pastors! The problem most often seems to be with those that don't have it. Personally, I have two very wealthy friends and they give to every sort of need. The poor, the sick, the widows, and they fund other projects for the church including pregnancy centers and Christian schools. The problem isn't the money, it is the giving.
Romans 12:8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously.
-10 Socialism and Capitalism: This one sort of cracks me up. Here are proof texts.
Socialism: Act 2:44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
Capitalism: Matthew 25:22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
I find it interesting that somehow we think that Jesus did not want anyone to have anything. It is just not true. The Bible says that we should work hard - 6 days a week even, and support our families. We are to give generously from what we have.
Conversely, if we go to the communal sort of living in Acts 2, then we should SELL EVERYTHING, and share with those in the Christian community, not give away the money of others for the work that we are unwilling to do ourselves.