30 June, 2006

Church Monkey?

http://www.driveconference.com/video.jsp

Here is a link to Andy Stanley's Drive 06 conference video. Watch real close and you will see a 'church monkey'. Can someone explain? I do not seem to be cool or hip enough to figure these things out.

When will these poor people realize that the gospel message stands alone? It does NOT need help with gimmicks. We don't need church monkey's or Pimp my church van's. We don't need to be relevant. The gospel is always relevant.

Romans 10:17
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

16 comments:

Swern said...

Both these videos were done for the Drive 05 conference and the only point of them was to be funny. It was an attempt to make the conference (which is attended by pastors and church leaders) more enjoyable for the attenders by spoofing a well-known television show (Pimp My Ride on MTV) and commercial (the 'Trunk Monkey' commercials from Suburban Auto group). These videos were not used to be prescriptive of method nor theological approach, they were just used for fun. It is okay to have fun, right?

I am curious why you see something on a church's website and immediately jump to conclusions about how they present the Gospel?

And by the way, the Gospel is always relevant, but the Gospel is also always expressed in culture. So why wouldn't we seek to present the Gospel in a way that is best understood by our cultural context. To me that's being relevant - using what is cultural to communicate what is timeless. Please tell me what is wrong with that.

Lindon said...

Wow, a post..an actual post! Welcome to my blog. You are one of about 6 readers so far as I can tell. :)

I think people want to make things either/or. For example: Fun. There is a time and place for it even at church. But, it seems to me, that in my experience with seeker/mega's that FUN or COOL always wins out. It is a pursuit of sorts.

I am not anti-fun. But, I am pro-Holy which is not always about fun...it IS always about Joy, though.

I do not think I jumped to conclusions. Yes, I have visited North Point's website many times and have listened to quite a few sermons and read most of A Stanley's books. What I can tell you is that after almost 15 years as a corporate trainer, there is very little difference in what I heard on those sermons and read in those books from what I trained in leadership, teams, etc. in the workplace.

There was very little scripture used in the sermons. Most sermons had ONE verse quoted and almost never in context. I could have been listening to Tony Robbins.

The wonderful thing about scripture is that it never has to be culturally relevant. In fact, we are not supposed to be like the world. My prayer is that we will have more scripture and less 'world'.

I am relieved to hear from you that "Pimp my church van" was not prescriptive of a method or theological approach. :)

Romans 10:17
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Swern said...

Yeah, I found your blog after a comment you made to one of my posts about some comments that Andy Stanley made recently in Leadership Journal so I cruised over to check the site and saw your post about Drive.

I think the problem that I have with your argument is that Scripture exists in culture. The gospels were written about specific events that took place witin a specific culture. I believe (and you can disagree if you'd like) that the job of the church is to take the timeless truth of Scripture and help make it understandable to people in their culture. There is significance to be sure for telling the stories from Scripture and learning about the truths embedded within that cultural context, but the power of the Gospel is to change people's lives today. I believe that happens as people hear the Word of God in a way that is engaging, helpful, and in an appealing context.

As for Andy's sermons, yes he does take small sections of Scripture, explain their context (I don't know what message you listened to but explaining the context is a normative part of his teaching), and then help people to understand how that truth applies in their current context. Andy's most recent series, 'It Came From Within' covered the corruption of the human heart, focusing on greed, jealousy, anger, and guilt and how Scripture teaches us to find victory over these things. Please point to any Tony Robbins seminar that would cover such topics. Just because Andy's messages may feel conversational and engaging like a corporate trainer doesn't mean that his content is watered down. Again, you have listened to a couple series online, and I have attended North Point for nearly ten years now. I will tell you that I have grown more in ten years under Andy's teaching than in the previous twenty plus years I spent in a traditional mainline denominational church where I heard the typical type of verse by verse, book by book expositional messages you advocate every week.

I agree with you that we are supposed to be a holy people, set apart to God. But the tension is that we are also to be in the world (though not of it) making disciples. This is the model of ministry Jesus showed us. Did He set himself apart from the world or did He go to the people who needed Him, dining with tax collectors and sinners. Or look at Paul in Acts, when he goes to Athens. Does he separate himself from the people or storm up to Mars Hill to call down wrath on the people? No. "He reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day" (Acts 17:17). Paul went to the philosophers of his day and engaged on their terms (Acts 17:18).

I guess when I read posts like yours and others that decry what North Point is trying to accomplish, I feel like it is always from a combative adversarial spirit. If we are both part of the Body of Christ and take Jesus' prayer in John 17 for unity among believers, shouldn't we be far more charitable to the diversity in the body?

-Stephen

Lindon said...

>>I agree with you that we are supposed to be a holy people, set apart to God. But the tension is that we are also to be in the world (though not of it) making disciples.>>

the seeker church is doing the opposite. They are bringing the world into the church. We are to go out into the world to witness... bringing repentent people into church to worship. Read ACTS over and over again. NO where did they witness: Jesus love you. That is a given by His work on the cross. They preached: Repentence.

The problem is that many churches now hate Holiness. That is why they can "Pimp my church van" and make rap videos with questionable lyrics about Jesus. Go here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeES0PUN78o

There is no fear of God anymore.

The reason why you think what I posted is adversarial is because you have been taught that 'unity of relationships' is most important. (I understand, I was taught that, too)

What is most important is unity of gospel. Jesus was not praying that they agree on everything but that they be ONE in their belief of the truth. Big difference.

I have listend to quite a few sermons from the website. One thing I will ask about his sermon on the heart and getting 'victory': Did he tell you the ONLY way to do that is through real repentence? Self denial, narrow gate, narrow road, take up your cross or sanctification?

Swern said...

I have read Acts over and over again, and what I see is a book that is about the apostles taking the Gospel from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. It is about the birth of the church and the movement of the Gospel to the lost world. The church in Acts bears almost no resemblance to today's congregational gatherings. Believers met in the synagogue, where the apostles taught believers and non-believers, and in homes. The church was persecuted and underground. Often when they gathered to listen to the apostles' teaching, non believers were present. How else were people "added to their numbers daily." Not that I ever said that the witness was to be "Jesus loves you," but since those words are in my mouth I'll defend them. How can you preach repentance unless you first tell people the Gospel - God loved you so much that He gave His only Son, and by TURNING (what repentence means) to God and confessing your faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, you can have eternal life.

I'll grant you that there is a need for reverance in our worship, and many have lost the fear of the Lord and turned God into their "buddy." I will reiterate that the NP videos you mention were used for a conference, no a church service. They were made to be funny and to entertain the conference attendees. I won't try to defend the rap video, mainly because I just didn't think it was very well done and am not sure what it was used for.

What makes you think we do not have unity of the gospel. I need clarification, because what I read in that is that you assert we believe different gospels. If it helps at all I will tell you that I completely affirm the Nicene Creed. So there, are we now one in belief? Can we now from there talk charitably as brothers about these issues, seeking understanding for our faith? I can not disagree more with you about the interpretation of John 17. Jesus is asking for unity among the believers akin to the unity among the persons of the Triune God. Do you really think that the unity of the Trinity can be reduced simply to their "belief in truth?"

Victory is probably not a good word. It's mine, not Andy's so let's disregard it. A better way of putting it was that Andy taught how to combat the sins of the heart. He did not use the cliched words that you used, but he did talk about:
1) Understanding that anger comes from not getting our way (someone "owes" me, which produces anger in my heart). Answer, find out who you think owes you and cancel the debt. Sounds like you might call that self denial (giving up your "rights") and maybe loving those who persecute you
2) Greed is the attitude that "I owe me." Fight that by being generous. Giving to others fights greed.
3) Jealousy is the attitude that "God owes me." We fight this by celebrating the good fortune of those we are jealous of. We humble ourselves and accept that what we have comes from God, and our jealousy is actually anger at God. We repent, celebrate fo those we are jealous of, and learn thankfulness.
4) Guilt is the attitude that "I owe you." The only way to fight it is confession and if possible, repaying the debt.

Of course no change of the heart is accomplished by human will. We are changed from the inside out through sanctification, which necessarily follows salvation through Christ by the regenerative work of the Spirit.

So how is that not teaching self denial, the narrow road, taking up your cross, and part of God's sanctification?

-Stephen

Lindon said...

By the way, I do not think any of this is adversarial. I am honored to discuss all of this with you and the fact that you are such a nice guy about it!!

>>How can you preach repentance unless you first tell people the Gospel - God loved you so much that He gave His only Son, and by TURNING (what repentence means) to God and confessing your faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, you can have eternal life.>>

Repentence IS part of the gospel message. Why do I care that Jesus loved me enough to die for me unless I come to realize that I am a lost sinner with no hope? Unless I think that by believing in Jesus my physical/material life is going to get better or something because I believe. (this is actually what is being preached quite a bit). The truth is unless I repent and have faith in Jesus, I am going to hell. The repent thing usually gets left out of the message and there is no heaven without it!

If you have not listened to Ray Comforts, Hells Best Kept Secret, you may want to take the time to listen to it now. http://www.livingwaters.com/listenwatch.shtml

It is worth every minute of your time.

As far as relevancy is concerned, you mentioned Paul and Mars Hill. I ran across this today...and he says it much better than I do:

http://www.crosswalk.com/news/weblogs/mohler/

Notice in that scripture that Paul engages them there...he does not walk up to them and invite them to his house church first.

By the way, I have only found one place in Acts where it mentions unbelievers in worship and even then it says, IF they happen to come in.....If I have missed more, I would love to know where to look or maybe there is a different translation or something

And, as for church growth methods, the Ananias and Sapphira thing was not a good marketing strategy.

As far as Unity is concerned. We may be talking two different things. You may think of unity in relationships (methods as in relational evangelism) where I tend to believe in unity of doctrine. IF there is unity in doctrine what else matters..as you have fellowship.

I believe that many seeker/mega churches have made idols of relationships at the cost of full gospel. That is how they have grown. But, we know the road is narrow and few enter the gate. So what is going on? If they say a sinners prayer then they are saved?

Romans 3: 9-18 This always tripped me up.

We sow the seeds but God reaps the harvest because He seeks US. He uses us but our job is to proclaim the truth. We have no power over the soil we are sowing on. The: If susie likes me-- she will like my Jesus, kind of relational evangelism brings it down to man's efforts. We must not offend susie. We need to make it comfortable and fun for susie if we want her to come back. All of that is man-centered not God centered. The Word is supernatural. The Holy Spirit does the work. We tell susie the full gospel, sin repentence, love, the works and it is up to the Holy Spirit from there. We love her, etc. But we do not change anything in the worship/teaching of our God to make her more comfortable.

In other words, all we have to do is teach the full gospel, the full counsel of God. We do not need gimmicks, worldly tricks to 'draw people'. NO ONE SEEKS GOD.

>>Of course no change of the heart is accomplished by human will. We are changed from the inside out through sanctification, which necessarily follows salvation through Christ by the regenerative work of the Spirit.>>

Total agreement here.

Gee, that sanctification part is HARD, though!!! :)

Swern said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Swern said...

I actually think that we are pretty close on some of these issues, and I agree that this is now a healthy dialogue.

I agree that repentance is a part of the message of the gospel. In order to place faith in Christ to receive the imputed righteousness He offers, we all must turn (i.e. repent) from trusting in our own righteousness and accept salvation by grace. I don't know which churches you are referencing that leave this out, but I can assure you it is not North Point. Again, it may not be the exact language you want, but it is there.

Mohler's article was interesting, and I didn't find anything that I disagreed with, though it's hard for me to read Mohler without a bias. I've disliked some things I've read from him in the past. I would offer this article as maybe a different perspective on the same passage: http://www.dts.edu/media/publications/kindredspirit/article/?id=257

The issue I have with how you characterize relational evangelism is that you make the assumption that this practice places the emphasis on the relationship to affect change. I believe strongly in relational evangelism, but I know that only God can affect change in someone's heart. Only if the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the blind will they see the truth of the gospel and their need for repentance and salvation. However (and I hate to use a cliche, but it fits), you have to earn the right to be heard. Colossians 4:5-6 instructs us to use wisdom in interacting with outsiders, making the most of every opportunity and speaking with grace and truth.

As long as you are not compromising your message and are faithfully preaching the "full gospel" (your words) then what is wrong with trying to create an environment that earns the right to be heard. To me that just means we wrap our worship and message (without compromising its content) in a package that is appealing to believers and nonbelievers. This really can be accomplished. We want the music to be excellent, so that believers can truly worship their creator and non-believers will like the music even if God hasn't opened their eyes and enable them to even understand what they're singing. We want the message to be engaging and helpful for believers who are seeking to follow Christ daily, and we want it to at least be interesting enough for non-believers to at least pay attention. It's up to God to open their ears and let them hear it.

We are not trying to draw people using gimmicks. What we do want to do is partner with our church members in evangelism. We want them to invest in the lives of their neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends who are non-believers. When they are ready, we hope they invite them to a Sunday service. When that happens we want to make sure that non-believer experiences an excellent environment - great music, creativity, and an engaging message centered on a presentation of God's truth. If we do all that, then we've done all we can. God has to do the rest. The goal is for people to eventually believe with their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 10:9). I don't care if they tie that up with a bow by praying a prayer or not.

-Stephen

Lindon said...

Your last paragraph is where my concern comes in. Church is not really for unbelievers. OK...I can hear the groan from here! (I used to believe it was!)

Church is for believers. New believers, mature believers, etc., but for believers.

Every example of relevancy to the culture you have given me was outside the early church. (most met in homes, fields, etc. but it was still a body of believers even if brand new!)

My cousin was a missionary in several parts of the world. She told me about other missionaries who would pierce their noses, etc, dye their hair weird just so they could approach some of the other kids in Holland. That is NOT what I am talking about. I am talking about the church.

What happens when we use the church to "witness" to unbelievers? What happens when we focus our worship for unbelievers? It gets dumbed down. The world gets in. We want to make it fun, exciting, relevant and inoffensive. Everything has to be cool because we are competing with other entertainment. If we preached the 'full counsel' of God every worship service, the pews would empty and most pastors know this.

If we preached Hebrews: Unless we are Holy we will not see God. The pews would empty!

Let us face it, Ananias and Sapphira were not a great church growth strategy! That is how serious the Holy Spirit is about the church.

the whole church growth movement is focused on numbers. Not Holiness. The thought is if we can get them coming back, they will eventually buy into the gospel and be saved. But the problem is, they rarely ever hear it so when they get saved they do not know what they are saved from. We are very busy telling how to have great marriages and raise good kids, tec.

They rarely hear they are DEAD in sin. I am DEAD in sin. We are very busy entertaining them and asking them their 'worship style' so we can better entertain them.

I attended a mega for 16 years and not once heard the term "sanctification" or the concept preached from the pulpit. Grace was cheap and easy with a prayer and a baptism. (I am not against mega churches)

As a Christian, you know the gospel is offensive. You know the road is narrow and not all who say, Lord, Lord, will get to heaven. Are we making sure people understand that?

Read what the price of preachers has to say about this.

http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2006/06/spurgeon-on-church-growth.html

You know, I think of Jesus coming back. I think of all the pop culture stuff we are bringing into His church. I tremble when I think of facing Him. We will be judged on our words and actions. Even those of us who are saved will be judged. I come up short on this! When we trivialize Him or His Bride in anyway we will be accountable.

Do you really think Jesus is going to slap Andy on the back and say, Hey that pimp my church van was a great marketing tool? I am so glad you all used the current culture to teach my Holy Word?

I know it is not 'popular' to talk this way and how legalistic it sounds. But we have lost our fear of God and it is not healthy or scriptural.

Fun is ok. But that is about all I see coming out of the 'relevant' church these days. We were created to Glorify God. Period. Does this Glorify Him? or does it make us look fun and cool? (I am trying to get into the habit of asking myself that about everything I do and I come up very short)

I am not angry. I am sad and scared.

Anonymous said...

This is a very good debate between the two of you. I have enjoyed reading it and you have given me some food for thought. I love to see this conversation going on, churches need to start giving these matters some serious thought!

Swern said...

Okay, so if you want to define "church" as a gathering of only believers, fine. Then our small groups are the "real" church around North Point, and our Sunday service is not the church. It's something else - a place to gather believers and non-believers to hear practical teaching from the Bible (not dumbed down teaching, not dumbed-dow worship, not dumbed-down anything). Not that the first-century church described in Acts is prescriptive, but what we're doing seems to be in line with the apostles going to the synagogues and public places to teach among believers and non-believers and then gathering with believers in homes.

Lindon, I am glad to hear you confess your fear, because I think fear is pervasive in the thoughts you express. I think it is a very good to have a "fear of the Lord" - by that I mean a reverent respect. I rever God as the all-powerful Creator who is due all my worship and adoration. But I am not afraid of my Heavenly Father. Rather, "since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a full heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." (Heb. 10:19-22)

Lastly, I think something I hear repeated throughout your posts is a gross generalization about "megachurches" and the "relevant church." You lump them all together and make generalizations which are grossly unfair and erroneous. Furthermore, I do not think that you are angry at these churches, but your method for critique is neither helpful nor productive. When you seek to pronounce judgment using sweeping generalizations based on incomplete and incorrect assumptions, there is nothing productive that can come from that. It only does one of two things - it draws people who agree and "pile on" casting stones along with you, or it draws those who disagree and are inflamed by your thoughts, often to divisive debate. Why do you begin with the assumption that you are right? Can you be humble enough to admit that it is very likely that we are both wrong about many of our fiercely held convictions?

Incidentally, I have no idea what Jesus will say about the Pimp My Church Van video. I like to think that He has a sense of humor, as humor is such a source of joy and healing and must in some way reflect its Creator. I do think that when Andy does meet Jesus there will be a large crowd of people around our Lord who were drawn by His work through Andy and the staff at North Point.

-Stephen

Lindon said...

Warning: Serious Bible stuff.

From 1 Corinthians 5

9I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you

Don't you think Paul is being mean here? How can people learn to be a Christian if we cast them out of the church for the above sins. It is a hospital for sinners, right?

In an earlier verse, Paul says to turn him over to satan so that he can be...what? SAVED! Yes, cast him out because you love him. He cannot be truly saved by being allowed to stay. How can that be?

You ask, what does this have to do with our conversation? It has everything to do with it! When the church invites unbelievers to worship because they want them to be saved, they are inviting the world in.(It is a slippery slope because they start acting like the world) Most seeker churches are not saying, in effect, We are inviting you because we want you to be saved and by the way, we will be looking for fruit because being a christian means serious repentence.

No, they are saying, we accept you just like you are. It takes time to digest all this stuff and sooner or later you will get it. Until then, we will just love you the way you are. And if you mess up, no problem. Jesus loves you. That is NOT what Paul is saying above, is it? He is saying, because you love him, give him over to satan.

A little leaven...

....So, in the meantime, all the above is going on at church. And what does the church say? We are all sinners. It is called cheap grace and NO one is saved by it. No one is growing in Holiness.

(Even I have a hard time with above teaching because it seems so legalistic but we no longer practice church discipline in this country. We are seeing the result..many churches are like the world..phoney)

Show me where in the Bible were see Jesus has a sense of humor? I have heard this and even believed it. I hope you can produce something because I personally want to believe it. (sense of humor can be used in many places but in His teaching, I would err on the side of restraint using worldy baudy humor that may trivialize Him..because I am a scardy cat:-)

As to my lumping mega, emergent, etc. together that in and of itself is a generalization. There are several great mega's that preach the truth: Grace community, Bethlehem Baptist to name a few.

I do not even know what 'emergent' really is and I do not think they do either because you cannot pin them down on any doctrine. They are busy with a 'conversation', though. Good luck on that one.

As to fearing God. Like the OT Prophets, I do fear God. If you go back and read when they encountered our Sovereign God, they usually did it on their face. He is so HOLY no one could even look at HIM. I fear His wrath and Love Him for His Mercy. Sort of like my earthly father but not in the same type of dose. :)

BTW: There is also another verse in Hebrews that says, Unless we are Holy, we will not see God. He is both Mercy and Wrath. We just hear less and less about wrath part.

The truth exists outside of me and who I am. (Thankfully!) I am just another sinner being sanctified...with a long way to go.

Swern said...

To quote the theologian Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friend..." I think you've totally misinterpreted this verse. Where do I start...let's see...
1 Corinthians 5:9-12 is talking about people who claim to be believers but act imorally. He even says explicitly says in 5:10 that he's not talking about non-believers. I'm all for church discipline, but you're confusing the Church for the people who gather in a building on Sunday morning for a church service. I agree that there has to be a time and place for believers to gather to encourage one another and hold each other accountable to living by kingdom values. I just don't think that has to be a Sunday morning service.

As for a sense of humor in the Bible, just Google "humor in the Bible" and you'll find plenty of decent articles. Here's a pretty good one about Hebrew humor: http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/15_10/biblehumor
If you're asking about Jesus specifically, I think you should go back and read Jesus' parables and his disciples' subsequent questions. Jesus frequently used irony, hyperbole, and sarcasm in these interactions, all of which are forms of humor...maybe not 21st century humor, but humor nonetheless.

Lindon said...

You wrote: "I'm all for church discipline, but you're confusing the Church for the people who gather in a building on Sunday morning for a church service."

This is where we part ways. I totally disagree. If you are gathering together in a building to worship God then it is church. It is the Body of Christ. Christ's Bride. The one He is coming back for.

If what you describe is not a church, then what is it? I am afraid you have made my point about seeker churches for me.

And that was my point with mentioning 1 Corin 4&5. Seeker churches cannot practice what is taught in those chapters. Because most of the people sitting in their church would not think of themselves as brothers (sisters)

I understand you defend that with small groups and discipline. But I still for the life of me cannot figure out why you don't think what you are doing on Sunday morning with all those people if it is not worshipping God.

As to the humor thing. I was reading passages of Luke to my 5 yr old daughter the other night and got to the verse where Jesus tells Simon that he is going to 'catch men'. My daughter thought
that was hilarious. So, I may rethink that one!

Matthew 13 is the best teaching on why He used parables.

I do not know about sarcasm. It is hard to read that into words. I never forget that He was God and totally in control at all times. He was fully human and fully God. It really is hard to grasp but I always want to remember that and NEVER try and make Him into something less than HE is.

Swern said...

Yeah, it's not really surprising that we part ways at this point. This is where I usually end up in an "agree to disagree" situation in these types of conversations. I think our difference revolves around our respective ecclesiologies. I agree with you that the Church is Christ's Body and Bride, but I believe that the Church (note capitalization) is hidden within the church. I also believe that the forms the church chooses to express its functions are dynamic and should be chosen based on the cultural context. It's this belief that allows me to embrace the idea that you can have a gathering of believers and non-believers and structure that time in such a way that worship occurs for the believer while non-believers hear God's word in the context of an engaging presentation of music, creativity, and teaching. Doing this does force some of the functions of the church to move to smaller, more intimate settings where encouragement, exhortation, accountability, and even discipline can take place. For us that's small groups, but if there were a better way I'd be willing to try it.

That's funny about your daughter! Out of the mouth of babes...

I'm not sure why you point out the Matt 13 reference to communicate the purpose of parables. That was never in question. I was just making the point that I believe Jesus used humor in his parables, not that humor was the point of his parables.

The problem with our seeing humor in Scripture is that humor is always culture-bound. We're not Hebrews from the ANE, so we don't get the punchlines. So my opinion is base in my belief that God created all things (and thereby humor as well) as well as my trust in the scholars who are considered experts in Hebrew literature and culture that consistently affirm the existence of forms of humor in the Bible.

Anonymous said...

I think it is interesting that the Most High and Holy Sovereign One told us everything he thought we should know about creation in two chapters, but took many, many chapters to spell out every aspect that should be considered in order to approach Him in his temple. It is even detailed to the type of fabric, the specific threads and colors that must be warn.

We have lost sight of how holy our Father is and how grateful we should be to come before his presence. We should often reflect on what was sacrificed in order that we might come boldly to his throne of grace. Some who came into his presence were left cowering in the corner, trembling with fright and grasping their hands over their mouths. Many fell on their faces. One man, Ezekiel, told us he sat "overwhelmed" for 7 days. Another was blinded and had to be led away by the hand.

The Holy One who sits enthroned between the seraphs does not change.

I think it would be helpful for us to think on these things often.

I sincerely grieve over the casual and irreverent way that we are approaching Him these days in our worship.

May we be a holy people. If we err, let us err on the side of being very, very, cautious.

Ezekiel 44:23:

"They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean."

May his name always be revered, respected and hallowed.

Jeremiah 14:9:

"You are among us, O Lord, and we bear your name, do not forsake us!"

Please don't leave us, Father.