Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Worship in Truth

I am a wounded soldier
But I will not leave the fight
Because the great physician is healing me.
I am loved; I am accepted
By the savior of my soul.

How many songs do we sing in church which do little to magnify the love and glory of the One who loved us and gave Himself for us while, at the same time, going to great lengths to remind ourselves how special we are?

How many refrains fail to humble us before a Holy God by minimizing the death sentence we so richly deserve and the One who absorbed it for us?

The Church is flimsy these days,
preaching a flimsy gospel
and engaging in flimsy worship.
In short, we're telling a tale of humanism.
In short, we're lying about the work of the Cross.

In God's eyes, we're not the victims.
We're the perpetrators.
And our sin--not our pain--separated us from a Holy God.

It would be more accurate to sing a song like this:

I was an AWOL soldier
'Cause I had left the fight,
And the Good Creator's wrath was on me.
I was treasonous. I was in rebellion
to the authority of the King.

Jesus' death satisfied God's wrath,
Not His pity.
And Jesus went to His death for me while I was still a teeth-gnashing traitor against Heaven.

How many of our worship songs lie about that Truth?

Happily, there is a rich, true theology found in the old hymns.
They told the Truth about us
(probably because they were written back when the Church preached the True Gospel).

"Now to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be.
Let your goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee."

"My sin, o the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Was nailed to the Cross and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul."

"Bearing shame and scoffing rude
In my place condemned He stood.
Sealed my pardon with His blood
Hallelujah, what a Savior!"

Unlike the old hymns, modern 'worship' has fallen far short of telling the Truth.
Fortunately, though, not every new song lacks good theology.
And for every insipid refrain of "More love, more power" and other seven/elevens like it, modern hymn writers are beginning to return to Truth in worship.

"Behold the Man upon the Cross
My sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed I hear my barking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life.
I know that it is finished."

"I beheld God's love displayed.
You suffered in my place.
You bore the wrath reserved for me.
Now all I know is grace."

"I am the thorn in Your crown
But You loved me anyway.
I am the sweat on Your brow.
But You loved me anyway.
I am the nail in Your wrist.
But you love me anyway.
I am Judas' kiss.
But You love me anyway."

True worship accurately depicts God's love.
He made the first move.
He loved us while we were sinners,
Not while we were helpless victims.

Who loves a hurting child?
Who loves a wounded puppy?
Who loves victimized woman?
We do.

But who loves a criminal?
Who loves a traitor?
Who loves a snivelling, blasphemous dog?
God does.


Preach a false gospel,
or sing a false gospel,
and we paint a lying picture of a small god and a potent humanity.

Preach and sing the True Gospel, however,
of a Holy God and a wretched, filthy humanity,
and we properly understand the Love of our very Big Redeemer.

That, my friends, is what it means to worship in Truth.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Diapers and Driving: The Perils of Parenting

There are precisely two jobs as a parent I really, really loathe...
(I mean besides teaching fractions....)
and those would be
potty training and driving lessons.


I'm on my tenth round of potty training.
And I have never had a child initiate this.
Some children take to it more quickly than others, but it's the same overall story.

There is some silly book that has been going around for at least a generation telling you that you can potty train in a day.
All lies.
These are the same yahoos who tell you that breast-feeding helps you lose weight.
I beg to differ...
because breast-feeding is like carrying around two gallon jugs of milk,
all day,
every day.
Lose weight?
Uh huh.

Anyway, potty training.
Twenty-four hours, my eye.
It really means days of pointing out, again, where the porcelain throne is located.
It really means weeks of puddles and other surprises
and you just praying you find any desperadoes before guests arrive.
It really means mountains of laundry
and eau de toilet.

But the years pass, and, to date, I haven't had a kid who wasn't potty trained by thirteen.

Yes. I loathe it entirely.

Then they turn sixteen.
And they want to drive.

Where do they want to go?
We homeschool, for crying out loud.
That means we do everything in the house,
and we don't let them socialize until they have an engagement ring.
So. I repeat.
Where do they want to go?

Parents have a "stupid gene" that quickens with the first turn of the ignition at the hands of their offspring.
And as I sit there in the driveway, mentally ticking off the important things before we pull out, I wonder who is dumb enough to ride into open traffic with a new driver.
Apparently, I am.

Buckle your seatbelt. Check.
Position rearview mirrors. Check.
Watch for small children. Check.

Okay, honey, you can back out of the driveway now.
(Whoops. Silly me. I forgot to tell him the speed limit sign only applies to forward motion.)
The speed limit sign only applies to forward motion. Check.
Don't hit that child.
Try to take the next turn with all four wheels on the ground.
These are power breaks; you don't have to attack them.
Ditto on the steering.
Are you driving with two feet? No, sir. Only one.
No, that doesn't mean you can tuck your spare foot under you.
NO! You can't hang it out the window, either.
The yellow light does not mean gun the engine.

Finally, we pull back into the drive.
My heart is beginning to find its regular rate again.
He turns off the engine.
All's quiet on the homefront.
I open my door to disembark.
And then we begin to roll...
in my fifteen passenger van.

The world moves in slow motion,
and our voices are speaking in super slo-mo.
Moo oo oom, wwhhhyyyy aaa rr eee weeeee roo llingggg???

Hii iitt ttthhe brreaaakkk!!!

III aa aammmm...

Did I mention that I had opened my door?
Did I further mention that this was a fifteen passenger van,
a multi-ton vehicle?
a tank to the untrained eye?
And as I was--(remember that "stupid gene")--looking at the gearshift, trying to figure out what was happening,
my open door collided with a tree.
The tree won.

(Oh. Now I know what I forgot to tell him. When he turns the engine off, he loses all power--breaks included.)
When you turn off the engine, you lose all...
oh never mind...

My poor van.
My blue whale.
And now we pour in and out of her like ants coming out of an anthill.
Ten of us (only because two of us are away at school--but when those two come home next week for spring break, twelve of us) pile out of the driver's side.

I'm sitting here wondering what all the potty training fuss was about.