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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Worship

Worship
Churches across the land seem to have one thing in common:  they are filled with people who sometimes become disgruntled about how Church is done.  The trouble is, they spend too much time complaining about insignificant things that have nothing to do with worship.
 
Often people complain about the order of the worship service, the type of music being used, the length of the sermon or who makes the announcements.  Sometimes it is even the environmental surroundings of the worship place.  The decision to use chairs instead of more expensive, pews, an arrangement of a stained glass window, a hanging cross out of its usual place is more often than not a topic of "concerned" conversation and perhaps even a "matter for prayer."
 
The root of most of these complaints may not be any negative impact on the edification of God, but rather, it may be a personal tradition that is being trampled that sends the individual in a tail spin.  Some believe that traditional forms of worship are closer to the heart of God and must be incorporated into the congregational worship or suffer the consequences of blasphemy.  Hence, the real issue is often the personal unhappiness derived as a result of the disruption of personal worship traditions experienced during earlier times of worship experience.      
 
The problem is that worship is not necessarily focused on or about the individual; worship is a response to the God of Creation and a deepening relationship with Him.  We join with others of "like precious faith" to lift our hearts to the Eternal God to thank Him for His Grace and the work He has done on the cross relative to our personal salvation.  The indwelling of His Holy Spirit allows us to submit our spirits to His and continue to grow in the Grace and Knowledge of His presence and work through our lives.  Lifting up our voices in prayer, joyful noises, supplication, thankfulness, obedience and acknowledgement of His Strength is our response to His Grace.  That response goes forth irrespective of the type of chair we sit in, the type of windows we gaze out of, the type of lighting in the room or who carries the communion cup and bread.  
 
When we are distracted toward the insignificance of petty complaints regarding our worship service, we are inclined to return to subjection toward replacing God's Grace with the following of the law.  When we hold fast to traditions of using hymnals instead of viewing a screen in front, insisting the preacher stand behind a pulpit instead of walking unrestrained on the stage, or having the choir wear velvet robes rather than street clothing, we exchange the Truth of God's unconditional love to the lie that our salvation depends on the way we worship and the power of the traditions we hold.
 
By focusing on our personal traditions of worship as the only way we can reach out to God, is like substituting those personal sets of traditional actions as being equal and holy in regard to our worship, especially if we engage in actions to force others to worship our personal way.  That action substitutes the value of personal traditions for the work of Jesus on the Cross.  When that substitution occurs, it is the same as reverting to works relative to salvation.  That puts the individual in danger of driving away the power of the Holy Spirit since He only testifies to the works of Jesus, not the strength of traditions.   
 
We must be careful in our assemblies of worship to avoid worshipping traditions, when that happens, it changes worship to works.  When we begin to worship our own works we experience the loss of the Spirit of worship; and the loss of power in our worship.
 
Jim Killebrew


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