Steve Camp has drawn up a document titled “The 107 Theses – reclaiming a reverence for God in ministry.” The document can be read in total here
My aim is to work through each of these theses statements, addressing at least one a week, interacting with the Scripture texts as well as the truth stated in order to challenge myself as well as those who read.
1. “All our works, both musical and written, must produce a high view of God-with our chief aim being to glorify God and worship Him forever. (Job 40:6-41:34; Psalm 29:1-2; Jeremiah 9: 23-24) “
This is a powerful statement to make initially, and I believe is the summation of what is to follow. Just reading the Job passage is sobering. God challenges Job and by the end we (Job and the reader) realize that man’s not as big and bad and we think we are. Part of our problem is we fail to really see ourselves in light of God and His greatness. We tend to think ourselves pretty highly when it comes to our worth. We (Christians) give lip service to God’s being God, but when it comes down to it, we have to side with Job in saying “I have heard of you with my ear…” We have heard of Him, but not really experienced HIM in the way Job was being confronted. When questioned by God, Job was left speechless. The questions God posed to Job were questions prompting Job to compare himself to the Almighty. Just the sheer power of God ought to cause us to see that we are nothing and that He is everything and to be regarded as such.
The Psalmist tells us in chapter 29 of the Psalms that we are to ascribe unto The LORD to glory due Him. Jeremiah tells us that the one thing we have God’s permission to boast in is not our wisdom or strength, but in knowing HIM. We were created for His glory, and it’s in knowing Him and reveling in that knowledge that we glorify Him. It is in realizing this purpose and in living it out that we should do all we do to glorify Him and to also produce a high view of God in the hearts and minds of others. In short – all we do is worship of The Almighty.
What I see indicative of the “church” today is just the opposite. Ministry is man-centered. Whether it be the pastor trying to generate revenue so as to build his ministerial dream, or whether he’s in the ministry “just ‘cause I love people”. The books written are intent on convincing man that God thinks him special and really wants to make great things out of him, if man will only recognize the hidden potential that is clear as the sun to God. The music becomes shallow, the Sunday sermons become dry, God is not to be found anywhere near our social clubs we call church; yet we don’t realize it because we’re to busy dancing our golden calf as our preacher yells “behold your god!”. Ministry isn’t done in worship of Jehovah, nor with the aim to generate more worship of Him. Humanity is the god most worship today, so much that we even have god bowing down to man. We love this god because He so worships us, how could we not love someone who so prizes us above all else?!
But ministry is not primarily to help people, rather ministry is to exalt God. The main purpose of Sunday morning church isn’t to evangelize the lost, the reason for worship music isn’t to try to draw the youth in hopes to keep them drug-less and pure, and the primary motivator for mission work is not because we just love people and can’t stand the thought of them not going to heave. Yes, we long to see the lost saved and thank God for each new profession on a Sunday morning. Yes, we are thrilled when youth come to worship The LORD! And Yes, we long to see God save men from hell. But these are not the primary reason we do these things. If so then we are guilty of idolatry, for we serve who we worship. Paul admonished us that whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we are to do it for the glory of God.
May God have mercy on us and grant us repentance that we may return to true worship. May the songs we sing, books we write, and ministries we develop have this as their primary aim – to glorify God and worship Him forever.
Hey. I know this is Brandon and Daniel’s blog, but Daniel hasn’t been feeling well. I figured he probably won’t be up to posting anything, so I took the liberty of helping him out (‘wouldn’t want Brandon to have to post two back to back either… too much stress on the poor boy).
Have you ever heard about how the art of dance originated? That’s what I intend to write about today. I am well versed in the subject as I experienced most of it first hand, even branched out and originated my own, so I’m more than capable of discussing the topic.
There was a king who’s majesty poured out from him like streams of water, so they say; I’ve yet to be convinced of that. The king loved song and dance; so much so that he established a country and taught it’s citizens how to do one thing – dance. That’s all he required of them. The melodies, harmonies, and rhythms that issued from the vegetation and animal life (even from the very sun, moon, and stars) provided the music to which the men and women of that country danced. The dance never made them tired or even accelerated their breathing (I thought this a very mean thing for the king to do as we all know one must increase his heart rate from time to time to maintain good health). As they danced the flowers grew and the trees produced fruit that the dancers could consume at their leisure, all without missing a beat. Oh, I’m sure right now you’re wondering how anyone could ever not like this Edenic paradise, but trust me, you haven’t seen the entire picture. It was my opinion that this dance hindered their creativity. There were so many dances yet to be danced, and so many songs yet to be sung, and they were stuck on this one track – like a scratched CD. I was going to show them what dancing was really like.
While I’m being a bit proactive in allaying your fears, let me also inform you that I am very talented, witty, handsome, and I had nothing but the wellbeing of the citizens in mind as I set out to do this. I say this because as I tell this story, some by this time have made me out to be a devil. But I know you’ve seen pictures of evil and I can assure you that I look nothing like those gruesome gargoyles and demons of the baser sort. And besides, I couldn’t force the people to stop dancing to that archaic tune, they would have to make their decision on their own. I would simply place the choice before them. I was simply there to set them free – if they would but follow.
Let me explain how I brought the offer of true creative freedom to them. They had more holidays than regular days, all in “honor” or the king mind you. I knew that once I showed them how oppressive their king really was then all that would cease. Now I wouldn’t take their holidays from them, NO Way! I’m not evil! I would just give them freedom to celebrate other things. It was on one of these holidays that I danced into the center of all the hubbub. I could sense the eyes of all on me, yet no one stopped dancing their dance. That is, no one except for the wife of the oldest citizen. (All looked up to that couple. So wise were they thought to be that if they spoke then the citizens would instantly follow suit.) She walked right up to me, without speaking, just staring at my feet. Noticing that she was entranced with my dance I asked her if she had seen anything like it.
“No, never!” she said. “I don’t think we’re suppose to dance like that.”
I explained to her how the same old dance she had been performing for years is a good one, but we must never stifle our creativity. Why not create our own dance? Why not branch out? I wasn’t telling her to break the rules, just reinvent them.
“But I don’t know how to dance any differently.” she said.
So I taught her mine. As I was doing so, her husband walked over. All other dancers had stopped, save for me and the eldest woman – and soon, her husband.
The elders had decided, and so all the people followed. They began to dance my dance, and they loved it! Just as I knew they would. They danced on into the night. I had to slip away, but it was no bother as the tune I played is quite catchy and became etched in their minds.
The king found out about what had happened. He expressed his displeasure to them but they still continued to dance the dance I taught them. I was so proud of my new free dancers! I will admit that it was a bit sad to see the elders pass on as I felt a special connection to those two. I guess they danced a bit too much, but at least they enjoyed the dance while it lasted, right?
The king was relentless, as most oppressors are. He picked a family out from among the people. He gave them his music and a step by step instructional on how to dance as he had intended. He commissioned this family to teach both song and dance to their children, and be a sort of example to the rest of the citizens of the country.
They struggled though, which I found quite telling. They so loved the dance I taught them, that they couldn’t get two-steps of their king’s dance out before reverting to mine – I mean ours (it was their’s as much as mine).
This continued for many years, until the relentless king laid aside his robes and clad himself just as one of the poorest of his citizens. I new he must be crazy. Even I knew that to convince these people one had to dazzle them with beauty. He came dressed like a pauper! I was anxious to see what he would do.
He waltzed right into the center of things, right to where is chosen family was, and began to dance the original dance from the beginning of the country’s inception. Some of the “special” family were sucked back into his dancing, so foolish they were! I have yet to figure out why some would trade my liberty for his yoke, but they did. Others hated him. They did everything in their power to get him to stop dancing. I suggested they dance all the harder and play their music all the louder to exert their independence– which they gladly did. Many of them had forgotten the original dance, and since his dance was nothing like they had seen, they accused him of being a devil trying to lead them astray. I can’t help but chuckle when I think of it.
They say that the king really re-instituted the dance. Something about him dancing his way to the grave and back again, and that the time will come when all those who don’t follow him in his dance will be banished from the country. If you ask me, I think all should write it off as pure nonsense! There are those who tell this story as if it has bearing on people of this day. Don’t pay them any mind, it’s a thing of the past. And if they persist on trying to convince you that real freedom is in following the king in his dance – they’re wrong! Take it from me – I know freedom. Would I lie to you?
I’m not at liberty to write more as I think I hear Daniel coming. I’d better go.
Remember, Life is a dance.