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Category Archives: idolatry

Discovering my variable to the eternal equation of the gospel

Happy New Year everyone!! It is my prayer that the gospel impacts your life and the lives of your friends and family this  year. Now for the equation mentioned in the title.

Late last year I began reading the Tullian Tchividjian book “Jesus + Nothing = Everything“. I am almost done with it, and I can tell you, without question, it is ranks among the top books that have greatly impacted my life. Pastor Tullian begins by taking the equation and working it backward. By the time you get to the “Nothing” part of the equation Tullian has asked the reader twice to consider what that variable “Nothing” is for you. Here is a quote from the book:

So let me ask you once more, as you get quiet and still: Deep within you, where is that restlessness, that agitation, that impatience, that anxiety? Why is it there? What is it you’re missing, and you’re trying to fill the gap? (Jesus + Nothing = Everything (p. 44). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition)

Taking the authors advice, I prayerfully considered the “Nothing”. According to Tullian, Jesus wants us to make the connection of the “Nothingness” with idolatry. What am I trying to add to this eternal equation?

After much prayerful consideration I believe God has lead me to the answer of my nothing variable. In my life I have put way to much focus on the acknowledgement from those friends and family members around me. It didn’t take me long to uncover the source of what consistently causes me restlessness, agitation, impatience, and anxiety. Desiring acknowledgement is definitely a human trait. Most of us wish to be acknowledged. It hurts when you put yourself out there by taking the initiative to vocalize, or author (blogging?) an opinion, statement, or truth. When you don’t receive the acknowledgement you have built some expectations over, it is painful. But, I believe, when it becomes like the things described by Pastor Tullian, especially to the extent of it becoming that variable to the equation like mine:

Jesus + Acknowledement from men = Everything

This is idolatry.

Idolatry is trying to build our identity on something besides God. An idol is anything that’s usurping the proper place of God in our lives. An idol is anything or anyone that you conclude, in your heart, you must have in order for your life to be meaningful, valuable, secure, exciting, or free. (Jesus + Nothing = Everything (p. 40). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition)

So as I continue to read this influential book with this eye opening revelation, I can read with with full knowledge of this sin in an effort with the Holy Spirit to take it head-on in the trenches. With the strength provided (Phil. 2:13) I will be able to knock this sin back for a 25 yard loss. (Sorry, it’s College Bowl Game Day) Lord willing it can get knocked out of the game completely.

More to come.

Soli Deo Gloria!!

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Anti-worship

On Sunday morning my pastor, Patrick Abendroth, has been doing a series on worship.Neyland Stadium The first three parts centered on what worship is. The fourth and fifth installments focus on the often controversial topic of music in worship. Last week Pat pointed out six of the twelve misconceptions of musical worship. The misconception point I particularly liked was number 5, “Loud Music is Unbiblical.” He pointed to passages such as Psalm 95, and Psalm 98:4, and 2 Chronicles 30:21 which states:

The sons of Israel present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread {for} seven days with great joy, and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day after day with loud instruments to the LORD.

I liked this because I usually like my music loud, with drums and electric guitars. The misconception is that worship music should be somber and suppressed. I know as Reformers and Calvinists we are known for theology and doctrine but not emotion. What’s wrong with a little emotion? What’s wrong WITH A LOT OF EMOTION! Pastor Pat did ask a humbling question. Do we worship God like we do in the stadiums on Saturday’s in the fall of the year? You know…college football. (There were many Nebraska Husker fans including myself in attendance) Yes, we do get loud for that. I would like to turn that a bit. I would like to state that what might actually be going on in front of the televisions, or in the stands, is anti-worship. Anti-worship at least where God is concerned. What is anti-worship? I would contend it is idolatry. Idolatry is the worship of something other than almighty God. When we put other things before God it is idolatry. We should be concerned with the worship of God alone. Because worship does matter. It matters to God.

The audio for the Worship Matters series can be found on this audio page.

I found a brief video from Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church that refers to what I am talking about as anti-worship or idolatry. It’s only a couple of minutes long. Check it out.