Friday, February 28, 2014

Thyatira: The Tolerant Church

In the second and third chapters of Revelation are letters from Jesus to seven of the first century churches in what is today Turkey.  While I believe these letters were addressed to real churches of that day, I also believe they have great application to our churches today.  The fourth of these was to the church of Thyatira.
“To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.  I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.  I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.  So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.  I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’

To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father.  I will also give that one the morning star.  Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Revelation 2:18-29 NIV
Thyatira seems like the kind of church that many of us would want to be a part of.  Jesus commends them for their deeds, their love and faith, their service and perseverance, and their growth in all of these areas.  They are a growing and committed church that Jesus appears to be satisfied with, except for one thing.  They tolerated the self proclaimed prophetess Jezebel.  It is unclear to me if Jezebel was an active member of this body, or was on the outside and attracting a following from within the body.

Jezebel was the queen of Ahab, one of the kings of Israel, and was largely responsible for the promotion of Baal and Asherah worship in Israel.  These 'fertility' gods were popular, I suspect at least in part because of the sexuality immorality involved in their worship.  And someone, or some group, in Thyatira had adopted Jezebel as their hero; promoting sexuality immorality and participation in sacrifices to pagan gods.

The problem here is that Jezebel was having an influence, not just on the people of the city,but on God's people in Thyatira as well, leading many of them into immorality and pagan worship.  And the church took no stand against her, likely leading some within the body to see her teachings as being OK.

I am not an advocate for legislating morality; I think it has little real impact on the world.  But I do believe that the church needs to avoid the mistake that Thyatira made and hold each other accountable to live holy lives, committed to honoring Christ.  Ignoring the impact that Hollywood, a version of Jezebel for today's world, has on believers today is much the same as what Thyatira did with Jezebel nearly 2000 years ago.  Let's be willing, within the body of Christ, to hold each other to a higher standard than what is often found out in the world.  Don't be tolerant of Jezebel's influence in our midst.  Don't let Jesus hold our tolerance of sin in our midst against us!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Are You A Saint?

To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.
Romans 1:7 NIV (1978)
Ask any number of believers the question "Are you a saint?", and I bet that nearly all of them will answer in the negative.  The term today carries the connotation of being particularly holy, a level of holiness that most seen uninterested in achieving.  In some traditions, being a saint is a title that is conferred upon only a select handful of individuals, long after their death.

But that is not how the term is used in the Bible.  Rather than being a title given out of respect for a person's life and walk with God, it is a term used to identify those who belong to God.  A saint is one who has been called out of this world to serve God.  And that is not just the cream of the crop.  All of us who have come into relationship with God through faith in Christ are called to leave this world behind and serve God.  All believers are called to be saints.

As saints, we have been called to leave this world behind and live under God's authority.  That doesn't mean that we physically go and live in a monastery and throw off any human authority that we find ourselves under.  But it does mean that God does have our hearts, and that our desires are for him, rather than for the trappings of this world: better houses or cars; a nice bank account; striving for some standard of human beauty; finding excitement in the world's pleasures.  Not that any of those things are necessarily wrong; unless they have become the focus of our lives.

Dare to live as a saint, as one of God's called out ones.  Live the few short years you have here in service to him rather than yourself.  Strive to hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant".

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What To Do While Stuck On the Ground

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Philippians 1:20-24 NIV
I have met few Christians who did not talk about looking forward to heaven.  They look forward to being reunited with family and friends as well as being freed from physical ailments that trouble them now.  But I have met few who were ready to go today; and most of them were weary of life here because of the ravages of age or disease.  Mostly we seem to want to enjoy life here as long as possible before facing what is for many professing Christians, an unknown and uncertain future.

An unknown and uncertain future?  Really?  While few of us would likely admit that, it does appear to be what we actually believe.  If we were convinced that it was real, and as wonderful as we say, would we not be much more eager to go; and to go now?  Instead we seem to hold on to that hope as something only to be used once we have wrung every last drop of life out of our time here.

But Paul expresses something entirely different in this passage.  Rather than something to hope for when he has used up this life, Paul expresses that leaving this life, and being with Christ, is much the preferred condition.  The only thing holding Paul back is the knowledge that God still has a task for him to accomplish here.  But even while he stays to accomplish that, his heart is in heaven with Christ.  He is yearning for that, just like some yearn for a long awaited vacation or other special event.

What is also unique about Paul, and what I like best about this passage, is his focus while he is waiting to be called home.  If he is to left here, it will be for fruitful labor, something that will be beneficial for the believers he would be leaving behind.  For Paul, the only reason he has to be stuck here on the ground is because he can still make a difference in the lives of those he has contact with.  And you can bet that was what he devoted every waking moment to; making a difference for the kingdom.  What an example he sets for all of us who call on the name of Christ.

I can just hear the Father greeting Paul when he finally stood before him: "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness! (Matthew 25:21)".

Monday, February 24, 2014

Even on the Gentiles

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Acts 10:44-46 NIV
I find this passage to be both funny, and sad.  I can not help but laugh at these Jewish believers, and their amazement that God might have a place for Gentiles in his kingdom.  I can just see their mouths fall open and the look of amazement on their faces.  So totally unexpected.  And that is also what I find so sad.  Why didn't they know?  Why weren't they expecting this?  It's not as though though there weren't enough clues.

What makes it even sadder is that it is a lesson that we still seem not to have learned very well.  Is there anyone that you think is beyond God's love; anyone you would be amazed to come to know God?  If so, I would venture to guess that it was someone, or some group, that you were at odds with.

It may not be that you know them personally, but only know about them.  How many hard core Republicans would be amazed to see a Democrat come to faith in Christ?  Or how many hard core Democrats would be amazed to see a Republican come to faith?  How many of us have written off pretty much all of our national leaders as being unlovable, even by God?  And surely those terrorists who create so much havoc in the world are doomed and without any possibility of redemption.

And there are those I have know personally, or through chance encounter, that seemed so unlovable, that I could be excused for thinking that God must feel the same way about them that I do.  The homosexual neighbors; the co-worker who is always belittling you and your faith in God; the former friend who has betrayed your trust; the kid with the blue spiked hair, covered in tattoos and piercings, and with pants hanging well below where God intended them to be.

God made clear to Peter and his companions that he would accept anyone who seeks after him; no one is outside God's concern and love.  But someone needs to tell them.  Will I be willing to drop my prejudice and demonstrate God's love to them.  Or will I hold back and be a hinderance to their coming to know the Father?

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Key To Revival

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
This verse is a part of God's response to Solomon during the dedication of the temple.  It describes what will be required of a people who have turned their backs on God, and are suffering the consequences of that action, to be restored to fellowship with God.  Israel had plenty of opportunity to put this to the test, but seldom actually carried through with it.

Revival is a word that means different things to different people.  But it has to do with reviving, taking something, or someone, who has weakened or died and restoring life to them.  Churches I have been involved in over the years have occasionally had revival services, but they were really more about evangelism, reaching the lost, than revival, restoring life to the church.

I believe this message from God to Solomon was about revival, restoring life to a people that had wandered away from God, their source of life, and had become occupied with many other things, i.e. idols.  God knew that would happen, and provided them with a recipe for how to get back with God, back to where they would truly be alive.

I am afraid that the church today, at least that small portion that I am familiar with, is guilty of wandering away from the relationship with our head, Christ, that God intended us to have.  The church, at least as I know it, has not fallen into great sin.  We haven't turned to other gods.  We haven't abandoned assembling together.  But we often seem to be more of a social organization that the people of God.

Do we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?  Listen in on conversations around your church when you gather next time.  How often, apart from Sunday school, are people talking about God rather than work, family, job or the Seahawks?  Try to initiate a conversation about a spiritual topic and see how far it goes.  When we gather to worship, are we falling on our faces before him, or enjoying the show?  Are we united together in one heart and mind, or are we satisfied with just getting along OK?

Now you may be OK with that condition.  But I am not.  I want more than that.  I want to have God at the front of my thoughts and conversations, loving him more than anything.  I want to be able to come and truly worship him, together with others of a like heart and mind.  And I want to experience the unity within the body that Jesus prays for us to experience.

While praying this morning, God laid this verse from 2 Chronicles on my heart.  And this has become my prayer, that God's people, his church, myself foremost, would:

  • humble ourselves before God.
  • spend time with him in prayer; not just making requests, but getting to know him and seeking his direction.
  • develop quality face time with God.
  • and turn away from anything that gets in the way of having an authentic encounter with God.
If we do that, I am convinced that the promise God made to Solomon is still applicable to us today.  That God would hear us, forgive us, and heal his church.

Do you have that hunger for more?  Do you want to experience what God can do with a church that is devoted to him?  Then join me in humbling yourself before God, spending time with him, and turning from anything that would prevent his using you.  Don't wait for 'them' to get their act together.  Dare to lead the way; and see if others might follow; and the church be transformed.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

He Must Become Greater

He must become greater; I must become less.  
John 3:30 NIV
I love this response of John the Baptist to those who are concerned that Jesus is starting to attract more followers at John's expense.  John understood that Jesus should be the center of attention.  While John might have appeared on the scene first, his role was to prepare the people for Jesus coming.  And once Jesus had come, his role was destined to decrease.  John seems to have had his ego well in control here, being content to play an ever decreasing second fiddle to Jesus.

And he also has a lesson to teach any of us who sometimes find ourselves out in front.  I am human enough to admit that I enjoy being complimented for something that I have done.  The encouragement can really serve as a positive reinforcement.  But there is a real danger than I will enjoy the acclaim too much.  John's words are important as a reminder that it's not about me; it's about Him!

As I grow in service, my prayer is that Jesus will more and more come to the front and be exalted in my life.  When people see me, I want them to see Jesus.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Importance of Personal Experience

The ninth chapter of John tells the story of a man born blind who was healed by Jesus.  Because the healing took place on the Sabbath, the Jewish religious leaders investigated the healing, looking for an opportunity to charge Jesus with a crime.  During the investigation the healed man was repeatedly asked what had happened and who he thought Jesus was.  His response was one that I think is very instructive for many of us who are asked about why we believe.
He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
John 9:25 NIV
The healed man recognized that he was not qualified to debate with these learned religious leaders concerning Jesus identity.  But he was qualified to speak in one very important area, and that was concerning what had happened to him; his own experience.

The man's friends, his parents, and his own testimony all were the same.  He once was blind, but now he could see.  And the Pharisees had no answer to that.  It was painfully obvious to them that something dramatic had happened in the man's life.  While they ultimately refused to acknowledge the source of the change, they could not deny the obvious.

While this man's transformation from sightless to seeing was physical, all of us who have come to Christ make the same claim concerning our spiritual condition.  Where once I was blind to God's activity in this world, now I can see.  And like the healed man in this story, it is because of what Jesus has done.  For the physically blind man, he put mud on his eyes and sent him to wash.  For me, he died on the cross and washed away my sin, bringing me into the light.

In my feeble attempts in providing a defense of what I believe, I may or may not be able to answer questions about my faith to the questioners satisfaction.  But I should be able to echo this mans proclamation, "One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" "I was lost but now am found!"  And who can really argue that they know my experience better than I do?  Indeed there are those who will try.  But that is really because they have no other answer.

But how much more effective is your testimony when others around you will echo, "Don't know for sure what happened to him, but he is not the same as he once was!"  The opening of your spiritual eyes should change your life in ways that are obvious to those around you.  Make them a part of your testimony.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pergamum: The Compromising Church

 In the second and third chapters of Revelation are letters from Jesus to seven of the first century churches in what is today Turkey.  While I believe these letters were addressed to real churches of that day, I also believe they have great application to our churches today.  The third of these was to the church of Pergamum.
“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.  I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.  Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.  Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

Revelation 2:12-17 NIV
The church at Pergamum apparently lived in a place of great evil, where Satan had his throne.  And they had experienced the execution of one of their own, apparently because he was a faithful witness of Jesus.  Yet in spite of the pressure they must have been under to deny their faith, they remained true to Christ; at least most of them did.  It's easy to be faithful when life is easy.  But the believers in Pergamum were faithful even in the worst of circumstances.

However, all was not well within the church at Pergamum.  There were two groups within the church there who held to teachings that were contrary to the gospel message that the church was founded on.  One of these groups is identified with Balaam, an Old Testament opponent of Israel during their approach to the promised land.  And the second group is simply identified as the Nicolaitans, sometimes associated with the Deacon Nicolas, but really unknown.  One of these groups is accused of advocating immorality and the other simply charged with false teachings.

Based on what is said about Pergamum itself, it is quite possible that both of these groups were attempting to make the teachings and practices of the church more appealing to the culture they found themselves in.  How better to reduce the conflict with the cities culture than to compromise with it.  In addition, compromise might enable you to reduce the offense of the cross and become a more inviting congregation that would be attractive to those unwilling to leave their old life behind.  Rather than stand for the truth, and suffer for it, embrace the culture and become more acceptable to the world at large.

I am so glad that the church of today does not compromise the truth for the sake of getting along with others, and becoming a more inviting environment.  I would sure hate for Jesus to show up at the front door of our building some Sunday morning with a sword to deal with the compromisers.  Better that we should face the disapproval of our culture, than the disapproval of our Lord.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Remember Lot's Wife

In the 19th chapter of Genesis is recorded the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the rescue of Lot and his family.  In this account, Lot, his wife, and two daughters are pulled from Sodom just before the brimstone starts to fall and are instructed to flee to one of the nearby towns, without looking back.  But of course Lot's wife looked back and ended up as a pillar of salt.  And then she seems to drop from memory; I can not recall her ever being mentioned after that.  At least until Jesus does as he prepares his disciples for his return and the end of the world as we know it.
“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.  But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.  On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.  Remember Lot’s wife!  Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.”

Luke 17:28-33 NIV
Jesus is sharing with his disciples the suddenness of his return.  When the world is going on much like it always has, suddenly, the end will come.  Jesus compares this to Noah first, and then to Lot.  He is pulled out just before destruction comes.  There was no time to close down the family business, pack up the belongings and tell everyone good-bye.  Rather it was a jump up and run departure from Sodom.

Things will be just as sudden at Jesus return. He will pull those who are his out of this world just before it is destroyed.  Lot serves as a reminder to us of the suddenness and urgency of the event.  But then comes the three words "Remember Lot's wife!"

What lesson is Jesus trying to get across to us with the reference to Lot's wife?  Remember what happened to her.  She was saved from the destruction of Sodom; she made it out alive.  But she looked back, and it cost her dearly.  Why was that backwards glance so costly? For sure, she was instructed not to.  But is that the reason she ended up as a monument out there on the plains?

Maybe there is another reason.  Maybe her heart was in Sodom.  And even while fleeing from the destruction, she was looking back with longing.  And that longing, that desire for the pleasures of Sodom cost her dearly.  And if that is the case, why does Jesus tell us to remember her?

Look at what he tells us next.  "Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it."  Lot's wife wanted to keep her old life in Sodom, and she lost it.  Let's not follow her example and enjoy this life so much that we are unwilling to lose it for His sake.  Are you ready to go and be with Him whenever he calls you home?  Or would you rather hang around here for a while longer?  Remember Lot's wife!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What? Me Worry?

I worry about many things.

  • Will I make it to my meeting on time?  Almost always!
  • Will anyone else be there?  Usually.
  • Will my knees, or heart, hold up during this run?  They have done OK recently.
  • Am I going to be able to find a place to hang my hammock tonight (while backpacking)?  Never failed yet.
  • Did I get the doors locked before going to bed?  Usually check them twice.
  • Do I have my keys with me?  Always check multiple times before going outside.
  • Will I have enough income if I quit working and the economy tanks? 
  • If anyone really knew me, would they like me? 
  • Are my kids going to be OK?
Now I don't lose much sleep worrying.  But I do have to admit to a certain amount of anxiety over things that sometimes I have no control over.  So Jesus admonition to his disciples about worry does kind of hit home.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Luke 12:22-26 NIV
So what can worry do for me?  It can ensure that I get my house locked up at night, and don't get locked out.  But it is debateable if that is the result of worry, or a result of being a bit OCD.  Worry is not going to get anyone else to a meeting.  It will not keep my knees working pain free.  It won't help me to spot a place to hang the hammock, and it sure won't guarantee that the economy doesn't put me out onto the street holding a cardboard sign.  Worry seldom helps me to get someplace on time, run faster, or enjoy retirement any better.  Worry does not help me to be a better person, make a difference in the world around me, or be more useful in God's kingdom.  About all that worry will do is to occupy at least some portion of my thoughts, keeping me from thinking about more useful or pleasant things.

I like Jesus question concerning worry adding an hour to my life?  Seldom will worry add to the length or quality of my life.  If anything it detracts from the quality and can reduce the length.  So why do it?  Maybe because it gives me some illusion of control over things that I really have no control over.

How much better to just make the most of every moment and trust God for tomorrow.  Spend the worry time doing something more productive, something that will actually make a difference, both in your life as well as the lives of those you come in contact with.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Listen to Jesus

In the gospel accounts we find a time when Jesus takes Peter, James and John up onto a mountain and is transfigured before them, appearing with Moses and Elijah.  The resultant pronouncement by Peter and God's response are instructive.
Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Mark 9:5-7 NIV
Peter is frightened, and I can sure understand that, no doubt I would be as well.  After all, this is Moses, the great law giver, and Elijah, the greatest of the prophets.  While I have always wondered how the disciples recognized the pair, obviously they did and were awed by the occasion.

Peter's response seems curious at first, and God's response to Peter also seemed strange and somewhat disconnected.  But maybe Peter's words are revealing a lack of understanding of who Jesus is.  Peter's desire to make tabernacles for each of the three would seem to indicate that he placed them on a somewhat level playing field.  And maybe he even thought he was honoring Jesus by putting him at the same level as Moses and Elijah.  That would seem to be a high honor indeed.  But was it?

God then responds with a correction to Peter, identifying Jesus as being much greater than either Moses or Elijah.  Jesus wasn't a law giver, or a prophet; servants of God.  He is the beloved son of God himself. Moses, in his time, was one worth listening to; as was Elijah.  But now they have Jesus.  Listen to what he has to say.  Don't confuse Jesus as being an equal of Moses or Elijah; he is much more than that.

What was true for Peter and his companions is true for us today.  We need to listen to Jesus.  Moses and Elijah have some value.  Many preachers and scholars since have had good things to say.  But Jesus, God's beloved son, is the one God commands us to listen to.  We do well to heed his words and not let Jesus voice be drowned out by all of the competing voices of our world.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Replacing God's Commands with Human Tradition

As far as the Pharisees were concerned, Jesus was not a very good Jew.  He seemed somewhat disinterested in following all of the traditions that had developed over the years, and they took offense with this.  Eventually they challenged him over his disregard of their traditions and received the following in response.
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
    “‘These people honor me with their lips,
        but their hearts are far from me.
    They worship me in vain;
        their teachings are merely human rules.’
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

Mark 7:6-8 NIV
Jesus here affirms what Isaiah had earlier accused the people of: giving lip service to God, but not giving him their hearts.  They are also accused of 'worship' that was really just a waste of time, and focusing on human traditions rather than on God's instruction to them.

How often am I content with offering God lip service, going through the forms of worship, but not really having my heart in it?  I know of no place where God directs us to spend an hour in Sunday School on Sunday morning, followed by another hour to sing a few catchy songs, listen to a sermon, take up a collection and visit among ourselves for a while.  Yet I somehow seem satisfied that when I have done that, I have fulfilled my weekly need to worship God.  

And somehow I suspect that I am not the only person guilty of that.  Our churches are partially filled each Sunday with folks who offer lip service, satisfied that they have fulfilled their obligation to God, all the while they are making plans for the rest of the day or week; wondering who the preacher is preaching to this week; and catching up on the latest news from our fellow worshipers.

Don't take me wrong here.  I don't believe there is anything intrinsically wrong with our traditions for Sunday morning worship.  Those traditions can provide us some structure that can enhance our ability to worship, especially those of us who are uncomfortable without that structure.  But we should be careful that the observance of those traditions does not take the place of worship.  

So, if our tradition on Sunday morning is not enough, what worship does God find acceptable?  Jesus seems to equate obedience to Gods commands with worship in the passage above.  And below he shares with us what commands are most important.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31 NIV
I worship God when I give him my all, loving him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.  And I worship him when I treat others with love, especially those who are most in need of it.  Come and sing songs and hear God's word proclaimed.  But do it with love for God as well as those around you.  And don't be satisfied with an hour or two on Sunday; instead worship him in all you do.  Don't just give lip service.  Give heart service as well..