The temptations Jesus endured and withstood are archetypal of Satan’s diabolical work to trap humanity. Where we fall, Jesus stood, though not without struggle, as Hebrews 5:14 teaches: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”
Articles in this issue:
Walking into the office of Scott Myers, the pastor of Westport Presbyterian Church, one is surrounded by books. In and of itself this is not unusual. What is distinctive about Myers’s office is that alongside the theological writings stands a significant collection of books on the visual arts. Rodin and Chagall, photography, painting, and sculpture all occupy prominent places both on his bookshelves and in the worship life of the church he serves in the historic district of Westport, Missouri.
Dwight was an elder in my church—a man I deeply respected. I was impressed with the seriousness of his faith and the way he did what he thought was right, even when it was difficult. When I realized that I could use a little wisdom about being a husband, man, and follower of Christ, I thought of Dwight. So with some nervousness I called him. “Hi, Dwight. I . . . uh . . . was thinking that . . . um . . . it would be really beneficial for me to learn about the faith from an older man. And I was wondering if . . . ah . . .
Norma de Waal Malefyt (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Howard Vanderwell (email@example.com) are Resource Development Specialists at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. This article is adapted from their new book (see box) based on many years of fruitful collaboration as senior pastor and music director at Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church, Hudsonville, Michigan.
Q. One of the major stumbling blocks we face is that most members of our congregation know very little about worship. But we don’t want to make worship didactic. Any advice?
This could be the start of something very, very good. Or not. A remarkably enthusiastic first-year student came up to me expressing an interest in being part of LOFT team—nothing unusual there. But Rebecca wants to do liturgical dance. We’ve never done dance before at LOFT. Not sure why not. OK, the chapel’s flat floor means that the sight lines are all wrong; so that’s one reason. Still, it is odd how our focus on music means the other fine arts get neglected.
When the Israelites were still wandering in the wilderness, before they had land, let alone crops and harvests, God instructed them how and when to give thanks for the harvests that were to come:
Three times in the year you shall hold a festival for me. You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread; . . . the festival of harvest, . . . the festival of ingathering . . . (Ex. 23:14-16).
“Let them praise his name with dancing. . . . Praise him with tambourine and dance. . . .” (Ps. 149:3; 150:4).
Have you ever noticed how often Jesus’ teachings startled people? So many of his remarks seem, at first, to come out of the blue. For example, once he stood up in the temple on a high feast day and shouted, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink!” (John 7:37, NIV)
As the church adjusts to changes in the surrounding culture, worship leaders are faced with the challenges of new technology. How is it best used, and who should be the ones using it? Often the person with the keys to the building is put in charge of the new sound system, regardless of his or her musical/technological skills or spiritual gifts.