by Bobby Price
One result of the Covid lock-downs has been an increase in live-streaming/recording of worship services. In the past only large churches utilized these technologies to reach those unable to attend in person, but now thanks to Covid and thanks to Facebook even small churches have established live-streaming their worship.
Is this a good thing? Yes but with a caveat. When a person finds themselves in a circumstance where they are unable to worship with the saints on Sunday, they can (and should) still worship on their own time. John gives us this example when he was exiled, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day" (Rev. 1:10). (Most of) the elements of worship can be utilized without any externalities, including people, regardless of circumstance: singing to the Lord, praying to God, communion, meditating on God's word, etc.
However, all churches across America have noticed a trend, some people are not coming back. Many people have gotten out of the habit to come to church. But there is a small percentage of those people who are not returning that are still tuning into the live-streamed worship. They find it comfortable to remain at home, sit in their pajamas, and worship along with the church behind a computer. This is not good. I am not referring to the people who are unable to attend worship in person--I am referring to the people who can attend in person but choose not to. Scripture clearly indicates we should assemble.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." The concept of meeting together is commanded in the vein of stirring up one another to love and good works. Again, this is not about people who are sick or avoiding Covid--this is about people who could attend, who feel comfortable in public, and still choose not to attend in person to our Christian Assembly. That is not okay--that is "neglecting to meet together." If a person says that it is technically "meeting together," then answer this, are you stirring up your brethren to love and good works? And are you encouraging your brethren? Our presence and our interaction with people on Sundays are important to God.
In our Assemblies, our singing is "addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart" (Eph. 5:19). How can you "address" others if you are sitting in your living room while your brethren are in the church building? Though you can hear them, your brethren can't hear you when you are at home.
The Lord's Supper is designed as a group-Church activity. When the Corinthians were taking Communion some ate their fill while others went hungry (11:21). They were told to stop focusing on themselves and instead to "wait for one another" (v. 33). The point is that Communion is not just between you and God--it is because the collective congregation and God.
There are other points I could make too, but the ultimate point I am making is this, if you can worship in person with your brethren, God wants you to do so. For those who are sick and avoiding illness, I have no doubt the Lord understands. But even to those people, hopefully they understand the importance of in person worship on the Lord's Day because there is no good substitute. Thank God for live-streaming, but thank God even more so for the chance to worship with our brethren in person on the first day of the week.
by Carrie Kintz, edited by Bobby Price
There are seven sayings people mistake for Scripture. And there’s a natural reason for that. One of the beautiful things about humanity is our love for and ability to tell stories. There’s nothing like an adventure on a grand scale. Tales of heroes and heroines fighting for what they believe in, no matter the cost. Sweeping family sagas that show the struggle to make it through the years. Tender tales of love, loss and moving on.
But as so often happens, stories can morph. Be embellished. Or changed completely. Phrases can stick, and soon be so embedded in the culture that the origin is hardly remembered, let alone attributed correctly. Most times, it can be relatively harmless.
However when we start assigning cultural idioms, catchphrases or ideals to Scripture, it’s probably time to make sure that what we’re sharing is actually from the Bible. In that vein, here are seven phrases and ideas that people commonly mistake for Scripture but actually come from many different sources.
1. "Money is the root of all evil."
As far as sayings go, this one is probably this close to being right. It’s often used to warn people against the evils of obsessive materialism and greed. However, Paul admonishes Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:10 to be wary of the love of money, which is the root of all kinds of evil and, Paul says, has even drawn people away from the faith. As it seems to go in Scripture, the issue is the motive and the affections of the person, rather than the object of said affections.
2. "God will never give you more than you can handle."
Generally, this is supposed to be a comforting statement to a person struggling in difficult situations. A quick survey of a few friends showed that almost no one finds this phrase remotely helpful, even if the person saying it has good intentions. And it’s not scriptural. Many cite 1 Corinthians 10:13 as the basis for this sentiment. However, Paul is addressing the issue of temptation for Christians, and that God always offers us a way to escape them. Instead, many of the Gospel writers, even Jesus Himself, tell disciples to go to the Lord with cares (1 Peter 5:6-7), worries (Matthew 6:25-34), difficulties (Philippians 4:4-7), and heavy burdens (Matthew 11:28-30).
3. "Blessed and highly favored."
This phrase is very popular among various movements in Christianity, including the Prosperity Gospel and Word of Faith movement. While the phrase is in the Word, it is used in one very important context: Mary. The angel Gabriel called Mary blessed and highly favored because she will carry the Son of God in her womb (Luke 1:28-30). Mary’s response to the greeting was not exaltation and a claiming of blessing, but she was troubled by it, humbly knowing that she was not worthy of such a greeting. But Gabriel assured her that she had found favor with the Lord. It is a good reminder of how to respond when the Lord decides to bless us with anything.
4. "This too shall pass."
I confess to saying this in the midst of trying circumstances. It’s an overly simplistic statement when you’re facing a myriad of issues, but for some reason, it can bring a modicum of comfort. However, it’s not in Scripture. While the origins of this saying are sometimes attributed to Solomon, it isn’t in any of his recorded writings in Scripture. The most common attribution outside of the biblical king is that it came from a folklore poem by Persian Sufi poets.
5. "God helps those who help themselves."
Dear Algernon Sydney and Benjamin Franklin, thanks for this. Did you know that when you penned and uttered these words that they would become a bully stick for many in the church? Probably not. Still, the sentiment that God only helps those who help themselves has caused much damage, not only in churches but in society in general. And the sentiment at its core goes against Scripture. If God only helps those who help themselves, then why did He send Jesus to the cross to reconcile us to Himself? Or why did Jesus say the poor would always be with us? Why are we called to those who are destitute, the widow and the orphan, if they just need to help themselves? Certainly, we must hold people accountable as we offer help, but our requirement to help is not predicated on our ascertaining of their ability to do for themselves.
6. "God wants me to be happy."
We often use this when we consider things that we want and need to justify what we want with what we mistakenly think God wants for us. It’s not that God wants us to be unhappy. However, His definition of happiness and ours are often vastly different. In fact, when Jesus gives the Sermon on the Mount, he uses the word blessed nine times in the opening verses. When you look up that word in Strongs, Vine, and any other concordance and word dictionary, that word means happy. But we should all look very carefully at how Jesus defines happiness. Poor in spirit. Peacemakers. Pure in heart. Persecuted for His name’s sake. Merciful. Meek. How does this line up with our definition of happiness?
7. "Pride comes before a fall."
Like “money is the root of all evil” this is a contender for being this close to being correct. However, a miss is also as good as a mile. Proverbs 16:18 states that, “Pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” This distinction is important. Pride is what caused Satan to fall from Heaven. Scripture is rife with how much God hates pride. He actively opposes it. It is significant that Solomon essentially says the same thing twice. The word haughty means pride and arrogance and the word fall is defined as calamity or ruin. Many people seem to use the misquote with an air of lightness, almost indicating that a “fall” is more like a silly trip over a crack in a sidewalk. However, Scripture clearly shows that pride and arrogance bring destruction and calamity to those who refuse to repent.
As we look at these sayings, it’s easy to see how words can get twisted and misplaced or mis-assigned. Then we believe things that we mistake for Scripture. It’s important that we seek to study the Scripture in its inerrant truth and seek to know what it really says rather than what we think it says. That way, as we lead disciples in the church, we aren’t teaching fallacy, we’re teaching His truth, His word, His gospel.
by Tim Pearce, edited by Bobby Price
People of the world: do you not see this irony! The truth is so obvious and yet you refuse to believe it! What in the world! Guys, I have no words. This world…-Bobby
The Satanic Temple (TST) is challenging a Texas law that bans most abortions after a heartbeat can be detected in the unborn child.
The Satanists argue that the law restricts their right to free religious practice, referring to abortions as a “religious abortion ritual” and “a ceremony rooted in our deeply-held beliefs” on the TST website.
“This ritual may be performed by our members as a way to fortify self-worth, instill confidence, and provide spiritual comfort,” the TST website adds. “The performance of the Satanic abortion ritual is protected by religious liberty laws. It exempts Satanists from fulfilling any medically unnecessary and unscientific requirement, such as mandatory waiting periods or unwanted sonograms, that interferes with the practice of our ritual.”
On Thursday, TST announced that it was taking “legal action” in Texas to defend its members’ “religious rights.”
“Abortion laws in TX violate our religious rights and TST has taken legal action. If TX judges abide by the Constitution and legal precedent, then those who share our deeply held beliefs will be exempt from the state’s inappropriate efforts to restrict access to abortion services,” TST said in a statement.
A day later, TST sent out a message to its Texas followers encouraging them to seek out an illegal abortion “within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.” TST promised to support anyone accused of violating Texas’ “heartbeat” law, known as SB8.
“TST stands ready to assist any member who shares our deeply-held religious convictionsregarding the right to reproductive freedom. Accordingly, we encourage any member who resides in TX and wishes to undergo the Satanic Abortion Ritual within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy to contact The Satanic Temple so we may help them fight this law directly,” TST said. “SB8 does not allow for lawsuits or enforcement of penalties against a woman seeking an abortion. Instead, SB8 is cynically designed to avoid judicial review of the law and creates enforcement mechanisms against TST and its lawyers who dare challenge the law. We will not be cowed into silence by an unjust law or a tyrannical state government.”
Texas’ new abortion restrictions went into effect on September 1. The Texas law is unique in that it is the first of such “heartbeat” laws to avoid a stay by the Supreme Court. Last week, the court rejected a petition by abortion providers across the state to stay the law until its constitutionality could be litigated.
As The Daily Wire reported:
The court’s conservative majority rejected the abortion providers’ request because of the law’s enforcement mechanism, which separates it from “heartbeat” laws passed in other states. The law deputizes private citizens, granting them standing to file lawsuits against violating abortion providers rather than authorizing state agents to police them. The court dismissed the request, which names every state court judge and clerk as defendants, based on procedural grounds.
“It is unclear whether the named defendants in this lawsuit can or will seek to enforce the Texas law against the applicants in a manner that might permit our intervention," the ruling states. “The State has represented that neither it nor its executive employees possess the authority to enforce the Texas law either directly or indirectly. Nor is it clear whether, under existing precedent, this Court can issue an injunction against state judges asked to decide a lawsuit under Texas’s law.”
Taken from The Daily Wire on September 7, 2021
Bobby Price was born and raised by Christian parents in Perrin, Texas. Bobby decided early in life to become a preacher of God's word. He attended the Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, Texas where he graduated in 2015 with his Bachelors of Biblical Studies with a focus in Congregational Ministry. Afterwards, he interned for a year at the valley view Church of Christ in Jonesboro, AR. He is currently working on his Masters of Biblical Studies, through the Sunset International Bible Institute Graduate School.