Thursday, March 19, 2009


I recently attended a church service (don’t worry, I won’t name names) and I have to say, I was really disappointed by the level of enthusiasm, or lack thereof, during worship time.

It wasn’t the worship team’s fault…they were doing a great job of passionately leading worship. But, no matter how hard they tried to stir up that passion among the congregation, the response remained, for the most part, completely flat. Here we stood, singing “I Am Free to Run, I am Free to Dance, I am Free to Live for You, I am Free” and the majority of the people weren’t even smiling as they sang. Based on their facial expressions, they could have just as easily been singing, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen.”

It made me wonder how many people at this church really understood what the praise and worship portion of a service is all about. I know that I sure didn’t get it when I became a Christian. But, it’s important to understand that it’s called Praise and Worship because that’s exactly what we’re supposed to be doing at that time… Praising and Worshipping the Lord! When we sing in church, it’s not to fill the room with pretty music, or to fill time before the pastor starts talking. We’re singing to God…he’s our audience of one.

Listen to the description of worship in Proverbs 29:2 “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.”

I understand that people express themselves differently…not everyone raises their hands, claps and/or sways to the music. However, no matter how you choose to show it, when singing praise and worship songs, we are wise to remember that we are singing at the foot of the throne.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Trashed Trailers

The town council of Pilot Mountain recently voted to ban mobile homes within the town limits. Anyone currently living in a trailer will be permitted to stay, however if they should decide to replace their mobile with a new one they’ll have to move out of town. People in favor of the ban complain that the presence of mobile homes within town limits, particularly those that are not being properly maintained, is an eyesore. They add that these homes are bringing everyone else’s property values down. People opposed to the ban say that the people who live in these homes can’t afford anything else, and that the mobile home ban is just a thinly veiled plot to run lower income residents out of town.

While I think there are some valid arguments on both sides of this issue, one thing missing from the debate is an interest in “loving thy neighbor”. The trailer dwellers, who have not kept up their homes, are being unloving toward their neighbors by allowing their run-down properties to negatively affect the neighborhood. On the other hand, if the people in the stick-built homes were as committed to loving their neighbors as they were to petitioning town council, they could accomplish so much more. As my friend, Derek, pointed out, these folks could reach out to their neighbors by helping them fix their gutters, paint their homes or mow their lawns. They could do some landscaping and replace broken screens and missing underpinning. If the community could, somehow, come together in such a loving, helpful way, imagine the real impact they would have.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to pick on the people of Pilot Mountain. A general lack of interest in loving our neighbors and caring for our communities is prevalent throughout the United States. We do a much better job of complaining about each other than we do of caring for one another. Perhaps that’s because complaining is so much easier. And, while griping may be the easiest way to deal with the people who bug us, it’s certainly not the Godly way. God calls us to be peacemakers. Let’s remember to live out the words in 2nd Timothy 2:24, which says, “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Earning Your PhT

After several years of hard work, my pastor recently obtained his Doctorate Degree in Divinity. He could not attend the Graduation ceremony held by the University where he completed his studies because he was out of the county at the time. So, we held a brief ceremony for him at church. The worship band played “Pomp and Circumstance” and 3 leaders from our congregation who also hold Doctorates performed the ceremony. It was a very sweet moment and we were all very proud of his accomplishment.

The coolest part of the ceremony, I thought, was when they called his wife up on the stage to join him. After they conveyed the PhD to Pete, they recognized his wife Kathy for the hard work and dedication that she had put in to support him. They gave her an honorary PHT…Putting Him Through. She got a standing ovation.

There are so many women and men like my pastor’s wife, who make sacrifices every day so their spouse’s hopes and dreams can be realized. Often, these partner’s efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated because everyone is focusing on the accomplishments of their spouse. My own husband struggles with this…he half-jokingly says he used to be called Alton, but know he’s known as Tami’s husband. But, the fact of the matter is, that I could not do what I do if he was not there to support me.

If your spouse is the one who takes care of the day to day stuff so that you can do what you do…I have a challenge for you. Take time today to write him or her a note of thanks. It doesn’t have to be long, just a few lines to express your appreciation will do. And, if you are not married, write a note to someone else who could use a little appreciating right now.

Finally, if you are the “behind the scenes” spouse, know that your work does not go unnoticed. Even when it seems that no one else sees the sacrifices you make each day, God always notices. And, He is glorified whenever we serve each other with a humble heart.