I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this is the basic liturgy from which most evangelical churches operate. To be sure, there are slight variations. The announcement may go after the praise set. There may be an offering in there somewhere, possibly with a special music number. The service may be tweaked a bit when there is communion or a baptism. But overall, if I were to visit 50 different evangelical churches over the next year, this is what I expect to find most of the time.
The simple question I want to ask is this: Is this New Evangelical Liturgy really an improvement?
Regular preachers need to be more like starters than bench players.
The bench player is a specialist. A southpaw might take the mound to pitch to one player. A sharp shooter enters the game to knock down threes to spark a comeback.
But the starters need to do everything well. These are the triple-threat basketball players, athletes who can shoot, pass, or drive to the basket. These are the five-tool baseball players, guys who can hit for average, hit for power, throw, field, and run fast around the bases.
The triple threat, five-tool preacher is characterized by variety in his sermons. He varies his structure, tone, and delivery of the sermon, so that his church never hears the same message twice.
How do we please God on our sickbed or when we are disabled?
There are multitudes far more qualified than I am to talk about this, multitudes who have pleased God through suffering in ways I can’t even fathom, but here are some ways I have seen others please God on their sickbed or in their disability.
That surprised me, so I consulted with my wife, who confirmed that I am indeed not always the excitable type. Maybe it’s my Canadian reserve, or temperament, or maybe I was just dropped on my head, but there it is. And, as they say, it is what it is. I’ll probably never look much more excited than I already do.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not excited. I do actually get excited, though, particularly about a few things. Not all of them are the right things, but here’s a short list of what excites me, and these things (with the possible exception of one) are worth it.
Matt and I are approaching a whole new level of parenting. The questions now aren’t about when to potty train or whether or not to allow them to ride the bus. In a couple of weeks I will have a daughter entering high school, another entering middle school, and my son will be entering intermediate school (grades 3-5). Don’t ask me how this has happened. I have great potty training advice, and I could probably write my memoirs about the interesting conversations that have come from driving my kids to and from school myself. But now I have new questions.
One came up over the weekend. My nieces and nephew were getting baptized in the Anglican Church of North America and my sister and brother-in-law asked Matt and I to be Godparents. With this new honor and responsibility, I attended the parent class on baptism with them. The pastor was getting practical as he was talking about raising children. As he was giving good advice about giving many hugs and making them a priority, I blurted out my new question. “What do I say when my children ask me about my past?” It’s not rated G. It’s not rated PG. I’m unsure about how much to reveal.