Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty heavens!
Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre!
Praise Him with tambourine and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with the clash of cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! No other directive do we hear more throughout our Christian lives than this. Whether reading the Word, attending a church service, or hearing the various happenings of others’ lives, it is near impossible for today’s follower of Christ not to encounter the phrase on a regular basis. What is meant by these three simple words? If you were to ask a thousand different self-identified Christians throughout the world today what it means to “praise the Lord,” you may well receive a thousand different answers; and the deeper you dig into the details, the more diverse the opinions. Every week, churches around the world are constantly asking question about their own praise practices. How should we praise the Lord? Should we sign hymns or contemporary songs? Where and when should we praise the Lord? Can we only praise him on Sunday mornings in our official, recognized church buildings? Who should praise the Lord? Can only tithing, membership-class graduates led by a male 30-something-year-old stand on stage? The debates over such issues seem endless, and the only sure solution that Christians have employed to solve these disagreements is to have one side get up, leave, and start their own church. Is this really what Saint Paul and the entire canon of Holy Scripture would advise us to do whenever we disagree over something? If not by division, how then are we to solve this age-old debate? When we understand what the Word of God means when it tells us to “praise the Lord,” we will begin to see that what we commonly mean by the phrase is not what the authors of Scripture meant.
When you paint my portrait
Attend to my eyes
Though sunken and tired
and clouded, blue skies
My cheekbones, they rise
Cliffs jutting to meet them
My nose, the long drop
My mouth is the ocean
Imagine this: you walk into a local coffee shop. This coffee shop has a partnership a missions organization, so on every wall, photographs are plastered of children. African children. Their faces, dirty and gaunt, stare at you expectedly. They silently plead for help, for love, for you. Captions accompanying the pictures read, “Their hearts are crying out for someone to bring them hope. That someone can be you” and “You were made for something great: now is your time.” As your eyes scan these heart-wrenching pictures and read these convicting words, something stirs within you. There is an urge to go, to make a difference, to really make your life count for something. Perhaps you had never considered missions before, but after this experience in the coffee shop, you think, “You know what? I really feel a burden for those African children. I feel called to do something about their plight. I could make an impact and change lives by going.”
This experience might be familiar to many of you. It is normal to hear language used about missions that is infused with passion and zeal. It is not uncommon to see saddening pictures of needy people on TV commercials, missions brochures, and posters. It is expected that those going to be missionaries will truly make a difference. However, why does our culture paint such an alluring image of missions work? Is how we speak of missions work accurate? Does the language we use about missions work affect the mental framework we construct and likewise impact our participation in it?
They told you this day would come.
Those days seem now like a black-and-white episode of The Andy Griffith Show: peaceful, nearly perfect, and a little naive. Life then seemed to be a grand adventure, just begging you to embark upon it. For so long you waited anxiously, your fingers tapping impatiently every day as you longed to be just one year older, because for some reason the adventure only started when you aged. You lived carefree, trying to pass the days as quickly as possible; “right now” was boring, and the only thing that mattered was the future.
The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.
– Proverbs 15:31
The process of admitting fault and initiating change is a difficult one. It is a journey that, in my experience, starts with attempts at self-justification, involves plenty of internal bludgeoning by the Holy Spirit, and results in the gain of a small measure of healthy humility. The fact is, not many people enjoy being incorrect.
One of the best movies about mind control that has come out recently is Inception. Mind control might not be the first connection you make with this action packed blockbuster, but the whole goal of the movie is to direct the mind of the target. This quest takes the team diving into the world of dreams, building experiences they want the target to go through, and casting illusions they want the target to perceive. But what was the last straw in the plan? It was an idea, an idea to be incepted into the mind of the target and, ultimately, an idea to be carried out.
I thought that this would be a fun way to end the academic year–my first year, and many others’, at Moody Bible Institute – Spokane. I hope that this serves as an enjoyable recap of some of the many and varied experiences unique to our community and, perhaps, as a means of enhancing excitement (or fear) in the incoming class. Know that the list is only meant to be taken with slight seriousness. So, without further ado, I present to you the (incomprehensive and inexhaustive) list of 100 Things To Do in Your First Year at Moody – Spokane:
1. Make some friends at orientation (they’ll probably end up being your best friends)
2. Learn how to do laundry
3. Realize you can’t cook
4. Eat Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the same day
5. Eat your roommate’s food (even if it has their name on it)
6. Pull a prank on your sister/brother house
7. Become a hipster
8. Become a vegetarian
9. Give up being a vegetarian because you love bacon too much