Michael J. Thom Father. Nerd. Race fan. Musician.

8Jan/07

More From Harold Best

I finally have had a bit more time to read. I'm really going to try to make that a regular occurrence.

Unceasing Worship by Harold Best. Excellent book. Every word he writes is so specific, so clear, so meaningful. As I've been reading, I have been trying to write down interesting portions, or quotable sections. I don't know how many times I've had to restrain myself, because if I wrote down everything I considered writing down I'd have practically made a copy of the book! Anyway, to a few of my latest specific thoughts.

Reading in the fourth chapter ("The Corporate Gathering and Authentic Worship") I came across this passage:

Specializing in the things of the faith should be so important to laypersons that they do the kind of reading and thinking that lead to the formation of a truth-centered world-view that informs the whole of their living. No believer should say that there is no time to do this in his or her "busy schedule."

So true. How often do we tell ourselves we are "too busy" to spend time "with the Lord" (Wait, shouldn't that be always? Thoughts for another posting...)? How many times have I not read even this very book, simply because I was too busy, too tired, too lazy. As a Christian, a desire to read and study and grow closer to the Holy Spirit should pour out from a life of worship, if I were truly living one. In truth, in the (unfortunately few) occasions in which I actually do spend this sort of time (like right now), I love it! I find it to be so spiritually fulfilling! In fact, when I had the opportunity last semester to preach at the Campus House, I found it very interesting that the best part of that whole experience was not the actual sermon delivery, nor any congratulations I received afterward. Instead, I found the Bible study (the deepest personal study I had done to date) to be incredibly rewarding and fascinating.

To take those thoughts a little further, let us first look at another excerpt from Best's book, just a little later in the same chapter:

Another way of stating this is that Christians should be amateur theologians and Scripture specialists, but in the older meaning of the word. Amateurs are those who love something (hence the Latin ama at the beginning of the word), enough to study and practice it as thoroughly as possible, to become skilled in it, without the need to call it a profession or a specialized calling.

Simply analysing this passage is easy; it makes lots of sense as an extension of the previous discussion. However, how might this apply to me, specifically? Well, I am honestly not sure how to take this. I could stretch it one way and say that I need not go into vocational ministry, I should simply be an amateur theologian. However, I am also quite sure that Best does not intend to imply that some people are specifically called into vocational ministry (he in fact says so just sentences later). So where do I fit in here?

For now, my plan will continue to be more or less like it has been, I just now have some new terminology for it: I will continue to become the best amateur theologian I can be, as I also continue my studies in Music Education. In the time between now and graduation (still a year and 4 months), I will seek the Lord's will and find out what he has planned for me.

Thank you Lord for your many blessings, even those we cannot readily see.

10Oct/06

PFR and Unceasing Worship

Okay, first, who among you have heard of PFR? Yeah, okay, not many... stands for Pray For Rain. Awesome Christian band of the 1990s, produced a best of-type album in 1997 (The Late Great PFR), still performs a few times a years and has recorded two albums since '97. Fantastic stuff; you should check it out. Anyway, I've been listening to them all evening long... Here are the lyrics to one of their tunes, a powerful song titled, appropriately enough, "Pray For Rain."

Born in a dry season
Wind and sand have blown through me
Haven't found shade anywhere
Only moments of relief
But sometimes I think I hear the thunder
Somewhere on the horizon line
If I could just find a way to get under
The rain that can reach this soul of mine

(chorus)
I pray for rain to come
And wash away what's made me numb
I pray for a raging storm
To drown what's in me
And the rain comes in the nick of time
I swallow hard cause my throat's been dry
The rain comes beating on my skin
Till I'm washed away - nothing left within
When the rain comes
Your rain comes

Seasons have passed so quickly
Since I felt that first big storm
Still there have been times of drought
When i've prayed for the clouds to form
And I often hear the thunder
And I know of its coming rain
Many times in my life I'll kneel under
The moving showers that brought this change

Also, I just finished reading the second chapter of Unceasing Worship. This books attempts to clearly define worship, more specifically Christian worship, and authentic worship. In doing so, many areas are explored. At the end of Chapter 2 ("What is authentic worship?"), Best writes:

These words of Christ ["It was said of old, but now I say unto you..."] are of such magnitude that the entire shape of the New Testament depends on them. And it is only because of this that the Old Testament can be quoted with such force and probity throughout the Gospels, Acts, and Epistles. To put it negatively, the Old Testament is quoted because it is not finished until Christ reaches it. In this sense the Old Testament reaches ahead of itself longingly and hopefully to its finality. To put it positively, Christ is established in the Old Testament so efficiently as to make the Incarnation an inevitable reality.

So what does this mean exactly? Well, interestingly enough, it is actually related to a portion of the material I covered in my sermon a little over a month ago. In that sermon I talked about how Jesus established a new covanent; the Jewish Sabbath was Saturday, but after Christ's resurrection Christian's celebrated the Lord's Day - Sunday. His death and resurrection superceded Old Testament Law (observance of the Sabbath). Anyway, Best's interpretation of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments is very good.

It seems to be quite simple, really. If we realize that God, in his omniscience, inspired the writers of the Old Testament with his plan for his Son in mind, then the Old Testament is not as separate from the New Testament as we often make it out to be. We completely segregate the Old from the New, as if they are two separate and different works. In reality, I believe Best would argue (and I would tend to agree), the Bible as a whole is unilaterally the divine Word of God; sure, we divide it into two parts, due in large part to historical and chronological reasons, but the Old Testament directly provides for the arrival of the New Testament and Christ Himself. His arrival, death, and resurrection, allow for the "completion" of the Old Testament and the full understanding of the New Testament.

So I'm not sure if any of that makes any sense. Perhaps I just muddied the waters even more. I said it was "simple" and then expounded on it for another enormous paragraph. Anyway, those are my thoughts. I haven't posted a real post in over a month, and I thought I'd give it a try again.

Thank you Lord for all your blessings, You are truly amazing!

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