God’s Plan for Worship

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‘Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth’” (John 4:20-24).

In this chapter, Jesus spoke with a Samaritan woman by a well. The discussion covered several topics, one of which was the issue of worship. After she “perceived” Jesus to be “a prophet” (John 4:19), she brought up a question about worship. In Jesus’ answer, He explained to her some basic principles about worship. These instructions are helpful for us as well.

In this article, we are going to look at what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman and what He teaches about God’s plan for worship. There are four basic points we can take from His instruction on this occasion.Continue Reading

A Year After the Start of the Pandemic – Some Lessons (03.18.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

Last week was the one year anniversary of the official start of the pandemic. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic. This has impacted all of us over the past year. As we look back on what has transpired and consider all of it in light of the Scriptures, there are some lessons we need to learn.

STORY – The Covid-19 Pandemic Is Now One Year Old

This has been a difficult year for all of us – whether we have been directly affected by the virus or not. As bad as the virus might be and the number of deaths have been attributed to it, that’s not even the whole picture. We have faced economic shutdowns, businesses being closed, many people out of work, schools have been closed, many churches stopped meeting, mental health is declining, relationships have been strained, and people are isolated from others. It’s been a difficult year.

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Religion and Depression, Hallmark Channel’s LGBT Shift, and Being Religious or Spiritual (02.25.21)

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After missing last week, the podcast is back and we have three new stories to discuss. The first discusses the complex connection between religion and mental health. Then we talk about the shifting values in what has traditionally been seen as “wholesome, family-friendly” entertainment. We end with a conversation about how people view themselves as being religious and/or spiritual.

STORY #1 – Attending Religious Services and Ward Off Depression

“Religion has been a source of comfort and support among believers for a long, long time. It’s often said that faith provides something to fall back on when everything else in life fails us. Now, a new study has investigated the complex relationship between religious experiences and mental health. Researchers from Westmont University find attending religious services helps attendees avoid or stave off depression. Unfortunately, not all of the project’s findings follow this pattern. […] ‘But what if the religious environment or beliefs themselves are the source of depressive symptoms?’ [study author Blake Victor Kent] asks. Researchers define ‘experience-driven religious environments’ as churches and other religious communities that normalize divine interactions and even tell parishioners to expect such experiences. ‘Those who struggle to establish an emotional connection to God may be constantly disappointed even though they work hard to hear from God and feel led by God. They may wonder whether God has abandoned them and why they’re not experiencing God the way everyone else seems to,’ Kent explains.” (Study Finds)

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STORY #2 – Hallmark Channel Promises More LGBT Characters and Storylines

“Hallmark Channel, once known for its sentimental and family-friendly movies, has announced it is making it a “big priority” in the coming year to increase the number of LGBT characters and plotlines it features in its films. […] Michelle Vicary, a Hallmark Channel executive, said the network is making it a “big priority” in 2021 to continue its progress in pushing LGBT themes.” (Disrn)

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STORY #3 – Most Americans Embrace Religion, Spirituality

“The multiyear research project from the Fetzer Institute on spirituality in America found 9 in 10 U.S. adults (89%) consider themselves spiritual, religious, or both. Most (70%) say they are both religious and spiritual. Around 1 in 6 say they are spiritual, but not religious (16%). Close to 1 in 10 (11%) say they are neither. Few (3%) say they are only religious.” (Lifeway Research)

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The Christian and Minimalism (Sermon #44)

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The Christian and Minimalism (Sermon #44)

We’re taking a break this month from our regular episodes. During this break, we’ll be posting audio sermons instead. The sermon for today is titled, The Christian and Minimalism, and was preached on September 27, 2020 at the Eastside church of Christ in Morgantown, KY.

Read the article: The Christian and Minimalism

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The Christian and Minimalism

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If you have spent much time online looking at articles and videos about personal development – how to make the best use of your time, get the most out of life, and focus on what is important – you have likely come across the concept of minimalism. Many self-help gurus promote this philosophy and there are a number of people who describe the benefits they have seen in their own lives by adopting its principles. There are some concepts found in minimalism that will be appealing to most people, even if they do not embrace it in its entirety.

What is minimalism? And what place, if any, does it have in the life of a Christian? Let us briefly consider this concept.Continue Reading

Taking Personal Responsibility

Pointing at ManIn a time of lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing, we are more cut off from others than we had been previously. Obviously, there are challenges to this type of social arrangement – including spiritual challenges. One such challenge is that it is increasingly important for each of us to take personal responsibility for our faith and our standing before God. Paul mentioned this idea in his letter to the brethren in Philippi:

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

Paul wanted these brethren to maintain their faithfulness even when he was absent from them and could not encourage them in person. The reason for the lack of in-person interaction is different today. And, of course, Paul was only speaking of himself as being absent from them; the brethren in Philippi were still together. However, the challenge described by Paul is the same. We must maintain our faithfulness, even without the in-person encouragement we are used to receiving from other Christians.

In this article, we are going to notice why personal responsibility is important, some ways in which we are to take personal responsibility, and also why taking personal responsibility should never cause us to think that isolation from fellow Christians is to be preferred.Continue Reading

Can Christians Observe the Lord’s Supper Outside of the Assembly? (Episode 5)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll discuss in this episode was submitted to me by several people this week:

Can Christians observe the Lord’s Supper outside of the assembly?

As of right now, the situation with the global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus has caused many local churches to suspend their assemblies. In their place, many churches have arranged to have “virtual” assemblies. Others have opted to gather in homes with just family members or small groups. In either case, many are continuing to observe the Lord’s Supper even though they are not in the regular assembly of the local church. Is this authorized? We’re going to consider what the New Testament has to say to address that question.

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