The power of praise

18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:18-20)

Some thoughts on the need for praise in music from NT Wright:

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What’s an Ebenezer?

I too often get a picture of Scrooge in my head when I read in 1 Samuel about the Ebenezer.

One of my favorite hymns is “Come Thou Fount” and it refers to the Ebenezer:

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home

Jesus, sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
Ebenezer was the stone of help.

It was a rock they used to memorialize the help of the Lord.

We can all have our “Ebenezer” and it doesn’t have to mean “Scrooge!”


What Happens When We Dwell?

Colossians 3:16,17: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

When we are feasting on the word of Christ, when Christ is truly dwelling in us…RICHLY… there is a great dynamic about coming together. We come ready to share. We come ready to worship, to FEAST. There is a song in our hearts.

Imagine a great potluck where everyone comes with their finest dishes. They have anticipated coming together, so they have spent time putting together fabulous dishes that will add to the potluck. They are excited about sharing those recipes and seeing the delight on people’s faces when they taste that food! These are people who have learned how to cook and when a potluck is called, everyone eats well!

Now imagine a potluck that is called but even the good cooks don’t prepare. The week got busy. They were rushed. They forgot there was a potluck.

Maybe they prepared a great dish last time and people kind of turned their noses up at it. Maybe they worked hard and everyone else brought Doritos. So they think, “Why bother?”

Or, imagine a potluck where no one is ready. No one has any idea how to cook. One person brings a bag of chips. Another brings a 2 liter of Pepsi. There are 20 people.

When we come together… are we ready? Is the feast of the Lord truly in us? Do we understand that our presence at a worship service should ADD to that time? We have a feast prepared if we are dwelling in the Word of Christ.

But too often we think of church as a full service restaurant. We come in and WE are to be served. Someone else prepares the meal, and we don’t care HOW they prepared it. So what if they used illegal immigrants! If the food tastes good, so what?

We come to church and look to be “wowed.” We WANT to be spoon fed. Why should WE prepare?

That is not really a place of joy or long-lasting abundance. It might be a hot night at the local bar or a great meal at an expensive restaurant we can afford once in a blue moon. But it’s not abundance.

Come to the feast. Bring your best. Dwell richly in the Word of Life. Share it with others. Watch abundance flow.