College Students: Join a local church!

Here is a fantastic article on why college students should join a local church. And it’s fantastic time to focus on this because classes start back at our local colleges (GHC, Berry, Shorter) on August 20, and our college ministry kicks off August 22.

Why College Students Should Join a Local Church

I was once a college student in my hometown, and now am a pastor in my hometown. This I can say with experience and now with biblical knowledge and authority: don’t fail and miss the local church.

  1. One cannot be a Christian and ignore covenantal connection/membership to a local church. Yes, we are part of the universal church. No, you can’t claim that membership without connection to its manifestation in the local church. The letters and epistles in the New Testament were written to local churches that manifested themselves in a local context, and the members were so covenanted to each other that they had standards of holiness by which they held each other accountable and followed Jesus’ teaching on the matter (Matthew 18:15-20) because Paul demanded that they do so. My connection to the “head”, Jesus, is predicated on my connection to the rest of the body while I supply some benefit to the other members. See Ephesians 4:11-16.
  2. You need the local church.
  3. The local church needs you.
  4. Don’t “church hop” and consume spiritual services. You have benefit, if a Christian, in covenant connection to a local church. The local church has benefit for you.
  5. Related to number 4, narrow the focus of your time. You can’t do everything well, but you can do a few things well. A local church should be one of them. This requires discipline, but it’s necessary for life, so learn it now.
  6. Disciplined execution of healthy spiritual habits culminates in a life of fruitfulness at the end. Undisciplined consumption of spiritual resources results in knowledge, maybe, with nothing to show but a big head and little heart of love for others and the world.

So, if you are a college student, I hope this helps. If you are not a college student, I hope this helps you too, as we can all learn and grow up into Christ inside of his church as meaningful members.

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Wolverine, Jesus the Grand Architect and Designer, Music, Song, Worship…

I’ve been stewing on this post for a while. The reason is that I’m not a music expert, and in fact, I have just about zero musical ability.

What I do have is a soul…believe it or not, and music moves me in the most profound ways. Everything from Zach Brown Band to Chris Tomlin to Guns and Roses to AC/DC to Metallica to Mumford and Sons to Easy E to Lecrae and Trip Lee. Music moves me and does something in my soul.

The Great Creator, designer and Architect, Jesus, so wired his universe so that music would have profound effect on image bearers and should be created by image bearers.

Job 38:4-7 (ESV) “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
7 when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Whoever/whatever the morning stars are and whoever/whatever the sons of God are, they sang and shouted as the Grand Architect, Jesus created. They were worshiping with song and shouts.

That passage even causes my eyes to start sweating (tears) because it affirms that connection between song and delight in God.

I think what has always confronted my presuppositions about music, worship, church, etc. is how I can be so moved by a song that has nothing to do with worship and at times be so unmoved by worship songs or even a worship service.

I know there are a multitude of factors  in play, and many of them are located in this flawed and broken man named Mitchell Jolly.

I think we sell short the necessity of high quality and high effort in worship.

I think we assume songs have to talk directly to or about Jesus to have effect.

I think we put too much emphasis on style rather than quality and excellence.

I think we allow a stoic pride, in error, to affect us when music does do what the Designer Jesus made it to do when we are in a setting of worship. We shove it down.

I think we have falsely labeled fun, energetic, expressive song and music as “charismatic” rather than normal, and many afraid of a little Spirit filling avoid any expressed joy whatsoever for fear of the unknown.

I think some are just broken to the point that music has no effect.

I think we are happy giving Designer Jesus our leftovers when it comes to worhsip.

I think we are unwilling to admit that non-christians get some things right even in sin with sinful motives that we can’t get right in grace with pure motives and the indwelling Spirit when it comes to music and song. And I think Jesus is glorified, not to their salvation, but in the fact that creatures are doing well with what he gave, and in common grace, blesses the world with beauty. (I think I’ll get some nasty emails for this one)

I think worship is first a life lived, but it is also a song sung in unison. As faith without works is dead, so worship without a doxology of praise somewhere may be lacking a bit.

I want to give you an example. Watch the below video.

Wolverine stars in “The Greatest Showman”. Best musical / movie I’ve seen in a while. Love it!!!

Listen to the story and watch the rehearsal. Wolverine can’t help himself. He has to sing even with 80 stitches in his nose. He gets after it because he can’t help it.

Do you think they are worshiping? I think so. I don’t think they are worshiping Jesus, but the theme of repentance, redemption combined with music, song and some passionate people make for a scene that if the sound was off, you’d think Wolverine got saved and they were singing some Crowder or Tomlin or something.

I suppose my question is: Where is that among saints? Do we delight that much in repentance and redemption? If so, where is the expression? Is expression overrated? Is our quality and effort just not good enough? Do we prepare? If they have to get after it even when suffering with surgery for joy, where is that kind of joy producing that kind of expression in us?

I’m tired of excuses inside the church why some not in the faith get things right that those who have the Creator, Holy Spirit of God, on the inside can’t seem to scratch the surface of.

I’m not bashing anyone or anything. I’m just wondering out loud about my own experience and my own desires. I really want to worship like these guys below seem to be doing in simply singing a song in preparation for a movie/musical they are filming. Maybe that makes me something my tribe does not like, and if so, then maybe I need to move to another tribe or move period. But I want this.

Anyway, enough rambling from me. Watch this video, and if you have not watched the movie, by all means do so!