Worship - the best thing we can do in 2011
On Christmas Day I concluded our sermon series on Revelation. I preached the first sermon on the opening verses of chapter one on the 24th of January and the last on the closing verses of chapter 22 on the 25th of December. I drew on material from various sources but chiefly from the excellent commentary by Darrell Johnson, “Discipleship on the edge” published by Regent College Publishers. It comes highly recommended. (All our sermons are freely available for download off our Christ Church website www.christ-church.org.za)
As Eugene Petersen comments, Revelation does not tell us anything we have not heard before in the preceding books of the Bible, we just hear it in a new way. As John records the vision given him by Jesus he wants to fire our imaginations and help us to see our present situation with all its darkness, suffering, pain and struggle in the light of the unseen reality of the future. He also wants us to see the ambiguity of our present situation and in light of the unseen reality of the present. There is more going on than we can perceive with our unaided senses. John opens up that “more” and using images of dragons and beasts, angels and horsemen, trumpets sounding and heavenly choirs singing, helps us to grasp, and be grasped by, the reality that Jesus is coming soon – he is near, very near. His rule is breaking in – he is on his way. He is closer now than when we first believed.
In preaching on this book I had to confront my own dragons and beasts and come against the lies the enemy would use to throw me off course. One was an entirely innocent comment from someone who said that in their previous church twice ministers had embarked on a sermon series on Revelation but never finished it for different, but both undesirable, reasons. Would the same be true of me? Who was I to preach on these amazing truths? So I found myself having to stare down the dragon and deliberately confront the lying darts of the enemy with the truth of who God is and who I am in Christ.
While for me it is the work of preaching and leading a church – the task that God has called me to, I am sure that for others in whatever it is that God has called you to, the same battle is going on. The enemy seeks to undermine us, deflect us away from the real issues, cause us to doubt his love, keep us busy and distracted, and using fear of failure keep us holding back and not stepping out boldly in faith to do what God has charged us to do.
The antidote to lies is of course, truth. I know of no better way to proclaim truth than to worship. To say or sing out and proclaim the truths of who God is – “Great and marvellous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages” (Rev 15:3). As we read through Revelation we discover just how much of our worship songs and hymns are drawn from this amazing last book of the Bible.
On Christmas Day I showed the YouTube video clip of the Hallelujah Chorus sung in the food court of a shopping mall. If you did not see it it is worth downloading and watching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE The striking thing for me is not only are these the most wonderful words “Hallelujah … and he shall reign forever and ever”, and not only is the music inspiring and the harmonies uplifting, but it is sung quite literally in the market place – not the holy place. It is sung where business happens and commerce is conducted. It is sung out there in the world where we are daily confronted by crime and corruption, darkness and doubts, ambiguity and anger, feelings of inadequacy and fear of failure. In the face of all this, the best thing we can do is worship – to declare the truths of who God is and who we are in Christ.
May 2011 be a year full of praise and worship in the holy and the market places of our lives. (Author: Duncan Mclea
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Sermon Preached at the Consecration of Margaret Vertue Ezek 3:4-11, Psa 23, Acts 4:8-13, Matt 16:13-
19th January 2013 - Stellenbosch (Author: Duncan Mclea)
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Duncan's annual report to the Christ Church Annual Meeting and to Parish Vestry (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Andrew Murray - a life God used
Talk given at New Wine on 25th February 2012 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
What does the Bible say about women being in leadership in the church?
A reply to an email from my daughter asking about why women don't keep silent in church. (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Reflections on the two weeks of prayer and fasting
Duncan's Diary 10th Feb 2012 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Two weeks of prayer and fasting
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Duncan's Diary 2011-05-14
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Duncan's Annual Report 2011
The text of my report to the church meeting on 12th April 2011 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
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List of Duncan's Diary Entries (Author: Duncan Mclea)
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My sermon preached at Christ Church on 23rd January 2011.
Ephesians 4:11-16, Matthew 28:16-20 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
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This is an edited version of what I said at the Christ Church church meeting on 23rd November 2010 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Running through Wynberg Boys High
DD blog on 11 Nov 2010 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Some reflections on Lausanne
DD blog on 31 Oct 2010 (Author: Duncan Mclea)