Fundamentals of Worship

by Stan Crowley

The sermon is “The Fundamentals of Worship” and emphasizes the way the Bible teaches that we should follow God’s instructions.

It draws a logical parallel between adding other kinds of food on the Lord’s Table to the two we read about in the New Testament (bread and fruit of the vine) and adding other kinds of music to the one kind we read about in the New Testament (singing).


God-Pleasing Worship–3 Essentials

by David Lemmons


As part of my School of the Walk (SOW) activities–that is listening to preaching and Bible studies as I walk for exercise, I recently listened to a sermon from Dan Winkler. I used his outline in my own presentation yesterday. Thanks, Dan! Mine differs from his, but it is an important topic for Christians to consider and is a study of Deuteronomy 26.1-14. I hope you will have time to listen to this message (40:32 minutes; 14.25 mb). You can download the file by clicking on the arrow next to the player.

God-Pleasing Worship–3 Essentials

Good Reading

by David Lemmons


Our brotherhood is blessed with many outstanding writers and publications which provide to us GOOD READING! One of my favorites is Truth, written by Roger Campbell. I have just received the July 2013 issue by Email from “across the pond” and have also just completed reading it. It will always have an article dealing with an Old Testament passage and one from a New Testament passage and it will always be worth reading. His study of Matthew 28.19 is interesting and helpful. Please take 15 minutes to read the four pages of this monthly publication.

Contents include:

  • “Contemporary Worship” and “Traditional Worship”
  • Who Knows Whether You Have Come to the Kingdom for Such a Time as This? (Esther 4.14)
  • In Whose Name Should a Person be Baptized? (Matthew 28.19)
  • The Book of Acts: How Women Influenced the Church

I have saved the issue and you can read it by clicking H-E-R-E.

Properly Observing

by David Lemmons


Today we have created and posted on this website a crossword puzzle based on the content of Mark 15. You can take a look at the puzzle by clicking H-E-R-E. You might be surprised how effective puzzles are in connecting Bible facts to lodging places within our brains.

What an important chapter Mark 15 is! We need often to read it and the parallels. We need often to go to the cross. It will help us to be better people. Below we are placing an outline of the chapter which also gives the parallels from the other three accounts of the life of Christ (taken from NKJV headings)…

  1. Pilate Tries Jesus (Mark 15.1-14; Matthew 27.1-2; Matthew 27.11-23; Luke 23.1-5; Luke 23.13-23; John 18.28—19.15).
  2. Jesus is Beaten (Mark 15.15-23; Matthew 27.26-34; Luke 23.24-32; John 19.16-22).
  3. Jesus is Crucified (Mark 15.24-41; Matthew 27. 35-56; Luke 23.33-39; John 19.18; John 19.23-30).
  4. Jesus is Buried (Mark 15.42-47; Matthew 27.57-61; Luke 23.50-55; John 19.38-42).

I have pasted in my Bible a clipping from some bulletin somewhere. I have seen it many places over the years. I do not know who originated it. I first remember seeing in back in the early 1980s. It is designed as a HELP IN PROPERLY OBSERVING THE LORD’s SUPPER. It focuses on numbers related to the cross, thus it is related to the material recorded in Mark 15 and the parallel renderings listed above. I hope it may be of help in some way to focusing the mind in the proper direction to observe properly the simple memorial Jesus has included in the worship of the church.


  1. There is ONE Lord (John 14.6). Who is the Lord of YOUR life?
  2. There were TWO thieves (Luke 23.39-43). Which might you have been?
  3. There were THREE crosses. One thief a REBELLER (Luke 23.39). One thief a REPENTER (Luke 23.40). And there was Christ, the REDEEMER (1 Peter 1.18-19).
  4. There were FOUR parts of Jesus’ garment, and a prophecy  (John 19.23-24).
  5. There were FIVE wounds (John 19.34). Remember the pain.
  6. There were SIX hours (our time) of crucifixion (Mark 15.25-37). Remember the suffering.
  7. There were SEVEN sayings on the cross
    1. Luke 23.34… Forgiveness
    2. Luke 23.43… Salvation
    3. John 19.26-27… Compassion
    4. John 19.28… Suffering
    5. Matthew 27.46… Loneliness
    6. John 19.30… Victory
    7. Luke 23.46… Tremendous Trust

Children in Worship

by Lester Kamp

My Source: GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS, Volume 4, August 6, 1998

One of our main goals in life is to help our children and other young people to become Christians who are faithful to God’s Word and active in His kingdom, the church. We want to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). We want them to know the joy of knowing, serving, and worshipping the Lord. Our children should be taught why we worship, how we worship, and how to make our worship most effective. Parents, grandparents, and friends will be the most important influences on our young people in their worship. Here are a few ideas that will help us train our children to be good worshippers.

Children need to see your worship and the joy it brings to your life. You need to come to the worship assemblies regularly with an attitude of joy and anticipation–not with a sense of drudgery or obligation. You need to sing, bow in prayer, listen intently to the sermon, give joyfully, and partake of the Lord’s Supper meditatively. Children will follow your example, so set the right kind.

Before Sunday, talk to your child about how to act in the assembly. Tell the child why we pray, sing, give, partake of the Lord’s Supper weekly, and listen to a sermon. As you would in preparing him for school, make sure the child gets enough rest the night before to be awake and alert Sunday.

When singing, help him locate the page of the song. With your finger on his book, point to the words as we sing. Encourage your child to sing even though he may not always sing the right words. When the sermon is delivered, help the child locate the Scriptures cited and/or encourage him to write them down. This impresses upon the child the importance of paying attention. It also stresses that worship is active and not passive.

Make sure that your child has gone to the restroom and for a drink of water before the worship service begins. Traffic in and out of the auditorium during worship is both unnecessary (with but a few exceptions) and disruptive to the worship of many.

Don’t follow the natural tendency to sit in the back so that the child does not disturb others. Think positively. Sit close to the front so that your child can see and hear what is happening. You’ll be amazed at how much better he will behave when you sit toward the front, and how much more meaningful worship will be to you, too.

Reinforce your child’s learning by discussing various aspects of the worship period afterwards.

Children will not act like adults, but with patience and love, they can be taught to love God and worship Him from the heart.

This process will take time, but it will be time well spent. The time to begin is now, regardless of how young your child is.

The Wonder Remains

by David Lemmons

DRL Note: This article was written a while back, but on a Saturday night, it might help us prepare for worship tomorrow. I also recommend going to THE LIGHT NETWORK to listen to or view the program READY TO WORSHIP


My Source: North Marshall Messenger, Volume 4, #42, August 15, 1999

Author: David Lemmons

File Under: Worship; Drama Groups

The Wonder REMAINS
by David Lemmons

In a book entitled, In Search of Wonder, A Call to Worship Renewal, edited by Lynn Anderson and published by Howard Publishing Company in 1995, there is a chapter written by Rubel Shelly. Brother Shelly’s chapter has a long and very revealing title, “Where Has All the Wonder Gone? A Responsible Challenge To Our Traditions.” According to Ron Harper, who reviewed the book in the 1997 Freed-Hardeman Lectures, the major concern of this chapter is contemporary worship.

Of course the title under which brother Shelly writes speaks volumes about his own idea and evaluation of worship in churches of Christ. He is convinced, and is desperately waging war against the Lord’s church to try to convince as many others as he can, that our worship is LACKING. I would like to express an opposing view under the heading, “The Wonder REMAINS.”

As he calls for contemporary worship, Shelly is in favor of the use of drama. As an example of it consider the account of a communion service at Woodmont Hills. Worshippers closed their eyes as twenty people acted out the sounds of the crucifixion. Sounds heard at Woodmont Hills’ communion service included: people screaming out CRUCIFY HIM; the sounds of the lash on His back; nails being driven through His flesh.

I have always preached about the beauty and simplicity of the memorial which Jesus left for us to observe each Lord’s day. Have we some defect of mind in the 20th century that we must have dramatic assistance to accomplish that for which Jesus gave us a reminder? Does anyone doubt that drama existed and was important in the culture of the first century? Why do we not read of any such communion service as was held at Woodmont Hills in the New Testament?

Of course, the implication that is inescapable for those who participate in a service similar to that at Woodmont Hills, is that the pattern given in the New Testament is not sufficient for our modern time. We must ADD drama to make our worship full of wonder. I totally reject the heretical idea that the Lord’s Supper needs to be propped up with man’s drama!!!

How often have we pointed out that religious people in general fail to respect the authority of Christ? Where is the respect for Christ’s authority demonstrated in the cry for the addition of drama to worship? It is a most unfortunate circumstance that even among churches of Christ there is this same lack of respect for the teaching of Colossians 3:17.

In view of what my Lord has endured for me, I surely believe that I have enough power of concentration to go back to that scene at Golgotha minus the aids of the sounds made by twenty actors! To defend such foolishness on the basis of bringing back the wonder of worship is the silliest sort of silliness.

Where is the authority of Christ for the use of drama groups in our worship to God? It is a fact indisputable that the world loves entertainment and that crowds of people can be drawn by it. However, do we disregard the will of the Lord just to draw a crowd? Surely we can remember the statement of our Lord regarding which way the crowd is headed.

Matt 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Why then should it appeal to us in any way whatsoever to have unauthorized drama in worship? What difference ought it to make to us that a crowd can be drawn by drama?

Oh, but there is the argument (?) that people can be reached by drama in ways that traditional teaching methods sometimes fail to do. Perhaps this is true–however I am not convinced. I do know this–PREACHING WAS A PART OF FIRST CENTURY WORSHIP (Acts 20:7; 2 Timothy 4:1-5). This is the God-approved method of dispensing His truth. Where is His stamp of approval for using actors to do so? Please consider these words from Dave Miller in Piloting the Strait…

The Bible everywhere represents God communicating
His word through preachers–not actors. God wants
His word presented very simply through oral
proclamation without the distractions and inventions of
man (1 Cor 2:1-5). Those pushing for drama in the
worship are essentially declaring to God that His way
of communicating His will is inadequate, defective, and
culturally obsolete. The ultimate effect of this alteration
will be a devaluing of preaching.

Certainly, as a preacher, you might expect me to value preaching, but any faithful Christian ought also so to value God’s chosen means of communicating His will.

I am truly saddened that attacks have been made on God’s plan for worship. Brethren, let’s get away from the concept that those who sit in the pew are the AUDIENCE for worship. It is only God who is The Audience for our worship. He has told us in His word that which He desires us to do.

May I make a suggestion for study for any who have a problem seeing the WONDER of worship as God ordained it–STUDY MORE ABOUT THE GOD WHO IS THE AUDIENCE FOR OUR WORSHIP. How can we know what God has revealed about Himself in His written word, the Bible, and fail to be awe-struck with tremendous wonder that He should seek us to worship Him (John 4:23-24).


by Sam Wilcutt

My Source: Words of Life, Volume 4, Number 51, 20 December 1998

Consider James 1.21-22. In this passage James gives us a wonderful commentary on what to do during worship services.

James gives us what to do BEFORE the worship service: “Therefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness…”  When we assemble to worship God, we are to begin by eliminating everything that would hinder or defeat our purpose for assembling with the saints.  “Filthiness” is a form of the word that appears in Zechariah 3:3-4 where the reference is to filthy garments.  The idea given is one of detestation and abhorrence.  We know that God detests and abhors all forms of sin (Isaiah 59:1-2; Proverbs 6:16-19).  Many passages in the New Testament show we are to remove sin from our lives (Colossians 3:8; 1 Peter 2:1).  Therefore, we are to “put away” (ASV) these things from us before we worship God.  God in all of His holiness is in our presence when we approach Him in worship (Matthew 18:20).  We should be holy when we worship as well.  Jesus taught this in His Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).  For this reason Paul said to “let a man examine himself” as he partakes of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:28).

James gives us what to do DURING the worship service: “…and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”  One of the purposes of assembling for worship is to receive the word of God.  Not only can this be done through our songs (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), but also through the sermon preached (Acts 20:7).  Those who are not singing or paying attention to the words are not receiving the word of God.  Their singing is void, since it must be from the heart through the voice.  Hence, their worship is void in the sight of God (John 4:24).  We also receive the word by listening to the preaching of the gospel.  Those who fall asleep, write notes to others, or simply are not paying attention are not receiving the word, making their worship void.  There are other things that disturb worship for others.  Talking, whispering, and clipping fingernails should not go on.  Even getting up to go to the bathroom should not be a habitual problem during the worship service.  There are many who can go to the movies and watch a two or three hour movie without going to the bathroom, but as soon as the preacher begins his sermon, these same end up distracting others as they cannot motivate themselves to go before worship.  I was taught to use the restroom before worship began. Why?  Because it can be a distraction to others who are trying to “receive the engrafted word.”  Certainly there are those who cannot help it, but let us make sure our motives are pure and our worship is acceptable!  Do we not realize the importance of singing and focusing on the sermon, since it “is able to save your souls?”

James gives us what to do AFTER the worship service: “But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”  We enter the building to worship, we should exit the building to serve.  We must make sure we are applying the lessons we learn to become better servants of Christ.  Other passages show this to be critical to our salvation (Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46; Romans 2:13).  Else, as my mother would say, “It is going in one ear, and out the other!”  Let us remember these valuable lessons from James to improve our worship for our Lord.