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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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THE NEED FOR MORE REVERENCE

Jesus Christ taught us to pray and say to our Father in Heaven, "Hallowed be Your name" (Matthew 6:9). "Holy and reverend is His name" the Bible says of the Lord in Psalm 111:9 (the only place in the King James Version of the Bible, by the way, where the word reverend appears, here describing God's name, not a man, including the preacher-man). Psalm 89:7 reminds us of the need for reverence in worship — "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him." Hebrews 12:28 calls on New Testament saints to "serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." The church today finds herself living in a world saturated with irreverence and disrespect for God. We must exercise care to not allow the world's irreverent attitudes seep into our lives and worship as God's people. The following is part 1 of an excellent article by Kevin White, pulpit minister for the Sycamore church of Christ in Cookeville, TN. The article appeared in the Sycamore congregation's bulletin, "The Sycamore Servant," January 20th, 2005. Next week the concluding part of the article will appear in this space. —Dan Gulley

Thank-you so much for the way in which you received Sunday's lesson on the need for greater reverence. American society has lost the entire concept of reverence. It seems that nothing is sacred anymore. God's name is blasphemed all of the time in every way imaginable. Attempts are being made to remove God's name from every dimension of public life. While this is heart-wrenching, we cannot become paralyzed and just watch while it happens. Secondly, we must set the standard for the world to know exactly what it means to hold God in reverence. There is no greater venue for reverence than in our worship. It is so easy to become lax in this area. As we mentioned Sunday, when we come together for worship, our thoughts and feelings are to be centered on God. Yes, there is a "horizontal" benefit (a benefit for the worshipers), but it is a natural by-product of worship to God, in spirit and in truth. We should never become the focus of our worship. It is not intended for our pleasure. It is to bring glory and honor to God. He is the focus of worship. We should not cater to the likes and dislikes of men. The focus of our worship should not be to try to attract visitors or newcomers. We are not here to please them. We are not here to cater to any of our members. All that matters is that God be pleased with our worship. If God is glorified, uplifted and honored, then anyone present will receive a blessing from it. If we worship God in spirit and truth, visitors will be encouraged to participate and return because they know that this is a place where God is present.(To be concluded in next weeks bulletin)