Sermon for April 28, 2013

Posted by on April 28, 2013 under Front Page Posts, Sermons

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Sermon for April 28, 2013 by Chris Benjamin

Job Description – Office: Financial and Clerical Assistant

Posted by on April 24, 2013 under Uncategorized

West-Ark Church of Christ

Job Description

Office: Financial and Clerical Assistant


We are no longer accepting applications for this position.

Updated: May 9, 2013



Red Dirt Road

Posted by on April 21, 2013 under Front Page Posts, Sermons

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Sermon for April 21, 2013 – Travis Campbell


Abraham Study

Posted by on April 20, 2013 under Curriculum

  1. I’m posting a link to a couple .pdf’s with a brief Outline of our Class Discussion for April 21 and 28, 2013 on Abraham and his role in God’s Redemptive Purposes.  One is a .pdf with the class notes for the 2 weeks, the other is a .pdf of the rough “clips/abstracts” of some of the materials I looked at in preparing for the study.  This may or may not be useful to you.  If it is, then I am glad.  If not, I understand. – a .pdf with the outline/materials for the 2 week study on Abraham  – a .pdf with the study notes only

Worship Wars

Posted by on April 14, 2013 under Front Page Posts, Sermons

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Some of you here today may not recall international incidents that involve a supreme leader of a nation threatening to fire nuclear missiles.  To those under 25 it may sound like the plot of a 007 movie.  Yet, men with bad haircuts in black polyester suits threatening to take over the world with nuclear arms and their high-stepping armies is what some of us grew up with.  At one time, that was the threat of war. 

What we see in the North Korea situation is what many of us always assumed about warfare: that there are nations, borders, governments, uniforms and flags.  Even if they are aggressive and unreasonable, there is always someone with whom to negotiate; and there is always a target to hit if negotiations fail.  Once we assumed that weapons are only weapons  — and the bigger they are, the better they are.  Once we assumed that in war superior firepower or better technology was the counter-move to the enemy’s move.  We assumed that the Cold War was cold because even though the boundaries were clearly and tightly drawn, there was the assumption that at the end of the day everyone was hoping that no one would fire anything.

Then the threat of war changed in 2001.  Now we assume that war involves terrorists representing no government and with no national borders.  We assume that war takes place in secret with the objective of doing damage.  We have accepted the fact that there are no flags, no uniforms, no tanks, no jets and no missiles.  There is no one with whom to negotiate.  There is nothing cold about the new shape of warfare as the objective of the enemy seems to be fire everything they have. 

The “old ways” didn’t apply so much after 9/11.  Missiles, bombers and tanks are less effective against invisible terrorist cells.  Instead, drones and Special Forces are necessary.  Warfare got up close and personal.  Now it is less like Missile Command and more like Call of Duty. 

I need to make a transition from war to worship.  It disturbs me that I cannot decide if it is difficult to make the connection between war and worship or if it is in fact an easy connection.  I suppose that warfare and worship should be very different things, but the sad reality is that there has been a long history of conflict in worship and sometime in the 20th century the term “worship wars” was coined. 

Conflict over worship is nothing new.  In the first century, Jewish traditionalism and Gentile simplicity created enough tension that a special meeting had to be called in Jerusalem (Acts 15).  In Corinth, tongue speakers and prophets were at odds over who got more time in the pulpit.  Creeds and Confessions often had to do with doctrinal distinctions, but sometimes they would create borders in worship.  That was really visible in the Christian West – especially in England (which has a huge influence on our church culture.)  Two major options were available to the worshipper in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries.  On the one hand there was the “smells and bells” of the Anglican church or the austere simplicity of the Puritans. 

Up until the late 20th century, there were clear boundaries and borders.  There were uniforms and flags.  There were people to negotiate a truce if necessary.  When it failed, it led to major divisions – like the instrumental and non-instrumental division in our own movement.  That division was acknowledged as the 20th century began.

During the 20th century in America, different groups became known by their worship styles.  Words like traditional, contemporary, charismatic, contemplative, progressive, and conservative were used to identify groups who would all be identified as Christian and maybe even hold the same beliefs in essential matters, but the content and style of their worship might vary.  By the 1970s the term Worship Wars was being used by Evangelical writers to describe these distinctions.

Forty years later, and one tenth of the way into the 21st century, I wonder if we really have Worship Wars anymore.  It’s hard to determine where the boundaries and borders are.  There are no uniforms or banners.  There’s no one to negotiate with.  Very conservative congregations might have no problem with speaking in tongues but they would condemn the use of a projector.  Very contemporary groups might use a praise team, but they might preach a strict gospel.  A church might be acapella in its worship, but they may use incense or they might feature a spoken word poem. 

Just as the nature of warfare has changed, so too have the worship wars.  I wonder if the new situation after the Worship Wars is Worship Terrorism?  There does seem to be too much fear connected to worship.  And I know some leaders who feel terrorized every time something goes awry in worship.  Maybe we are in the days of the Worship Peacekeeping Operations or the Worship Police Actions?  Sometimes the best solution we can come up with in worship is containment.  We try and set boundaries that satisfy no one simply so we can avoid conflict.  I know church leaders and members who worry that we may be trying to contain the Holy Spirit.

None of these terms have the same alliteration as Worship Wars.  So I propose a new term that I hope calls out the real problem – Worship Weariness.  Whatever shape conflict around worship takes, I suspect that most of us, if not all of us, are just tired of the conflict.  No, we don’t want peace at the sake of truth – that would be too easy.  But like the song says we want to “stop the fighting and start uniting” but that isn’t easy and some may be losing hope that its even possible.

This week I spoke to a church leader (this is a different church – listen to the sermon and don’t bother trying to figure out who’s upset and where – that’s not the point).  This friend told me that he is certainly weary of worship.  He says that he would love to just come to church and not have anyone quiz him about changes being made to the worship service or worship events being planned for the college group, or singles group, or teen group.  He just wants to come and enjoy being in worship rather than feeling like he is walking on eggshells through an entire worship and wondering “Who won’t like that?”

That’s worship weariness.  The easy solution at this point would seem to be an appeal to “Just do what God wants.”  On the one hand that is the answer (and its how this sermon will conclude) but on the other hand, that’s been tried a lot and for quite some time, people have issued statements in God’s name saying “This is what God wants” – and yes, they typically back it up with a lot of Scripture.

There’s only one such statement that seems the definitively credible statement of what God wants from worship.  [Note: The emphasis will shift from what God wants in worship to the kind of worshippers God wants].  Perhaps that is because it comes from God’s own son.  Take a look at John 4 . . .

1.       The Samaritan Woman brings up the Worship War of her age – “Should we worship on Mount Gerazim, or in the Jerusalem Temple?” 

2.       Each side had Scriptural support.  Each decision excludes the possibility of the other.  Its either mountain top or temple.  There’s too much here to come up with a blended compromise.

3.       Jesus offers something different – much more than a third option.  The new perspective on worship that Jesus gives, defines the other two but also nullifies their distinct doctrines and styles (v. 22 – 23)

4.       True worship is worship of the Father in Spirit and in truth.  There’s no more description than this.  And once again Jesus has missed an opportunity . . .

·         He could have given an authorized order of worship right there on the spot.

·         He could have said, “Spirit and truth means: No banjoes, no singing during the Lord’s Supper, lengthy sermons are okay as long as they end with an invitation, women can pray publically if they have their head covered (Paul will give you more on that),  . . .”

·         And Jesus could have written an entire book in detail and then we wouldn’t have to fight.  But all he says is “Spirit and Truth” as if he seems to really know God the Father quite well, so well in fact that he is like God’s Son or something!

5.       The fact is, Jesus never misses an opportunity.  And writing and entire book on how to worship would not settle a thing (that was attempted in Leviticus and they still wrote commentaries on what it meant).  Jesus wants us getting past temple and mountain issues.

6.       And I think Jesus wants us to pay attention.  Notice carefully that Jesus says nothing about what God “wants” from worship – isn’t that how we often formulate the question?  Rather he says, “God seeks something in worship.”  And what God seeks is not simply “the product” or “order” of worship, but he seeks worshippers!  The kind who worship in Spirit and Truth!

So what kind of worshipper are you going to be?

Baptism as Worship

Posted by on April 7, 2013 under Front Page Posts, Sermons

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Sermon for April 7, 2013 – Chris Benjamin

Family Lines — April, 2013

Posted by on April 5, 2013 under Bulletins, Front Page Announcements

Family Lines — April 7, 2013

Family Lines — April 14, 2013

Family Lines — April 21, 2013

Family Lines — April 28, 2013

The Gospel According to Genesis

Posted by on April 2, 2013 under Front Page Posts, Sermons

It’s the new year and a new beginning!  Let’s go back to “The Beginning” and learn our story.

The good news of Genesis communicates the truth about a good Creator and a good creation.  Genesis reveals the meaning of our lives and the truth about who we are and the world in which we live and thrive.

The sermons in January and February from Chris Benjamin and Travis Campbell will draw from the first eleven chapters of Genesis.


January 6 – Genesis 1: Mechanics or Meaning

January 13 – Genesis 2: Keepers of Paradise

January 20 – Genesis 3-4: Damaged Goods

January 27 – Genesis 5-6: Song of the Sword and the Grief of God

February 3 – Genesis 7-8: Comfort and Covenant

February 10 – Genesis 9: Rainbow in the Dark (Travis Campbell)

February 17 – Genesis 10-11: Stairway to Heaven (Travis Campbell)