Your Voice: Caution — Don’t let ‘worship reimagined’ become idol worship

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Your Voice: Caution — Don’t let ‘worship reimagined’ become idol worship

By Franklin L. Kirksey
Robertsdale, Alabama

To reimagine something is “to have a new idea about the way something should be.”

The account recorded in Judges 17 and 18 about a man named Micah serves as a cautionary tale related to reimagining worship. This Micah is not the Old Testament prophet, but “a man from the mountains of Ephriam” (Judges 17:1). Notice the progression of his problem.

Micah stole 1,100 shekels of silver from his mother and returned it after hearing she pronounced a curse on the thief. She “dedicated” it to the Lord and used 200 shekels to commission a silversmith to make a carved image and a molded image to be given to Micah (Judges 17:1–4). This reveals the evil in Micah’s background.

We read in Judges 17:5–6, “The man Micah had a shrine, and made an ephod and household idols; and he consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

‘Sinful synthesis’

This is the explanation for Micah’s behavior. His behavior was a sinful synthesis of truth and error.

One day Micah met a young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah looking for a place to stay and Micah invited him to be “a father and a priest” to him with generous salary and benefits (Judges 17:7–12). This young Levite was Jonathan, the grandson of Moses (Judges 18:30).

Judges 17:13 reads, “Then Micah said, ‘Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since I have a Levite as priest!’” Later in this account we read in Judges 18:24, “So he said [to the Danites], ‘You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and you have gone away. Now what more do I have?’”

This demonstrates the error of Micah’s beliefs. A.W. Tozer explains, “Like every other power belonging to us, the imagination may be either a blessing or a curse, depending altogether upon how it is used and how well it is disciplined.”

Martin Luther said, “Anything that one imagines of God apart from Christ is only useless thinking and vain idolatry.” In his book “Hearts of Iron Feet of Clay,” Gary Inrig adds, “Anything in our lives to which we attach the worth and importance that belongs only to God becomes an idol in our lives.

“Idolatry is not a relic of the past; it is a constant problem for every believer. That is why we need to pray with the hymn writer:

The dearest idol I have known

Whate’er that idol be

Help me to tear it from its throne

And worship only Thee.

Letters to the Editor

Thank you so much for the excellent article about Discovery Clubs in the Nov. 2 issue of The Alabama Baptist. It was incredibly encouraging to see the pictures of children and mentors discussing stories from the Bible.

As a mentor with Discovery Clubs, I know that many of these children are not able to attend church on Sundays, so this is a critical way for them to learn about God’s love for them. At least half of the children we are privileged to meet with each week do not even have a Bible. Discovery Clubs not only teaches them directly from the Bible, but they give each child their very own Bible at the end of the year.

We currently have over 250 mentors serving in 24 schools in the greater Birmingham area. We could be in more schools if we had more mentors. It takes about two hours (counting driving time) one day a week, to be a mentor to children who are hungry to learn about God’s love for them. I hope others will join us soon.

David George

Just a note to say how much I enjoy reading Ken Lass’ column, Lass Words. He is a great addition to TAB.

What he shares is relative, practical, thought-provoking and an easy read.

I look forward to more of his comedic wisdom.

Sonya Edwards

I am thrilled to read about the recent ministry modification of The Alabama Baptist and The Baptist Paper (as described in the Nov. 16 edition of TAB).

Whatever you have done and will do will surely be saturated with continued successful outreach and inreach because of your constantly displayed desire of special upreach.

Morris Murray Jr.

I am a church librarian, and the first section of The Alabama Baptist paper that I read is the column on Media Reviews.

Many times I purchase reviewed items for the library.

Bev Colquett
Mexia Baptist Church

According to research, more than 3 billion people worldwide are considered unreached with the gospel. This means they have little to no chance of ever hearing about Jesus and the gift of salvation. They will live their entire lives never knowing the truth of the gospel.

This leads to a challenging question: What happens if someone never hears about Jesus? We cannot be satisfied with the status quo! The key to revival in our world is not the mega-church but the many churches of all sizes willing to rekindle the flames of the disciple-making movement of the first century church.

Pastor Bill Wilks
NorthPark Baptist Church

“We have a community who cares for one another — we’re not in competition with one another,” Buddy Champion, immediate past president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, told messengers during their 2023 annual meeting. He said Alabama Baptists have been a family of God with a common focus — the Great Commission. “We’re in this Kingdom work together. We are for each other, and we care about what God is doing in each other’s lives.”

“My priority at concerts is to share the reality of the gospel, the importance of the cross and about the excitement and the hope we have in heaven,” said singer-songwriter Phil Wickham. “By the end of the concert, I hope people are thinking about God’s grace, love and mercy, and I hope they are also thinking about the sacrifice that has been given to us through Christ.”

“Knowing your kids and knowing God’s Word and then praying His Word for them is one of the most powerful things we can ever do for our kids,” said Kathy Steele, former missionary, licensed professional counselor and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary counseling professor.

[Pastors] work at the most dangerous intersection on the planet — where the truth of what God has revealed collides with what fallen man worships.

Pastor Matt Mason
The Church at Brook Hills

Take everything off of your worry list … and put it all on your prayer list. … Every time you are tempted to worry, stop and take that matter to God in prayer.

Pastor H.B. Charles
Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church
Jacksonville, Florida.

A me-centered church knows nothing of sacrificial service, because it is mesmerized by the bedazzled jewels on the crown of consumer Christianity in a way that a crown of thorns and a cross of wood cannot enthrall, unless you have experienced its power.

X (formerly Twitter)

“I’ll take whatever time the Lord gives me, and when He calls me, I’ll be ready to go home,” said 99-year-old Alva “Al” Lyle, who turns 100 years old in January. He continues to play an active role at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Overland Park, Kansas, by leading his Sunday School class in a song from the Baptist Hymnal each week.

“It’s such a natural question we carry all throughout our lives. When we go through hard times, you naturally think, ‘Where is God in this?’ … I think it’s important for us to start teaching our kids right now that God is there alongside us when we’re sad,” said Cameron Mason Vickrey, who co-authored the children’s book, “My Love, God is Everywhere.”

My daddy and ‘Miss Lottie’ 

Thank you for sharing “LMCO memory: What took you so long to tell us about Jesus?” in the Nov. 16 edition. I am thrilled so many know this account about my daddy and “Miss Lottie” (the motorcycle).

As a missionary kid, I am grateful for the unwavering commitment and dedication of my parents and myriad other missionaries who have shared the love of Christ throughout the world.

Through the work of the Holy Spirit, they have pointed me to Jesus and reminded me to look to Him for everything.

The legacy of faith my parents left continues impacting and shaping my life as well as the lives of countless others throughout the world. The legacy of Jeannie (Thomason) and Ray Crowder is firmly rooted in an unwavering reliance upon God, dedication to follow His calling and perseverance in the midst of hardships.

“Miss Lottie” represents a tangible manifestation of God’s provision through the prayers, support and generosity of our Southern Baptist family whose cooperative efforts in praying for international missions and giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering decades ago still bears fruit for the Kingdom of God.

May the Lord ignite or reignite our passion for missions efforts that through the work of the Holy Spirit bring about transformed lives, not only for generations to come but for eternity.

I pray our Southern Baptist family will be diligent to actively participate in sharing the gospel throughout the world as they pray for missionaries and missions endeavors and prayerfully consider giving through the LMCO so the gospel message will continue spreading.

Shirley Crowder
Birmingham Metro WMU