Where's the "Amen"?

Allow me two or three quick shots here before we get into the meat of today’s post. I need to catch up from yesterday. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to post on Mondays and Fridays. I’m not giving up. But it’s getting tougher. Hang with me.

JasonWittenThe Dallas Cowboys are spiraling around the bowl and they’re going down. And nobody should be surprised. This thing was headed in the tank long before Romo and Felix and McBriar got hurt. This season was doomed before it began. You can’t keep signing players like Terrell Owens and Tank Johnson and PacMan Jones and expect everything to go well. There’s a reason the Titans are undefeated right now. They canned PacMan. Kicked him off the team. Took a stand for right and WadePhillipsreason. But not Jerry Wayne. The Cowboys are getting everything they deserve.

Watching Sunday’s game reminded me of the Dave Campo days. Senseless penalties. Turnovers. Sacks. Drops. Finger-pointing. No heart. No guts. It’s not Wade Phillips’ fault. It’s Jerry’s.

Somebody said yesterday Roy Williams (the safety) broke his forearm while deflecting blame. Great line. Roy Williams (the receiver) was shut out—no catches—for the first time in his five year career. Detroit has to be looking pretty good right now. The Lions never won a game. But they were never humiliated like this, either. Roy Williams reacts to news he’s been traded to the Cowboys

Jerry’s putting the finishing touches on a trade right now with the North Carolina basketball team to bring in their Roy Williams as a motivational speaker/special teams coach.

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Three observations on Sunday night’s great Game Seven in the ALCS: 1) I don’t know how Rays pitcher Matt Garza doesn’t dehydrate by the 3rd inning. I’ve never seen a human spit that much, that often; 2) MLB could cut their games from three hours long down to an hour and a half if they would pass a rule allowing a maximum of three batting gloves adjustments per at-bat. Did A-Rod start this mess? They all adjust their gloves three times in between pitches! and 3) does the Rays’ success mean that now Arizona State will simply call their teams the Sun?

PhillyPhanaticI’m a Phillies Phan for the next ten days. My good friend Scott Franzke, who hosted our Rangers pre-game and post-game shows when we were together at KRLD, is now the play-by-play voice of the Phils.Franzke He’s a great guy who deserves all the fun he’s having right now. We spent many a long, long evening together disecting 11-4 Rangers’ losses. Go Phranzke!

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What a blessing to have as our guests at Legacy Sunday morning my great friends Dan & Debbie Miller! Dan’s one of the Four Horsemen, a great personal encourager of mine, and the most positive, optimistic, upbeat, man I know. He blesses my life in more ways than he could ever imagine. Dan seems to know exactly what our God is doing in almost every situation. And he points it out to me all the time. He and Debbie have shown great faith and endurance through her cancer and surgeries and treatments. They’re both an inspiration to everyone who knows them.

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For the first time in the storied history of the “KK&C Top Twenty” college football poll, we have a unanimous number one! The Texas Longhorns, fresh off their whipping of then #11 Missouri, receive all 14 1st place votes in this week’s poll. Even Jerry K put “ut” at the top “…for now.” Nine of the top ten teams stayed the same with very little shifting. The exception is BYU. The Cougars fell from #9 to #20 after being destroyed by TCU’s Frogs. Utah makes it Top Ten debut, moving up from #13. Michigan State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Vandy all dropped out of the poll, replaced by TCU, South Florida, Pitt, and Tulsa.

Pollster Richard A delivers the most uncomfortable remark of the week by referring to TCU’s win as the “Mormon Massacre.” Paul D gets in some denominational shots in his comments about Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley. Mark H’s comment about Virginia Tech’s “BC” is the most confusing remark of the week. And Charlie J delivers yet another golden Mangino reference. Beautifully placed. The subtlety makes it genius. Billy W, who’s taken it upon himself to keep an eye on the Sagarin Poll gives us this: “The fightin’ Texas Aggies are #110 in the latest Sagarin rankings, behind 12 Division I-AA schools and the other eleven Big 12 teams. The good news is that they are 85 spots in front of North Texas.” And panelist Steve F will actually be at the Alabama-Tennessee game in Knoxville Saturday night. He says he’s “requested the resume of Texas Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp to personally deliver” to the higher-ups at Tennessee.

You can find this week’s poll, released late every Monday night, along with all the comments by the pollsters, and their pictures and bios by clicking here or by clicking the green “KK&C Top 20” tab in the upper right corner of this front page.

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“Through Christ, the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” ~2 Corinthians 1:20

Why don’t we say “Amen” in our Christian assemblies? Where’s the “Amen?” In the middle of, and after, our prayers? In the middle of, and after, our readings from Scripture? In the middle of, and after, our songs of praise? In the middle of, and after, our sermons? In the middle of, and after, our communion time around the table? Where’s the “Amen?”

Paul assumes in 1 Corinthians 14:16 that those in the assembly who are being edified, those who understand what’s being said or sung, those who are thankful, those who are in tune with what’s happening, are saying “Amen!” The apostle makes it clear in 2 Corinthians 1:20 that the congregation’s “Amen” is a response to the promises of God as they’re fulfilled in Christ. As the promises are revealed and understood and accepted, this congregational “Amen” affirms our salvation and redemption in Christ and brings glory to God.

So, where’s the “Amen?”

I can’t tell you how many times—at least four or five times a week since I’ve been here at Legacy—someone will come up to me following an assembly and say, “Boy, I really wanted to say ‘Amen,’ but I just didn’t.” Or, “I was saying ‘Amen’ in my heart today, just not out loud.” Men and women alike tell me things like this all the time. Although, about half the time our women add, “Of course, if I said ‘Amen” I’d get in trouble.” (sigh……..)

Why aren’t we saying “Amen” or “Right On!” or “Yes” or “That’s Right!” constantly during our time together in our Christian assemblies? Did we ever? Is this a Church of Christ thing? Is it a white suburban thing? Is it something we used to do all the time and don’t anymore? Or have we never been a people to verbally participate as a congregation in the things that are said from the front? What’s the deal?

I have tons to say on this. Admittedly, this thread or this conversation might last all week. There’s a lot to be said for the “homothumadon” throughout the book of Acts. Deuteronomy 27 gives us great insights into the verbal affirmation of a congregation. Saying “Amen” isn’t just to show approval of what’s being said. It’s not just to communicate agreement. Saying “Amen” or “Yes” or “Right On” affirms this is what we believe. This is how we live. This is truth. This is what I’m holding on to.

Our time together should always be spent as participants, not spectators. Always. Full participants in every prayer offered, every song sung, every Bible passage read, and every sermon preached. Never as spectators. It’s not Matt’s prayer, it’s the church’s prayer. It’s not Jim’s Scripture reading, it’s the church’s recitation of the words of our God. It’s not Allan’s sermon, it’s the church’s proclamation of the gospel of Christ Jesus! It all belongs to the church. We own it. And we participate in it when we raise our voices to say “Amen! Yes! That’s what we believe. That’s how we live. That’s where we put our faith.”

Together. Out loud. In the assembly.

Where’s the “Amen?” What’s the deal?

My own frustrations with this problem boiled over in a weird, and not entirely Christian, way in the middle of a sermon here at Legacy two Sundays ago. I apologized to the church this past Sunday, not for being enthusiastic about my God and my rescue from hell through Christ, but for accusing and judging the church in a way that set me up above everybody else. That was wrong. But the problem of our passivity and our spectator-stances in our assemblies remains. Needless to say, I’ve received a few emails and had a few conversations with our people about this over the past ten days. A couple of them have given me permission to post their comments here. Maybe this can foster some increased conversation.

“American culture has made us complacent and lazy — we don’t get out of our cars to get food or leave our houses to rent movies — and we bring this attitude on Sunday mornings. We confuse you (the preacher) with our favorite fast-food drive-thru and expect our religion to be preached quickly, with quality, not too hot or cold. We’re so used to our corporate worship setting, sitting in our assigned seats and being spoon fed from the pulpit that we get a little uncomfortable when we’re reminded that we just can’t sit back and absorb the faith.” ~Aaron G.

“The Creator of all things in existence, everything that was or is, sent his only Son to die for our sins. Every blessing, every dollar we have, every bite of food we eat is a benevolent act from our Father. If that doesn’t excite us and get us involved, I don’t know what will! We need, MUST, act like a people who embrace our inheritance in the Kingdom of God. We need to be a people excited about Christ coming again. Not like hourly working punching our Sunday morning time clock.” ~Rusty T.

“If you had been preaching that sermon to a poor, have-nothing, group of people, you would have been drowned out by the ‘amens’!!” ~Doug D.

Where’s the “Amen?”

Ready. Set. Go.

Peace,

Allan

4 Comments

  1. Jesse

    AMEN!!!!

  2. Rob's Dad

    It’s not Owens or Johnson or Jones(although PacMan is a nut). There is no accountability for performance. If a player has continual poor performance then they need to sit. With cap considerations and collective bargaining, cutting a player is usually not an option yet if MBIII continues to put the ball on the carpet, then he doesn’t start. If Flozell can’t block, then try McQuiston.

    Same thing needs to translate to the coaches. What’s going on with Special teams or the secondary? This is tougher because of the situation with the owner/GM/head coach.

    Side note – picked up the local paper yesterday morning at the San Francisco airport and one of the local writers had Nolan and Phillips as the two coaches most likely to be fired. Nolan got axed yesterday……hmmmm….

    You got the whitebread portion right. It’s just like clapping. If you put out a really tough subject it takes some chewing before some folks are ready to comment. Or it could be your dad jokes drain out our life force and cause us to power down.

  3. sharpie

    Amen! and Right On!

  4. Mike Zimmer's shorts

    Howdy, I am sitting at a subway, in Orlando, reading your blog. I didn’t get a paragraph in until I had to debate you. Are you really trying to sell to me the titans are 6-0 because of their high moral standard. They didn’t get rid of Adam Jones for any moral issue, it was a PR and draft pick issue. Also isn’t this the same team that still employs Mr. cleats to the face Albert Haynesworth? I realize Adam has bigger rap sheet, but Albert is no saint, and somehow they are still winning with him on the team. AMEN

    How big time is Franzke? I’m only an hour from Tampa

    Hope all is well!

    E

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