Lay it to Heart

Unholy Worship Practices

Worship today has unholy practices that are holding the church back or are displeasing to God. Revival must come from the heart and not tradition. Tradition is more important in some churches and interfering with our relationship to God. Here are some more practices that should be changed in our services.

Service Prayers

Many times in churches, while the preacher prays, the pianist plays. Is this right? If you went over to someone's house and when you started to talk to them they turned on the radio would you think it was rude? Is it any different with God? Are standards you live by not the standards you should practice in church? More disrespect to God is shown through members who walk during prayers, and worse yet, pastors who have someone else pray and walk to the back door during the prayer. Is greeting members who might not have the patience to wait more important than respect to God? Is you prayer no good or lacking something without music?


Another disrespect paid to God is the toleration of kids misbehaving in the pews. To let the kids see better some parents let their kids stand on the pew seats. If I came over to your house and stood on your couch would you like it? For revival to happen pastors need to show some respect. People complain about public schools which will not discipline students but yet fail to discipline their own children.


Bibles provided in the pews are not always right. Some Bibles have commentaries in the back that disagree with the Bible. For example, some Bibles have commentaries that try to say someone may have authored Ecclesiastes other than Solomon. See they article about "Who Really Wrote Ecclesiastes". Having a Bible which teaches falsely in the Pew or classroom is a sin.


First of all, the Greek word baptizo means immersion. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commanded us to immerse people, not sprinkle them. If we don't do what he commanded then we are sinning. Some pastors who do immerse new believers still drop the ball when they liturgically recite the phrase "buried in the likeness of his death. Raised in the likeness of his resurrection." What they are really doing is cutting out the parts of the Bible. Romans 6:4-5 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: We have been planted, not buried. In addition to the words cut from Romans 6 preachers also are twisting Matthew 28:19 which says, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: " Preachers use this verse to tell everybody they are called to tell everybody about the message of salvation. Then they turn around and say only ordained ministers can baptize people. Matthew 28:19 is a command. "You" is understood. Whoever is called to go and teach is also called to baptize. To say that only preachers should baptize is a double standard.


Preachers encourage people to get baptized but don't always follow through on their part. Some baptisteries have poor visibility. They are behind the pulpit and the choir up high. I have been present when small children were baptized but I couldn't see them when they were in the baptistry. Some baptistries have glass panels in the upper front portion so the congregation can see part of what is going on. Some don't. Why have a baptism people can't see? If you build a new building please make sure that people will actually be able to witness the baptism. What about the water? Dust and insects collect in a constantly filled baptistry. It's like a swimming pool. If you do not chlorinate it and filter it, you will need to drain it. On a rare occasion I have seen this not done. The water should be drained and refilled with each use. What about heating? You should either heat it or not but if you are going to baptize in the winter in cold climates you should heat it. I was baptized when I was young. It was in the month of May and it was cold. Someone working in the church should be responsible to fill baptistry early and get it heated. It won't heat in an hour. Preachers are often not good stewards with this responsibility.


What is the problem with bulletins these days? Trash comes in the church sanctuary now via the church office. Often pictures depict graven images, people exhibiting unholy dress and grooming but most of all the bulletins often mutilate the word of God. Verses are cut off, capitalization is changed, verses are taken out of context and unholy translations are used. Why should God take us seriously if we do not consider his word to be precious?

Standing for the Reading of the Word

"Let us all stand for the reading of the word." Perhaps you have heard that one before. Some preachers like to read a passage from the Bible in the beginning of their sermon and have everyone stand supposedly to honor God and his word; the Bible. There is not a commandment in the Bible to stand when the word of God is read. Some preachers have added to God's word making this a requirement. This is tradition, legalism or just ceremony. If it were a requirement, then there would be a problem. First of all, not every one can stand. Next, if you stand to read a passage at the beginning of the sermon why don't you stand every time a verse is read. This would make the sermon look like an aerobics class, up and down, up and down, up and down, good, ok now let's take a breather. Now it would be different if the preacher didn't ever go back to the Bible as a reference after he has started. But then again, how is good is that kind of a preacher? What really honors God's word? It starts with Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. Most preachers do not do this.

Prayer Time Preaching

A sneaky trick preachers use in conflicts is to say, "Let's pray about it." This is deceitful and it's often way of arguing a case when the person feels the obligation to remain quiet. It's not fair. It's not right and when they pray in Jesus' name they are really taking his name in vain.

Fire Exits

Romans 6:1-2 says, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" The ends does not justify the means. It is a sin to block fire exits. It is a sin not to unlock a door that the fire marshal requires to be unlocked during business hours, which in this case, means during services. It is a sin to exceed the occupancy of a building. It is also a sin to put chairs in aisles used for life safety egress. Preachers think it's ok to pack them in but it is still wrong. Pastors are not above the law. Romans 13:1 says, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." Pastors should know better. "It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right." (Dr. Bob Jones Sr.) James 4:17 says., "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." When fire codes are not followed, people die, and, in most cases, some will go to hell. I personally have seen some violations that would create similar conditions the fire at the Great White concert February 20, 2003 in Rhode Island where a hundred people died. Fire marshals are here to save lives and pastors need to respect this.

ADA Parking

God also requires us to respect the law when it comes to ADA or handicapped parking. Anyone working at church with a driver's license should no better than to use or allow an ADA space to be used for any purpose other than handicapped parking. This applies twenty fours a day. In some churches this does not happen. People without placards park in the spots or vehicles that are not vans park in the van accessible spot. There are some pastors who say nothing. I even have seen one church even displace the ADA spots with a gazebo tied to Christmas celebrations. That the church owns the property makes no difference. In a sense, it is a small sin because nobody dies and looses an arm or leg. It is still wrong and it is open defiance of God. Once a church starts explaining away sin, where does it stop?

The Money Changers

Just after Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, he threw the money changers out of the temple. Matthew 21:12-13 says, "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." Early in his ministry, Jesus also threw those buying and selling out of the temple. John 2:12-16 tells of this account. In verse 16 Jesus said, "Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise." God does not want us to sell merchandise in the foyer or entrance of the church. In some cases these people even restrict the entrances in violation of the fire code. Pastors can't claim ignorance because if they did their job studying the Bible, this would not be an issue. I have even heard of a church with coffee shop in it. We should follow Jesus' example and not sell CD's, tapes, coffee or other things in the church.

Air Conditioning

We are called to be stewards in everything we do. It's amazing that full time pastors who have been in a church for a period of time can't seem to adjust the air conditioning and heating correctly. Does it matter? Yes, it does. When visitors come to church today it should be like any other place with respect to indoor comforts. We shouldn't drive people away because we are not responsible to run the heating or cooling right. People are a challenge to work with. A building shouldn't be. Some pastors won't turn the air on early enough for the walls, floor and air to reach the proper temperature because they are too cheap to do the job right. This may greatly reduce the life of heating and cooling equipment. I have seen it happen. The net effect is that the church has to replace equipment and the long term cost increases. They end up crying about their problems to the Lord but if they did the job right they wouldn't have this problem.

Suits and Ties

In Luke 20:46 Jesus said, "Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;" Clothes have long been a disguise used by religious leaders. Nothing is new today. Men's suits in America cost how much? They are expensive. Most people don't wear "church clothes" at work, school or play. Most men's suit coats are not as efficient as regular coats for staying warm. They are too hot in the summer. Preachers will keep wearing their suits in a sermon while sweating because of it. Some will waste air conditioning to compensate for it and then 'sing the blues' about high utilities costs. Ties are bad for circulation. Suits and ties are basically for show only. Most families are wasting money by investing in clothes just so they can wear their 'Sunday best' to church. Tradition has become more important than financial stewardship. Both pastors and churchgoers are responsible for this waste. Some leaders in the church have become self-righteous about their 'robes'. The worst thing that preachers are doing is creating a separation between themselves and the people to whom they are preaching.

Public Appearance

What about tattoos? They are a part of self-destruction and becoming more of a problem. If you won't treat your body right you won't treat your life right either. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." People should be taught not to destroy the body God has given him. If you have made a mistake in the past it would be good to cover up your mistakes so as not to teach the younger generation that they should do this. Leviticus 19:28 says, "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD."

The verse right before it says, "Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard." God doesn't want goatees or mustaches. He wants full beards. Not even pastors are faithful to this one. You can't expect everybody in the congregation to always do right, but you can set a standard of obedience for everyone who is a musician or choir member. Certainly pastors need to clean up their act as not all of the follow this. Oh sure, they want God's full blessing but they don't want to fully obey God.

What about women's clothes? This is just another nail in the coffin. Deuteronomy 22:5 says, "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God." Rebellious women in churches ignore this and pastors ignore them. You may not expect every person in the pew to adhere to this but you should demand that all pianists, organists, special musicians and choir members follow this as well as pastors' and deacons' wives. Women's' suits that look like men's suits are wrong. Men wearing earrings is wrong as well. God has a standard and if you want revival you need to preach revival in all areas of life. Cross-dressing is wrong. Partial cross-dressing is wrong. Cross naming is wrong, too. Hyphenated names are an appearance of evil. It is an effeminate man's way. Women today want to take on men's names but this is wrong. If you can't preach against it, don't expect revival.

Midweek Services

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." How many times have you heard this? Taken in context, it is a good thing. This verse, however, is taken out of context more often than not. It does not say to worship on Sunday or Wednesday. It requires us to attend church. Actually, those who use this a lot forsake it frequently because they don't remember the sabbath and keep it holy and but instead fill Sunday with the sin of tradition. Then they go on to make Wednesday a tradition as well. We were commanded to work six days and rest the seventh but not to attenuate our Wednesday work day because of church. "If you are too busy to come to church you're just too busy." I've heard that one too and it implies God commanded a Wednesday evening service. He didn't. Some say, "Those who show up Sunday morning love the church, those who show up Sunday night love the pastor but those who show up Wednesday night love the Lord." It does not say that anywhere in the Bible. This is a lie used to promote another lie that would require Christians to meet in the middle of the week. These people need to stop putting words in God's mouth and teaching their precepts as the doctrine of God.


Pride and peer pressure can be a problem. Some girls grow up dreaming of huge weddings. Some see what their friends do and feel compelled to do the same. Some pastors act and or even say if you are not married in a church by a licensed ordained preacher you are doing wrong. This is simply not true. God never gave us any such commandment. He merely requires that people commit themselves in marriage for certain reasons. The end result of ceremonies today is often that the couples and families spend far more time and money than is necessary. The debt lasts longer than the experience. They also delay their wedding to plan and pay for it all. They would do far better to drop the debt, save the time and spend time on what matters; each other.


How should people be buried? Is cremation right? Can it be wrong? Is it a sin? On the occasion it is discussed I have heard people oppose the nontraditional ceremony and act as though cremation is indecent. Where does it say that in the Bible? It doesn't. God gave us many commandments and provided many details. Read how God warned us not to eat bad food in Leviticus 11. He detailed two whole chapters in Leviticus 13 and 14 on how to deal with leprosy. Leviticus 19:28 says not to make cuttings in your flesh for the dead. Leviticus 21 briefly instructs the Levites about dealing with the death of those around them. Numbers 19:11 says, "He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days." This is only a small part of what he commanded. In all that he never required burial or cremation. He never prohibited embalmment. There is not a requirement to bury a body in one day, two or three. God does not care if we use a pine box or a titanium coffin. It is expensive and wasteful to go bury someone in a sports car. Money is tight for many relatives and survivors. If you can, follow the wishes of those who have passed. Do not feel, however, that you have to bury them instead of cremate them. God details commandment after commandment but does not leave us with commandments for the dead body. The life is gone and the body doesn't matter anymore. For the Christian, 2 Corinthians 5:8 encourages us that to "be absent from the body" is "to be present with the Lord." Jesus said in Matthew 22:32, "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

Go to the Top


The Present

Copyright ©2007-2022 Lay it to Heart