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Thai Worship
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Tag: Thai Worship Ordering

What is Christ-Centered Worship?

What is Christ-Centered Worship?

In a number of Thai churches I have noticed that the type of worship songs selected fall into three general categories: 1) “I offer you my life” 2) “Pour out your Spirit” and, 3) “I want to be close to you”.  This emphasis is hardly unique to Thailand as much of modern worship songs here are heavily influenced from the West.  These type of songs have a time and place yet it seems that in some churches, these are almost the only type of songs that are played.  As we sing the same basic things over and over again, I have begun to wonder, “Where is Christ? Where is the cross?”.  It seems to be a glaring oversight to not have songs about Christ and his finished work on the cross as a mainstay of Christian worship.  When I come into the weekly worship meeting, the first thing that my heart wants to sing is usually not “I offer my life to you” or “You are my every desire.”  Why is that?  Is it because I am not spiritual enough?  Yes, in fact, that is exactly the reason.  If I am honest to myself, my motivations are usually mixed and Christ is not my every desire.  When songs come up that require me to sing lyrics like “You are all that I want”, I will often go silent or sing very quietly, praying in my heart, “Oh LORD, make me desire nothing but you.  This song is not me.  Change my heart God, and increase my love for you.”  If I sing songs that say more than is really true, then I feel like I am lying to God and everyone around me.

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Merit Making Festival

Merit Making Festival

This morning I got up early and walked down to the main temple in Phra Phutta Baht to see the annual Flower Offering Merit Making Festival (ประเพณีตักบาตรดอกไม้) and take some pictures.  The two parallel roads leading up to the temple were filled with people waiting to put flowers and dry food goods offerings into the bowls of 3,000 monks who were assembled for the occasion.  See below for some photos followed by a bit of commentary.

 

 

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Idol Madness

We recently took a field trip to Southern Thailand to check out a potential ministry opportunity in Nakorn Sri Thammarat province and, among other things, we observed how much the people there are into a particular amulet called Jat-Tu-Kham-Rama-Thep. In fact, the amulet comes from Nakon Sri Thammarat and is so immensely popular right now that people come from all over the country to buy up these amulets and resell them at a 30-60 fold profit. Jat-tu-kham, unlike a lot of other amulets, is not a Buddha image but is an image of an ancient king of Nakon Sri Thammarat who has been elevated to divine, or angelic, status. Every place in Nakon is selling these things - restaurants, beauty shops, malls, convenience stores - everyplace. It's idol madness, really.Something really notable about the Jat-tu-kham, besides the fact that it is so immensely popular with Thai people, is the probable reason why it is so popular. I recently read an article in a Thai national newspaper's weekly magazine that said the Jat-tu-kham amulets are popular because what the amulet promises corresponds to Thai people's current needs - i.e. the desire to have money and get rich! The economy is down and people want something to help them make money (or get rich, perhaps). Listen to some of the names of the different editions (or models) of the amulet that

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The Buddha's Footprint

The Buddha's Footprint
After four months in the United States, we have finally arrived back in Thailand again. On our taxi ride from the Bangkok airport, I chatted with our Thai driver and caught up on the local weather and politics (apparently there is a new prime minister and I did not know it). Our driver asked what we were doing in Thailand and where we lived so I had an opportunity to ask him about the Temple of the Buddha’s Footprint, the focal point of the town that we call home here in Thailand. Something I have never understood about the shrine to the Buddha’s footprint at this temple is why the footprint is about four feet long. Surely people couldn’t believe that the Buddha’s foot was four feet long, could they? If his foot was that big, then certainly the rest of him must have been of gigantic proportions. The only other time I had asked Thai people about it, they had replied that you need to have faith. I am a man of faith and I believe many things that seem incredible but faith must also have some reason to it as well. If the man that is historically identified as the Buddha was of normal proportions, then certainly

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