It is called “fuegos artificiales” in Spanish. It means fireworks. This form of entertainment was one of the most awaited for my family in Mexico. The reason was because it was free. The government usually celebrated important events with fireworks. My family was one of hundreds of families gathered at downtown Merida for those special occasions. “Fuegos artificiales” has always attracted people. I remember on one occasion when there was a big storm about an hour before they were going to celebrate the “fuegos artificiales” when they tried to start it, only a few went off, it was a big disappointment.
On many occasions, we get in contact with people and invite them to church. When these people come to the services of the Lord's church many times they are looking for fireworks. Not in the literal sense, necessarily but in the sense that they are looking for the same sort of entertainment that fireworks provide. Many are disappointed. Without question, there are plenty of churches around offering that spectacle. Many churches like to exchange the truth for fireworks. When people visit our worship, they don't find much in the way of fireworks.
Our music is simple congregational singing, (most of our new members have never sung before they were baptized) without mechanical accompaniment. No band, no choir, no soloists, just the fruit of lips that praise the Lord (Hebrews 13:15) in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
Our prayers are simple prayers, petitions, intercessions, and thanksgiving (1 Timothy 2:1). The words aren't fancy or repeated from books written by men (Matthew 6:7), but they come from sincere hearts, and are offered in the name of Jesus (Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17).Our observance of the Lord's supper is simple, not elaborate. We break bread and drink the fruit of the vine on the first day of each week (1 Corinthians 11:23-34; Acts 20:7). No one puts on special clothing or assumes a special title in order to serve at the Lord's table. Our giving is simple. We support the Lord's work only through a collection for the saints on the first day of each week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). We don't run bingo games or carnivals or car washes or sell burritos to raise money. And we only spend the money we give on things the Bible authorizes, such as worship and the means to conduct it, tools for teaching the gospel, supporting preachers locally and in other places, and helping one another in time of need.
Jesus often contended with those who came to Him only in search of spectacle (John 6:25-27; Matthew 12:38-40). His miracles were never done for the purpose of providing entertainment for thrill-seekers, but to demonstrate His deity and authority. The apostle Paul wrote, “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). That is all that we have Christ's permission to offer the world — the gospel of His death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-5). When somebody comes to our worship, they will only find the truth preached in a simple manner that pleases God.
Beltline, Decatur, AL
(Justo is the outreach minister for the Hispanic work at Beltline)