So, what are you saying…

Words are a powerful tool. Words can bring peace and launch wars.

So, what are you saying…

The Unseen

I must make a confession. It’s not easy to face the truth.

The Unseen

Wishing for Tomorrow

Don’t wait for tomorrow to invest in those you love.

Wishing for Tomorrow

 

This year, Concord Worship is doing something we’ve never done before. We’re bringing back some old but familiar friends. Familiar to many who grew up with them and new to those who might not have grown up in the church. And of course brand new to this current generation.

In the race to be relevant and fresh in our worship, we sometimes overlook classics; if freshened and renewed, can once again bring impact to our worship and encouragement to our congregations.

And so it is with today’s sample – premiered on Easter Sunday at Concord and made available as a free download.

With a new arrangement by the Concord team, we revived an old acquaintance, dressed him up and brought him back to the table. We found it to be a powerful moment, almost like welcoming home a good friend you haven’t seen in a while.  Plus surprisingly, it had a multi-generational impact.

Here are 3 major ways we accomplished this:

  1. Add a new arrangement.  We gave it a fresh treatment that feels different.  A new melodic motive in the accompaniment adds more appeal.

  2. Don’t complicate the vocals.  We didn’t add layers of complicated parts.  We also didn’t mess with the original melody.

  3. Add a new chorus on the end.  This takes it to a whole other level and creates the final punch it needed.

Take a listen above and see what you think. Then go to this link and following the instructions for a free download: www.fbconcord.org/music

In a sea of change and a season of political headliners, most of us are legitimately concerned about our country and where our culture is headed.  Politics have become really nasty, bitter and causes great dissension in our nation.  If you eat from that plate, you will dine on a constant diet of poison.

But we should engage and we should be an element of change.  That’s what we’re called to do.  So we pray for revival in our nation.  And we pray for revival in our churches.  We come on Sundays asking God to “fill this temple”.

Yet I believe we’re missing an important point.  God doesn’t desire to send revival or fill the temple.  He desires to bring revival to me…to fill me up as His Holy Temple!  He desires to see His Church on fire for Him with you and I filled with the Holy Spirit.  That’s it!

Galatians 5 is a pretty clear picture of what a follower of Jesus looks like.  They bear fruit.  That’s it!  Fruit – tangible and obvious.

Signs of a Spirit-filled life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control.

Signs of a flesh-filled life: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,envy,drunkenness

It’s time we stop praying for God to send revival in our nation or church and ask God to send revival in me.  Me…not him or her or them.  Me!  It’s time we bear good fruit and hold each other accountable then call out the bad for what it is.

You ready for that?  It’s our choice…Spirit-filled life is the way of Jesus.  It’s what we were made for!

Recently, while trying to be a good husband, I’ve watched (endured) an HGTV show with Lisa called Fixer Upper.  Lisa loves the show and really wanted to share it with me.  Although I’m in amazement of how they do what they do, for the most part, I end up drooling through half the show and eventually falling unconscious until I get an elbow in the ribs.  Of course, I was never asleep, just resting my eyes for a moment…no big deal.

The stars of the show take a run down dilapidated house and restore it.  They basically take a piece of junk and make it new.  It’s amazing.  The end result seems almost impossible.  How in the world could you begin with something in such bad condition and end up with a masterpiece.

When we, as a TV audience, are given a glimpse of the house in the “before” condition, there is no way most of us could visualize a pathway where this out of date, run down, aged, tired, used house becomes a work of art.

But it does!

And you know why?  Because someone with the power to transform sees potential.  When everyone else says “tear it down” these architects of renewal say “we’ll make it new”.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and gazed at a reflection that feels out of date, run down, aged and tired?  Or maybe you feel useless and valueless.  You just can’t see the potential anymore.  Irregardless of your age you might just feel like the house that simply is what it is: worn, weary and spent.  Your soul is tired and your heart has lost it’s passion.

From Psalm 23:3 falls a small nugget of truth that cracks the foundation of lies with a bold and beautiful truth: “He RESTORES my soul.”

God is the architect of transformation.  He sees you as you are and offers you a full restoration.  A transformation.  A restoration!

It’s more than paint and spackling.  It’s not cosmetic but foundational.  He longs to rebuild your walls, shore up your foundation and add some new features.  He sees you as a masterpiece, even before the work has begun.  He sees the end result way before the job has broken ground.

Today, if this is you, then you need a restoration.  It all begins with a view of what He sees.  The journey begins with a tiny glimpse of the plan from the Grand Architect.  See you as He sees you!

You are a pearl of great worth.  You are a masterpiece under construction.

Completion date sometime after your spirit escapes the bounds of this life!  Make sure you’re there for the unveiling!

It’ll be a moment you won’t want to miss!

You’re INVITED

A couple of weeks ago I put an amazing article of technology on Jake’s jeep.  To his great dismay, wailing and gnashing of teeth – I connected a little thing called HUM. This amazing contraption gives me his exact location, speed and alerts me to reckless driving (strong braking and so forth).  Isn’t that brilliant?

I am so (heavy emphasis on SO) glad my parents had nothing remotely like this when I was 16!

As a parent, I want to control the circumstances around my son’s driving.  I desire to protect him…even when I’m not around.  I feel like it’s an extra level of safety and a defense from the things I can’t possibly control.

And there’s the word: CONTROL

Let’s just be real honest here; we are control freaks.  We live under this veiled assumption that we have dominion over our lives.  We like to believe we control the circumstances surrounding us by the way we interact with it.  By pure influence, tactical reasoning, situational response and stealth we can control our footing or position in this ever changing world.

We say we believe God’s sovereignty and lean towards faith.  But just in case God falls asleep or forbid it that His will is different from ours, we place a tracking devise to make sure He’s headed where we want to go!

“Lord bless me and my family” (as long as you give me the salary, retirement account, the house and boat I want).

“Lord, show me your ways” (as long as I don’t have to compromise my comfort).

“Lord, win our community for Christ and His Kingdom” (as long as I don’t have to engage in awkward hallway conversations about you).

“Lord bless our church” (as long as that preacher gives me my kind of sermon, my kids think it’s hip, and the music doesn’t lull me to sleep).

A really hard and often uncomfortable truth for me is this: I control absolutely nothing except the choices I make. My very heartbeat is subject to the quantity of days given by God before it’s first beat.  My only control: the choice for whom it beats!  This world and all it’s charms or His pleasure.

Jesus asks us this question: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46

So I sit here looking at this HUM app on my phone.  I’m checking to make sure my son is safely where he’s suppose to be.  Just information really.  Not that I can do anything about it.  But it makes me feel better.  I’m in control.

All the time the Spirit is whispering: “he’s not yours, he’s mine.  I love him more than you ever will and I will send my angels to protect him.  His righteousness is my work.  His obedience is my work.  Don’t call me Lord and not trust one of your greatest worldly possessions to me.  I am shaping His heart for those things that are eternal.”

My choice is in the Lordship of Christ.  He really is Lord!  Over it all…every little bit of it!  It’s actually true. And it’s worthy of your deepest surrender and choice too!  As only a faithful father can, He is shaping you for the eternal.

 

Very soon we will enter the week of passover observance. And so it was on the eve of the cross Jesus gathered with His disciples in the upper room to observe passover; a traditional feast they had each participated in countless times. It was a recognition of God’s covenant with His people. They would break bread and take the cup to remember the miraculous salvation of the Hebrews from the angel of death and thus the oppression of Pharaoh.

It was a covenant that would soon be updated! For it would, in just a brief moment, be eclipsed by the a bold pronouncement from Christ Himself: “This is MY BODY…this is MY BLOOD”! The new covenant was now replacing the old.

In a fraction of a moment, God replaced a lamb for The Lamb of God!

Sin once forgiven for a moment, now forgotten for eternity through the Lamb – our sin debt paid in full.
Now the Angel of Death would pass over us. The red crimson blood was placed on our forehead, upon our heart and the sting of death banished from all who find shelter in the shadow of His mercy.
Next week Passover begins. Our Jewish brothers and sisters will gather to reflect on the faithfulness of Yaweh to deliver His people.

They will worship under the old covenant. Yet still His chosen people.

For it is through the line of David that we as gentiles find our salvation.
And because of this they’ve become the most persecuted people since the call of Abraham and the birth of a new nation. Today I can’t help but be drawn to the plight of Israel. I sense God’s longing to bring them home to Himself. I sense time is fleeting and we must be praying for the salvation of Israel.
Have you ever noticed how so much political unrest and deep hatred centers around Israel?  She is a democratic nation surrounded by enemies on all sides.  Yet, even so, she continues to thrive and prosper.  We would be wise to remember God’s covenant with His people, for it has no expiration date.  We are commanded to pray for Israel (Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. – Psalm 122:6).

Pray we must…speak out we must…and be prepare to always defend our scriptural allies! Good Friday is a convergence of Passover and The Lamb of God!

The symbolism is profound and has deep meaning. Don’t miss it! God leaves nothing to chance.
Jesus was the Messiah who fulfilled every prophecy and now stands as the Lion of Judah!
He has come to save His covenant people and we have the enormous benefit of being the orphaned child, adopted, upgraded and placed at the same table with His chosen.
Thank you Jesus!

NY Times

In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s as war was breaking out in Europe, there were many American’s who desired to remain neutral.  Although concerned for the suffering of our allies, World War One had caused the bulk of our country to become weary of war.  Within the country we were still in recovery from the Great Depression.  We certainly had our own problems without taking on another overseas conflict.  We would watch from a far with concern.  We would help Great Britain by FDR’s Lend Lease program.  But that’s it…let’s not get involved.

Isolationism.  That was our mindset.  What happens over there, as concerning as it may be, will not effect us over here.  Not until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor did that change.  And boy did it change!  The rest is history…

Recently I’ve been troubled by the Western Church’s isolationism toward Israel.  What happens over there, even though we are concerned, certainly won’t effect us over here.  Right?

I believe we are seeing a gradual shift in politics and world sentiment that will set up prophetic events…potentially in our lifetime. 

As the world becomes more and more anti-Israel, we will begin to see obvious signs of God’s supernatural intervention and protection of His covenant people.  So what do we do?

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.  Psalm 122:6-9

As you watch the news…as you see the rockets firing…as you hear & see the hatred – pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  If it were not for God’s covenant people, we as gentiles would not know salvation – for salvation flows through her veins to us.  Remember what Jesus said in John 4:22 – “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews”.  Not FOR the Jews but FROM – “springs” from or “through”.

So…where is the Church?  Why is she silent?

This past spring, my son and I visited Haiti for the first time.  Jake is 14 years old and I knew this would be a powerful moment in his spiritual growth.  One day our team visited a village surrounding a Voodoo temple.  As we walked into the village I quickly felt oppression in my spirit and could see it in the eyes of the people.  Although we were not there long, Jake picked up on it.  He become very disturbed, pleaded with me to leave…NOW!  Once we got back on the bus we had a great teachable moment.

I shared with him as I do with you now: evil rarely shows it’s hand.  It has the ability to cloak itself and most often can only be discerned through the Spirit.

It disguises itself in robes of light and takes on the look of righteousness.  And that is the darkest, ugliest and most disturbing of all.  For it’s true purpose is to attack the church and tear her apart from within – limb by limb.  This evil turns us against one another through gossip, backbiting, slander, and all around grumbling and fighting in the church.  All the while causing us to forget WHO we are and WHAT we are called to be.

As God’s prophetic timetable ticks towards midnight – the church is fighting, bickering or just too self consumed to notice.  And evil, the same we openly felt in the voodoo temple, now concealed – lulls the sleeping giant into an isolationism of our own making.  That same evil that longs to destroy God’s covenant people of Israel has it’s eye on the Church.

Brother’s and Sisters, it’s time we wake up and start acting like the Body of Christ…the one for which our Lord gave His life.

So I encourage you to be aware and keep your eyes open to what our Hebrew brothers and sisters are enduring – and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  Let’s not be isolationists – but help carry this burden and fulfill our scriptural command.  Talk about it in your families and be aware that the prophetic time table is ticking…faster and faster every day, month and year.  Be aware that we may see God’s hand in this lifetime. Then – turn your heart towards Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith!  All these things must be fulfilled – and then you will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds.

Even so – come quickly Lord Jesus!

Recently I’ve been watching the mega snow catastrophe in Atlanta.  No one saw it coming.  No one that is, except the National Weather Service, which issued the proper warning in plenty of time to avert a crisis.  But instead, the city went about it’s normal functions choosing to ignore the impossible was not only possible but probable.  In the end, the prophets of weather were ignored; their voice too familiar and the sounding alarm meaningless.  Until it was too late!  Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes”.

It’s important to understand, prophets of the Old Testament who summoned the Nation of Israel back to God are alive and well in today’s church; calling the church back to Biblical obedience and Spirit filled living.  They sound the warning…the alarm of coming persecution.  God will deal with dissension and disunity in His Church.  And trust me, it won’t be pretty!

It would be easy to think the prophets would call out this sinful and lost culture.  We assume the darkest and most depraved world in which will live would be the target.  We would be very wrong.  The Spirit has given the prophets for the church…for that is where the darkest most vile, reprehensible and sickening sin festers.  Clothed, all the while, in garments of light.  It is by far the most dangerous and destructive.  And be warned…it will be the target of God’s justice and wrath.

Throughout the scriptures, God purges and cleans His people through the vehicle of persecution.  He reveals His sheep and scatters the goats.  It’s Jesus who prunes and cast aside all that does not bear fruit:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”  John 15

Today’s western church is amassed in self spiritual pride and heresy.  She is garnished with hypocrites who think nothing of chasing fame, wealth, and sexual immorality.  But even more dangerous, are those who clothe themselves as spiritual giants.  Hidden is their true nature of condemnation and divisiveness.  They bring disunity to the Body and manufacture gossip with great talent and amazing deceit.  They cloak their poisonous gossip in spiritual banter with appearances of wisdom and concern. They turn on their leaders and Pastors with pious spirituality; all the while in direct and resolute defiance of God’s Word. They are tried and true Pharisees.  They are vipers!  Paul warns us in Titus 3:

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.  As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”

There is a storm gathering.  But this storm is heaven sent for the purging and cleansing of His Church.  It’s time we stop discarding the warning of His prophets and begin to return to full obedience of His Word and wrap ourselves in the joy and love of His Spirit.  The dead branches will be cut and discarded.  And when it happens rejoice!  For new growth will follow.

Stay tuned for the next posting as we explore the signs and symptoms of the pharisees among us.  We’ll explore 5 Biblical signs of a pharisee within the church and the prophets who call their bluff.

 

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image17243325

It’s easy for us to enter the Christmas season and go on autopilot.  The holiday season is so driven by traditions (which are not a bad thing)…and typically the busy gets busier and the opportunity to worship is lost.  The focus of Emmanuel becomes us.  He is here for us…to walk with us…to give us hope.  Us, me and I.  He can quickly become our means to an end for our comfort and needs.  Don’t get me wrong, all of this is true…but we must resist the temptation to become the center of Christmas.  Emmanuel – GOD with US.  <

O Come O Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel.  That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appears.  Rejoice, Rejoice Emmanuel.  Shall come to thee O Israel

Allow me to offer a higher view.  The very nature of God is seen in this amazing transcendent act of love.  The unseen has now become visible and we can focus on what had been so hard to see and understand.  All the while knowing – we’ll never really see and understand fully while we inhabit these jars of clay.  For me, the thing that really captures the nature of Emmanuel are two magnificent moments in the scripture that absolutely blow me away…so much so it brings me to my knees every time I dare read them:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.  Hebrews 1

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2

He is The Radiant Glory of God!  The Word tells us that heaven will have no light – for the light will be the Lamb of Glory!  Somehow we just dim in comparison.  This Christmas, let’s worship Him for who He is…not for what we get out of it!  Then the priorities will right themselves and you’ll find a dose of worship that really gives you hope!
Come and Worship Christ the newborn KING!

Over the past year I’ve had a growing chorus of conversations with worship pastors, senior pastors, church staff and lay leaders regarding a troubling trend in our houses of worship.  It has many leaders scratching their heads and wondering how to communicate truth which is unwanted and hard to hear.  It’s not a trend relegated to one church or gathering, but seems to be consistent – especially within the notorious Bible-Belt!  It’s born out of apathy and idolatry.  It’s fed by leaders who’ve fostered it into epidemic status by withholding God’s call to obedience before sacrifice.  Those Pastors who’ve courageously addressed it have found a kinship and brotherhood with the prophets of the Old Testament: despised outcast, the black sheep of the church.

Nevertheless, this Sunday our houses of worship will have smatterings of stoic, gloomy, detached “followers of Jesus” who with their arms crossed offer little to no sign of life.  They will sit & stand, write their checks to God, and keep their eyes focused forward.  Their Bibles with them although there is no recognition of it’s power to transform.  They’ll take inventory of things for which they disapprove bearing up arms for later discussion with those who share their misery.  For some with the spiritual gift of discernment and prophecy, it smells of death and deceit.

We’ve redefined worship and invested in a false image of church, and now worship no longer meets our desires, wishes and preferences. 

If you pass among them and are not one of them – the chill of bitterness and divisiveness is alarming.  They are quick to take a pompous stand on principle and tell the rest of the world why it’s bound for a fiery hell.  They will boycott, stomp and shout righteous indignation while devoid of any fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:16-25).  They’ve forgotten we’re all broken and destitute were it not for the grace of God.

Is it any wonder that our churches are dying while our society has rejected this definition of Christianity?  Is this really what God had in mind for the Church?

How far and how deep have we fallen from truth.  When did we ever fall for the lie that this gathering of ragamuffins and sojourners is a celebration of personal desires and wants!  When did we lose our song?  How did we lose our way?

Church leadership will debate the Sunday worship experience – attempting to balance familiar hymns against the new and innovative.  Enormous amounts of time will be spent in extra Biblical exploits with a desire to entice these people to participate.  Blogs will be written arguing the need for more familiarity while others for more innovation to ensure the future.  All the while we play to fleshly desires and feed the baby more sweetened milk…hoping to make him fat and happy.

Should we not look deeper and harder through the lens of indisputable truth?  And the hard truth is this: our hearts are cold.  The Sunday morning worship experience in our gatherings we call “church” has little do with content, style or personalities.  Sadly, the dilemma lies much further and deeper into the spiritual fiber of the western church congregation.

You cannot revive the dead when they don’t know their dead.  And you certainly can’t do it in 1 hour plus on Sunday mornings.

I’ve traveled to parts of the world where redemption can’t be bought and life in Christ is fresh and new.  I’ve stood with believers who have very little other than Jesus.  The glint in the eyes and the passion in the soul will not be quenched.  Before breaking out in song there is no debate on style – only a song.  New, familiar, old or contemporary is not the issue.  Jesus is the issue – salvation the remarkable – grace the unthinkable and worship the inevitable.

Without exception – the heart passionate to know, love and pursue Jesus WILL WORSHIP!

The weekend gathering has less to do with us and so much more to do with a remarkable community of worship based on grace.

A congregation who enters with a song invested in hours of private worship will not be silenced…not by content, style, personalities or preferences.

But let’s take it one step further:

True worship has an obvious prelude and a remarkable lingering. 

The prelude is a song within that is burrowing it’s way out.  It’s a song of joy, praise, love, and gratitude; or authentic brokenness, surrender and repentance.  The lingering is after effect – the continuation empowered by the Spirit; deeper than musical appreciation or emotional high.  It’s found in self sacrificial service surrounded by gentleness, self control, peace, patience, love, kindness and goodness.  Without these Biblical preludes & lingerings…you have a forged and artificial worship.

So – what to do?  That is the question posed so often and I believe finds it’s answer not in complexity but simplicity.  Let me suggest the following – based on God’s Word:

  1. Authority – God’s Word is the first and final authority.  Don’t allow any other cultural persuasion to influence you or those you lead!  Teach it unashamedly and allow it’s power to do the work of obedience.
  2. Lead – Speak truth on the authority of God’s Word with courage.  You will face adversity from the cultural pharisees within your church.  Stand strong and go in the power of His Spirit…with wisdom and correction.
  3. Pray – The power of prayer is undeniable yet untapped!  His house is to be a house of prayer first and foremost.
  4. Model – Be a picture of Biblical expressive worship and lead others to embrace it!
  5. Repent – cultivate an atmosphere of redemption and forgiveness.  Allow grace to remind the Church she is a broken but beloved bride.
  6. Prelude – teach and encourage private worship as a prelude to church gatherings.  Bring your worship with you!
  7. Lingerings – confirm the authenticity of worship by testing your fruits and the fruits of those who follow you.

The symptoms are evident and the prognosis is certain death.  The superficial conversations of preference and style based on personalities are killing our churches and silencing our voice of influence.  We no longer look nor behave as God’s beloved bride.

Until we see it as God sees it and call it what it is…our churches will continue to be nothing more than grand palaces of self worship and self gratification.  And the transformational power of the gospel will lie dormant in a world that is desperate for the real deal.

 

WorshiperThe wonder of worship is found in simplicity.  The subject itself is not difficult or confusing.  The Bible is clear and the commands are apparent – from beginning to end God has defined what’s acceptable to him and life changing for us.

The problem for today’s church – we’ve lost the admiration and reverence for God’s Word; and with it…we no longer marvel in bewilderment at the thought that God would grace us with Himself.

In order to rethink worship – we must first come to terms with the fraudulent nature of the worship we practice.  I don’t intend to take us on a theological journey…which is available with just a google of the word.  But instead, let’s whet our appetite with a taste of the real.  We do know that worship is far more than a song, more than a destination or time.  Worship is more than a contribution of our favorite songs, videos, lighting, moods and feels to create an atmosphere that tends to our preferences.

Our places of worship are not “Super Targets” of the faith…built big and fascinating in order to enchant our senses, gratify our desires and convince ourselves we’ve payed our weekly homage to God.

Every week, worship pastors extend their creative reach in an attempt to find new and innovative ways to convince the church to at least think about God, much less worship Him.  These men and women strain to find just the right elements, just the right moments with just the right balance of new and old, edgy and current.  All the while knowing a segment of these congregants will find fault, will criticize and will demonstrate to a sinful world that the greatest sin is actually being committed in the Church.  This Sunday there will be many a congregation who will pass through doors under which is written – “Ichabod”…the glory has departed.

Christians don’t tell lies they just go to church and sing them. – A.W Tozer

But it doesn’t have to be so!  The journey of worship begins with understanding and releasing.  Henry Ward Beecher said it well: “I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love.” 

Worship in it’s purest form is an expression of love; not a brotherly love, or benevolent love…but a Godly agape love that consumes and ravages our will and our desires.

The worship God desires and commands has a starting point.  Think of it as a point of origin – a first step or prerequisite.  Without it you will never, ever arrive.  Without it you will be lost and eventually accept the counterfeit as real.

God must speak to us before we have any liberty to speak to him. He must disclose to us who he is before we can offer him what we are in acceptable worship. The worship of God is always a response to the Word of God. Scripture wonderfully directs and enriches our worship.  John Stott

God is found in solitude and quietness.  The wonder of God is rediscovered in stillness.  The first step of worship is found in recapturing the wonder of His Word.  If you desire to embrace truth – then try these simple steps:

  1. Prioritize retreat!  Find a way to daily discover His Word and commit to it.  Develop spiritual discipline and guard it well – knowing the water of your life will become polluted without refreshing at the spring.
  2. Choose obedience!  Don’t just read God’s Word but instead view it as life.  It’s not a book of rules and regulations but a novel of grace and soul with incredible power and supernatural authority.  Don’t be a hearer but a doer.
  3. 24 hour rules!  I was taught I needed a daily quiet time – which is not a biblical truth.  Instead – the daily journey of worship is found in the little things and the every day moments.  We are called to be awash with God in all moments of every day in every situation.  God is not bound to a 15 minute devotional.  Redeem the throw away moments of your life.
  4. Recapture Margin!  We are way too busy and have convinced ourselves it’s normal, good and the American way.  And now we’re passing it to future generations.  Get off the merry go round and cultivate tender moments of stillness and silence before the Lord by adding the value of margin.  Allow yourself some headroom and see what you discover about yourself and the ones you love.
  5. Listen!  We do a whole lot of talking…don’t we?  In fact, this world never shuts up.  To fall in love with Jesus and discover a deep worship of Him – you must tune your ears to His voice.  Not only does He speak through His Word – He whispers to your soul.  A worshiper of Jesus knows His voice and follows.  Stillness will re-tune and re-acclimate you to His closeness.

Every journey has a start.  Every book a new chapter.  Every day a new dawn.  And without a deep falling in love with God you will never find the destination of worship.  Once you’re consumed with Him and passionate for nothing less – a whole new universe of wonder is revealed.

But alas, the choice is yours…and the cost is great!  Quite simple really…and yet so missed.  Place your hand on the door and push.  I bet you’ll never go back again.

 

 

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