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Category Archives: Worship

To 2013 and Beyond

I hope We are all Excited about the possibilities that 2013 holds for New Life. We have the opportunity the ability and command to reach our community for Christ the only question is do we have the motivation.

I truly pray that we will be a church that does: see those that have been turned off to God and hurt by the church included in to an active, equipping, biblical church community.

New Life needs your help. We are all in this together. We are all part of the body of Christ and even if only a small portion of the body isn’t working it impedes the whole thing. We all have gifts and abilities that God has given us to bring him glory, to impact the kingdom, and empower the body of Christ. We all have a circle of influence that God has given us to make a difference, and be a representative of Christ.

As we move ahead it is the desire of myself and the elders that we see 100% involvement in ministry. We can all do a small part in connecting people to people and people to God. We might can be a greeter, or a children’s church worker. Maybe you can lead a small group, or teach a class for spiritual growth. There is much to be done and much that can be done to bring the most glory to God. But it is not our desire at New Life just to see church involvement rise but rather to see ministry involvement rise. We desire church to happen whether it’s as individuals or as a group. We are all called to be God’s representatives. We are all called to discipleship, community, outreach, and worship in our own lives. The church is called to equip the body to do these purposes together, and as individuals.

As we look ahead to 2013 I would like to challenge you for two things.
First how can you get involved in New Life. There are many things you could do. See any of the elders or Daniel for some ideas.

The second is how can you represent Christ more or better in the coming year.

 

Our Job or His?

As many of you know I am a student of church. I love church. I Love being a part of a church, meeting with the church, ministering to the church, worshiping with the church, seeing the church grow and minister. I love the church. And out of this love and study I attempt to be informed of many aspects of church from history to ecclesiology (theology of church) to methodology of church, past and present. So in a moment of contemplation this week I had a thought about a modern form of church, that is to say a method of doing church. It is important to note here that the method of church might be un-biblical but there is not a complete method of “doing church” that is presented in scripture. That being understood the method of church can and should change as the culture, in which the church is present, changes but that the message (that being the eternal truths of scripture) should never change.

However, before I address this modern form it would be beneficial to first address the most daunting issue in many many stagnant churches. This issue is really more of a mind-set. Many church congregants view the work ministry as the pastor’s job. And those many congregants are little more than that: congregants. They are more than happy to congregate in the name of God but when it comes time to serve in that same name these people are no where to be found. In many churches this is not only a large issue but the foundational  the primary, the most important, and the determinant issue in the future of the church.

With that being understood there is a method that has been widely propagated throughout the western church called seeker friendly or seeker sensitive. My intention is not to insult or demean churches that employ this method but rather to make a few observations.

First allow me to explain this method to those of you that might mot be as familiar. One must understand that this method is a broad umbrella which encompasses many differing renditions of this particular method. That being said the seeker sensitive method typically designs their main corporate gathering or a main corporate gathering to be inclusive, attractive, “sensitive” to those that have not received Christ. These people may be open to receiving salvation or inquisitive toward the ideas of God, Christ, Christianity, and/or religion. None the less these persons are not follower of Christ and the primary corporate gathering of the church becomes the primary outreach mechanism of the church.

Now we might could debate weather or not this method is unbiblical. Remember I stated that there were unbiblical methods of church though there were no explicitly biblical ones. I would say that the broad umbrella of “seeker sensitive” churches or church services (keeping in mind that this classification is painting with a broad brush) is not explicitly unbiblical. Are there decidedly unbiblical “seeker sensitive” churches or services? Yes, But that can easily be said of any method, theology, denomination, ect. One must remember that just because a particular method is not for me, or I might not like or agree with it, doesn’t mean its unbiblical, it just means its not for me. And that’s a good thing that I come to that conclusion because those churches or services likely weren’t designed for me to like.

With all that being said, most “seeker sensitive” situations do a great job at encouraging their people to invite new people, which is great. However, that is where most of the involvement stops. Isn’t this prolonging and heightening the “That’s the preachers job” mentality? At least in the area of evangelism. Its like saying the average congregant couldn’t communicate the truth of salvation, the depth of the good news but that it is the preacher that needs to be relied upon to do this.

I said all that to say this. We are all capable of communicating the profound truth of the gospel to a lost, hurt, and dying world and beyond that we are all commanded to.

 

Genuine Worship…

Worship is a purpose of the Church. However, when we talk about the church’s responsibility to God and to each other (that is those which comprise the church) we aren’t talking about banquet halls, statues, ceremonies, rituals, idols, or just songs. We are talking about the glory of the one that is worthy of all glory.

Just stop for a minute and think about why you worship God.

Have you really ever thought about it. Perhaps our lack of cognitive involvement in worship is precisely why we see so much of worship become an emotional exercise. Worship is a very practical and mentally involved task. There is certainly emotion involved in worship, however, most of modern worship has the order of worship all messed up. Most people think that we build the emotion as a worship experience progresses. But that simply can’t be the case if we are to have genuine worship.

Worship is our response to a loving, powerful, awe-inspiring, amazing God. The emotion should be there long before we ever hear a drum, sing a note, or read a scripture. That is why we can sit in the grocery store parking lot and worship God greater has ever been done in a great cathedral, because we had enough money to feed our family one more week. Us reacting to God’s Goodness and worthiness  that doesn’t take music. Music is merely a means of expression, that helps man get beyond his insecurities, inhibitions, and the occasional mental argument.

Adult Discussion:

  1.  What do you have to worship God about?
  2. Why do you worship God?
  3. What has God done for you lately?
  4. What have you praised Him for lately?

Family Discussion:

  1. What is so Good about God?
  2. What is Glory? Honor?
  3. What are some ways we might bring Glory to God?
  4. What are some ways we might show God how much we love him?
 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Community, Sermons, Worship

 

Why Church?

Ephesians 4:11 states that the church exists: for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

This is clear in its expression for the reason that God has invented the church. The church is to equip Christians for service, that is to say they are to be prepared, trained, resourced and given opportunity  to serve and obey God. The rest of scripture clearly shows that the four areas with which the church is responsible for this equipping are in the broad areas of Outreach, Community (or Fellowship), Discipleship, and Worship. All that the church is to do according to scripture falls into one of these categories. The necessary point, however, is to understand that the church is supposed to equip, not do. The church as an entity is not to worship for the individual but rather equip them to worship. So the church could teach a person about God, and provide a service with music were that person might come to express worship to God with their fellow believers  The church is not to try to make the congregants better Christians (i.e. disciples). But rather equip them through discipleship. That is the church would train, and mentor, provide classes, and service projects where a person might grow in Christ-likeness. The church can’t fellowship for the individual but rather provides opportunities for Christians to gather and build lasting relationships. Most controversially  the church is not to outreach for the Christian but rather to provide them with the training, resources and opportunities to assist them in reaching out as individuals. More on Outreach in Next Sunday’s Sermon. Be sure to invite your Friends.

The big answer to the question Why Church? Is that we are stronger together than we are apart. Yes you can accomplish most of what the church offers as an individual but most will have greater success when people do it together. you will grow more, you will be supported, encouraged  accountable, and serving more when you are building relationships in a healthy, biblical Christian Community.

At New Life we have a Purpose, a Mission, and a Win. The purpose is the same for all churches to equip Christians in Outreach, Worship, Community, and Fellowship. This is the subject of our current sermon series.

The Mission of New Life is our specific calling and gifting from God for our community. New Life is to be a place that reaches the de-churched, and the “but” people to welcome them into an active, accountable, equipping, church community. The de-churched are those that have some connection with church and many of which claim Christ. Some of them are actually saved some aren’t. The reasons they aren’t involved in church today vary as much as the people themselves. Some of them were hurt by the church. Some of them find the church boring, hypocritical, or non-Christ-like. Some simply left a church because they moved or the church died and they never found another church. The “but” is the common expression of de-churched people…”I’d go to church “But”… I know I should go to church “But”… New Life must be a hospital or rehab center for these people where they can come and fellowship and heal from these “Buts”. However, New Life is not called to be a Nursing home where people come and wallow in their hurts. When a person goes to a rehab center they are expected to recover and leave better than they were before. When a person enters a nursing home there is often little hope that they will get to leave, or be better than they once where. The Church is a hospital and rehab center not a Nursing home. So New Life is supposed to reach the de-churched through Outreach, Community, Discipleship, and Worship, and then involve and equip them for these same areas of service. The purpose is the means for accomplishing the mission.

Finally, New Life’s Win is how New Life is able to determine whether or not  and how well they are fulfilling their purpose and mission. The Win at New Life is connecting People with People and People with God. After all what is Worship and Discipleship people connecting and growing in relationship, understanding and intimacy with God. What is Outreach and Community, People connecting and building relationships with people. So New Life is winning in this world when we help in Connecting People with People and People With God.

 

God Doesn’t Care about the Music

What is worship?

What is worship music?

What does God want?

Well, Revelation 4:11 says God created man and the rest of creation for his pleasure, for him, for his glory. So how do we please God? You might be thinking that there are many ways to please God. In one sense this is true but Christ said in Luke 10:27 that the greatest commandment from God was to love God with everything we have. So by understanding these scriptures we can say that we were created in order that we might love God.

So what does worship and music have to do with this?

God does not care about the music. He doesn’t care about the style, he doesn’t care about the instrumentation, he doesn’t care about the lyrics, he doesn’t care about banners, he doesn’t care about dancing, he doesn’t care about any of that as worship. There are certainly things to be said about those, and other, features of worship but God doesn’t care about them as Worship.

My point is that God cares about the love. The music, dancing, service, are all expressions of our love for God. But if we do not love God then we have no worship.  This is why that stuff doesn’t matter. If you went to Africa, or China, or you went back to the 1800’s or to 2100 then people would express love and adoration in different ways then we do in America today. The music and form of worship in some regards is more for man who it is for God. I believe that God created Music and that makes it special some how. But we should be so filled and over flowing with love, adoration, thankfulness, etc, for God that we are starving for a way to express it to our great creator.  So what we are to do in the church and in our own worship is to find ways or provide ways that people can, as easily as possible, express, as much as possible, that love. That is what God desires, Our love.

In that verse in Luke 10, it says that we are to love God with all of our hearts, minds, soul, and strength. So we ought to attempt to find ways to worship God through our hearts, minds, soul, and strength. Does your worship come from your heart? Does it delight your soul when you sing to the Lord? When was the last time you used your mind to serve the Lord? To learn his word to witness to a non-believer? When have you used your strength to love your neighbor as your self because you love the Lord and that delights him?

Find a way to worship God.

 

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Church, Worship

 

Worship Matters

The Elders are reading a book together titled Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin. I must admit I wasn’t thrilled about reading it but God is using it to teach me and change my heart. Here are some things that the Lord is impressing upon me.

-Worship isn’t primarily about music, techniques, liturgies, songs, or methodologies. It is about my heart. It is about who I love more than anything else, the Lord Jesus Christ.

-All my life I have seen and experienced “worship wars”. People argue over music selection, styles, drums, and just how loud the volume is. Most of the conflicts stem from the war that rages within these people on the inside. My greatest challenge is preparing my heart before service.

-Worship matters. It matters to God because He is the one worthy of all worship. It matters to us because worshipping God is the very reason we were created.

Too many times there is a disconnect between the God we worship on Sunday and the One we follow during the week. Worship Matters. Let’s prepare our hearts each day to bring honor and worship to our Lord.

 

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Individual Growth, Worship

 

You do not have, because you do not ask God. (James 4:2b)

How many times have you been in trouble or facing an issue or pondering a question and after far to long you have the bright idea to pray? Prayer is not man’s natural reaction, prayer is other worldly. We perceive what is in front of us, so we approach life with the mindset that the resources that we have to accomplish anything or to see anything done are merely what we can see in front of us. However, this is far from the truth. The fact of the matter is our greatest resource to finishing the race that is set before us for over coming the struggles of this life is our advocate in heaven.

Why don’t we approach God with every thing? Why don’t we seek his perspective on each thing? Why don’t we request his assistance on most things? We go through life slaying dragons and traversing deserts and scaling mountains by our own efforts when we could have merely called on the name of the one that sees those dragons as gecko’s sees those deserts as sandboxes and sees those mountains as mole hills.

We could have so much more yet we fail to request from the one that has the most to give. I don’t mean material wealth this would be the wrong motives spoken of in the next verse of James. What I mean are those things that we can’t get ourselves or we struggle greatly to find. For instance we know we ought to share our faith yet many of us are so busy and isolated that we struggle to have anyone to share our faith with. Why not ask God to bring someone into our life to do just that? Why not ask God to use you each day? We all won’t to see our church reach people for Christ and transform lives, and many of us work toward that end yet we still struggle. Why don’t we ask God to bring us lives to see transformed through His Grace and Love? Why don’t we ask God to show up in a mighty way each time the church gathers together? All of us struggle in our relationships and, if we are honest, we know that we make mistakes and have areas to improve. Why don’t we ask God to improve us or to help us improve?

These are just a few ideas on what we can take to God. Let your mind run wild in appreciation of all our heavenly father’s desires to great things for us.

 
 
 
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