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Category Archives: Worship

Just Quit and Give Up

At Rebecca’s (my fiance) graduation the commencement speaker told the story of how as a young girl her mother gathered the children in the back yard. She had them write the word “Can’t” on a piece of paper and place it in a shoe box as if it were a dead hamster or pet bird. Then the children dug a hole and buried “Can’t” in the back yard. This was to instill in the children a can do attitude and a view that can’t wasn’t even an option.

Though this story is interesting, humorous and insightful the premise is inherently wrong for the Christian. The idea is that when we say we can’t, and give up, that we are weak and less able to succeed. The fact of the matter is that most of the time a Christian will not succeed until the say Can’t. The statement goes something like this “God, I don’t know. I have tried all I know and still things aren’t working out. I just can’t do this, I can’t do it any longer, I don’t have what it takes. God, you’re going to have to fix this because I can’t.” Jim Cymbala the pastor of the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle said it well “The devil is not terribly frightened of our human efforts and credentials. But he knows his kingdom will be damaged when we begin to lift up our hearts to God.” A man or woman is never stronger than when they are on their knees. We can program, and organize. We can work and sweat, and don’t get me wrong we do have a responsibility. But our part is useless without God. We must, not should but must, begin our work, our lives, our efforts with dependence and prayer. So, for many of you it is past time for you to throw up your hands. So just quit and give up.

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Endless Ocean

Allow me to share one more beach story please. As I get older I find myself desiring to just sit on the beach watching and listening to the ocean. When I close my eyes and listen, I so get carried away in the sound. When I watch the waves come crashing in, I can still be amazed. The sound is never quietened. The waves never stop crashing on the shore. The ocean never stops. When I rise early in the morning, it is there. When I go to sleep, it is there. When I am on the mountain top and all is well, it is there. When I am walking in a valley, it is there. Through all of life’s victories and struggles, the ocean is never-ending.

God’s love for us is like the ocean. His desire and concern for us never ceases. It seems inadequate to describe God by the very ocean that He spoke into existence, yet I see Him and hear Him in the waves and massiveness of it all.

One of Jonathan Helser’s songs is in the below link. Let me encourage you to get alone, put on ear phones if you have them, and allow the great love of our Heavenly Father flow over you.

Click here: Endless Ocean

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Worship

 

Two up Two down.

OR

As most of you know I am currently employed by a fine fast food establishment. This is not exactly the job that most people dream of, myself included. But I am grateful to have a job so that I can focus on ministry and not be so preoccupied with money. That being said I have had my feelers out looking for other opportunities.

I said all that to say this. The other day I had a really bad day. My car was broke and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it, so I feared the worst. I would have to take it into the shop. I got stung by a bee while working on my car. And I still worked for a fast food joint. Well, a few days ago I had one of the greatest days of my life. I scheduled two job interviews, and my car was fixed for very little money (among many other things.) I was on cloud nine. The two interviews resulted in two job offers, both of which I turned down.

So maybe your wondering why? Why tell this odd set of stories? or Why turn down the jobs? If I may I would like to pull two conclusions from this set of stories. The first is that the valleys of make the mountain tops that much sweeter. Are the valleys God’s will? NO!!! Does God want us to be in pain? NO!!!. But he will use them. And when he brings you out of them, take a second to look back at where you can from, where he brought you from and praise him that much more.

Secondly, people say the best time to look for a job is when you have one. This is certainly true. But sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to realize that that valley you thought was so deep isn’t really much more than a ditch.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Life, Worship

 

Knowing the Spirit [Part 5]

Romans 8:11 states:

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

1 Corinthians 3:16 states:

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

When we receive the gift of salvation from God we receive more than a rescue from the punishment of our sins, more than an intimate relationship with our creator, we also receive the presence of God’s spirit. We have the power of the spirit with us always. God is not far off he is right there with us at every turn. We know that we can go before God any time we would like and we attempt to pray and praise him throughout the day. But we can take much comfort and encouragement in knowing that God is not just available to us but he is a part of us.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Life, Spirituality, Worship

 

It’s the God in me

What is your responsibility with God when it comes to ministry?

We could get really theological about this matter but we won’t, the purpose of this blog is to motivate us to live New Lives so we want to stay practical here. That being said; is it people that see to it that people are saved or God? Is it God that grows people spiritually or is it people? Do people usher in the presence of God in worship or does the Holy Spirit just decided whether or not he will show up? On one side we have a seemingly very spiritual answer that God does it all. On the other hand we have a very logical answer that views it as man does all or most of the work of fellowship, discipleship, and evangelism. So what is the answer?

Multiple biblical passages address this issue though I think that the most clear cut is 1 Corinthians 3:6:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.”

Paul is clear that both God and man are involved in seeing growth. It is important to  establish that this would mean both numerical growth (more followers of Christ) and spiritual growth (more mature followers of Christ). We work with God and God works through us to see the work of ministry completed.

 

That’s Jesus

I heard the story of a man that visited a large city many years ago. This man took a day and wandered about the metropolis taking in the sights and the sounds and along his walk he stumbled upon the stock yards. Now this is a story from many years ago when cities would have stock yards, that is open air places where animals were kept and slaughter for the butcher shops and grocers in the area. Well, this man had never seen such a thing, these large beasts being strung up and bleed. It was without a doubt a most grusome sight, and one that the man was unsure why he was still viewing. However, being a devout Christian and avid student of the bible the man’s mind was drawn to the many depictions of the slaughter of an animal throughout the text of scripture. As the man watched longer and the large, burly men continued in their astounding work the man’s mind was once again drawn to the imagery of scripture. But this time he did not recount the sacrifices of Abraham or Moses, the killing of some large breast, a steer or even a goat but rather the man’s mind was drawn to the imagery of the greatest sacrifice of all, that of Christ as the spotless lamb. The man thought of how throughout scripture Christ is spoken of as the sinless lamb that took on the sins of the world and was slaughter not unlike a mere animal so that we might be viewed as sinless by our heavenly father.

The man thought that perhaps he might gain further insight into this most precious of gifts if he were to see the slaughter of a poor lamb. So he approached one of the foremen there at the stock yard to inquire where he might see the work of the butchering of a lamb. The foremen thought this to be an odd request and quickly told the man that the stock yard kept that in a closed room and did not allow unnecessary persons in. When the man inquired as to why this was, asking if the lambs were difficult to work with, if the were loud or they kicked or ran off. The foreman shock his head and said no quite the opposite. When a man will lift his hand to the lamb instead of running in fear or concern for its own life the lamb falls to its little front knees and looks pitifully up at the man. Then the foremen simply finished with a story. The foremen told how he had recently assigned one of his veteran butchers to work in the lamb room, this man being a rough, muscular man well experienced in the slaughter of animals. It was likely that this man had killed thousands of animals before. It was not long after this calloused butcher had been assigned to the room till he came to the foreman and asked to be reassigned. The foreman knew why but he still asked. The butcher responded by telling how he had moved to butcher a little white lamb and the lamb had fell to its knees as most did. The butcher had to reach below the lamb’s chin to lift its head as to have easy access to the throat of the creature. The butcher told that as he reached there under the little lambs chin that the lamb stuck its tongue out and licked the rough calloused hand of this tough calloused man. The butcher told the foreman in near tears how he would never slaughter a lamb again.

Friends that little lamb that is Jesus. Jesus sought not his own life, comfort or benefit but freely gave his own that ours might be saved. And even as the men beat and prepared Jesus for that most painful of deaths he plead with his father that he might forgive those men that were slaughtering himself. Friends that’s Jesus.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Bible, Worship

 

Hosanna vs. Crucify

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday. We read from scripture Mark 11:1-11 were Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt. The people were so very excited that Jesus their King had arrived. They threw down their outer garments and palm branches in the path of Jesus. They waved other palm branches and sang part of Psalms 118:25-26 …blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord… “Hosanna” they shouted, when translated means, “Save now O Lord I pray”. The people were doing the equivalent in our day of rolling out the red carpet for Jesus. He was fulfilling the prophesy found in Zechariah 9:9 that the coming King would ride into Jerusalem humbly on a donkey. The worshippers knew these words from Zechariah no doubt and had long waited for this day. When asked to silence the crowd by the Pharisees Jesus replied, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” Jesus was going to be praised!

These words and songs of praise turned into “Crucify Him!” before the week was out. Why? Why would the very same people that praised His triumphal entry now turn against Him? Why do they want to kill the very man they celebrated as King just days before.

The answer is that they didn’t have the big picture in mind. They were looking for an earthly king to save them from the Roman oppression. They were looking at the short term, temporal situation. They were looking for a king to come set them free. Now, they see Jesus beaten and scourged, bloody beyond recognition. They see Jesus humbly standing before judges keeping mostly silent. He isn’t a ruler at all they think. He isn’t a real king. He is a fake. Their loss of hope and faith caused them to feel hurt and betrayed. They want revenge. They want justice. They want Jesus crucified.

So here we are some 2000 years later. We have the advantage of hind sight and know that “Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Mark 10:45 further states “The Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and give His life a ransom for all.” So Jesus didn’t come to save us from the temporal issues of life, although that is a wonderful side benefit. Jesus came to take away the sins of the world so that who so ever believes in Him and accepts Him as their King will spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

Where would you have been and what would you have been shouting this week, 2000 years ago? Where are you today?

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2012 in Life, Questions, Society, Worship

 
 
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