Worship?


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New worship services

There was a congregation that decided to have four worship services each Sunday.

There was one for those new to the faith.

Another for those who liked traditional worship.

One for those who had lost their faith and would like to get it back.

And another for those who had a bad experience with church and were complaining about it.

They have names for each of the services: FINDERS, KEEPERS, LOSERS, WEEPERS.

 

*****

 

So, what does worship mean to you?  Does it mean bowing before a king?  Does it mean giving all your time to someone or something?  Does it mean singing songs for 25 minutes each Sunday morning?  Does it mean giving an offering when the plate is passed?  Does it mean standing and raising hands?  There are many possible answers one may receive if this question were asked to any given congregation around the world.  The Bible does, however, define it fairly simply.

 

Let’s, for the next few minutes, put this in a different perspective.  Something real world.  Let’s talk about worship from a perspective that is familiar to the culture we live in today.  Let’s use money as the object.  This should be easy right?  We often hear people say that they know or have heard of someone who worships the almighty dollar.  What do we think or say about someone who worships this thing called money?

 

Here are some things that come to mind when we picture someone who worships money.  They are always talking or thinking about it.  They work jobs to get it.  They may work multiple jobs at the same time to find it.  They may devour their paycheck to “win” more.  They see things that it buys as necessities.  They judge themselves against others who have more or less of it.  How secure they feel is based on how much of it they have.  When they don’t have enough, security isn’t found.  They count it often and study what they have or what they don’t have and dream of getting more.  People who worship money are sometimes rich, but sometimes very poor.  They either like keeping it or love spending it on things that will show that they have “it.”  How much they have, or how many things their money has bought them, will be the standard by which they define themselves.

 

That’s what we picture when we see a person or entity that worships cash.  Let’s move that over towards a God discussion now.  When we think about worship in the God environment we often think about a musical praise time on Sunday mornings…don’t we?…and sometimes not much more.  Let’s imagine for a minute how worship would look if we simply switched the monetary terms for God terms in the paragraph above.

 

Here are some things that come to mind when we picture someone who worships God.  They are always talking or thinking about Him.  What they do, they do it for Him.  Sometimes they will serve Him in many different ways.  They give all they have for Him.  They see things that He views as important as necessary.  They view Him as a huge blessing in their lives…even though His gift of His son was never deserved.  He is their security.  When they are far from Him, they feel less secure because they begin to only think about themselves selfishly.  They look at and read His Word often and want to know more about Him.  Anyone who knows God is considered rich by spiritual standards.  People who worship God love to learn about Him and spend more time with Him so they can “give” Him away more often.  They allow God’s nature and their obedience to Him to define them.

 

You know, I didn’t once talk about a prayer service, or a praise time, or about traditional, or contemporary, or time limits, or name recognition, or awesome sermons or dynamic preaching, or audio visual technical stuff.   Here’s what the author of Romans 12:1-2 says:

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

So here’s the question?  How is our worship?

 

Questions for Growth:

  1. Have you narrowly defined worship for yourself?
  2. If YES, then how has if determined your approach to God?
  3. Should ‘good’ worship, according to this verse, be based on a feeling?
  4. Should true worship be defined by Spirit let choices?
  5. How can every minute of your day be based on worship?
  6. Did Jesus worship God 24/7 365 or simply on a regular basis?  Similar question…Was worship “life” to Him?
  7. Is Jesus our example for living?  ……..

These are tough questions because they call into account everything that we do?…action and choice oriented.   Yes, simple…but tough.

Have fun growing!  Here’s a verse that let’s us know God’s perspective on what happens when we get this worship thing right.  Jeremiah 9:23-24 says this:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength
    or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

ed

 

PS – I don’t consider myself an expert but just as someone who searching for truth and has found some nuggets to pass onto others.  If they’re helpful, pass them on too.

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The Church…God’s Dwelling Place


Presermon Notes
ed Barnes … June 21, 2012
Revelation 21:1-7

FYI…I’m writing these notes while sitting among 20,000 Christian brothers and sisters enjoying great and uplifting music at the Alive music festival…on a cell phone keypad to boot so there may be spelling errors galore.  Seeing this many people together, youth groups and families and church families alike, worshiping the same God through the Creator’s given art of music, reminds me of images in the book of Revelation.  Many times John gives us word pictures of the Kingdom worshipping their King.  

Revelation is challenging.  The mind images spoken to the New Testament church we’re privileged to see through the writings of John sometimes leave us dumbfounded.  However, this small section is repeating promises spoken in other sections of the Bible.  John 3:29 and Ephesians 5:25-27, and Ezekiel 37:23,27 strip away all things that we have created to try to explain or market the church.  We are something very special to Jesus, and sometimes I believe we try to do and create things to make ourselves noticeable to those around us…while forgetting who we really are. 

In the verse for the week we read the combination and repeat of the verses mentioned above.  We are one with Christ…which means we live with God and He with us.  We, the church, are his bride.  There is no physical city or temple that is Holy anymore.  We are chosen to be His dwelling place.  Through the Holy Spirit He is with us nearly as close as the Garden of Eden.  His spirit lives side by side with us.  We are the Kingdom.  It’s not.a place or a building.  The king lives in His people…the Kingdom.  This is what has been made new.  Before it wasn’t like this.  The temple had an address.  God had a room in that temple.  But now, through Jesus’ sacrifice for the sins that kept us from God, the Creator lives with His people.  And at some point in time this new way will be made perfect and we will see God and be with Him as it was in the beginning.

This is the church.  But so often we miss who we really are.  We talk.as though we go to church.  We attend church.  Our church has an address and phone number and maybe a website and email and a schedule of office hours when the church is either open or closed.  Many times a church has a name that is trendy and a stage with a light set and large screen video projection.

Our ministries might use these tools…but our church doesn’t ‘have them.’. Jesus’ body, His bride, is a people group connected spiritually to their God.  We already have a name.  We already have a purpose and marching orders and an end goal that defines our success.  And to those that join and overcome, the reward of living eternally with the One who made all things is given.  We are being made into that perfect city, the dwelling place of the Most High, the New Jerusalem.  It’s us.

If we truly understood that, how would that change how we daily live?  How would we make choices?  How would we raise our kids?  How would we spend our money?  What arguments would become ‘not worth it?’

The question is, do u simply attend this church?  Or are you His church?…the new and perfect city created as His dwelling place so all others will know about Him through us.

How will this description of the church in Revelation 21 change how you live this next week and on foward?  Because this verse is really God’s description of you if you choose it as your own.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,
ed

A Father’s Real Goal


Happy Father’s Day to all dad’s out there including my own.  I’m a dad myself, so the constant struggles and stresses of being a dad are constantly battling in my soul as well.  But there are lots of joys too.  This year I get to run with my son early on this Sunday morning.  Micah and I are going to be involved in the Canton Marathon.  We are both participating in the 10K.  Hopefully the rest of my family will be at the finish line to carry me off after I collapse.  Haha!

So what is dad’s role?  Through the years I’ve had lots of assumptions.  I’ve looked at my own experience growing up as a kid.  I’ve listened to old family stories from before I was born about what dads and grandpas did.  I’ve watched other dad’s as they walked this sometimes curvy road.  I’ve heard speeches and conferences and seminars about it.  Read books about it.  I’ve talked with many kids through 23 years of ministry about personal struggles with their dads.  Some stories are similar, but never are two the same.  I’ve also read the Bible about fatherhood.  It actually has a lot to say.  But when you put God’s expectations against what “experts” in our modern times say a dad’s role is, you get very different opinions.

Today’s wisdom says to be there for your kids.  Take time with your kids.  Both very true…but the media takes it further to define what success for a dad should be.  They show guys going after the big job with big money for the family.  I sometimes get the feeling that if a dad can’t afford a Disneyland vacation then he hasn’t provided well.  Some commercials talk about doing the things for the family that they ‘deserve.’  I heard one network marketer say that a few years of hard long-hour work, sacrificing time with your family, might pay off in the end with reward (meaning $$$).  Ok…what happens if you have a heart attack at 1.5 years into that plan?

Now, don’t get me wrong or hear what I’m not saying.  Sometimes there is time for hard work and sacrifice to supply a family with the necessities of life.  The Bible says that work puts food on the table (Proverbs 12:11, 14:23).  And…some of that time will be away from family.  But the chasing after riches is another thing that our society and media claims good.  The Bible is pretty clear on this too.  Hard work will be rewarded.  Yet I see dad’s who still struggle even when they are providing for their kids.  Some do so well they are providing for the great-grandkids yet there isn’t peace in their soul.  So…does the absence of this “peace” have anything to do with what many of us dads miss?

Why are we like this?  There’s one thing in the Bible that many of us dad’s overlook.  It has to do with raising Godly kids.  The question that is always there isn’t, “Have we done enough to support our family?”  It is, “Will our kids be in Heaven with us?”  A second closely follows, “Will they be bringing people with them as well?”

Moses had to feel incredible dad-like pressure when he led his family, and his nation, out of Egypt.  He was leading them, at God’s command and with His power and authority, from slavery into freedom.  Moses was the man looked to for wisdom.  Moses was looked to as the man who knew God and talked with God.  Through this and the various struggles, Moses saw clearly what was and was not important as he led his family, and God’s family, towards the Promised Land.  Isn’t that kinda like us dad’s today too?  We are to lead our family towards Heaven…towards God himself.  God places us in this spot and gives us all the tools to do it.  We need to learn how to use some of the tools, but they’re all there waiting to be picked up.

Moses’ big warning is this though.  He warns us to never forget about God.  He asks us, as parents, to remind our kids all the time about God (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).  He encourages us to talk about God all the time when we’re walking, working, eating breakfast or getting ready for bed.  Moses knew this one thing, if we slightly forget about God, we will start to search after things not of Him.  If we lose track of God and His goal of having everyone with Him in Heaven, then we start to form our own goals and strategies for “successful living.”  Moses saw how dangerous it is to forget about God. (Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:12, 8:11).

So what’s this mean for us dad’s today?  I see two goals.  One, we want to do what we can to set our kids up to make the choice to follow God.  The tough part here?  We can’t make the choice for them, but we don’t want to fail on our part of the equation.  Secondly, we want to disciple our kids so that they know how to lead others to Heaven as well.  In the end, it really won’t matter where we’ve worked or how much money we’ve made or spent or what our degree is.  It won’t matter if our kids went to the right college or won all the races or got all the trophies.  What will matter is, whatever we or they choose to do, that we all did it remembering God and His principles, followed His direction,  chose His son as our Savior and chose to share Jesus with others.  Here’s how I know this.  Our Heavenly Father’s goal is plain.  He wants us in Heaven with Him.  He’s wants this so much that He asked His own son to die to make the way.

Let’s all try to set our goal and change our approaches so that our biggest endeavor is to take our family and friends to Heaven.  Tough?  Yes.  Rewarding?  Eternally.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

What America can learn from the European church | Part 1


Paul Maconochie

via What America can learn from the European church | Part 1.

Categories: Uncategorized

How would he take you out?

May 25, 2012 5 comments

I was faced with a serious question the other day.  It was from an article I stumbled across while on a Christian leadership website.  I’m going to ask you this question…and you need to answer personally and honestly.  I’m then going to ask you the same question in a couple of different contexts.

* How would our common enemy, Satan, take you out, rendering you unable to serve your family and your community?

That’s a very personal question.  But how would he take you out?  What gimmicks would he use?  What are your weaknesses?  This question isn’t just a “how are you tempted most?” question.  How would he take you out?  How would he destroy your service to God?

*How would our common enemy, Satan, take out our church family, rendering us unable to serve each other and the people around us?

This changes things just a bit because now we’re pushed to take a peek inside our local church family.  How would our enemy try to destroy our church families?  How would he get us off track?  What lies would he tell us?  What goals would he give us that are not what Christ wants at the top of our families’ agendas?

*If he could stop or hinder our discipleship process, our raising up of active believers in Jesus and his purpose, how would he do it?

This question makes one assumption…that we’re active in making disciples as Jesus instructs in Matthew 28:19-20.  Our purpose isn’t just to receive our ticket to Heaven and then decide to sit back and ride life away as though there are no expectations.  Maybe you haven’t looked at Christianity like this.  Satan loves to let Christians sit by without a feeling of daily purpose.  In this strategy, we lose the possibility of influencing others to choose Christ as well.

Bible focus: 1 Peter 5:8   Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow.

This stuff is tough!  I’m convicted.  When we forget we have an enemy that wants us to forget about God’s purpose for our lives, we tend to also forget about God.  Peter tells us to be aware that Satan loves for us to forget about him.  He encourages us to be on guard.  Being on guard means we’re also on purpose.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

Ed

Article referenced, written by Mike Breen, can be found here:

http://www.vergenetwork.org/2012/02/02/obituary-for-the-american-church-mike-breen/

Good Works


…faith without works is not faith at all, but a simple lack of obedience to God – Bonhoeffer

What does his quote mean to you? Does it seem harsh?

John 10:32
James 2:26
Ephesians 2:10
Titus 3:14
I Peter 3:17
Colossians 3:23
James 2:14

Are good works required of us?
How would we define Jesus’ good works?

Another quote:  We believe what we do.

Would this be true of Christ?  How is it true/not true of us?

Ed

Bonhoeffer


…faith without works is not faith at all, but a simple lack of obedience to God.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,
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