• QUOTE FOR TODAY

    "God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation…Therefore let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose."
    -- John Piper

  • Mercy House

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  • James 2:14-17

    What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

    In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

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The Cross – Where I Was Restored

Five days ago, palm branches and tunics lined the road passes the Mount of Olives.  Shouts of “Hosanna in the Highest” filled the air as my Savior enteredJerusalemto begin the process that would make my restoration possible.

Tonight the Passover Supper will end in a bitter (yet expected) betrayal, and the moss covered floor in Garden of Gethsemane will soak up the first drops of The Redeemer’s blood as he prayed for me.

And tomorrow….tomorrow brings the mocking and the crown of thorns, tomorrow brings the flogging and the suffering, tomorrow brings the cross….The blood stained timbers that will ultimately take His life but give me life…eternal LIFE.  Jesus paid it all and washed me white as snow.

Thank you Jesus.

Focus on Worship: Sunday….In His Presence

On more than one occasion this week, I had people make some reference to the fact that it ‘was almost Friday.’

 

“At least tomorrow’s Friday”

“Is it Friday yet?” (Asked on Monday!!)

“The week’s half over…Friday’s comin’”

(…and this morning:  Finally, it’s Friday!)

I know there’s a ton of reasons why people long for it to be Friday (They get to be in the presence of their friends at the party or at the bar.  They cling to the shallow victory that work is done for a few days.  Friday somehow means that responsibility is over and they don’t have to answer to anyone, sleep, ), but with the prevalence of this question over the last few days, it dawned on me that I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say:

 

“Sunday’s coming”

“I can’t wait for Sunday”

“Is it Sunday yet?”

(OK, there’s the Monster Truck Rally guy:  Sunday, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!!! But that doesn’t count).

 

The point is this:  The world wants it to be Friday for a slough of reasons, but do we, as Christ followers look forward to Sunday with the same enthusiasm?  Do we, as worship leaders look forward to Sunday as that time when we lead God’s people into his presence?  Are we praying that God will flood the meeting place with his presence?  Do we long to be in the presence of the Holy One?…..as always, I’m asking you these questions but I’m really asking myself these questions.

I think this topic was generally on my mind after listening to our worship set for this Sunday.

Every week, I put the songs for Sunday on my ipod, in order, and will listen to them during my devotional time, or my commute, or sometimes while I’m working.  This practice started as a way to simply learn the songs, but it has become about preparing for Sunday.  God continues to use this time to point out lyrics that I believe he wants to have an impact…words that we sing and need to sincerely and earnestly mean.

Check out these lyrics:

“Here I am….I’ve come to find you”  (You, you are God – Gateway Worship)

 “I’m reaching for you, I’m singing to you”  (Reaching for You – Lincoln Brewster)

 “You are my world, you are my God” (Hillsong)

And Finally:

 “Lord hear our song…your children worship…as we sing your praise would You make this a place for Your glory to dwell” (Jared Anderson)

 Sunday worship should be about meeting with God and asking him to make our sanctuary and place where his glory will dwell.

Is it Sunday yet?

Are We Irrelevant?

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted.   Too long.   It goes this way, I suppose.  Life events tend to dictate when we can write (or sleep for that matter) 

Anyway JP Troglio wrote a post over at I Hate Church that would be worth a few minutes of your time.  It got me to thinking about a question that many have asked before…..is the church in America becoming irrelevant?

I don’t mean irrelevant from the stand point of the culture and being ‘cool’ enough to reach this generation (the emerging churches clearly have this portion covered…to a fault).  I’m talking about significantly impacting the world around us.  I think we’re failing.  I think we’re content with being insignificant.  I think we like the safety of our friends and family around us on Sunday and we don’t want to get our hands dirty.  We don’t want to be uncomfortable.  I think (as JP points out) that we want big numbers because it makes our “club’ look good and it makes us look like we have our act together and that we are having an impact, but sadly, we’re missing the point.  It’s not about the performance….it’s not about the show or the rush to the doughnut table after service.  It’s not about the songs we’re singing or the sermon series or where we worship, for that matter. It’s about introducing people to God and letting him work.

Folks, it’s time we start getting real about the Gospel and taking it to the people and stop being so worried about what people may think about us.  Yes…I’m writing this as much for me as I am anyone who cares to stop by and read this.   If we cared about people the way that God cared about us, I think we would daily have to fall on our face in worship at the work God was doing.  It would be our natural response. 

I’m going back to work now….but I don’t think I’m done writing on this subject.   More to follow.

 

Jumping In

Kristen at We Are That Family wrote this post titled Someone is Waiting for you to Jump In yesterday.  Would you take a minute, head over to her blog and read the post?  After that would you begin praying about where God might want you to jump?  Here’s a little excerpt to challenge you:

And the truth? Standing at cliff’s edge, we wanted to say no. We asked if there was another way. We researched and begged. We cried it is too big, we can’t, we are afraid, we don’t know how.  We don’t want to love mercy.

We didn’t throw caution to the wind. We didn’t just jump into the chasm of the unknown.

We jumped into the very hands of God.

Why? Why do the uncomfortable? Why go beyond the comfort zone and risk so much? Every one of us has a unique purpose for our lives and our blogs. It’s a risk finding that purpose. It leaves you exposed and open to criticism and fear and failure.

  Would you also pray about helping them with Mercy House?

Focus on Worship…Creation

I caught an interview with Mike Massimino on Letterman last night.  Massimino is a NASA astronaut who  is featured in the  IMAX 3D movie on the Hubble Telescope.  He was one of several astronauts to complete the spacewalks that upgraded the Hubble Telescope.  In the interview, Dave asks him to describe what it was like to be in space and look back at Planet Earth for the first time.  Take a look at this clip

I was amazed when he said that when he first looked at the Earth he had to look away.  He said that the thought that went through his head was this “this was something I’m not supposed to look at…it’s a secret….people aren’t supposed to see this…..There are no words to describe this beauty”  He goes on to say, “The second time I looked I started to get a little emotional.”  And Finally he says of his third look at the Earth from space, “the thought went through my head that if you’re in Heaven, this is what you’d see…”

I don’t want to get into a discussion of what we are going to see from Heaven, but as I consider the song, Son of God from Starfield, and the opening lyric that says:

Son of God, Shaper of the stars, You alone the dweller of my heart.  Mighty King, how beautiful you are”

I know that when I enter His presence, I want to say, as Massimino did, “there are no words to describe this beauty.”

There is no Plan B

This might hurt a little, but you need to see it.

Chaos to thoughts to words….sort of

I’m not sure exactly why I decided to write this post.  I guess that somehow I needed to get it out of my head.  All the swirling around of random thoughts this morning needed out if I had any hope of productivity today. 

God continues to poke and push and prod (sometimes even dragging me along in the plan I am avoiding). Yet I resist.

We are all so good at avoiding it.  We look at the life WE have built for ourselves–at the tremendous comfort it brings–and we know that total surrender, while appealing in the heart of that moment, is so scary it sends us running for cover.  And there we live comfortably discontent amongst our ‘stuff’, occasionally peeking over the edge of the pile to see if it’s ok to jump in — like somehow this time will be less frigntening.  The list of fears is HUGE. The potential for pain or rejection is monumental, yet lingering in the back of our minds is the allure of the Holy Spirit (whom I have been doing a good job of ignoring–have you?). Wondering how others will ‘see’ us. Wondering if God will really come through. Discomfort, fatigue, hunger, poverty, lost souls, misguided mindsets, discontent, avoidance, the list goes on and on and on.  It’s about me and then ‘them’ and then about me again—yet, in fact, it isn’t about me at all….maybe that’s the problem.  Why isn’t the cross enough?  I mean, I know it’s enough…. I know God is bigger than all of it, but my heart forgets and it betrays me and it betrays Him and I retreat to the false safety of my stuff once again.

Well, this post is a mess, but I think I’ll leave it this way.  Good luck reading it.