Saturday, January 23, 2010

sunrise 2010.jpg

Be still and know that He is God. There is none like Him. Take a moment to stop and think about Him today. As you do, may you be reminded that the same God who created this breathtaking sunset loves you with an everlasting love. Have a blessed day.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device from U.S. Cellular

Friday, January 22, 2010

Begin with the End in Mind--Jesus!

“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire." Thomas Merton

In the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Steven Covey talks about how being proactive increases effectiveness. A part of being proactive is practicing habit number one, "Begin with the End in Mind." This is very similar to what Thomas Merton conveys when he says, "Your life is shaped by the end you live for."

Here is an exercise for you and I promise if you do it it will help to live everyday fully and with purpose.

Begin with the end in mind:
Imagine you were going to a funeral home for a viewing. You walk down the aisle and approach the casket to pay your respects only to discover it is you in the casket.

Now, who would be present at your viewing? What would they be saying about your life?

What would be your life's story? Who would be willing and able to share and speak about your life at the funeral?

Take a few moments and think about who you would like to contribute to your life story and what would you want them to be able to say about your life?

When you do this exercise it will help to provide you with and idea of how you ought to be living each day.

Identify the key words that keeping showing up in your statements. In them you will find a mission statement for your lives and your personal values that drive you toward mission.

In the second chapter of Crazy Love we discussed the fact that our lives on earth are but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. So, if we follow the same train of thought as Merton and Covey we would recognize the significance of the here and now. So, the challenge is to determine what the end is that we will live for today. I suggest that Jesus is that end. Here is why; before we were ever born He knew us, we were created by, through, and for Him, and in while we are alive He sustains us, and on that day when we cross over into eternity we will rerun to Him, Jesus. See the scripture below.

Colossians 1:16-20 (New International Version)

16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once we choose what the end is that we live for we will need a way to keep us focused on that end. Here is one way that came from the Crazy Love discussion questions Wednesday night:

Without going to extremes, what's something you could keep on your key chain, or saved on your iPod or stored in your cell phone to keep yourself aware that our life is truly a vapor?

Who do you know that lives their lives as if each day is his or her last? What is this person's effect on people around him or her? Does living that way make him or her seem, well, different? Why?

Well I think that about covers it. I hope you have a great weekend. Don't forget to share your, thoughts, questions, and experiences with me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Absolute Surrender

Absolute Surrender

Romans 12:1 (New International Version)
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

Absolute surrender: These are two words that I struggle with and yet they are exactly what God wants for me and you. In the passage of scripture above Paul is writing to the Romans to inform them that in light of what they have heard and seen absolute surrender is the next step in their relationship with Christ.

In essence here is what Paul is saying:

Therefore, in view of God’s mercy- There are 11 chapters that precede chapter 12. That is the obvious and easiest thing to notice. If you were to take time to read the 11 chapters first you would see and understand the sinful condition of man met with the redeeming grace of God. This is what Paul wants us to understand today. In view of God’s mercy towards you remember all that God has given to you through Jesus Christ. If nothing else, He has saved you from sin, restored you to Himself, and He has given you every spiritual blessing in Christ. The motivation for surrender comes from our understanding of God’s mercy towards us.

Paul then charges the Roman believers and us today to present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice. This is really what God wants. He is not interested in our church attendance, our service, our morality as a means to earn spiritual brownie points. He is not interested in just the parts of our lives that we want to surrender. He is interested in having a whole relationship with us. After all, He gave the supreme sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ to restore our broken relationship with Him. The question is: Are we willing to absolutely trust God with every aspect of our lives and surrender to Him completely? When we finally resolve to absolutely surrender to God, He, in turn begins to reveal to us what abundant life in Him really is. The presentation of our lives to God is the act of absolute surrender.

In conclusion, we see that the act of absolute surrender to God is received by Him as something holy and acceptable. This act, in view of what God has richly provided for us, is our reasonable, or the most logical response to God and this is worship. So, if we are really hungry and seeking an intimate relationship with Jesus the step to take and the doorway to walk through is absolute surrender.

On Your Mark

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

Philippians 3:8-11, 13,14 KJV
8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

In this chapter of Philippians Paul is encouraging the believers to place their confidence in Christ and not in their flesh. The reason behind his encouragement was there were some among them who were trying to follow and fulfill the law through circumcision. Paul then share reasons why he could have confidence in himself and while doing so compares all of his prior experiences as dung compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.

I titled this series of thoughts, “On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!” because one of the best purposes for fasting and prayer is to know Christ more intimately. To achieve intimacy with Christ we must empty our flesh of anything and everything that hinders our relationship with Jesus. The biggest question many of us may have is “On Your Mark, Get Set, Go” for what, or where? This answer is summed up by what Paul says in verses 13 and 14 of the passage above. I will paraphrase it in my own words. Forget that you may have reasons to be confident in yourself. Forget the good, bad, and ugly experiences that have brought you to this place in your relationship with Christ. Stretch yourself by pursuing Christ passionately today. Allow yourself to be conformed into the image of the one who created you. Let your eternal destiny pull you forward. Press, apply pressure to your flesh, strain to resist it but nonetheless press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. So, are you ready to forget and press on toward the mark of knowing Christ more intimately? If your answer to the question above is yes, then take your place on the starting line of a new day. Here it comes. “On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!” toward Him today with all your heart.

Come to Church or Go to Hell??????????

Come to Church or Go to Hell?

Catchy title huh? Did it get your attention?

When you read the title what was the first thought that came to your mind? Oh no, not another one of those preachy emails. At this point, I welcome any kind of response; passion, anger, love, motivation, sarcasm, rebuttal, criticism, questions, answers, solutions, or something!

If you stop and think about it, we work really hard to get people to come to church, instead of simply taking Jesus where they are. I know our intentions are good. None of us desires that anyone experiences the eternal reality of hell. Most of our efforts, resources, and programming are aimed at trying to get those who are lost to come hear our message of hope. I am not saying we need to abandon this. I am saying we have got to get beyond this being the primary means to reach people. I am not saying we need to abandon corporate gatherings either because I believe they are equally important and significant. I am saying we should take the transforming presence of Christ beyond the walls to the marketplace and our neighborhoods. If we are unwilling to do this then in reality we are with our inaction saying to the people Christ died for, you don’t matter to us –in other words it’s ok for you to “Go to hell.” Some might say, It’s not my responsibility to reach the lost it’s the churches. Wrong answer! We are Christ’s ambassadors. Christ is making His appeal through us to a lost and dying world.

If all our efforts to create a place for people to hear good news are not producing the fruits of salvation and life transformation we need to ask the questions: why not, what could be done differently, how can we connect with and reach lost people? If we don’t understand the goal of our efforts we need to clarify it so we can achieve it. The goal is not to get people to church. The goal is to introduce people to Jesus and help them to grow in relationship with Him. While we do better than most when it comes to conversions we can not be satisfied with it. Normal or average is not a sufficient standard to live up to. We should seek to plunder hell and populate heaven. Individually and collectively we should live and represent Christ to our community in such a way that we make it hard to get to hell from Carteret County.

Are the communities that you and I live in closer to being transformed by the presence of Jesus through us or unaffected by the presence of Jesus in us? From an outreach and evangelism perspective my hope is to inspire us to live as a corporate body of believers in such a way that if the doors to our church closed tomorrow the County would have reason to mourn. This will not happen without you and me partnering with God to take Christ to the community instead of expecting the community to come to Christ within our four walls.

From a scriptural standpoint we could say people came to where Jesus was to hear Him speak and experience His wonder working power. The four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John support this claim. However, the people didn’t come to the temple or synagogue to receive from Jesus. Jesus, the Head of the body, the church, came to dwell among them. The church went to where the people were not the other way around. In all of Jesus exhortations to His disciples dealing with preaching and declaring the Kingdom of God he never told them to invite people to come, He instructed them to GO! In Luke 10:1-3 Jesus sends out His disciples out to gather the harvest. 1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out two by two ahead of Him to every town and place that He was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” The harvest fields in our community are white and ripe unto harvest, but the laborers are few. I have prayed and asked the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers. Will you be the answer He uses to meet this need?

If you recall the parable of the Prodigal Son, the older brother—the good son—gets upset at his father for making such a big deal about the prodigal son—the black sheep of the family—returning home. If, as disciples, we are engaged in going out to the fields waiting to be harvested—made up of people all around us every day—and actually harvesting people we would have less time for arguing and pointing fingers, and more pleasure in celebrating lost people returning to the Father. We have to be careful not to develop an indifferent and apathetic attitude because more people aren’t coming to church and attendance isn’t growing. If we come under the subtle influence of that mindset we will justify ourselves and condemn others. We will say things like we are doing everything we can to possibly reach our community and we can’t help it if they don’t come. This excuse just will not do! We as believers must awaken to the fact that individually and collectively we are God’s method to reach and disciple others. People are dying to know Him and you are alive to introduce them to Him. How about this, invite your neighbors or a co-worker out for coffee or ice cream. Have them over for a meal. Go out on the boat. Go to the beach. Find ways to just be a good neighbor and love them where they are. Make it a priority to get to know them. Listen to them and find out what they are about and find natural connecting points to build a relationship with them. Before people care what, or who you know, they want to know that you genuinely care for them.

So what will it be? Will we continue to expect people to just show up at our services with the hopes of them coming to Christ? Or will we take Christ to the community? Will we use our small groups to take Christ to neighborhoods? Will we convert our homes and use them as ministry centers to reach our neighborhood? Will we use board rooms, restaurants and coffee house to take Christ into the marketplace?

How many ways can you think of to build bridges to the lost? Who are the people you want to reach? What are their names? If you get me the names of those you want to see come to Christ we will corporately pray over every one of them. If you bring pictures we will find ways to post them so people can pray in agreement with you.

We can do this! We can overcome every obstacle and excuse to be all God, our Father, created us to be and do! God has faith in us, if you can believe that! He entrusted His son Jesus to us! He has given us His spirit to empower us! Come on, believe again! Have faith! Let’s advance Christ’s mission with all that is within us and expect certain victory!

I can’t wait until the buzz around places you and I live is all about the incredible ways God is moving and transforming lives and our community. I long the church to once again be a shinning beacon of hope, healing, and restoration to all in need of a Savior. My heart will explode with joy when I start hearing comments; what is going on with the churches in our community? Something is going on out there and you have to tell us what it is. Or people saying, we are so thankful for the positive contribution your church family makes in our community. Or, I don’t know what we would have done with out your church’s help. If this fills my heart with joy can you imagine how it makes our Father feel. So, rather than having the Come to Church or Go to Hell debate let’s just adopt a beyond the walls mentality and take the message of Christ to every nook and cranny of our community.
Nominal Christians

I am writing to you today to share with you my passion and desire for each of you to know and live in abiding and deep love relationship with Christ. My prayer for you is that you continue to grow passionate and hungry for a fresh work of God’s spirit in your lives. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can ever compare to knowing Him!

My heart and spirit continues to be both burdened and grieved by the overall condition of the church in our culture. Lest we get lost in the big picture, the church and its current condition is, but a reflection of the individuals that profess Christ and attend churches throughout the US. That means you and me! We all are a part of a bigger picture and ultimately the plan of God.

You and I may not be able to transform the world, but we can allow God to work in our lives to transform us. Then, we are empowered through change to bring change and transformation to where we live.

I am passionate about advancing the Kingdom of God, and expanding Kingdom influence for the purpose of reaching lost souls and making disciples. You and I are alive in God to reach people and expand the Kingdom. Everything we learn and experience in life is for the express purpose of reaching people and transforming lives.

However, in many cases throughout our culture in the West, and right here in our own back yard, the church and Christianity for that matter is becoming secularized and nominal in its form and influence. Are you at risk of becoming a nominal Christian? Read the following exert from “The High Impact Church” written by, Linus Morris and you make the determination.

What Is A Nominal Christian?

“The nominal Christian maintains a formal relationship with the church but it is not appreciably affected by the gospel. Nominality implies a gap between an associated identity (through church attendance) and actual commitment (through faith and practice). Nominal Christians—consciously or unconsciously—ignore and rationalize biblical principles and imperatives. They are deficient in terms of biblical knowledge, faith and devotional practice, and fail to apply Christianity to daily life.

There are at least five types of nominal Christians. Those who:

1. Attend church faithfully, but do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. Attend church regularly, but for cultural reasons.
3. Attend church for only major church festivals (Christmas, Easter, etc.) and ceremonies (Weddings, Baptisms, Funerals).
4. Hardly ever attend church, but maintain a church relationship for security, emotional family ties, or tradition.
5. Never attend a specific church, yet, in a traditional sense, consider themselves believers in God.

The definitive factor in nominality is the absence of an abiding personal relationship with Jesus Christ evidenced by faith and obedience. The beliefs, values and behavior of nominal Christians can not be distinguished from cultural norms. In reality they are secularist with a veneer of Christianity. Their belief in God makes little difference in their day-to-day decisions. They perceive the world (and their lives) in terms of the here and now.
Even when secular Christians make decisions based on moral values, they do not comprehend morality as stemming from God or being empowered by God. Nominal Christians bask in the notion of a loving, comforting God who helps them during difficult times. They may go to church occasionally, but the biblical principles of repentance, commitment, and lifelong surrender are not included in their concept of faith in God.

Nominality is widespread in the entire West but particularly in Europe where most people could be classified as secular or nominal Christians. The number of faithful, active Christians is dwindling, and the gap is widening between affiliation and active attendance.”
Will the church in our culture continue down this path of nominality? Will we as individuals and collectively as a church go with the cultural flow, or will we rise up and forcefully advance the Kingdom of God? It begins with you and me. It begins with our personal relationship with Christ. At all cost, we must pursue Him, His kingdom, and make him known to those we love, care, and are around in our day-to-day lives.

Having the Guts to Care

Having the Guts to Care
Matthew 10:1-15 & Luke 10:1-16

In both of the passages given above Jesus is giving instructions to his followers. If you look at the heading of each of these sections it may read something like this. In Matthew mine reads The Twelve Disciples; Instructions for Service and in Luke it reads The Seventy Sent Out. Notice in Matthew’s account Jesus was giving instructions to the Twelve and Luke’s account he is giving the same instructions to the twelve again but also to the fifty-eight additional followers. Jesus reminded the twelve of the mission and equipped the others with the same message. He is doing it today. Do you hear Him? Will you receive from Him the power to go and do the work of the mission?

The only major difference between the two accounts is what Jesus said in Luke 10:2 “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Beseech means to beg for urgently or anxiously; to request earnestly: to implore. This has been my position and prayer for years and as we approach our Friends & Family Community Outreach weekend I urgently and anxiously implore you to pray the same and at the same time respond by becoming a laborer in the field of harvest. You see God is not in short supply of lost souls to reach and harvest. He is short on laborers whom He has called and equipped for such a time as this. Again, I ask, will you partner with God by investing yourself in the lives of others? Will you position yourself to love and serve those next door to you, at work, or most importantly among your own family? The relationships around you in your day to day life make up the field of harvest which the Lord of the harvest calls you to. Love and service is the best way to demonstrate and communicate the gospel message to those you care about.

I know many of us are busy these days. However, if we took the time to look at the life of Jesus we could easily determine that he was extremely busy as well. In Matthew 9:35 it say’s, “Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” Consider this; the area in which Jesus ministered was 40 miles wide and 70 miles long about the size of Puerto Rico . It has also been documented that there were at least some 200 cities with and estimated population of 15,000 each. This means that Jesus was ministering to close to 3 million people in His day. Now that is busy! So, in the midst of our business we can take heart and know that Jesus can identify and relate to our hectic world and chaotic schedules. However, my business affects me differently than business affected Jesus. My business causes me to be so self consumed to the point that I don’t have the time or emotional energy to love, care, or serve others in my spiritual field of harvest. How about you? If you read Matthew 9:36 you will see the driving force behind Jesus’ ministry and mission. It say’s this, “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them.” Two things to notice before I move on; first He had to see the people. I am not just talking noticing that people were there and possibly even in His way. In His seeing them He saw the image in which they were created. He identified with them. He saw that they were like sheep without a shepherd or maybe like children without a Father. He possibly saw the effects of sin and wayward living. He saw the sickness and disease that was robbing people of a life of health and fullness. Second, in seeing, Jesus was moved or felt compassion for them. I’m not talking about a form of superficial compassion that made Him feel sorry for the people in His path. I am talking about a deep emotion that generated swift spontaneous reaction that produced and intentional action; He healed their diseases and sicknesses. We have been empowered and equipped to do the same.

I titled this writing “Having the Guts to Care.” I will conclude with these final thoughts. The word compassion found in the above scripture has a much deeper meaning than most would catch by simply reading the scripture. The word for compassion literally means bowels. I discovered this in the book titled “Organic Church . "Neil Cole writes, “There is a good reason for using this descriptive word. When you really feel emotional, where do you feel it? Not in your heart, but in your gut. We don’t get butterflies in our heart; we get them in our stomach… So when Jesus saw all the people, His breath was taken away. He was hit in His solar plexus. He was bent over in discomfort.”

“Most of us are surrounded daily by people who do not have Christ, yet we walk through life without feeling it in our gut. Why? Because we don’t see them the way Jesus does. But we can.”

“The Bible reveals why He felt compassion for them. It is because He saw them distressed and downcast. The two words distressed and downcast are also highly descriptive. They are violent words. Distressed can be translated as ‘harassed,’ or even as ‘molested.’ The word downcast is a wrestling term that can be translated as ‘pinned down by force.’”

“Imagine how different church, and ultimately our world, would be if we all began to look past the calloused exterior of sinners and saw them as they truly are: harassed, molested, and violently pinned down by a wicked brute. As we begin to see past surfaces to the true state of people’s souls, we become people of compassion like Jesus.”

So, do you have the guts to care? You can! As a church we are providing you with opportunities to get involved with what God is doing and what He cares about. We do so by providing you with opportunities to reach out to those in your day to day field of harvest to invite and bring them into environments filled with love and grace. Week in and week out there are a variety of places to bring people into such as your small group, connection events, and celebration services. In addition we create strategic events like Friends & Family Weekend, Trunk or Treat, Christmas & Easter musical productions, etc…

In conclusion, reread the scriptures provided in this writing and look at the ways and means in which God equips and empowers you for the harvest. Pray and ask God to help you see the people in your field. Ask Him to flood your soul with breath taking compassion. Then respond however God leads you to.

God-Centric Worship

God-Centric Worship

What do I mean by God-centric worship? It simply means that God is the central focus of our worship. As a result, my mind, emotions, body, and spirit are fully engaged in praise, adoration, and worship of our great God.

Several years back I read a book by George Barna titled, Revolution. George Barna is a Christian pollster who focuses his research solely on the church. In the book he compares and contrasts the first century church found in Acts 2 (Acts 2:42-47) with the twenty-first century church found in our culture today. The first thing his research reports, as it relates to Acts 2 kind of worship, is that the large majority of those surveyed said that their primary worship experience, and often their only worship experience, is on Sunday mornings during the corporate celebration services. The next thing he asked related to encountering the presence of Jesus in their day to day personal worship and then the weekly gathering. To my amazement and shock the large majority stated that they had not encountered the presence of Jesus individually or in the corporate settings in any consistent manner. Some stated that it could have been a year or two, if my memory serves me well, since they encountered the presence of Christ.

Does that shock you? Is it true of your daily personal worship of God?

What about our corporate gatherings, do you sense the presence of God in our services? I know I just opened a huge can of worms, but I really want to know the truth.

Did you know that both our individual and collective worship encounters depend on us individually and not the pastors, worship leader, musicians, singers, style of music, song selection, and length of the music portion of the worship service?

Did you know that the level of Christ’s manifest presence is determined by our own individual preparation for the corporate worship celebration and the proportionate level of love and unity shared among the people of God?

In many cases worship has been reduced to a performance and entertainment or into persuasive coercion. What is in the middle? The Center! Where should God be in our worship? The Center! Who or what is the object of our affection, the music, the musician, the singer, the style, or the song? Or is it God and God alone? What if one of our primary objectives of corporate worship became to fill the atmosphere with our praises, like burning incense, becoming a fragrant offering of love for our awesome God? What if we, through our passionate worship moved the heart of God to the extent that He felt like a welcomed part of the family and not an uninvited guest?

One of the questions Barna’s research left me with is has the church in our culture become accustomed to services without the presence of Christ to the extent that we don’t know the difference anymore? Another question; is Christ standing at the door on the outside of the church—His church, our services and ministry knocking and waiting to be invited in to what is rightly His? If you look at Revelation 3:20 it say’s, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.” I have heard that scripture used for salvation calls but the way I read it Jesus is talking to His church in Laodicea. In other words the church in Laodicea, in its prosperity became lukewarm. Jesus is calling the church back to Himself. I feel this is true of the church in our culture as well. The church in the west (USA) has experienced such prosperity and has done so many good deeds to the world that it thinks and feels as if she needs nothing. We need an awakening before we are spit out of God’s mouth. We need wholesale corporate repentance from our spiritual pride and arrogance. We need to remember the height from which we have fallen and to return to our first love. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

It is as if we, those who lead the service, have to entertain people into the presence of God or compel and exhort people to come into Gods presence. Honestly, it makes me sick to think we have to do or would do either to motivate people to genuinely worship God. He is worthy! He deserves our very best offerings of love and sacrifices of praise. Isn’t the supreme sacrifice He made good enough to stimulate and extrapolate worship from us almost effortlessly? Some say we just entertain, while others say we manipulate. Most people fall into one of the two camps. However both tongues would be silenced if we pushed all of our preferences, judgments, and the like aside and simply allow God to become the central focal point and recipient of our worship.

Time is another thing I wrestle with as it relates to God-centric worship gatherings. I am not talking about the length of the music portion of the service. I am talking about when worship starts. Our services start at 10 am and 6:45 pm. In many cases we wait for services to start before we began to worship and encounter Christ and Christ encounters us. Wouldn’t it be awesome, after we have taken time to greet one another and welcome friends and guest, that we turn our attention to God and begin seeking Him in prayer and worshiping Him in praise and thanksgiving. Or what if we took the time before coming to service to begin magnifying God and seeing Him as our great big, mighty and awesome God? I wonder what that would do to increase our faith, expectancy, and anticipation of what God might do among us. I am totally convinced that the reality of Gods presence would burn brilliantly among us if we individually came prepared (having faith and expectancy) for corporate worship celebrations.

How about expressions of worship, do we all have to express worship to God the same way for it to be received by Him as genuine worship? There are so many different ways to express worship; singing, contemplation, prayer, musical instruments, dancing, jumping, shouting, clapping hands, lying prostrate, raising of hands, on bent knees, reading of scripture, and partaking of Communion. There may be more but I can’t think of any off the top my head. In John 4:23-24 Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well this, “23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” I share this scripture because I think that the way we express our worship to God is not as important as the spirit in which we worship Him. God is not looking for mindless, spineless worshipers; He is looking for people who will worship in spirit and in truth. So I encourage you to be free in your worship as long as it is true of you! Study the scripture as it pertains to worship and praise. As God enlightens you about worship through His word then obey Him with all you have and give Him the wholehearted worship He deserves.

Below is a popular worship song we sing called, “The Heart of Worship.” I wonder, how might it transform our individual and collective intimate worship of God if it were to become a reality in all who sing it? My prayer today is that we all come back to the heart of worship; where it is ALL ABOUT HIM!

Heart of Worship by Matt Redman

When the music fades and all is stripped away and I simply come
Longing just to bring something that's of worth that will bless Your heart

I'll bring You more than a song, for a song in itself, is not what You have required
You search much deeper within through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart

I'm coming back to the heart of worship. And it's all about You, all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the things I've made it. When it's all about You, all about You, Jesus

King of endless worth, no one could express how much You deserve
Though I'm weak and poor, all I have is Yours, every single breath

I'm coming back to the heart of worship. And it's all about You, all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the things I've made it. When it's all about You, all about You, Jesus



Faith is stepping out on nothing and finding something. The exciting thing is that the faith you are exercising requires God's involvement. When Peter stepped out from the security and confinement of the boat he experienced a taste of his divine potential. Often times we look at his failure and forget that he actually walked on water. Understanding the relationship between the Rabbi and Disciple will help you connect with Peter’s response to Jesus. When Peter's Rabbi, Jesus, called Peter to follow him Jesus was saying to him, I see the potential in you to become just like me and to do the things that I do. This is why when Peter saw Jesus walking out to them on the water Peter asked, bid I come to you? Jesus said come and Peter simply responded to Jesus' belief in him to do the things He was doing at that moment. Your Rabbi, Jesus, is saying to you, I believe in you. You have the potential to become just like me. You can do the things I do. Be encouraged and have a great day!