May 3, 2012 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Spiritual Check Up

 

Because going to the dentist is not my favorite thing to do and honestly I can’t afford it, I hardly ever go.  Years ago I was told that I was on the verge of having cavities and I never had them looked at again.  Today I finally visited the dentist to get some work done. By the end of the visit I was humbled by the fact that I actually need quite a bit of work done.  Now I am left wondering how I can get everything fixed on our budget. Had I simply gotten those things taken care of when they were first identified years ago I would not be in this position.

I think the Christian life is a lot like that.  At times in our lives a flaw or sin is brought to our attention. Sometimes by a message, sometimes by a friend, sometimes it may even be a spouse or family member.  Regardless of how our sin becomes exposed there is something very important that must happen.  It must be confessed and addressed.  If it is not taken care of it will begin to decay our lives and the problem grows and grows until serious and painful procedures need to take place in order to clean it up.  If only we would take care of business as it is presented to us.

I think of the Psalmist David when he prayed “Search me oh God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:24-25 ESV

In a sense he is getting a spiritual dental check-up.  He is asking God to examine his heart and his life.  We too must ask him to reveal any grievous parts of our hearts and lives.  God wants us to deal with sin when it arises.  If we don’t…you will have to pay. You will experience more pain, more discomfort, and more anxiety.  Even then, you can turn things around.  But it is much, much easier if you take care of it early on.

For me…I still have to get some work done, physically & spiritually.  How about you?

Worship ages Part 1


I ran into a worship leader the other day that said he allows anyone who wants to sing on stage as part of their worship team to do so. There are no age limits. There is no one too young and there is no one too old. I asked him “Do they get their own microphone?” to which he said “yes”. Wow, I was completely blown away. We are so strategic and a bit protective with who can be on our stage. We have a general rule that no one younger than 16 can even audition for the team.
As I think about our conversation a little more I wonder what our worship teams are telling those in the audience. Am I creating an atmosphere that looks down on youth or even an older generation? Do they think that God does not want to use them because I do not use them on a Sunday morning?  This is something that I am wrestling with.  Is there something Biblical about the image our churches try to display.

Sure we want to be attractive to a lost world but at what cost?  Let me be very clear.  I am not pointing at any particular church.  I am simply thinking about this issue because of my interactions this past week.  There are many different models of worship.  There is the choir, there is the praise team, the orchestra, the band leading model etc.  These are preferences and there is nothing right or wrong about any of these models.

I think one of the biggest reasons why I personally put a limit on ages is because on one end of the spectrum we want to be  profesional and that takes a certain level of maturity.  On the other hand most of the music we do is not what older folks sing or even like.  Hence the focus of our worship.

I would love to hear what your church’s practice is regarding the ages of people on stage.  Do you think it’s a good thing?  Do you think it’s a bad thing?  Why? Why not?

Apr 3, 2012 - The Bible    No Comments

The Law of the LORD

Over the years I have come to see that the old phrase “Obedience brings blessing, disobedience brings consequences” really does rings true.  It is actually a Biblical principal but the thing that often gets left out of the discussion is that God’s Law’s actually bring joy.

When I think of the word “Law” my simple mind turns to the show “Cops”.  I think of a bunch of guys getting chased for breaking the law.  I think of foolishness.  For most of us we probably  think of all the things we cannot do or are not allowed to do.

Maybe this will help to change your perspective a little bit.  Our familie’s house in Delaware was on a cul-de-sac.  When our oldest son began to ride his bicycle we laid down some boundaries to where he could and could not ride.  He pointed out that he could not ride further than a few houses down.  It wasn’t to steal his joy.  It wasn’t to be mean.  It was for his own safety.  We knew that for him to enjoy his riding he needed to stay within a certain radius.  Within that radius he would find the most joy riding.  If he strayed from these boundaries there would be dangerous things that I know would steal his joy.  Cars, trucks, busy roads, etc.

You see God is the same way.  His law was created to keep us within the radius we would find the greatest  joy.  It isn’t that God is trying to steal our joy any more than I was trying to steal my own kids’ joy.  He knows that beyond the boundaries of His law we will run into pain and sorrow.  We have an enemy that is trying to steal and destroy us.  There is nothing he wants more than to get us to move beyond our boundaries and once we do, we are out of God’s safety zone.  This is where we find the majority of our consequences.

As we go about our days let us remember that our heavenly has great plans for us if we will only learn to live within the bounds of his law.  I love what the message says in Psalm 19 Check it out.

7 The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.8 The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.9 God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.

10 God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds. You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries.

11 There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure.12 Otherwise how will we find our way? Or know when we play the fool?

Nov 9, 2011 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Book Plug

Normally I don’t plug a lot of books but I have been reading the book Walking With God by John Eldredge.  I have to admit that I although I love reading I tend to read buffet style. I go through and pick all the books I want, I read part of it and then want to try a book of another flavor.  I don’t always eat all of the food on my tray.

I picked the book up about a year ago and started it.  It had a good taste to it but really wasn’t what I was craving.  I put it aside.  Last night I picked it up again and instead of being stale after sitting out so long, it was delicious. I read a huge chunk of it before heading to bed.

In the book John talks about how God wants to be so involved with our every day lives.  Every choice we make, every act we do, every place we go.  He literally asks “Lord do you want me to go fishing today?”  And he believes God answers him.  He goes further with this method for reading scripture daily.  I have always been of the school of thought that says you read methodically and you get a plan and God will speak through your Bible reading plan. But, for the sake of trying it, I gave it a try last night and again this morning.

Here’s what it looked like for me this morning.  I began to journal.  I asked God “What do you want to say to me at this moment?”  I even wrote it in my journal as I asked Him.  The response I heard was “Trust me”.  You see, I my anxiety attacks have been pretty hard lately.  So I thought in my head “well of course that’s what you want to say to me” so I must be saying it myself.  Then I asked “Lord, what do you want me to read this morning? What do you want to say to me?”  I honestly heard the thought in my head respond “Mark 4”

So I opened up my Bible and began to read in Mark 4.  This is what I read

35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Are you kidding me?  I asked God what He wanted to say to me and I heard “Trust me.”, then I asked where He wanted me to read and I hear “Mark 4”.  And the passage I read was exactly what I needed and it was all about trusting Him.  Here are some things I took from the passage.

God is Beside us!  God always goes with us. “Let us cross over to the other side”.  Everywhere we go Jesus goes with us.  That gives us the confidence and security we should have.  Jesus never asks us to go anywhere alone.

God goes Before us! In the NLT verse 36 says that  “He was already in the boat…”  Another reminder that Jesus not only is beside us but he goes before us.  There is nothing that Jesus and I will ever experience that He has not already spoken peace into.  There is no storm that I will ever go through that He has not already spoken peace to.

 

I have always known God longs to converse with me but never did I take it literal.  And now…everything is different.

Aug 31, 2011 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Technology…is it worth it? Part 1

Now I know that the title of this blog is pretty much an oxymoron of my ministry and job title but I want to pose this question if I may.  Does the energy, time, and money we put into technology for audiences net the outcome we desire more than a ministry without technology expertise?

Here is what began my thought process.  A few weeks ago my 6 year old was invited to attend a VBS (Vacation Bible School) by our neighbors who attend a small baptist church out in the country here in Iowa.  I was interested in seeing how it was run so I snuck in the back and door and sat in the very last pew.

I watched almost as if I had gone back in time fifteen years.  On the stage was a lady running the over-head projector, sliding it up smoothly so that the children could follow the words.  On the left hand side of the stage was a black puppet stage, you know the kind made of plastic tubing and black cloth.  The songs were accompanied by an organ and/or piano.  The songs were not songs I have heard in years.  But something weird happened.  The kids sang loudly even though there were no lights and no hazers.  There weren’t any cool electric guitars or drums either.  Can you imagine?  I was unaware worship songs could even be sung & played with only an organ.  At one point another lady played along on an accordion….the kids absolutely loved it.

During the puppet show there were all kinds of awkward pauses as the puppeteers passed a microphone back and forth.  The puppet show did have canned music but it was so soft you could hardly hear it.  Yet…somehow in spite of it, it worked.  Puppets….who would have known?  I thought they went out with disco and bell bottom pants.

After VBS ended my son who has been in some of the most technologically savvy  churches in his short six years on the planet and do you know what he had the nerve to ask me?  He said “Daddy, can we go to ______baptist church from now on?? I like it better than our church.”  But, but we have lights!! And, we have a full band for our kids!  We have cool drums and electric guitars and we hardly ever have awkwardness!   Speaking of awkwardness…”No son, we cannot go to that church…daddy is on staff at Sunnybrook and we love it!”

His response: “Well, can mommy and me go and you just go to our church?”

NO!! You are grounded!  Ok not really but this conversation has begun several conversations in my head.  I will address them in part 2. Stay tuned.

 

May 17, 2011 - Church, Life    No Comments

What if?

Almost everyone I come in contact with has heard of the prediction that the rapture of the church will occur this coming Saturday.  As crazy and as messed up as theologians can sometimes be what if it really happens?  If you knew that your life here on earth as you know it was going to end in the next week would you live differently?  Craziness aside….you would.  You might leave your job and spend time with your family and loved ones.  You might go downtown and begin to preach on the corner that “God so loved…” . The fact is that you would change but for the most part it would be too late.

Change now!  Now is the time to put the important things in your life first.  Maybe that begins by a change of your priorities, goals, values etc.  The truth is, that one day Christ will come.  Why not today?  Why not Saturday?  Why not make the change now?! Tomorrow could be too late.

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