Exodus 23:15 ends the verse with this command: “No one is to appear before me empty-handed.” In 2 Corinthians 8:2-6 we see that the Macedonian church gave out of their “extreme poverty” They gave, “as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.” Then in verse 7, “But just as you excel in everything…see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” Yesterday, I wrote about how rich most of us are! With those riches come responsibility. Are we willing to truly surrender all that we are and all that we have to the LORD? Will we not just give out of our abundance, but also in sacrifice like the Macedonian church? I will end with a question our pastor asked, “Who or what does my wallet/purse say that I worship?”
Archive for the 'worship' Category
Isaiah 40:12 says, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?”
As I read this verse, it reminded me of Francis Chan’s video about being in awe of God from his book Crazy Love. By blog today is short…watch the video after reading this verse. Think about how all the universe is measured by the breadth (width) of God’s hand. One hand width is the entire known and unknown span of the galaxies! Then sit back and be in awe of our Awesome God!
Sometimes in ministry, it seems as if all is going great! GOD is working beside you and accomplishing great things through you! Those are the Great Moments! Those moments are when hundreds of people pack the altars asking God to forgive them and take over their lives! Those are the moments when you lay hands on a cripple or even a dead person and they get up and walk! Those moments when you are seated next to someone on the plane and before you touch down there is a new name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life! So what about the other times? Those moments when our spiritual walk with GOD seems stagnant? What about when we don’t even feel like reading God’s Word and even praying over meals seems like a forced exercise instead of time spent with our best friend? As is clear from my taking some months off from writing on this blog, I just went through a time where my passion for ministry if not even my passion for the Lord was in a very low place. The great thing I learned is that GOD is the same in both places! HE still walked beside me each day even when I didn’t pick up the Bible to start my morning. HE still wanted to spend time with me. That was incredible! So, enjoy those GREAT MOMENTS, but realize that GOD is the same even in the not so great moments.
Yesterday, I had a chance to see just a little bit of what the party in heaven must be like when someone comes to the Lord! NewSpring Church had a 10th anniversary celebration at the BiLo Center in Greenville, SC. Just being able to praise an ALL POWERFUL GOD along with 15,000 or so other people was incredible. The great thing was the altar call…over 350 people came forward to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior! The service was about 2 1/2 hours long and could have gone longer! During the altar call people clapped and cheered for those who were laying their lives down to let Christ take control of their destiny! For 15 minutes, 15,000 people were in unison praying for those down by the stage. For 15 minutes, there were no problems, no divorces, no debt, no tax issues, no kid problems or parent problems! For 15 minutes of Glory, people stood and cheered for the ALMIGHTY GOD who was GREAT enough to reach down and save not only those who walked forward but each of us who were cheering as well. We are ALL broken vessels saved by a LOVING GOD who cared enough to make a way for us to find HIM through HIS SON JESUS CHRIST! That was 15 minutes of GLORY!
This morning, I had my usual spot on Monday and Wednesday mornings. In a seat in chapel at North Greenville University. As with any institution that has chapel services, some services are better than others. This morning’s speaker was a guy named Dr. David Garrison. Don’t let the “Dr.” fool you. He was very in touch with his audience and with the message the Lord had laid on his heart. His text for the message was Habakkuk 1:5 “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” The stories of what God is doing in traditionally tough mission fields were incredible! God is doing amazing things around the world in ‘our days’ that seem to defy reason. Missionaries in muslim and hindu nations reporting hundreds of thousands of people accepting Jesus as their Lord and savior! I see God working here in the USA on a regular basis. We however usually don’t face being beaten or killed for our faith when we tell someone about Jesus. These men did face that, and GOD showed that HE isn’t scared! HE can overcome any obstacle! And HE is doing things that utterly amaze us! He is doing them in our day! And they are things that seem almost impossible! Praise the LORD!
Yesterday, the music was good, the sermon was well preached, but the amazing thing was the altar call. Some of you come from churches where it is very normal to see most of the congregation go forward at the end of almost every service. We aren’t one of those churches. It was amazing! Not sure exactly how many salvations we had in the mix as some were coming forward for salvation, others for re-dedication and others just to deal with something in their life. It was incredible to see the altar(Actually, we don’t have an altar, but the area up in front of the platform in the theater) so full of people that there were people in the isles! Just wanted to share a great day with you all! God was moving in some incredible ways!
Odd title? The idea of us doing anything to God seems ludicrous? For some reason, it is human nature to try to put God in a box. So how big is the box you put him in? Does your God simply watch while the world spins, but not get involved? Does he subtly guide you, but doesn’t do anything too big? Or is your God such an overwhelming part of your life that your whole being is consumed with pleasing HIM? Is HE able to bust your box open? Does HE heal the sick? Does HE raise the dead? Does HE send fire from heaven to consume your enemies? Does HE guide your every move? Does HE speak to you? Does HE save people from lives of sin? Or even that neighbor next door? Can you let God have a bigger box? Can you open the box you keep HIM in and let HIM out completely? If HE calls you to be a missionary, will you go? What about talking to the waitress about HIM? Will you give all you own away and trust HIM to take care of you? Our God is an awesome GOD! HE is the God above ALL gods, HE is the KING above ALL kings! HE can do absolutely anything! Yet, Jesus told us that HE was unable to do more than heal a few sick people because of the people’s lack of faith. When we keep God in a box, that is our lack of faith. So how big is the box you put God in?
Trying something new can be really scary. It is easy to just keep going in the paths that we and so many others have been traveling. It is easy to cruise down I85 at 65 miles an hour in your car…not so easy to take off hiking accross the mountains without even a trail to follow! As I hope you know, (Or my marketing really isn’t working!) I published a book last week. For some of you, you have published many books and have a publisher to work with. I decided after religiously reading Michael Hyatt’s blog that I would self publish. (He is the CEO of Thomas Nelson Inc. who publish some amazing books in the Christian literature world!) So off I go without a publisher paving the road for me. Can I tell you that my total revenue from book sales is almost challenging that of John Grisham now…well I could tell you that, but it would be a huge lie! Is it worth it to blaze a new trail instead of going with the well known path. I can’t tell you yet, but I can say that it has been exciting trying and I am in no way tempted to fall asleep at the wheel. Stepping out and trying something new is scary, but it does bring back excitement!
If you are a church leader, try something brand new! It may fail miserably, but just doing something different will create excitement in the church. In some churches that might just mean moving the piano to the other side of the platform. (Careful, you may find that the argument over church carpet color was all in vain when you see under the piano.) Get rid of the choir one Sunday…just have the worship leader on a stool by himself. Or…add a choir if you don’t usually have one. Do the song service at the end of the service. Have service outside in the parking lot. Take a “church family vacation”! (Actually did that last one once…and it was great! We shut the doors of the church one weekend and the whole church left on Friday night in busses…we went to Dallas, had a blast and Sunday morning went to T.D. Jakes church, The Potter’s House.) Doing something different creates a buzz and gets people up out of their pew, chair, theater seat, bench or whatever they sit on in your church. Do something Scary!
This morning, I rode the motorcycle to work. One of the benefits of doing so that is different from all the normal ones you hear about is that there is no stereo. Yes, I realize that some higher end bikes have systems in them, but mine is a cheap 500 Kawasaki Ninja with no frills. So why is a lack of stereo a benefit? It gives me some great time to pray! God and I can talk uninterruptedly through my commute to work! It is great! Yes, I know I can just turn the radio off in my truck and do the same thing, but there is something about riding a motorcycle that just puts you in the mood to pray. From what I hear, bike riding atheists even pray from time to time. There were no near death experiences, it was just a beautiful ride down the country lanes I commute on. Somehow, God’s creation seemed even more beautiful from the bike seat vantage point. It just seemed natural to talk with Him and thank Him for all that He does in my life and all that He is! God is awesome and He makes a great riding buddy! Next time you are out for a ride, try riding with God. (And if you don’t have a motorcycle, I am sorry, but you might just have to make do with turning off the radio in your car or truck.)
Last night, we celebrated the Lord’s Supper at church. That in and of itself is always an amazing event as we remember the sacrifice that Jesus made of Himself for us. This one was special. Almost all of the 100+ people in attendance had spent the day fasting for our egg drop event that is coming up on Saturday. Having over a hundred people, who have spent the day praying, come together for a time of worship and sharing in communion was an incredible way to break the fast! The idea of corporate fasting is honestly new to me. I am sure many other churches have times when they fast. The Roman Catholics give up stuff for Lent which is sort of like fasting. But having a large crowd of people who show up ready to worship the Lord, and who are already focused on God made the worship time something extra special last night. Hopefully this encourages you!