Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Thing I've Made It

As I was worshiping this morning on came the song "The Heart of Worship" by Matt Redman.  Listen to these particular lyrics:  "I'm coming back to the heart of worship, and it's all about You.  It's all about You, Jesus.  I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it, when it's all about you.  It's all about you, Jesus."  One line struck me!  "I'm sorry Lord for the THING I've made it."  Wow!  Have I made my worship a THING?  Have you?  What kind of a thing are we capable of making our worship into?  The last question could be answered in many ways, but all that needs to be said is that true worship is not a thing, it is an intimate relationship with the One who created the entire universe.  When our worship becomes a thing, it becomes an idol.

When does our worship become a "thing"?  Listen again to the lyrics: "I'm sorry Lord for the THING I've made it.  When it's ALL about You!"  Our worship becomes a thing when it is no longer ALL about Jesus.  Not just about Him, but ALL about Him and none other. The heart of worship is our object of worship - Jesus.  When worship is all about Jesus, it is true worship. If our worship is about appeasing our conscience it becomes a thing.  If our worship is about how polished our music can be, it has become a thing.  If our worship is about pleasing man, it has become a thing.  But if our worship is ALL about Jesus, we have the heart of worship - Jesus.  Jesus becomes the object of our worship as our relationship with Him deepens.

The heart of our worship is to glorify the object of our worship...nothing and no one else.  We must be very careful that we don't move away from the "heart" of worship. This life is full of attractions and distractions that will draw us away from the heart of worship.  Redman (as he penned the lyrics to this song) apparently realized by the Spirit that He had drifted away from his worship being ALL about Jesus.  This realization compelled Him to move back to the heart of worship...when and where it is ALL about Jesus - no one or no "thing" else.

Coming back to the heart of worship (when it's all about Jesus) is not complicated.  It must start with a keen realization that our worship is ALL about Him, and a deep desire to make it all about Him.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Don't Get Mad At Me! Just Listen!

Occasionally I make a post that gets a person or two a little stirred up.  It is never my intention to make someone mad or to antagonize a few folk with my blog.  However, it is always my intention to share the truth of God's Word as I feel I am led by God's Spirit.  I do understand that not everyone sees things exactly the way I do - thank God!  But my desire is that through this vessel with limited capabilities, and depending on the only One who extends my capabilities with His, everyone can at least see the point and understand my heart.

Here are a few subjects I would love to write on, but don't because they really get people rubbed the wrong way, and who could ever get the true point while they are all worked up at me!  Here we go:  Halloween, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and The Easter Bunny.  (I could name 40 or 50 more!)  Now...I am not afraid to write about these subjects, but it is usually futile, because people are very, very defensive about these subjects.  I feel it is much more effective to address the parents of young children more directly about how they raise their children in general. goes!

Paul writes these words, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4) The last part of this verse is what I want to key on:  "Bring them (your children) up (raise them) in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  Here is a key question I want to pose to Christian parents of young children:  How much of the kingdom of God do you invest DAILY in your children?  The only way to bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, Christian parents, is to daily discipline and instruct your child or children in the things of the Lord.  How often do you teach them from the Bible?  It will not be enough to let the children's church or Sunday school teach your children once or twice a week.  Between these outings, how much of the world is being programmed into them by the TV, internet, videos, cell phones and movies? How about all the "extra-curricular" activities of school?  I'm talking about those things that keep you parents running so furiously you don't even have time discuss the day around the evening dinner table.  I'm not fussing, I am truly concerned. Christian parents, how can your child or children change the world for Jesus, if they are raised being filled with more of the world than of Jesus? To me it just doesn't seem complicated.

Another question:  How much time do you spend DAILY with your children in prayer?  Are they learning to pray and confess the Word of God over and in every situation?  If you are too busy to invest God's kingdom daily in your children, don't expect them to be in love with Jesus.  If they spend more time watching/hearing from a worldly character (good or bad) how can they fall in love with Jesus?  The truth is, if you are investing God into your children, then you truly are walking with Him.  But if your are not, it is evident that your own walk needs some tweaking, and it will directly effect your children!

Listen to me carefully.  Nothing and no one can take the place of daily discipline and instruction in the things of Jesus Christ!  Somewhere along the way many Christian parents have taken up the false idea that kids will be OK with no maintenance until they are grown.  Then...they can learn about God...because they are older and understand more easily.  Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."  (Mark 10:15)  If Jesus uses a little child as an example even for adults, it seems to me that little children are really the most fertile ground of any!

Christian parents, seek God about this.  Your children are you most important responsibility.  They are ripe for the harvest.  Talk to them about Jesus if you haven't.  Lead them to Him.  And then make them your daily ministry to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.   And finally let me say that there are truck loads of tools and helps available today from Christian bookstores to ween your child off of the world and at the same time invest the kingdom of God into them daily. If you need help, seek out someone who is successful in raising their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. I am praying and looking for a new generation of young people who live counter-culturally because they have been raised in the discipline and instruction of the Lord!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Are You Maxing Your Worship?

I was recently pondering the Christ-follower's ability to worship God.  You know, kind of like the brain. Huh? Well what I mean is we use about 10% of our brain. This is a simple (but profound) illustration of the magnificence of God. The creation and function of the human brain is mind-boggling. (No play on words intended.) But it does demonstrate the infinite capabilities of our Creator.

In the same way, you and I were created to function as whole worshipers of God; to bring glory to our Creator. The capabilities are limitless because God created us. But the truth is, like our brain, we probably bump (at the highest) around 10% usage of our worship capability! Why is that? There would be several reasons, but the main reason is we are not yielded to the Holy Spirit - not only for physical worship - but in our existence as His servants.

According to the Scripture, we are supposed to be radical, bold worshipers of our God. Worship should be our life-style, not just something we do periodically. Worship is not a segment of our life - it IS our life. Worship is what we are created to do. When the early believers were baptized in the Holy Spirit, they were compelled out into the streets. The first thing they did after being filled with the Spirit was worship God and proclaim His Word with boldness. The more they worshipped, the more they proclaimed! The more they proclaimed, the more people were drawn to Jesus.

Many of us are seeking success in our methods of worship. We should constantly be pliable and relevant to our culture when it comes to connecting with people. But...the greatest Connector of all times - the Holy Spirit - brings an energy into our lives and our worship that we cannot manufacture. He brings it as HE worships and glorifies Jesus in and through us. Jesus said He would return to the Father, and would send forth the Promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit. He would be the One who takes from Jesus, discloses it to you and me, and ultimately glorifies the Father. Much of our worship is rote, dry, and uninteresting because we are rote, dry, and uninteresting. My suggestion is to seek Him for the fresh fire of His Spirit. He is here on the planet to bring amazing, overwhelming glory to Jesus. He will do it through you and any believer who is hungry for Him. Simply yield to Him. He stands ready to return the fire to you and to your worship. The result is, instead of worshiping at 10% capacity, your ability to worship will be unlimited and contagious, bringing due recognition (glory) to Jesus!! It will spread to others as Jesus intends it to. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Where is Your Heart?

I've always been intrigued by something Jesus said one day. He said "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". I have often pondered that statement. (Actually I've pondered quite a few of His statements!) But this one has really gotten my attention lately. "Where your treasure is - there your heart will be also". What is my treasure? The treasure Jesus was talking about is something like a deposit. A deposit of something extremely valuable to you.

After thinking about this for some time, I believe I can name 3 general deposits we all make every day of our lives: Time, energy, and money. Here's the question: Where are you and I depositing our time, energy, and money? Wherever that is - that is our treasure and there you'll find our hearts.

I really enjoy fishing. I've done a lot of fishing in my life but I haven't been fishing in several years! It's not that I've quit fishing, I have simply found a better depository for my time, energy, and money! Now if any of you want to offer to take me to Steinhatchee to fish the flats for specs I will be MOST OPEN to the invitation! Some people like golf, some movies, some water sports, others music, some jobs, TV, video games, etc. But let me get back to what Jesus said. He said "Where your treasure (deposit of time, energy, and $) is, there your heart will be also.

In order to be effective in serving Jesus He has to have possession of our hearts. I remember growing up hearing the statement "His heart just wasn't in it." It's when a person undertakes a task but their heart just isn't in it. You can do it, but you just don't give it your all. I've heard coaches talk about athletes that are good but have no heart. Many Christ followers are like this. We must be careful that we don't profess to serve Him, but our hearts are far away from Him. Our treasure is deposited in the things of this world.

In Matthew 6: 19 - 21 Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Bottom line: Let's be careful that our treasure (along with our heart) is not stored up in the things that are passing away. What we deposit in heaven today will last forever!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Move of God

(A re-post from Harvest Celebration Ministries a couple of weeks ago.)

One of the passions of my heart over the years has been to see the church stirred up from the inside out.  I still have that passion.  I want to see the lives of God's people literally turned upside down by God Himself.  It has been not only my passion, but my constant prayer. Over a year ago God connected Connie and me to an incredible group of folks who share that same passion...and as a result have been praying for the same. To be able to gather weekly with this group who represents somewhere between 65% and 75% of this church has been most refreshing.  Just this past Tuesday night, during this prayer meeting God began to impress some things upon my heart.  I simply want to share them.

What we are seeing is a move of God.  This move we are experiencing is not exclusive to one local church.  This move is happening world-wide and is a result of deep hunger for the reality of God.  This hunger is born out of and propagated by prayer.  Even though this move is world-wide, it's not just anywhere.  It is taking place where there is a deep hunger for God.  This is not a work of God.  It is a move of God. There is a difference.  The work of God involves God and man.  The move of God is exclusively done by God's Spirit.  The work of God always follows the move of God.

In too many places the work of God is attempted before the move of God takes place.  In too many places men are attempting to force the work of God where there has been no move of God.  And still in too many places men are forcing the work of God where God moved 20, 30 even 50 years ago.  It just doesn't work.  This produces religion.

What we are seeing is the move of God upsetting the normality of human lives.  Only God's Spirit can do this.  Only the move of God can bring folks to the reality of the sin in their lives, and cause them to openly repent.  The move of God is like a Tsunami.  A tsunami is a terrible thing.  A Holy Spirit Tsunami is a terrible thing too.  It's a terrible thing to the average, complacent Christian as it obliterates sin and religion in their life.  Like a tsunami this move of God tears down, breaks up, destroys, and ravages the normality of life.  But the good news is that this move of God prepares the way for the work of God to follow!

I was reminded of the Apostle Paul (before he was the Apostle Paul). The Holy Spirit knocked him off of his horse and blinded Him!  Talk about a tsunami!  It was after the move of God on Paul that the work of God began.  In my opinion Paul is the greatest apostle who ever lived!

In order for God to do on-going work in each of us He has to move on and in us.  In order for God to work in our churches, there needs to be overwhelming, life-upsetting encounter(s) with Him.  In order for us to do the work of God, we need the move of God.  This is what He is doing these days.  Do you hunger for the reality of the God we claim to serve?  Do you feel there is more to the Christian life you are experiencing?  Then join with those who share the same hunger and don't try to hang on.  Because everything you can hang on to will be washed away!

Monday, October 3, 2011


It's a beautiful, crisp, Fall Monday morning. I'm up and seeking God's presence.  As I've said many times before, I love to seek Him on the vehicle of anointed praise and worship.  I thank God for the gift of praise and worship as it lifts me higher into His presence.  Who can deny His presence?  I guess perhaps those who have never experienced it!  But not me!  How can I deny a force so real and so very instantly life-changing!

Anyway, I enjoy Pandora as I have created my own personal praise and worship station.  As I was worshiping this morning the old song "Breathe" came on.  This was an older version from way back.  I am amazed at the anointing (the touch of God) this song has.  And it never seems to lose it or even wane.  One word came into my mind during this song..."addicted".  This song drew something out from deep down in my heart...I am addicted!

The songs says "I am desperate for You."  "I am lost without You."  How does that make me  addicted?  Well...listen to the rest of the words.  "This is the air I breathe.  Your Holy presence, living in me."  "This is my daily bread.  Your very Word, spoken to me."  His presence is my air.  His Word is my food/sustenance.  Without them I am lost, and so for HIM I am desperate.

When Adam was brought to life, God had just breathed the very breath of life into Him.  When I was spiritually brought to life (born again), God breathed into me His breath of life, the Holy Spirit.  And now the only way I can live spiritually (and eternally with Him) is by His Spirit who is the breath and presence of God! Without Him I am eternally dead and lost.  Therefore I am desperate for Him...addicted.  The Word says that we must live and grow on "every Word that comes out of God's mouth."  Again, desperate.  Again, addicted!

The words of the song ring so true.  I am desperate for you Jesus.  And I am certainly lost without you.  I was wondering.  What about you?