Song Service or Worship Service?

"We had a mighty good song service at church last Sunday." Song service? What does that mean? Actually it means that the song and music part of the service went pretty well. No major hitches were had. You know..."We breezed through every single song with no interruptions." "We had it down to an art." "It ran like a well-oiled machine."

The question is, do you want a "song service" or a "worship service"? When I say "worship service" I don't mean the whole service. I'm talking about that time when the congregation is led into worship of our Creator by an anointed worship leader and team, not a song leader. I can tell you from experience a worship service is much better. Why? Because a worship service involves the Holy Spirit. When He is involved...stuff happens and things change. A song service does only one thing. It occupies time. Experience just one "worship" service and you may not want to do the song service thing ever again. Anyone can have a song service because anyone can lead songs. But a worship service is an encounter with the Most High God. That is what I desire, because that is what I need!

A song service is about the song (a very little bit), and the song leader. A worship service is about Jesus and requires one who is a worship leader. As I stated in an earlier post, a worship leader much be a worshiper of God. A worship leader is a minister of God and to God. When he or she ministers, God moves and people are touched.

Let me warn you about something however. No two worship services are the same! Why is that? Well...since the Holy Spirit is involved there is a high level of spontaneity. This means the Holy Spirit is given control and the liberty to move as He wills. When folks are led in worship (not just songs) a lot more can happen than you might expect.

If you are accustomed to a song service you may be surprised the first time (or two) you experience a real worship service. You might even be a little unnerved! Not to worry though because the Holy Spirit is there. Remember He is the Spirit of God. The Scripture says there is freedom wherever the Holy Spirit is. (See 2 Corinthians 3:17)

If you feel there something is missing from your church services; and if you know exactly what is going to happen (because it has happened over and over for the past 100 years), there's a good chance you're experiencing a "song service" instead of a worship service. If you desire more out of your church experience, seek out a church offering worship services, not song services. You will not be disappointed! As a matter of fact, you will be blessed and your life will change.

I Was Shaken

I was shaken by a message recently. Yes, I was shaken. We need to be shaken from time to time (or whenever we need to be shaken). When we are shaken, God gets our undivided attention. When we are shaken, we sharpen our focus on eternity. After all, we are eternal creatures. Our focus should be on things that deal with eternity long after we leave this life. This means what we do while living this life should be with a view of the eternal. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11: 25-26) Jesus said this with eternity in mind. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. To serve Him means we take on eternal significance. Remember, eternity is forever.

What was it that shook me? It was a message on the judgment seat of Christ. I've heard numerous messages on this subject. I've studied it extensively. It has always been a reality to me. But hearing this message recently made it even more real. It shook me.

Jesus made it clear He did not come to judge the world, but that the world would be saved through Him. (See John 3: 16-17). There will come a day however, in which those who rejected Jesus will stand before the Great White Throne and be judged guilty for not accepting Jesus and His work on the cross. The Bible makes this clear. But the Bible also says "today is the day of salvation"; meaning we can surrender to Him right now...before it is too late. He has made it a reality for all who will call upon Him.

According to the Apostle Paul, there will also come a day in which ALL Christians come under judgement. Paul called it the judgment seat of Christ. This is how he states it in 2 Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." This is Scripture. We will ALL be judged by Jesus Himself. It will not be a judgment to condemn those who reject Jesus. Then why will we appear before Jesus' judgment seat? To be recompensed for our deeds in the body.

The word "body" has several applications in the Greek language. It can mean a human body. In this case we will be judged for our deeds while alive as believers on the earth. The word "body" could also be applied as the body of Christ. Either way, what we do (or don't do) matters while we are alive on the earth. We will be recompensed for our deeds as believers in Jesus.

Paul explains it another way in 1 Corinthians 2: 11-15, "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." The part that shook me was the part in which Paul says, "...he will suffer loss..." I don't know about you, but I don't want to go to heaven and suffer loss! I want to hear Jesus say to me "Well done, good and faithful servant"!

According to the above passage one whose works (wood, hay, and straw) are totally consumed by fire will be saved by that fire. They will enter heaven, but with loss. Those whose works are equal to gold, silver, and precious stones will be rewarded with even more! And it is those very works that protect them from the fire. They enter heaven with a boat-load of rewards. It is clear from the Scripture there will be various levels of existence in heaven. These are determined by our works as believers on the earth. No.....we don't perform works to be saved. It is totally by grace. But once saved we serve Him. How we serve Him matters now and in eternity.

Lately I've been asking myself, "Which of my works as a Christian would be burned up on Judgment Seat Day?" "For which of my works will I receive a reward?" "Which of my deeds (good or bad) will cause me to suffer loss because they didn't survive the fire of the Judgment Seat of Christ'? Questions like this can cause one to be shaken? I was shaken.

And finally, when we honestly study the Bible we clearly see that salvation is more than a quick prayer, prayed in order for one to go to heaven. It is more than a prayer prayed to keep one out of hell. Salvation is serving Jesus (and others) in the here and now while storing up treasures in heaven to be revealed to us at the judgment seat of Christ. The greatest treasure will be the words of Jesus saying, "Well done good and faithful servant. Enter now into the Joy of your Master." Shake us Father with your Words.


It's Alright

I've been told countless times as a child, "It will be alright." I've heard it from numerous folk from my parents to my grandparents to family to brothers and sisters in Christ. "It will be alright." How comforting those words can be when spoken from those you love, those you know love you!

Many times when there was no answer, no solution, and no way in sight, those words spoken were just about as good as if the crisis was completely over. "It will be alright." In most instances the crisis didn't go away immediately, but the words gave me faith and courage to see it through.

Today those words continue to comfort me in the good and the bad. Except the One who speaks those words to me now says it just a bit differently. "It's alright", because He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is as much my "Present" as He is the First and the Last.

I have formed an addictive habit over the years of spending time in the presence of Jesus' Spirit, the Holy Spirit. There's something about His presence that gives me a different set of eyes and ears. They are His eyes and ears. In His presence I see and hear things the way He sees and hears them. The mountain to you and me may look enormous. But to Jesus there is no mountain. In His presence we can begin to see the mountain as Jesus does: nonexistent. When the storms of your world howl and roar remember, Jesus hears no storm. To Jesus the storm is nonexistent. Why? Jesus rules over storms.

Whatever your mountain, whatever your storm "It's alright." That's what Jesus says. He's bigger than either. But only in His presence, and only in His Word will you hear the soothing words "It's alright". "It's alright" means it will be alright because Jesus rules, not circumstances. He never lies! He never says one thing and means another. "It's alright"means it is alright.

Being in the presence of His Spirit doesn't mean your storm or your mountain will go away immediately. It could. But it does mean you will find the strength and the courage to see it through. Whether the storm continues or stops you will see it through. With God all things are possible. People begin to realize this in His presence.

If you are like me, you need to hear from God. Build on your relationship with Him. Spend time in His presence. Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." (John 6:63) When He speaks to you, He speaks spirit and life. Therefore He speaks life to your spirit. When that connection is made you will also hear "It's alright". And do you know what that means? It's alright.

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