Praise & Worship Rehearsal – Psalm 119:17-19

THE GREATNESS OF OUR GOD…
“Be good to your servant while I live, that I may obey your word.  Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.  I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.”  Psalm 119:17-19, NIV

“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.  My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.”  Psalm 119:147-149, NIV

THE HEART OF WORSHIP…
“The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.   Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.””  Isaiah 29: 13-14, NIV

Hymns vs. Contemporary Songs… True Worshipers… Finding a Church Home…

When you are struggling with the music you experience at church stop for just a moment and realize that there is a difference between biblical values that have nothing to do with likes or dislikes and religious preferences which have everything to do with likes and dislikes.

While both are important and God uses them to guide us to the right ‘church family’ and culture, one is definitely more important.

When looking for a good church home to plug into (and before you get distracted and frustrated over the wrong thing(s)), stop for a moment and do the following:

1. Ask yourself, “Can I sing to God and praise him even if it is with a song I may not like or am not familiar with?”

2. Also ask yourself, “Can I hear God’s voice even if the preaching is bad or the church service is weird or boring?”

3. Then get to know some of the people in a small group in and outside of the church setting.  Relationships have a way of making religious (music, etc..) preferences not seem so important.

4. Once you have done the above ask the most important question, “God is this where you want me and desire to use me and grow me in my relationship with you?”

In my experience God usually (well almost always) takes me out of my comfort zone and stretches me in the areas of my preferences so that he can grow me up in my understanding of his biblical values to refine me for his purpose and ultimate glory.

John 4:21-24, “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Could the ‘mountains’ Jesus was referring to when speaking with the Samaritan women be our modern day churches today?  Because of the work Jesus did on the cross we know what/who we are worshiping today… or do we…  Regardless of how you or I might answer these questions the fact remains that, “the time has now come…”  So the BIG question that we must all wrestle with in church is, “Am I a true worshiper?”

I pray for you and for me the answer is yes and we can step over the mess we have made and get on with what is important to God… worshiping him in Spirit and in truth…

Taking a Ride On the Crazy Train: What I Got, What I Learned, Destination Truth Stops Here…

recently, i found myself on what i can only refer to is “the crazy train…” here is what happened before i woke up… came to my senses and jumped off…

it was a normal day, started out the same as every other day… yet here i am over 12 months later waking up on this crazy train and the only word coming out of my mouth was (an expression used by my 2 year old) “WHAT…”

the following is a very brief glimpse into my “crazy train ride” spending the last year or so going through what i thought was just a need for a ‘new look,’ a fashion update of sorts… however after throwing out all my old clothes, buying new clothes then losing weight and having to throw out the new cloths and buy more new clothes… deceiving myself by buying ‘vintage’ clothing on ebay, spending waisted gas, time and $ driving to and from  macy’s, goodwill, marshall’s and tj max (both of the last two have great inexpensive coffee…) that really did not work and traveling down a desperate fashion trail for the perfect jeans, shoes and hair style for a guy in his 40s… selling my cool vintage bmw for a cooler ‘newer’ vintage mini cooper… auditioning for every singing reality show I could get to, creating a really weird (yes, Adam i am finally admitting it) Youtube page… trying to update our house and make it look like something from HGTV all the while working at being a devoted husband (and not drive my wife too crazy) and a good dad without losing my patience, freaking out or burning out… i won’t even get into my work and life as a pastor (for now anyway)… WHEW…

i began to think… i am really missing something and creating a silly, dramatic mess for no reason…

through all this vain concern and futile pursuit (another way of saying, “how embarrassing and what a waist of time…”) i came to the realization that perhaps i had not lost my fashion sense and what a silly concern in the first place… the only real dilemma was the financial, mental, crazy one i created on the crazy train of self-discovery that… I WAS SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF MY VERY OWN MID-LIFE CRISIS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midlife_crisis)… “SUPER UGH!”

ouch… i thought i would be able to skip this or at the very least it would not catch me by surprise…

CRAZY TRAIN EXPERIENCE: what i got, what i learned and the truth i turned back to…

what i got on the “crazy train” was a good pair of jeans (ok 2 pair) for a guy in his 40’s (buffalo, NOT skinny jeans), discovered a great cheap bottle of red wine (lucky duck), a collection of vintage T-shirts (from macy’s and ebay) a great camel winter car coat from ebay, spent fifty bucks on a pair of converse sneakers (WHAT) and began riding my bike, watching what i was eating and lost 20 lbs…

what i have learned (again…) is that none of these things will ever make me happy… infact unless i continue to chase after Jesus i could easily spend the rest of my life on the crazy train and one day… in my vain pursuit of self, probably fall of the crazy train and get run over… WHAT!

the truth God continues to mercifully teach me… when you find yourself on the crazy train… don’t think, don’t rationalize, don’t buy another thing… jump and turn to the Lord for help…

– 16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18

taking a ride on the crazy train: what i got, what i learned and the truth i turned back to...

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