Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Hard Truth About Worship.

This past year God has been showing me how imperfect the church is. How beautiful the church is because God has redeemed the church and we are his bride. One of the areas in the church that I think is  one of the most "sensitive" areas is worship. Worship is a way that we connect with God. It is our way of almost loving God back. A way where we can feel and know Gods love and grace for us. Worship is such a beautiful thing. Sometimes with all different denominations, generations, and different styles of worship the church can have different opinions. I've been on worship team at my church and now school for about three to four years. One thing I have noticed and I have struggled with is competition. I feel like as a church that is one of the biggest unspoken topics.  When you go to church every week or when your leading worship every week. It can sometimes become a routine. When it becomes a routine that is when we sometimes can loose sight of God. Worship becomes something that is  not about worshiping in spirit and in truth anymore but it becomes worshiping the songs. We start to either compare our church with other churches or if your on worship team you start to feel as if you should do this or have this. You should lead this song etc.. Honestly, everyone has probably had thoughts similar to this or even exactly like this.  This past summer God shattered my view of worship and has rebuilt it. The  real question is I can lead people into worship every week, but am I leading others into worship by the way I live? Do other people see the love of God in me and start to yearn and seek him. Worship is far greater from just an emotional experience. Sure God can touch us and heal us during worship. That should not be what makes us worship God. For me I never intentionally thought "I am going to worship God so I can feel him." But it started to become my heartset. That is when God reminded me I worship in Spirit and in Truth. If the emotional side is why we are worshiping then we will be led astray fast. Emotions are fleeting but the spirit of God and the Truth of God is a stronghold that will never lead us astray. Its this emotional yearning to be constantly in deep worship with God. Which is not bad. If we are not also grounded in the truth of God and in the Spirit of God then we will surely be led astray. Worship is an area where we don't always check our hearts. It is an area I know in my life that I have to check.

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is the spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:23-24.

So it does not matter how people worship around you or what worship song you're singing or leading. Our father will accept our worship when its grounded in Him. Ultimately when it comes to the bottom line that is what matters most.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A peace that shatters all.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you, I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled  and do not be afraid." John 14:27

As the holiday season is slowly slipping away and a new year is charging towards us. Its hard to believe what another year will bring. From laughter and memories to pain and tragedies a new year means more adventure. More unexpected turns. As excited I am from what the Lord has planned. I am afraid. Afraid for pain. Afraid for sacrifice. Afraid for life. HIS peace shatters my fears. He comes in a shatters my fear like its a piece of glass.  If He is calling me to go risk my life. Sure fear will come but His peace is stronger. For the peace that the world brings is temporary and will die quickly in our fears. His peace knows the outcome. He knows that there is no need to fear. If your Creator who loves you and will only let good come out of every situation. If that Creator is holding you and giving you peace. Then surely His peace will shatter our fears. His peace will concur all. So if your excited, anxious, fearful or however you feel about 2015. Breath in His peace.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Giving Heart

"For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have." 2 Corinthians 8:12. 

Every Christmas it seems like we are told to give. Whether were giving of our time, resources, or financially.This season is the season of giving. As I get older its been cool to see the little ways that I can give. Every year my family and I volunteer to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. Every year I've gone I never really knew how I was serving besides giving up my time to watch people give money. 
  This year God opened my eyes to see the beauty of giving. As people would put lose change in the kettle despite what they looked like or what backround they came from they were giving. Little kids would beg their parents to give so they could get a candy cane.  Not matter if there was an incentive their willingness to give was there. My job as a bell ringer is to smile and say 'Merry Christmas'. To acknowledge that they gave and to rejoice with them and with God. Not matter if they are saved or not God rejoices when His children are willing to give. He takes great delight in it. 

It reminds me of the widow that gave all they she had to God. It wasn't very much but Jesus delighted that she was willing to give in the midst of being poor. 
God reminded me of the wise men. Men who probably weren't Christ followers. Who traveled so they could give this King a gift. Though there reasons may of been not Christ oriented. Their willingness to give was there. God delighted in that. What they didn't know is that they honored the most important King. It was all because they were willing to give. To give of their time by following the star and give of their resources to honor Jesus. As we continue to give this Christmas. You don't have to give a huge amount of money or spend your whole break volunteering. God takes great delight in the simple and small ways you give this season. God does not care about the amount you give, but what you have to give and what he has put in your heart to give. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Worries

"Cast all your anxiety on him, because, he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7.

In the midst of this Christmas season running full speed ahead. The Christmas decorating, baking, traditions, shopping, spending time with family and friends during break, cleaning, finishing up work and school for the holidays,  and the list goes on and on. Though we know the true meaning of Christmas. We forget to apply the true meaning of Christmas to our lives. For Christ came to be our Hope so that we could have Joy and Peace in him. If celebrating Him means remembering why He came down on earth. Then shouldn't we accept his offer to carry our burdens. Christmas should be a time to be content with the blessings he has given us. For our God sent his one and only son to suffer as a man on earth. To then give us the ultimate gift. The gift that would change our lives. If Christ has changed our lives, sure we will fall short, but does that mean we sell ourselves short of giving in to the business of Christmas when our Father is willing to carry our burdens. To carry us into Christmas. I am guilty of this. To try to make every Christmas the best Christmas ever. By trying so hard to faithfully carry out every tradition my family has. Or decorate right on December 1st. I realized that my Joy doesn't come from Christmas alone my Joy comes from God. That my family is happier when we can spend time together rather than hurriedly checking off things on our list and rushing to the next. I know we hear this every year but the holiday season is truly about Family. It's not only giving and ministering to the lost and lonely, but it's also spending time and ministering to the family you have right around you. It's letting God take control of the plans you have and letting him move. For his plans are far better than the plans I have. I've realized its taking moments to thank him for the redeeming love story we celebrate. It's awaiting his arrival. It's letting Him care for you by casting your anxiety on Him.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Today as you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal and watch football with family. Take a moment and remember what we are really celebrating. When the Pilgrims first came to America and braved the hardships of living in a new land. They took a moment and gave thanks.  They took this day to thank God for all that he had provided. Friends this holiday is a reminder and a reconnecting point to be thankful. Not only is it remembering what God had provided for the Pilgrims but really its celebrating with thanks what God has done in our lives. Thankfulness is one of the ways we draw closest to God and yet I sometimes struggle with remembering to be thankful in this self centered world. Its not only about Gods love to us but its about our response to his love. As we spend time with family and eat pie remember with gratitude what He has done for you.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:4-5

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

You are still God and I have a reason to worship.

This week God has put something on my heart Worship. Ever since I saw Hillsong United in concert not to long ago something inside of me changed. God burdened me with some thoughts. Why am I not excited to worship Jesus? Now on Sundays and Wednesdays I get excited and at chapel at school i'll get excited. But have I lived my live with excitement to Worship God. When we worship God we are free. We are in his presence and we are alive. It has been along time since I've been to a truly good worship session. Man it is refreshing. Now not all worship sessions will always be totally amazing, some might be simple and  some might be powerful. The question is do we take a break from our busy painful lives and get excited to worship our creator. Do we just seek him not because we have requests but because He is God.  Do we apply our childlike faith to our worship? When we go to church and worship as a community our worship there should be just a continuation to the worship we have been living. This is something that I struggle with greatly. I don't know if you have seen this video. But it is a great reminder of taking time to just worship God. A couple months ago these marines in Afghanistan (I believe) took time out of there life threatening job to worship Jesus as a unit. To me it is so encouraging to watch this video. Now here's the thing, if these brave men can take time to worship God before they risk there lives? Then why can't we take time out of are day where we live safe and cozy in our homes, to worship our savior? Why can't we bring him glory with the way we live  when our lives are easy compared to the rest of the world? These men are perfect examples of applying our child like faith to our worship.

P.S. Watch till the end because it gets better towards the end!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fresh Air

Fall is here! It finally rained this weekend and now the clouds are all fluffy in the sky. I can finally wear my big fall sweaters. The most exciting thing about fall is that it is finally a new season. We have a fresh start in this season. This season is not new so we can just keep living the way we live. No God brings in the new season to awaken us. We need to be awakened. Before we know we begin to live for ourselves. Our lives are focused on the fleeting problems around us. It becomes about what others will think of you or if you should spend time with all these people. It becomes a world of go,go,go with some moments with God instead of living your whole entire life for him. I have found myself falling into this rut many a times in this last season of life. I'm ready to start a new again. Our creator has promised us he will make all things work together for our good. He will do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. To Seek him first and everything else will be added later. There many more verses where he promises us blessing and joy. We just have to be able to trust that holy living is the only way to live and be satisfied in him. Trust me it is so hard to get back up and truly fall in love with Him all over again. To say no to the things He wants us to so we can focus on him. All he wants is all of us. All he wants is us to be willing so he can take us on an adventure. The road may look like a road of suffering. But He says that he allows these things to happen so in the end it may bring God glory. He never allows you to suffer or sacrifice for no reason. In the end he WILL make all things work together for your good. So in this new season may we allow ourselves to let him in. To not just live life with a couple moments with God. But to live life with God and each and every moment that you live is a moment with God. He loves you!! Try something new this week do something to encourage someone. Take someone out to coffee, or even just write them a note. I find that when I feel discouraged or just dry I like to change things up a bit and bless those around me.