Thursday, March 01, 2007

Beautiful Lord

God is beautiful. He is constant. In the midst of storm or trial He is the source of peace and freedom. Let's run to Him! Let's give our lives to the passionate pursuit of the One who pursues us.

When the storm is raging all around me
You are the peace that calms my troubled sea
When the cares of this world darken my day
You are the light that shines and shows me the way

oh the Beauty of your majesty
On the cross showed your love for me
Beautiful lord on the cross you showed your love for me

Beautiful lord
Awesome and mighty
I’m captured by this love I see
Beautiful lord
Tender and holy;
Your mercy Brings me to my knees
Its your mercy that has made me free
Beautiful lord

lyrics from the song, "Beautiful Lord" by Leeland

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Gospel

Though my life as a Christian has been marked with a passion for leading worship, it was not always the career path I wanted to take. My wife and I were pretty set on a life spent in missions. We wanted to work with college students, raising the banner of the Gospel and mobilizing them to take that Gospel to the world.

As I felt God redirecting my life and sending me down this path, I wrestled with this question:

How can I be a worship leader and still be a part of the work of the gospel?

I realized though, that worship is the work of the Gospel! When we come together corporately or when we worship in our own, we are declaring the beauty of the good news of Jesus simply by honoring Him rightly. As we sing songs or pray or dance or shout or lay prostrate we take part in what the Gospel allows us to do; namely, see God for who He is and allow Him to change us.

The words of this song by Jimmy Needham speak to the beauty of the Gospel and cry out what I believe should be the prayer of all of our hearts, that the Gospel would completely overtake us; that it would wash over us and make us new.

The gospel, the gospel fragrant in words
The sea of my soul is calmed when it's heard
Peace to the broken, the captives set free
May the Gospel of Jesus wash over me

The Gospel, the Gospel my freedom explained
No more shall these garments I'm wearing be stained
The old man is missing the new man is free
May the gospel of Jesus was over me

Wash over me and
come make me clean

The Gospel, the Gospel she's good and she's true
She costs quite a fortune to make all things new
So breathe in with faith and out with His peace
May the gospel of Jesus wash over me

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dipping a toe or Diving in?

We worship God with all we have. It's more than just clapping our hands or singing songs; it's celebratory, it's reverant. Dr. David Jeremiah says this:
"God is to be praised, blessed, gloried in, rejoiced in, exalted, feared, extolled, and thanked. We worship God with all that we have."
We have an opportunity to come into the very presence of God, to be changed from the inside out. There will never be a Sunday when every person loves every song that is played or connects deeply with everything that Pastor Steve says, but the responsibility is not on musicians or Pastors to connect us with God, it is on us! We are the ones who make a decision about what our attitudes will be like when we come into that building.

I've been reading Dr. Jeremiah's book, "My Heart's Desire" and am blown away but what he has to say on this subject.

"If you're going swimming, you don't stand forever beside the pool davving a toe into the cool water. Ultimately the time comes to let go and dive in. There's no way to swim without using your whole body, unless you want to sink and drown... Worship takes the same kind of spiritual commitment. Don't sit on the back pew, dabbing a toe into the deep spiritual waters. Dive into the wonder of the presence of God."
Let's all stop testing the waters. Let's dive in as a church family. Let's see what God can do in and through a family of believers who worship Him.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Preparing to Worship

Depending on how our day is going or how the week went – or when we last read God’s word or prayed – these things matter when it comes to worship. God is ready for me to worship Him at any moment and has gone to great lengths to make that so. But then there’s me. I am not always thinking about Him. Opportunities to worship pass me by. Moments when however led, I would give Him glory. I wish I was more prepared for worship each day. And more than that, I wish my church was more prepared for worship when we gather together on Sundays especially. Imagine if we all came together prepared to worship. It would be better than spending half the time breaking down distractions and getting focused in each of our hearts only to find that we have just a little time left to be together, with God front and center, giving Him all the glory we can give.

Now for me, I do better preparing on Sunday morning, probably ‘cause I know I need to go first to the throne of God as the lead worshipper. (Let’s face it, accountability works). But, I need to be more prepared during the week. What about you? Maybe you are better during the week, but rely on the church to do it for you on Sunday. I’ll tell you what…I’ll seek to do better preparing for worship during the week and you seek to do better preparing for worship on Sunday, and let’s see what happens. Deal?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Multi-generational Worship

There are a lot of churches in America and all over the world right now that are experiencing an amazing revival in worship. These churches, mostly made up of college-aged students are experiencing a joy and freedom in worship that has previously not been opened to them.

Young people are buying worship CDs, they are spending money to go to worship events and they are constantly longing for an opportunity to experience God. Church for them is no longer about sitting as a spectator, listening to music and hearing a message preached, it is about an encounter.

The problem, however is that, for the most part, these churches are made up of white, college kids and they do not represent an accurate picture of heaven, or the church.

What is amazing to me though, is that we are uniquely positioned here at Clovis Hills with a large cross section of people of various ages and ethnicities and an opportunity to dive into this experiential worship of God.

No one is doing this! There are no churches that I know of that are our size and have our diversity that participate in this kind of worship experience.

What does this mean? It means that we have a unique opportunity to not only dive into the presence of the Lord, but to do so with each other, in an environment where young people can be mentored and helped to grow by those that have experienced life and where older people can be refreshed and renewed by a younger generation eager for God. Multi-generational worship is the goal, but it's not happening.

I believe if we were to embrace this idea of diving into God, which for some means trying new things and for others means going a little slower than you'd like, we will be a church that impacts and changes our community and the world!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

We are His!

We're introducing a new song this week called Sing to the King. It is a simple song that makes one bold declaration. "We belong to Jesus, and He is all we need!"

Maybe that's two declarations, but the point is the same. When we become Christians we identify ourselves with Jesus. When we come to Christ we effectively say, "I no longer want to belong to the world.

I only want Him!

Is that true of us as we worship together?

Is that true of me as I walk through my day?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Divine Romance

Worship is a response. It is what we do because of our condition. Like waving back when someone waves at you, or cheering when your team wins. Like crying over heartache or laughing at a joke, we respond.

Psalm 16:11 says,
You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Do we get it? Jesus died on the cross to give us the opportunity to be reconnected with God. The Gospel is that God drew us closer to Himself.

In His presence is fullness of joy. It's not in anything the world offers. We are the rescued ones! We are those that were held prisoner. God has broken down the walls and saved us! Hallelujah.

Our response is simple; Love. God broke through and rescued us. He offers that rescue to the entire world and in response we recognize the great gift we have been given; God. That we may know and connect with God is the good news. Satisfaction comes from just one source and it's Him. Let's drink deep!

This is from a song by Phil Wickham, and it's maybe the best picture of that relationship I've ever heard.

A deep, deep flood
an ocean flows from you
of deep, deep love
is filling up the room

Your innocent blood
has washed my guilty life
in your presence God
I'm completely satisfied

For you, I sing I dance
Rejoice in this divine romance
lift my heart and my hands
to show my love, to show my love