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Posted on Oct 1, 2012 in Blog, Culture, Devotional Thoughts, Leadership, repost, Worship, Worship Ministry

Let Justice Roll On Like a River

21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
the pedestal of your idols,
the star of your god—
which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,”
says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.

In my last couple of posts I have been going through Amos 5 and drawing out questions that I think it raises for us and our churches today. The first post (Seek the Lord and Live) talked about how what God really wants us to strive for in our worship is Him. The second post (Why Do You Long For the Day of the Lord?), talked about us doing today what we won’t be able to do in eternity. (I also talked about this in a post a while back: What’s Missing from Our Worship?)

Today we come to the part of the passage that many of us are probably familiar with, or we have at least heard mention of. The people of Israel have become greedy with their desires and have stopped living as they should. The things they should be doing, they either don’t do them or they do them for the wrong reasons.

21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.

The people of Israel had their traditions. They knew what time of year it was based on the festivals to come. We do this to a certain extent from October through January. We know what time of year it is based on the holiday we have just celebrated and which one is next.

But, the intentions behind the celebrations have gone from remembering events and times when God Almighty had provided for them and become routine, rote, marginalized and perhaps even monetized.

Though this definitely serves as a reminder for the season we are about to enter in, Thanksgiving, Christmas and what not, it also serves as reminder of what our intention should be each and every day.

How quickly we forget. The Lord God Almighty has provided for us in ways we cannot measure. For the people of Israel He released them from captivity, provided protection and sustenance and eventually a land of their own. For us, He has given us a roof over our heads, food on our table, electricity for our electronic devices, free speech with which we can rejoice or complain without recompense…oh yeah, and he sent His Son to die a cruel death on a cross for our sins.

25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
the pedestal of your idols,
the star of your god—
which you made for yourselves.

Therefore, I propose that we begin a revolution.

Not the kind that you are thinking of. Not a revolution against political agendas and financially driven parties. Sure, those have their place. Rather, I propose that we rebel against the status quo of worship. I say we stop being concerned with what other churches are doing, what our friends’ church is doing. We should stop trying to do the things society and the world we live in tell us we should be doing. And instead, return to our first love, the Lord God Almighty.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the society we live in provides us with excellent resources to do what we do the best we can. I also think there is a lot we can learn from other churches and organizations about how we can do this thing called church in the best possible way.

[tweetherder]The problem is, comparison has become the game and conformity the the prize.[/tweetherder]

When what awaits us when we seek the Lord is life. What awaits us when we engage in worship as the pursuit of God and submission to His ways is freedom.

24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

May the ways of the Lord, be what drives us in our pursuit. Otherwise, our offerings are an unacceptable stench, noise that God has no regard for. Let our pursuit of Him open us up to His righteousness and may it flow in us from the spring of life.

Let us do the work of the Lord, believe in the one He sent for us (John 6:29). Instead let us feast on the Bread of Life and drink from the water that will never let us thirst again.

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

 

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Posted on Sep 10, 2012 in Blog, Devotional Thoughts, repost

Why do you long for the day of the Lord?

Amos 5:18-20:

18 Woe to you who long
for the day of the Lord!
Why do you long for the day of the Lord?
That day will be darkness, not light.
19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion
only to meet a bear,
as though he entered his house
and rested his hand on the wall
only to have a snake bite him.
20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—
pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

After having listed all of the sins of the House of Israel, we come across this passage. Aren’t we supposed to long for the day of the Lord? Don’t we want the Lord to come quickly? Of course we do.

This was a different time, this was before Christ came and walked among us. But it raises an interesting question for us as followers of Christ.

Are we living for Christ in every way we can imagine today? Or do we spend the day hoping Christ will come, but forgo the work we have been called to do today? Are we consumed with our selfish desire for Christ to come so that we can be set free from the troubles of this world? Sure, we hope for that. But, what about those who haven’t experienced the hope that we have? What about those who don’t yet know of a better future?

What I would simply propose for us as we look at this scripture is that our desire for Christ’s return would be something that drives us to do whatever we can do today to reach those who still don’t know. Let us live lives that testify to Christ being alive in us, the hope for glory. Let us hope for Christ’s return, but let us live among the men whose only hope is for a good life before they die. May we show them that this troubled world is not the end, but only a beginning.

There is much more to this passage that could be dealt with, but for today, we’ll leave it at that. How can we live and share our lives today so that even one more may share eternity with Christ?

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Posted on Jul 30, 2012 in Blog, Culture, Leadership, repost

You choose your attitude, don’t let it be chosen for you. How to choose your attitude in 3 simple steps.

I’ll be the first to admit, I let others choose for me.

It’s hard! We’re surrounded by opportunities for negativity every day. Every day! Even if you work in the best work environment, there is a real world out there that beckons for us to enter into it. And we have to enter in or risk being out of touch.

But the instant we do, we’re confronted with negativity.

People on facebook are negative. People on twitter are negative. The news is negative. TV shows are negative.

Why? Because it sells I guess. People are attracted to negativity like moths to a bug lite. The point is, get to close and it will kill you.

So how do you keep yourself from being negative? You have to choose, intentionally, to have a positive attitude.

It’s a daily, hourly and minute by minute choice. I’m sure there are statistics out there for exactly how often we are confronted with a negative idea, but I’m choosing right now to not go looking for it, because I don’t want to be drawn into the negativity.

Do you remember the technique for putting yourself out if you spontaneously com-bust? The same applies to your attitude.

Stop

When we find ourselves being negative, we must choose to stop. In that very moment, just quit it! There’s no need to carry on with the negativity, just stop  it. Right then, right there.Stop the conversation.

Drop

Drop it. Don’t feel like you have to win the argument at hand. Drop the issue, and leave it there.

Roll

Roll on to something else. Change the conversation to something positive or something totally unrelated. Go find something positive to read, find something funny to watch. Something that funny in a positive way, not negative. But Roll on.

We don’t need to be negative any more. We need more people to be positive and to view life, leadership and the world through the lens of positivity.

Will you join me?

What tips and tricks do you have that you can share with me to help me be a more positive person?

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Posted on Jul 25, 2012 in Blog, repost, Worship

The Form of our Worship should never outshine the Focus of our worship

The Form of our Worship should never outshine the Focus of our worship

No one likes construction, except the company that profits from it…But, on the road I drive every day, major construction is going on. It’s been going on, for months and months. They say it might end by the end of the year, or beginning of next year. But in the mean time, it’s a big … learning lesson.

I’ve been able to see just how they’re building every aspect of this new road. From the bridge over the river, to the ovepasses and roundabouts (which no one things are a good idea…). I’ve been able to see just how big the footers are that they put under the overpass (pictured above) and how long it takes to build the form.

As I’ve had this opportunity, I’ve been doing some thinking. Just as in construction, the form is not the point. The form is only the conduit for the important thing. The form is what’s used to build and grow on.

[tweetherder]How often in worship do we let the form of our worship outshine the focus of our worship? [/tweetherder]

The form is the style, the service, the neat package we like to put everything in, all neatly wrapped up in 60 minutes on Sunday. But the time, the day and the context are not the important things. Jesus is.

When our focus goes to the form, everything comes crashing down.

The form isn’t built to support something so important. Just as in construction, the form is only holding the concrete until it is firm enough to build on.

And this is just the part that supports the overpass.

Regardless, you get the point. The overpass isn’t build on the form, the overpass is build something much stronger.

The same is true of our worship. Forms come and go. There is nothing holy or righteous about any particular form of worship. The Church has been through hundreds of different forms of worship, and will probably go through hundreds more – unless Jesus comes first…

So, whatever your style, whatever form you prefer, don’t let that form become the important thing. Doing the oldest hymn or the newest worship song, using the most hipster instrument or the coolest loops DO NOT MEAN ANYTHING!

JESUS means everything. Our focus is on our Savior – King – Creator.

Let me challenge you, try a different style of worship this week. I bet if you do, with the intention of looking for Jesus and nothing else, you’ll be surprised at what you find.

In what ways has style become more important than the focus?

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Posted on Jul 6, 2012 in Blog, Devotional Thoughts, repost, Worship

Are You Amazed?

One of the wonderful parts of the gospels is reading how the people who walked with and experienced Jesus were amazed. They were amazed by His teaching, His healing, His casting out of demons, and so much more. Jesus was absolutely amazing.

He still is.

His grace is amazing. When was the last time you stopped and pondered the wonderful grace of Jesus? I mean really, truly, deeply thought about how amazing is the grace  that we live in from day to day.

I know there are times I take it for granted. I hate it that I do that, but the truth is, I do. I’m sure we all do from time to time.

Today, even if just for the length of this video, let’s stop and be amazed at the grace of God. The love that is deeper, and higher, wider and stronger than anything we can imagine.

Are you amazed?

 

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/26/Are-You-Amazed

 

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