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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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Posted on Jun 1, 2012 in Blog, Pain and Suffering, repost

Who?

A little over a year ago, my wife and I were facing some challenges as Valentines’ Day rolled around. Due to budget cuts, I had been cut to part-time at the job I had been working at for a few years. We were quickly running out of money, and didn’t have any prospects for a new job. We had been through some challenges the year before and just felt like there was a lot of uncertainty around our lives.

As we faced Valentines’ day, I didn’t have any money to give my wife anything fancy or fun, but I could give her a song. So, I started writing, and that’s how the song, Who?, came to be.

There are a lot of questions in our lives, but one question whose answer never changes is who? Who’s the most important person in my life, my wife. Enjoy!

 

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Posted on Apr 17, 2012 in Blog, repost, Worship

Potential

Tonight, for the opening session of the retreat at Cannon Beach Conference Center, Dr. Rod Stafford shared a synopsis of “The Princess and the Goblin.” The basic premise of the story is that a grandmother tells her granddaughter to follow a thread wherever it leads. At the end, she the thread will lead to grandma. It may not seem like the path makes sense, but there are reasons, so keep following the thread.

Then I started thinking about us as a Worship Arts Ministry. We’re following a thread. And I’m sure, to some of you it feels like the path might not make sense. But I have faith in the direction God is taking us.

At the end of our thread is a Worship Arts Ministry that truly honors God in as many creative forms as we can imagine. Much more than we currently use. I’ve said before, but I believe God gave us creativity for a reason, He wants us to use it to create things and give Him the glory for it. It’s in creating that we show how we and we alone are made in the image of our maker.

I know right now, to some of you, it seems like things are just spinning on in the same direction they have been going. But God is giving us a thread, and we’re starting to pursue it.

You see, when I look at us, I see potential. Sure there will be pot holes and collapsed bridges along the way that will force us to come up with new ways and directions, but there is a mountain of potential in our Worship Arts Ministry.

That’s not to say that great things haven’t happened in the past. They have, and I’m thankful for them. But I also don’t believe that our best years are behind us. I believe that God has something amazing and inexplicable for us in the months and years to come, something that we won’t be able to take credit for because it’s simply too amazing.

I hope you will continue to walk with me as we follow this thread. It is leading us somewhere, ultimately to a closer relationship with God Himself, which is what God wants for us all!

Wherever we may find ourselves right now, at this very moment in time, let’s commit ourselves to following the thread that God has for us! Let’s look forward to what God is going to do! Let’s not just remember what He has done, let’s look ahead! Yes, let’s build on the foundation already laid, but let’s be open to the new frontiers God has for us! Let’s follow the thread!

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Posted on Apr 2, 2012 in Blog, Devotional Thoughts, repost, Worship

Press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me

As some of you know, Philippians is my favorite book of the Bible. In large part, because of the first 11 verses of the second chapter. However, another chunk of my favorite scripture is in the third chapter.

7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing on Toward the Goal

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Read the whole chapter here.)

There are so many great lines in there. “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss.” “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of know Christ Jesus my Lord.” “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.” “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” “I press on toward the goal to win the prize.”

But the one that takes the cake for me is “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Part of the reason I love this verse is that there is mystery in it. If you look through many of the different translations, you will see that there isn’t exactly a unanimous interpretation.

But to me, the idea is that we are pressing on, striving and reaching out for the life that Christ Jesus had in mind for us when he died for us. The life that is based on sacrificing ourselves and sharing in His sufferings. Christ Jesus took hold of me for Him. Christ Jesus went through everything he did so that we could be His. He went through everything He did so that there would be nothing between Him and us.

So, we press on toward Christ. We press on to take hold of Christ.

Today begins the week that Christ endured so that we could receive the prize. Think about that. Everything Christ went through wasn’t for His benefit. God doesn’t need anything. God doesn’t need redemption. We did. We do. And yet, Christ was arrested, beaten, tortured, poked and prodded, pierced, forced to carry a cross, nailed to the cross, abandoned and died so that we could get the prize.

So we press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

All of our efforts in the week to come are not only for us as we pursue Christ. Our efforts this week are also for those who still don’t know that there is a prize to pursue.

This week, we press on to lead others to the prize of Jesus. This week, we pray for those who need to hear the message for the first time. We pray for those who have heard but never received. Think of how great it will be, when at the end of this week, we hear stories about those who made a step or even reached out and took hold of that prize!

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