Posts Tagged ‘worship’

“I fear there are some who preach with the view of amusing men, and as long as people can be gathered in crowds, and their ears can be tickled, and they can retire pleased with what they have heard, the orator is content, and folds his hands, and goes back self-satisfied.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. – Colossians 2:8 (NIV)

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. – 2 Timothy 4:3 (NIV)

Oftentimes, the warning of sound doctrine is shared with ministers and pastors, even missionaries, upon ordination.  Hands are laid upon these individuals and they are anointed and appointed for service.   As leaders, those teaching the Bible and indoctrinating new believers into the faith, you will see the importance of sound doctrine serving as the foundation for all that you teach others.  I think we all get that, too.

As the worship leader…?

As the choir director…?

As the minister of music…?

Yep. Yes. Yeah. Uh-huh.  Yep.  You better believe it, brothers and sisters.  We at least owe God that much when say that we are ministering in His Spirit in what we call praise and worship.  Our praise and worship selections should minister to others beyond sounding good and making others feel good.  The selections better speak of how good and how great God is to us.

Let us not fall prey to the trap of appealing to and impressing people.  We do not want to send mixed signals in the house of God.  We want sound doctrine to go along with strong voices and skilled instrumentation. 

If it isn’t biblical, how can it be part of your praise? If God doesn’t do that or do that the way that we’ve been singing it, how does that fit into our worship? We need to get with the church staff and leaders who know the Bible better than us, then assemble the music department from top to bottom so that we can teach how to minister through music and song, praise and worship, with a biblical base and a sound doctrinal foundation.  Someone other than just the drummer and piano player ought to research the songs being played throughout the service.              

It is about worship.  It sets the stage for the Word to be preached.  It ushers souls to the point of readiness to receive the Word through preaching.  It is vital to the weary soul who needs to have his or her hardened heart to be broken up and softened in order for the Word to take root.

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“If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”
D.L. Moody
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – Psalm 103:2 (NIV)
How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? – Psalm 116:12 (NIV)
Think back over the past week.  The main event of this past week was Thanksgiving. 
Thanksgiving is a compound word, combining  “thanks” and “giving.”
How much giving and thanking did you do last week?
Black Friday came and went with all of its eventful lore.  Cyber Monday has already started. 
Give thanks by giving back.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1 (NIV)
Get ready for the “giving season” that has plenty of opportunities available for you to give back.  Think about all of the gifts that God has already given to you. Give thanks by giving back during this winter holiday season.  Prepare to celebrate Christmas with great joy as you offer thanksgiving through what you do along with what you say.
The day of  Thanksgiving has already passed, but the opportunity  to share is still available to you. 
 Search for volunteer service opportunities in your area.  Use Urban Ministry to locate such seasonal opportunities.
Give thanks.  Give back.
Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. – Psalm 105:1 (NLT)

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So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.- Luke 5:16 (NKJV)

Meet with the Lord daily.

It sounds a lot easier than it really is for the average person.  It takes some effort on our part.  Meeting with the Lord has its benefits.  It can be both inspiring and edifying.  Yet, many of us struggle with how to actually meet with the Lord.

We spend countless hours trying to figure it all out, believing that we can get it together in one sitting.  We grapple with the notion that we can meet with the Lord despite our own human inadequacies.  The Lord makes it possible.  He offers us an invitation for communion with Him.

Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. – Mark 15:38 (NKJV)

The veil was a barrier.  It marked the separation of the people from their God.  It represented the limits of one’s approach to the Holy One due to iniquity.  The veil depicted the need for a mediator to go to God on behalf of the people.

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Savior, changed all of that.  The work of Jesus on the cross tore the veil in two and from top to bottom.  Jesus gave us direct access to the Father.

Here are some methods for meeting with the Lord daily:

  • Prayer
  • Meditation
  • Bible study
  • Fasting

We come to the Lord just as we are with all of our fallacies.  He accepts us as we are and grants us access to Himself.  He receives us.  He hears our prayers.  He lets us come to Him under the cover of grace, mercy and forgiveness in the name of love.

Spend some quality time with God.  Don’t let your religious practices become some ritualistic and routine that you lose your fervor.  Keep the fire of your faith burning.  Stay in communion with God daily.  Devote some time out of your day and spend it with God.  Get to know God by going directly to God.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to
help us when we need it most
– Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

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A Great God

For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.- Psalm 96:4 (KJV)

God is great.

Take some time and try to wrap your brain around the concept.

He is greatly to be praised.

That is greatly.  It isn’t a small matter when it comes to praising God.  It ought to come bursting forth from within you or cause you to burst into tears, laughter or even just plain exclamations of joy. it should come forth from you to Him greatly, as in abundance and in enormity.  Your praise should match up with God’s greatness due to God simply being great; the great I AM.

. . . he is to be feared above all gods.

Yes, there are other “gods.”  People have established these gods with a little “g” throughout time and over the ages.  In the Bible, they are idols and are worshiped in the “high places.” They are the gods that caused the children of Israel to go astray in many cases throughout the Bible.  God, the God of heaven and earth, is highly above all gods.  He is to be feared above all gods, too.  Those other gods have no power, no spirit, and no strength that can even compare with our God, our Creator, and our Lord.  He is the supreme God who reigns supreme over both heaven and earth. 

He is our God.  He is great.  He deserves great praise and great fear from those who call themselves called into salvation by God.

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“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” -Mark 1:35-37

“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”  Psalm 5:3

What is your morning ritual?

Do you rise up early and find your own personal time with the Lord?

How do you start your day?

Seek the Lord’s face early.  Find a way to find time to spend time with God.  Place an emphasis on making your personal time with God a special time that kicks off your day.  Make it special.  Seek a special time with the Lord.  Do it daily.

Rise up early.  Get to a place that allows you to have some privacy.  Talk openly with the Lord.  Share the burdens of your heart with Him.  Be both open and honest.  Pour out your heart to Him and with Him.  Let your tears run down your face.  Hear yourself crying out for mercy.  Listen closely as the Lord whispers comfort into your soul.

Find the time and you will find a new level of Christian experience.

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Ye have wearied Jehovah with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? In that ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of Jehovah, and he delighteth in them; or where is the God of justice?- Malachi 2:17 (ASV)

If you have heard many of the sermons encouraging individuals to “bring all of the tithes into the storehouse” and receiving a blessing that you do not have “room enough to receive,” you most probably are familiar with the message of the Book of Malachi to some degree.  It has been used to urge the reluctant to release their hold on money and let God have His due as the Lord God who changes not.  It has long been used as a one-way directive from the pulpit to the pews regarding the submission of one to the Lord’s calling for tithes and offerings.  Unfortunately, this is not the entire message of Malachi.

The Minor Prophets: Micah-Malachi Volume 2 (Expositional Commentary)What Preachers Never Tell You About Tithes & Offerings: The End of Clergy Manipulation & ExtortionMalachi speaks to the priests and the people.  The prophet has a message that deals with the coming of the Lord and His messenger as well as the failure of God’s people and His priests to keep their covenants and obey His ordinances.  Read the entire message of Malachi to get the full meaning of it.  Don’t take someone else’s word for it.  Read it for yourself.

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 10 Hear the word of the LORD,
   you rulers of Sodom;
listen to the instruction of our God,
   you people of Gomorrah!
11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—
   what are they to me?” says the LORD.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
   of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
   in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to appear before me,
   who has asked this of you,
   this trampling of my courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
   Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
   I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
   I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
   I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
   I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
   I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!

Isaiah 1:10-15 (NIV)

Just in case you didn’t get the memo, the Lord was not pleased with the condition of Israel.  He shared his deepest sentiments regarding her sacrifices and offerings to Him.  He was truly displeased.  In fact, at one point in verses 16 and 17, of the same chapter, He says for the disobedient nation to wash and “learn to do right.” The Lord was truly offended by all that Israel tried to do outwardly without any sign of inward change.

This is for those who may not have heard it before today.  It is for those who my never have read where the Lord calls His people harlots and idol-worshipers.  This is for you just in case you never heard such things from God Almighty in His Word. 

It can also serve as a reminder for those who have heard or read it, but they somehow forgot that they ever heard or read them before.  It should help convict and reprove those who know better to do better.  Let it serve as a strong reminder to all that God will not stand our disobedience and defiance for long.  Turn from your ways and start doing things God’s way.

18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
   says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
   they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
   they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
   you will eat the good things of the land;
20 but if you resist and rebel,
   you will be devoured by the sword.”
            For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 1:18-20 (NIV)

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I  will sing a new song to you, O God; . . .I will make music to you– Psalm 144:9 (NIV)

Poet or psalmist? Which is it? Oh, yeah… spoken word, poetry or psalms?

Today, much like in the past ages, people are caught up in titles.  They live by labels.  For some people, they are precisely who or what they think their titles say that they are to everyone else.  Even if it doesn’t fit them, they attempt to live up to the title by what they wear or drive and how they talk as well as who they hang around.  That’s just how some people go about it.

I am an author who writes poetry among other things.  As an author, I am convinced that some people will call me whatever they care to call me because of what I do.  Some will say that I am a poet, while others will simply call me a writer.  Then, as with most things, there are those folks who fully dress it all up and make it into a big deal by calling people like me: “inspirational writers” or “spiritual scribes.” The one that caused me some alarm was psalmist.  I had to do some more research before I could even stand to hear it come from another person’s lips.

Psalms are defined as “sacred song; a hymn” or ” a sacred song or poem used in worship.” Imagine one of my pieces used as a call to worship.  Or, if possible, picture a choir swaying and rocking in their elaborate and ornate robes as I clutched the mic and spit a flow of one of my more upbeat poems to a raucous drum beat with a twinkling piano and an eerie organ piped in as we praise God. Would that be a psalm? Would that make a psalmist? Or, would I still be a poet?

David and Asaph were psalmists in my mind.  Moses and Solomon were even credited with composing at least one psalm.  Marvin Sapp has a release entitled “Diary of a Psalmist” and many other gospel artists call themselves psalmists.  Even though the definitions of psalmist tend to loosely define the title as a composer or writer of a psalm, I just can’t see myself using the title.  If someone called me a psalmist, would I stop in the midst of praise and worship to correct them with my personal reservations about why I don’t prefer to be called one? No.  I don’t have a lot of time for that.  Would I refer them to this post to get my opinion or views on the title? No.  I will just praise Him and keep on praising Him as a poet, writer, author or psalmist.  No matter what they call it, I call it praise, worship and expressive joy.

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How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God
.- Psalm 84:1-2 (ESV)

Which will it be? Reverent or ritualistic? How will you approach God’s throne of grace today? Will you approach with a reverent heart and meet Him with your head held down in humility? Or, will you look at your calendar and to-do list, ready to check off or mark that you can sing “Another One Bites the Dust” to one of the many items you have listed for today?
Which will it be?
Will you get into the spirit of worship or not?
Will you come into His courts with thanksgiving?
Will you offer yourself in humble submission to the Lord?
What will it be today?
Which will it be?

For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.

Psalm 84:10 (ESV)

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19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
Colossians 3:19-21 (NIV)

Are you man enough to make your wife feel loved by you “just as Christ also loved the church?” Are you man enough to encourage and not discourage your children? Are you man enough to still be grown and obey your parents “in everything?” The question is: Are you man enough? 

It takes a real man to be husband, father, and son. God wants us to imitate Christ in all that we think and do (Philippians 2:5).  He, especially, wants us to have healthy, holy relationships.  At best, our role in these relationships should reflect our relationship with Christ.  We submit as He did so to the Father; we  offer ourselves to our wives as an extension of sacrifice; we provide our children with loving support.  In all of these things, we are called to be like Him. 

Are you man enough?

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