Archives For worship

Yesterday was day 6… I took the word from God on day 5 for silence and tried to be mindful of my schedule, not cram any more into and just breathe the breath of God in. I was stressed with work and time and tried hard to keep the meditation of My heart of the Goodness of Jesus… I succeeded at times and other times failed, but regardless I was still… and I know He is in control.

Psalm 18:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

On day 5 I reflected on the second part of that verse. Today I want to address the first part.

May the words of my mouth be acceptable in your sight, O Lord.

words matter…

Because what comes out of my mouth is directly related to what is in my heart.

I have found that in my most stressed overdone moments, The times where I am just tapped.. All that is left in my is the sludge of my own self. In turn it ends up being that same sludge that I spew out when interacting with people I love. This past week my deadlines have piled up like crazy because my macbook pro died a horrible death. This week was slightly different though because I have really been trying to dig in each day into the heart of God. Somehow, by God’s strength, I was able to.

Nothing mattered more to me than when my wife told me that she noticed that I was trying. I pray I can make a habit of that so that when my heart is turned towards Jesus my mouth glorifies His goodness.

Prov 18:21 “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Life and death are in the power of the tongue. I have been amazed in the years I have been doing ministry that the majority of damage that most of the people that come in the doors of the church with is from listening to and owning something somebody other than God has spoken over them. Broken people do have sharp edges and we not only get cut easily, but we have become word ninjas ready to chop any one down with our mouth katana so we can protect ourselves.

In the beginning was the word…
With a word the our world was created….

Everything begins with a word. 

This is the situation we find ourselves within our workplace, with our children, in our church family and with our spouses… That we can bring life with a word or we can bring death with a word. The question is do we want to begin with a word of life or death. The consequences are drastically different by our choice.

James 3:4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

The tongue might be small but it has the power to control us. Not only does it have the power to control you but it gives you the power to control and steer others.

Freedom and deliverance begins with a word.
Recovery begins with a word.
Repentance and forgiveness begin with a word.

I want to continue this Lent being mindful that what I say matters and affects more than just me. As I look towards holy week I can rest on the words of Jesus as an example as he hung on the cross, which I can never compare my plight to.

He said with a word: Peace; Forgive; Love…

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!

what a

The God who breathed stars into existence, who spoke and made the heavens created us out of dust, to be little mud men in relationship with him. What a mystery. What a privilege to be called sons and daughters because of the mind shattering love and grace and mercy of God.

Jesus, God’s plan A, took all of our sin, all of our garbage, all of our hurt on himself. All the things we have done and have yet to do. He bore it all. He did not come to condemn. As he was being beaten and nailed to a cross, He responded to the offense with “FORGIVE THEM!”.
What a privilege it is to worship Him.

The prince of peace came in humility. The bread of life was broken so that WE might have life… so that The love of God might finally be revealed with such clarity and impact that nothing would mistake it.
What a privilege it is to worship Him

And the curtain of the temple that separated the presence of God from man was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. Bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. All that was created from beginning to end, Angels and demons, principalities and rulers, Satan and the religious, All of heaven and earth, all that is seen and all that is unseen suddenly woke with a realization… Through the splinters of wood and the poured out blood, revelation came. “Truly this was the Son of God!”
What a privilege it is to worship Him

To seal the deal Jesus rose from the grave, fully man and fully God. He returned as a teacher, friend, healer, gardener… as God…He ministered to followers that would change the world as an act of worship.
What a privilege it is to worship Him

He ascended into heaven and left us with the Holy Spirit. The living God and the same power that raised christ from the grave to be with us always. So that as we draw near to the Good father we can be reminded that his love endures forever. What a privilege it is to worship Him

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Eph 3:16-19

What a privilege it is to worship Him

have it all

It feels like just yesterday that I did a review of the bethel album we will not be shaken, where I shared that I was pretty much lukewarm on most of the cuts on it. I have everything ever put out from bethel, brian and jenn, ian mcintosh, steffany gretzinger, jeremy riddle etc etc… You get it; pretty much anybody associated with that crew and usually love almost everything until the “we will not be shaken” album and I found myself, unlike the title, kind of shaken as it just would not stick with me. I also feel like I may have been set up for a trap because the marketing forced my brain to have an expectation of it being a cross between tides and loft sessions. It wasn’t.

Then came “Have it All” in my inbox to review a few weeks before it officially came out. I clicked the link and said to myself. “what is this!!??!”. I had no idea there even was another album coming and so unlike the last one I was not boxed into sonic expectation and my mind and ears were open to whatever would meet them. I was ready to press play, give it a few listens and then review it. My plan was to post a review a few weeks ago, but as you can see I failed. Now let me keep this review concise and simple as it will also explain my delay in typing this review in the first place.

This album instantly became a prophetic prayer over my spirit and my circumstances. 
It forced me to wrestle with a new level of surrender.
It reminded me that God doesn’t “give His heart in pieces”
It made my heart pour out “thank you” over the circumstances that I normally should not be.

Every track was dripping with the LIVE groan of the Holy Spirit and as polished as it sounds it is also raw and untamed.
Normally I would go through track by track, but there are 16 tracks and I will get acute carpal tunnel if I share on each one so instead I will just encourage anybody who reads my blog… Go buy this album and let it carry you into worship, challenges you to be more like Jesus, and brings peace as the Holy Spirit washes over you.

Oh the peace that comes
When I’m broken and undone
By Your unfailing grace
I can lift my voice and say
You can have it all, Lord

I can almost guarantee that the peace that passes all understanding dropped on you by just reading those words. It is that powerful of an album. It features Brian and Jenn Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook, William Matthews, Jonathan Helser, Paul and Hannah McClure, Kalley Heiligenthal, Josh Baldwin and Bethel newcomers Leeland and Cory Asbury. I think it’s ironic that the last two would be called newcomers, but they are to the bethel music. 

Music of course has a ton to do with personal preference. What surprised me as well is that while a few of those leaders stylistically are not my favorite on past albums, on this one there isn’t a voice, a lyric or a song that doesn’t move my spirit.

These 16 tracks are on continual repeat right now. “Have it All” has become a personal meditational prayer each time I listen and now that it still rings in my head an heart all day long.

Brian Johnson said it best ““The sooner we realize life is about surrender, the longer we have to make a real eternal impact here on earth.”.

Don’t buy this album to support Bethel. Don’t buy this album because you think of me as a bearded wise sage that told you to.

Buy it because your spirit, your journey, and the depth of your surrender needs it. 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this album free from Hoganson Media Relations and Bethel to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

lent2

The Lenten season began last week. Lent leads up to Easter in a similar way that Advent leads to Christmas only with a different perspective. The idea around advent is an Expectation of the coming of Jesus on Christmas day. Lent however is a time of self-assessment and surrender to prepare our hearts for the death and resurrection of the King of Kings

There is a reason why Lent begins with ash Wednesday. The ashes that are put on a persons head are a symbolic representation of mourning our sin, a reminder of our mortality, and is usually in the shape of a cross showing we are marked by jesus and share in his resurrection.

We know that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners, but starting lent with an understanding of lament and mourning of our sin is critical. We need to begin this lenten season recognizing that we are dust that God breathed life into. We are little mud men and women who have been given the opportunity of having eternal life because of God’s mercy, kindness and sacrifice.. And in the same way we were formed out of dust we will eventually return to dust. Life is short and Ash Wednesday reminds us of that.

I love the way the NLT says it in:
James 4:14
 New Living Translation
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone

What we do with our short time on this earth matters. What or who we devote our days to shapes who we are.

Last week 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians were martyred or in other words killed because they were followers of Jesus. It is noted that some of their last words before they died was “Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus, Help me”.

My heart was heavy when I heard this news. It is important to note I want you to know that this kind of thing happens ALL the time. Since Jesus walked this earth Followers of Jesus have been persecuted. If you go to Voice of the Martyrs you can read about men and women who are Marked by Jesus and are persecuted or even killed for their faith. 

I am not saying this to get anybody down or cause any fear. I am saying it because with every great move of the church there is Great prayer and Great persecution. I am so thankful we have not been persecuted or threatened like these followers of Jesus.

Our blessings have also made us comfortable about our faith. Because we aren’t concerned for our lives, we feel that God doesn’t need the full control.

Lets now look at Genesis 2:15-17 (ESV)
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat[a] of it you shall surely die.”

God gave Adam simple instructions… you guys get everything here, but you should not eat from this tree..

Genesis 3:1-7 (ESV)
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[b] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

So in this scripture a few things happen that lead all of humanity towards a need of reconciliation with God. Adam and Eve not only disobey God but they are tempted and succumb to the temptations of Pride and control. They were told that if they ate of this tree they would be able to see what God could see and they didn’t trust the Creator.

Adam and Eve were given a choice to surrender their control. God says “You shall not” which means it is their choice. He doesn’t say “you can’t”. In those beginning statements We see God’s desire for us to not be robots but to have free will. And we see His grace because not only did they not die after they ate it, but God had a plan to fix this mess by sending Jesus.

We are given this same choice that adam and eve were given every day.

The question is: Will you surrender control to God?

Continue Reading…

Julie Rodgers speaks about homosexuality, the Christian faith, celibacy and community. Her Message is about intimacy and sharing each others burdens. I have many friends caught in the “in-between” of this discussion. Many friends in ministry who are scouring the word for answers on how to reconcile things that were so black and white in the church, but now seem to be gray. I love what Julie says here. This is a great speech.