This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 You don’t need to read indy-mag.com, to be reminded of the 2007 Britney Spears very public tantrum as she exited rehab, filed for divorce and...
Showing items for 'Spiritual Growth'
Quiet? What’s that? The kids are fighting, the TV is blaring, the cell phone is pinging and the washer is running. Down the block a fire truck’s siren is blasting and cars are tearing down the street. And now? The cat is tipping over the dog’s water dish! Sound familiar?...
Seems as though there would be more to worship than singing on Sunday, saying an occasional prayer, or owning and reading a Bible. What do you think worship is? Dig deep. Think hard. Be open-minded. Open the Bible. An understanding of why we worship God isn’t found in the news or in our...
You might think that worship time on Sunday is all that God requires for our worship of Him. And most of us can’t imagine ourselves playing music or singing songs to God in our homes or at our job, so we just save worship for for church on Sundays because that’s where we know how to...
When we lived in Colorado we would hike often. I thought it was important to teach my then five year-old son about nature, hiking, and being outdoors in general. While I was teaching him about nature, he taught me about worship. Almost every time we started out on a trail, he would open his...
Growing up in a small town church in the middle of Minnesota, my understanding of worship was pulling out the tattered faded red congregational hymnal every Sunday morning as roughly 100 people stood up to the sound of pages turning. Gradually everyone settled in at the correct page and then...
If ever a prayer needed to be answered it was now. Standing inside the critical care unit of Children’s Hospital, I watched and waited outside a recovery room. A battery of alarms were blaring. Code blue blurted on high volume from the loud speakers. Nurses came running, equipment...
We all experience pain in one form or another—if we live long enough life usually brings us something emotionally or physically difficult. Throughout these hard times we wish that things were better. We might blame others, ourselves, or perhaps even God for what has befallen us. We...
Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified...
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7) We tend to admire people who are courageous. It could be firemen, policemen, or warriors. Courage often forms the backbone for movies and novels. We naturally root for...
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17
You don’t need to read indy-mag.com, to be reminded of the 2007 Britney Spears very public tantrum as she exited rehab, filed for divorce and shaved her hair off. Ms. Spears was having an identity crisis.
Some famous people handle these kind of identity-crisis situations much more gracefully, such as first lady Michelle Obama. According to huffingtonpost.com, she admitted her controversial bangs were a midlife crisis move. Shortly after her 49th birthday Mrs. Obama said, “I couldn’t get a sports car. They won’t let me bungee jump. So instead, I cut my bangs.”
Famous or not, it seems we all struggle at times to find our identity. There was, however, one very famous man who never wavered in knowing his identity. It was declared before, at, and after his birth. It followed him to his death, becoming crystal clear after he exited the tomb.
This of course was Jesus Christ. He may have never had to “find himself,” but he did regularly find it necessary to defend his God-given place in the universe - he was and is the Son of God. And in that identity he made it clear that this made him a servant. He told this to his disciples in Matthew 20:28a, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others…”
What does that mean for us? With Jesus as a servant how does that affect or change our perspective and/or our behavior?
If you understand your identity as a child of God it will have a profound effect on everything…every day and in every way.
In Ephesians 1:5a Paul writes, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.” In accepting Jesus Christ, we can then stake our identity in Christ. We become sons and daughters of God. We then take our rightful place in the family of God as we inherit all the glory and responsibilities given to Christ, including servanthood here on earth.
We are just like Jesus in the following ways:
- a child of God.
- sharing the inheritance of Christ.
- here to serve others.
This is us.
This is you.
Read it again.
Say it out loud.
Post it on the refrigerator, your computer screen, above the kitchen sink, on your bicycle, your gaming device; any place you regularly hang out.
Live your identity.
And the next time you are asked, “Tell me about yourself,” instead of saying “I am a student, a manager, a mom, or _________(you fill in the blank)” you will be prepared to clearly and confidently state your true God-given identity!!
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Quiet? What’s that? The kids are fighting, the TV is blaring, the cell phone is pinging and the washer is running. Down the block a fire truck’s siren is blasting and cars are tearing down the street. And now? The cat is tipping over the dog’s water dish!
Sound familiar? Can your relate? Quiet Time 101, really?
Any college student will tell you that a 101 class means it’s the easiest, the beginning and the first class you must take to move deeper into a topic. Some days a quiet time doesn’t seem quite so simple. It may challenge us or inspire us or leave us with questions. However it is necessary to move deeper into our relationship with God.
If you do a search of the words “quiet time” on an electronic Bible, you will come up empty. There are no Cliff notes on the topic. There will be no quizzes and you will not get graded. There isn’t even a syllabus outlining the task. This is the good news and the bad. This is not a class or a normal course of study, it’s a journey. A journey that can only be travelled with God, his son Jesus Christ, and our helper the Holy Spirit.
“I am so busy, my life is chaos, how can I have a quiet time?” is often heard from those who have yet to embark on this journey. Others wonder what they would do during a quiet time. Others find that any soul searching is awkward or even painful. Once it becomes a habit, it will change your life.
As a person who’s energy spikes around 8 or 9 pm, I discovered after the daily tasks were done and the kids where in bed this time was my “sweet spot”. Finding a comfortable chair and setting aside time was perfect for me and Jesus. Often I would settle in with a cup of tea and my Bible for 30-45 minutes of worship. Years later life has changed and so has my quiet time. My Jesus time is spread throughout the day: Bible reading early, prayer in the morning and Bible study at my lunch break. One evening a week includes a Bible discussion and lecture.
Beginning the journey can be unsettling. What does a quiet time look like? Things to consider include Time, Action and Place or TAP.
Find a specific time or times of day and put it on your daily to do list. Plan for what is important and be intentional in accomplishing this high priority task. Like Jesus this may be early in the morning when he was able to be alone. Maybe you too are a night person and the evening works for you. Anytime is good with God. He just wants you and your time.
There is no exact method as each person is drawn closer to God differently.
- Prayer is essential. God wants to hear from you. This could be through journaling, verbal expression or through your thoughts.
- Singing or playing music may prepare your heart or move you to communicate the God.
- Reading and studying the Bible allows you to learn about God, his character, the scripture stories and find words of wisdom. The Bible can be thought of as the owners manual for life. If you are new to the Bible start with reading the New Testament book of John.
- Use a devotional, the Digging Deeper discussion guide, Christian books or a Bible commentary for additional insight and perspective.
- Listen for God to speak. What is it God is doing? What does he want me to know? What does he want me to do?
The place isn’t as important as the focus. It’s essential to find a spot that has minimal distractions, allowing you to openly communicate with God. This may be a coffee shop, or a park bench or room in your home. You may change location each day or change it as time goes on. It doesn’t matter where as much as it matters that you can focus your mind on God.
As you are constantly bombarded with messages throughout the day, remind yourself that it was necessary for Jesus to take time to pray and be with Father. (See Mark 1:35) In your busyness of the day, set aside time and let the words of Bill Hybels book title remind you that you are “Too Busy Not to Pray.”
Seems as though there would be more to worship than singing on Sunday, saying an occasional prayer, or owning and reading a Bible. What do you think worship is?
Dig deep. Think hard. Be open-minded. Open the Bible.
An understanding of why we worship God isn’t found in the news or in our workplaces. It can’t be found in the media or on our favorite reality show. It’s not found in a self-help book or on twitter.
It can be found through observing the sunrise or hiking in the mountains. It can be evident in the face of a small child or felt in the evening winds. It can be seen in the lives of others, even in our own lives. Most importantly the answer to understand why we worship is found in God’s Word.
If you look for verses that speak to the act of worship, you will find numerous passages.
Some scripture simply tells us to worship:
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”
(Psalm 150:6 NIV) (1)
Other scripture gives instructions on how to worship:
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.”
(Psalm 100: 1-2 NIV) (2)
There are also examples of others worshiping:
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,
and the other prisoners were listening to them.”
(Acts 16:25 NIV) (3)
The Bible even tells us how not to worship:
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
(Isaiah 29:13 NIV)
And there are many more verses and passages that speak to these areas of worship. Yet why? Why is it so important to give God the glory, offer him our praise, and do so with our hearts close to him?
We can see what makes God deserving as we walk through who God is and what he has done. We will find the true intent and purpose of worship.
Imagine a newborn baby and the sweet love of his father. He has anticipated, waited for, and prepared for the baby, falling in love before the child is born. Yet, the father knows he will one day send this child away.
He will do this not because he doesn’t love the child. He loves this child with his whole being as he and this child are as one. He does so because he loves others too. He loves them so much he has devised a plan such that they can be adopted into his own family. He therefore chooses to send his child to accomplish this goal.
This isn’t any ordinary father, this is Father God. His Son has always been with him and we know why he did this. John 3:16 (NIV) says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
This is who God is, what he has done and why he is to be glorified.
We also find in scripture that we are all sinners. We fall short. We fail. We try. We need a Savior. Christ came to earth, lived a sinless life, was crucified and raised from the dead. He did this to build a bridge to the Father. Through the action of the Father and the son we could be forgiven of our sins and know, “…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV). It was, “In love he (God) predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” (Ephesians 1:5 NIV)
And the very next verse in Ephesians sums up like this, “to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One (Christ Jesus) he loves.” (Ephesians 1:6 NIV)
Songwriters Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin give a snapshot of reasons in their praise song “10,000 Reasons”. The words include, “You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger. Your name is great, and Your heart is kind. For all Your goodness, I will keep on singing...10,000 Reasons for my heart to find.” (You can find that video here).
God loves us! He loves YOU!
He choose to give us his son. We have been adopted into God’s family. 10,000 reasons for worship. And more.
What are your “worship reasons”?
Write them down.
Read them again and again.
Express your reasons daily in worship to God.
- Also see I Chronicles 16:23-24
- Also see Psalm 100: 1-2
- Also see Daniel 4:37
You might think that worship time on Sunday is all that God requires for our worship of Him. And most of us can’t imagine ourselves playing music or singing songs to God in our homes or at our job, so we just save worship for for church on Sundays because that’s where we know how to do it.
But worship isn’t just for church. Worship is personal. It is our personal response to God’s involvement in our lives. If God is involved in our lives on other days besides Sundays, shouldn’t we worship Him on other days as well?
If you don’t know how to make worship personal, you can learn how to worship God when you’re not in church by learning from what happens before and during a church worship service. The worship leaders shared what they do to prepare for worship on Sundays. And since that is where we start our week in worship, we can learn from them and then apply the principles to develop our own worship during the week.
We asked the worship leaders, “How do you prepare for worship?”
Every week the worship team leaders meet to listen to what God is laying on Pastor Drew’s heart for the church. There is much prayer involved as they God’s direction. The team then searches for appropriate worship songs that support what God is speaking and they practice and plan for the Sunday service. Another important aspect of their preparation is in developing their own relationships with God through prayer and Bible study. They all know that they would not be able to lead worship if they didn’t have an active relationship with Jesus.
So, how will YOU prepare for worship?
As with the worship team, your preparation for worship comes from an active, daily relationship with Jesus. It comes from spending time in the Word, and in conversation with God in prayer.
- Seek God’s direction for how you can practice personal worship.
- Pray, read the Bible, and practice a daily relationship with Jesus.
- Think about ways you can respond to and support what God is speaking to you.
We asked the worship leaders, “What does worship mean to you?”
Patrice Lyle said, “Worship is to give honor or reverence to something. If you have chosen to give your life to God, you owe God your worship. I can help model worship as a leader, but each person must worship God for themselves. Not as a spectator, but as an active participant. How we express our worship to God may vary, but that we worship is a responsibility we can’t ignore, nor pass off to someone else to do for us. When we respond to God revealing himself to us…we show others the goodness of God. This is worship—pouring out our lives to God in a way that attracts others to Him, and having the freedom to express our love for God in how we live for Him.
Hannah Martin said, “When I read scripture I see over and over again how spiritual victory comes after a time of worship. Paul and Silas were beaten and in prison, and it says in Acts 16 that they began to pray and sing songs of praise to God and suddenly the foundations of the prison were shaken and their chains were loosened and fell off, the prison doors swung open. Paul and Silas weren't asking for a rescue, they were worshipping...and God showed up and shook the foundations. They were freed because of their worship. Worship is my love letter to my Creator. Worship is so much more than playing and singing songs about God. It is our response to all that God has done for us.”
So what does worship mean to YOU?
Worship is a choice; a choice to give honor and reverence to God above all other things. It is something we each have to do for ourselves; we can’t rely on others to worship for us. Our worship can free us from our chains. It is our love letter to the Creator and a response to God’s love for us.
- What are you choosing to worship? Are you choosing to honor God above all other things?
- Don’t rely on other’s to worship for you; your worship is your response to God’s love for you.
- Worship comes in many forms, not just singing in church. It is showing God’s love, it is praising Him in your prison, and it is a response to His love and provision.
- How will you respond to God’s love for you today? This is the beginning of personal worship.
We asked the worship leaders, “How do you hope people would respond to worship?”
Hannah Martin said, “I hope that people would experience the presence of God, that they would begin to fully comprehend how much they are known and loved by God and that worship would be an expression of that revelation. That they would be able to freely embrace the Father’s love for them and respond to it because no one walked away from experiencing the presence of God and stayed the same. His presence changes people.”
Patrice Lyle said, “My hope is that every person who enters Severn Run for a worship service will experience the manifest presence of God in a way that encourages them to choose to respond with their lives as an offering to God. When we respond to God revealing Himself to us, we become the embodiment of 1 Peter 2:9, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, we are given the charge to show others the goodness of God. This is worship.”
So how do YOU respond to worship?
Do you experience the presence of God? Can you comprehend how much He loves you? Your worship is an expression of that revelation!
- Freely embrace God’s love for you and respond to it in a way that feels right to you…by singing, or creating, or speaking, or praising…by sharing or by helping others feel His love. This is a response of worship.
- Experience the presence of God and let that affect you! Are you happy about it? Scared of it? Amazed in it? Experience that, and respond to God in worship.
- Let God change you! Let His love mean something to you, and let it set you free. Respond to the change God has made in you—that is worship.
- Respond to God in worship with your life. Get involved, get connected, learn, grow, pray, serve. These are worship responses.
God loves you. He knows who you are and what you are going through. Let that sink in. Let it mean something to you. Then respond to God’s love for you with love back to him. Worship him in word, in deed, in spirit and in truth. Let your life be an offering to Him, a daily worship of His goodness and love.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
When we lived in Colorado we would hike often. I thought it was important to teach my then five year-old son about nature, hiking, and being outdoors in general. While I was teaching him about nature, he taught me about worship.
Almost every time we started out on a trail, he would open his arms wide and exclaim, “I just love seeing all of God’s glory!”
Isn't that the essence of worship; seeing God in something and declaring it?
Where do you see God in your life?
Sometimes to see God, you need to look for Him. It’s about intentionally seeking Him, and expecting to find Him. In Jeremiah 20:13 God promised, “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.” (ISV)
If you look, you can see God in all things.
You can see God in the smile of a tiny baby. You can see Him in the love of your family. You can seek God in your job and you will find Him in the blessings you receive. In the paycheck you take home. In the people you help, and in those who help you. You can seek God and find Him in the beauty of spring, in the sunrise and sunset, in the way the daffodil blooms in the spring, and in the way the leaves turn auburn in the fall.
When you seek Him in your surroundings, you will find Him.
When you seek Him in the ordinary, you will find Him.
When you seek Him in your every day experiences, you will find Him, right there with you.
When you seek Him…you WILL find Him.
He will not just be there in the good times, where it’s easier to see Him. He will also be there in the trials. When you are lost in the dark, distracted by your grief, or laying sick in bed. God does not leave us, nor will He forsake us. He says, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:13 NIV)
It is God who gives us comfort in our trouble. Who gives us a way out of our temptations. It is God who provides peace in the storm, strength for the fight, and courage for the battle. He isn’t just a God for the good times. He is a God for all times…even in your trials…in your darkness…in your distress.
This is why Paul said to focus on whatever is true, and noble, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable, and on that which is excellent or praiseworthy, in his letter to the Philippians (Philippians 4:8).
Because when you seek the good you’ll be able to see the fingerprints of God in all things.
Seeing God in your life is the first step, but that is not the whole of worship. Worship is also about declaring God’s glory.
When you seek Him, you will find Him! When you find Him, declare His goodness!
Declaring God’s goodness in your life is your personal worship.
It is a way you can daily declare the glory of God for yourself and as a witness to others.
It is a way you worship God when you are not at a church worship service.
So when you see God’s glory, say it out loud!
“Thank You for the raise!”
“Thank You for your provision.”
“Thank You for my family.”
“Thank You for showing yourself to me through this!”
“You give me peace in my trial.”
“You are my provider, my hope and my joy!”
Or, as my son declared on the trails in the Colorado mountains, “I love to see Your glory, God!”
This is the heart of worship.
Did you feel His love today? Declare it!
Can you see His hand protecting you? Say it!
Are you trusting Him to get you through a trial? Put a voice to it!
Do you have peace in an impossible situation? Shout it out!
Look for God and you will see Him.
Then when you see Him, declare His goodness.
This is worship.