Quotes worth pondering

I am knee deep in preparation on my thoughts for Sunday’s message. Part of my process today is wading through a number of really good quotes. I’m not sure which one(s) I’ll use yet, but I’ll share them all with you (this way, you get a preview of some of what God is stirring in me for Sunday – aren’t you glad you read the blog 🙂 ha)

“We created a religion using the name of Jesus Christ and convinced ourselves that God’s optimal desire for our lives was to insulate us in a spiritual bubble where we risk nothing, sacrifice nothing, lose nothing, worry about nothing. I wonder how many of us have lost our barbarian way and have become embittered with God, confused in our faith because God doesn’t come through the way we think He should.”

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What is Faith?

I am working on both my message for August 2nd as well as our brand new series on August 9th and I’m thinking about “faith”. What is it? Some would say faith is what you have what you don’t have facts. What I think they mean is that faith comes in play when you can’t point to solid facts, kind of like a “hope so” but a little stronger, since you believe it. Others say faith is acting on what you believe to be true which would seem to imply that you better be certain that you’re believing the right thing. But what is it really? We talk about it all the time, especially at church.

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Worship pt.5: Worship and Music (service styles at Grace)

This concludes our blog series on worship, but it is not the end all be all on the topic. These are merely my thoughts on the subject (gleaned from Scripture, trustworthy authors and my own reflecting) but there is lots more to say on the topic.

I will also say, specifically to Grace Church, that we are learning and discovering more and more about this each week/ month. Particularly on the music side of things, we’re continually experimenting and growing and so our thoughts as well, will grow and mature as we hear from God and understand more clearly what He’s called us to. That being said, allow me to share some of my perspective on the journey from where we are today. This blog post will be a lot different than the previous 4, since this is meant to be more the “nuts and bolts” of how we’re fleshing this out. But please don’t neglect the theology and more full understanding of worship (way beyond music) that appears in the rest of this series.

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Worship pt.4: Worship and Evangelism

Ok, I decided, we’ll do one more part after this one as we continue this blog series on worship. Let’s talk about a debated subject, worship and evangelism.

Some will say that worship is only for believers in Jesus. And in some senses that is true, because a true worshipper of Jesus would also be a follower/ believer of Jesus. But does that mean that unbelievers have no place in a worship service? Some would say so. We do not. In fact, when unbelievers observe authentic, real worship that is in Spirit and Truth, it’s compelling. As we’ve said in earlier posts, worship is much much more than music and it’s sad that it often gets reduced to that. Worship is a lifestyle and can not be “put on” on Sunday, if it’s not lived out the rest of the week. Dr. D. A. Carson, a professor and theologian has said “we cannot imagine that the church gathers for worship on Sunday morning if by this we mean that we then engage in something that we have not been engaging in the rest of the week. — Worship by the Book 2002, 24.

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Worship pt.3: When and how should we worship?

We are continuing building on this topic of worship, culminating in a practical discussion on worship music at Grace Church. This is the third part in a multi-part blog series.

AW Tozer, a theologian once said, If you do not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week. There is no such thing known in heaven as Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by Monday worship and Tuesday worship and so on.”

This gets back to the definition of good worship – if worship is just something external, something I do once a week for an hour – that isn’t truly my spirit, it isn’t truth. You see for many of us, we’ve reduced worship to songs, or to church services and we’ve limited how God defines worship!True worship is all the time.In fact I believe that there are people who go to churches and sing songs – but who worship someone or something other than God.

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Worship pt.2 – What is “good” worship?

We’re continuing in our multi-part blog series on the topic of worship. This is in response to a question received on the blog, and also due to the fact we haven’t talked about it in a while.

Well “good worship” is worship that is for God’s glory, for our joy and for the mutual growth of others.You see, sometimes I hear people after church talking and they say, “oh, that was good worship today” or “man, the worship wasn’t very good today”But let me ask you, who is right object of worship?

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Worship pt. 1: What is worship?

I received a “blog contact” a few days ago that asked about what we believe about worship at Grace Church. Since I don’t have an email address for this person and since I figured there may be others who wonder about this subject, I figured a blog series may be in order… so here goes: some input into the discussion on “worship”.

Let’s start by establishing some of the theology on the topic and then we’ll get to the specifics…

First off, all humanity worships. Not all worship God, but everyone worships. Worship is giving attention to, declaring something worthy, finding glory in that thing or person. Just go to a concert, a professional sporting event or read some people’s facebook status – you’ll observe worship taking place. There are people and things that we all can glory in, dedicate ourselves to and sacrifice for (Romans 11:33-12:1)

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Technology & Grace Church/ Me

I used to be more of a technology “junkie”. I loved taking advantage of whatever came out. However, in my life today, I’m being more discerning (I hope) and evaluating what this new technology will assist me with.

A few criteria I use:

1. will it save me time?

2. will it help me better connect with people?

3. will it get me into something that would be enjoyable, not overly time consuming and not distract from what is most important for me to be involved with?

I’m sure there are other things on that list, but that’s what I’ve got now. And even with that simple list, I’ve been able to say “no” to a number of the latest things, while saying “yes” to some truly helpful things. I have to admit in the “apps” store of itunes there are so many options that it’s hard to decide what will be most helpful. So often, I’ll download a free version of some new tech app and try it out for a week or two – often I don’t go on to get the full version, but sometimes a few “gems” find their way in.

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Giving Up

What our world needs now is people who won’t give up. It seems that a lot of my time as a pastor has been connecting with people that others have “given up on”. Some of these people were high school students who were “labeled” as the bad kid and never given a chance to be anything different. In other cases it’s been Christian adults who were “difficult to work with” in the past and who were not given an opportunity to be any different. Others have been random people I’ve met who always seemed to be the underdog. Allow me to share some general observations from connecting with these folks…

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No Perfect People – Repost

After working on Sunday’s message, I was thinking about this blog post from about 4 months ago, so I’m reposting it in light of the content of Sunday’s message about Zaccheaus.

Here ya go…

As we talk about engaging with people who are far from God, I was thinking that a lot of people tend to see Christians as unreal and often judgmental. Like it or not, it’s the stereotype of Christians. Is that because we ask people who don’t believe as we do to live according to a standard they don’t adhere to? Could our approach to people hinder our ability to communicate the most powerful message people need to hear?

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