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(PHOTO from red twolips)

Worship –

It’s a loaded word. At least for me, worship is hard to define. I believe I should must, take my opinions and self out of the picture when I attempt to define worship. Naturally, I want to throw music, communion, prayer, tithing, and all the things that take place in a typical church service into the definition. And these are all good things. All acts of worship. But these things are a “no-brainer”, at least in my mind. These things are our duty. It’s like being at an event and when the national anthem is sung, you take your hat off and put your hand over your heart (Especially since everyone else is doing it). Well, at least those who believe in the idea of America.

I have heard many “famous” worship leaders state that true worship is done 90% or more of the time outside the safety of church walls.

So I ask myself, “How can I know that I am worshiping?”

I remember Abraham. Abraham was told he was going to be blessed. He was rich. He had a hot wife. Seriously, his wife was smokin’. Read the story. His wife Sarah wanted to have a son with Abram. Abram had children with other woman and Sara wanted a child of their own. Eventually, God told them that they would have a son, even though Sarah had passed her “fertile” years. So, they waited. God kept his word and gave them a son, Isaac.

Then God wanted to prove Abraham’s love for God. So God told Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. I still can’t imagine. But I don’t see anywhere that Abraham questioned God. I don’t see that Abraham even stalled. I have to believe that Abraham had all sorts of thoughts rolling through his mind though. “Sarah will hate me forever if I do this.” “I will be charged for murder.” Yet, Abraham went through with God’s plan. He went through with the plan all the way up to the point where the blade was raised above Isaac’s head. (Can you imagine the sheer fear in Isaac’s eyes?)  God told Abraham to, “Stop!” Then God provided a lamb for both Abraham and Isaac to sacrifice together.

Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. -Oswald Chambers

This goes against my “defense is the best offense” theory. I think we are playing defense with our worship. We focus on us. We want to protect ourselves.  Our desire is to be pleased with worship. Our desire is to please others with how we worship. We play defense by emphasizing our duties. We have a list and on this is list we have written, I don’t do “this” sin, I go to church, I sing, I clap, I fast, I give, I pray, I partake…I play defense. Playing defense is safe. (It’s easy for the terrorist to rant and rave in a cave but why doesn’t he do this in a NRA meeting?)

Offensive worship is totally different. To sum it up, I would describe it as, doing something that you don’t want to do but God wants you to do. Offensive worship is uncomfortable. Offensive worship involves God and then you. Not the other way around. Worship must always begin with God. If it doesn’t then the act is not worshiping, its self serving. I believe we will sin less once we worship more.

If that Oswald Chambers quote is true, then how do we worship God?

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I have been digging through the events that lead up to Jesus’ death. I always try to find some detail that I have never noticed before. Actually, I found 2 things that made me go hmm. I won’t talk about them though. I don’t feel like hashing through Jewish customs on this platform.

Something that I realized, while doing this, is I like Peter. Reading about Peter reminds me of myself. More so his failures than his successes. I love how Peter is revealed as a real dude. I am not sure why Jesus’ other company is not. Maybe Peter was just more vulnerable and didn’t punch people in the mouth when his purposes were questioned.

I am not a big fan of Paul. Paul was a stud. Paul changed the world. But I don’t think we would have got along. I know people thought he was an ass at times. Believe me I should be more like Paul but I just don’t think we would have jived.

Peter loved Christ. Peter loved his culture. Christ loved Peter. Jesus gave Peter a cool nickname as well. The Rock.

the-rock1Some say that Peter was the rock that the church should be founded upon. Catholic priests consider themselves representatives of Peter’s position. Another thing I love about Peter is that he dared to walk on water. Ya, he sunk but at least he had the nuts to step off. He trusted Christ but then began to look else where. Who hasn’t?

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Back to the Easter scene. Peter denied Christ. The rooster crowed. Peter was questioned about his companionship with Christ. The rooster crowed. He had been seen with Christ. Peter was picked out of a crowd. He must have been influential in Christ’s ministry within the region. There is a party going in the midst of Jesus’ trial, I can only imagine chaos. Yet Peter stands out. He is accused of being with the Nazarene. His actions proceed him. And we all know he denies his relationship with Christ.

peeps1It’s easy to be the armchair quarterback and say you wouldn’t have denied Christ. We deny Christ everyday. This day coming up, that is filled with peeps and little girls in flowery dresses, should be the ultimate reminder of how Christ didn’t deny us. Christ didn’t deny Peter even though He called Peter out on denying Him.

Peter went on to runamuck in Christ’s name. I think we should realize that our denial of Christ is magnified during this season. When you walk out of church Sunday, will you have realized that you deny Christ or will you just be saddened by the torture inflicted upon Jesus? Regardless, I plan on coming out with guns blazing. I plan on being a better follower. I plan on being a better husband. I plan on being a better father.

We must remember that Jesus chose to face the cross. When his boys were sleeping while they were to be on the look out He knew he would be betrayed. He didn’t call on a legion of angels. He followed through with the Father’s will but it wasn’t easy for Him. He asked the Father to give him the strength to complete this task.

He wanted to die for you. You chose Him at your convenience but do you follow Him? I guess the best person to ask that question to is Christ himself. Sunday, this is what I intend to do. I plan on asking my Savior, “Do I follow you in a manner that benefits your cause?”

I was humbled by this post.

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If you read the story and I hope you do, remind yourself how simple their tool boxes are. Their arsenal is a change of clothes, bible, posters, and a bottle of water. I know, I know, that approach would not be effective in the United States. Or would it? Believe me when I tell you, I am passionate about the cause of Christ. I am passionate about the local church. I want to see every church increase the kingdom of God.

I was raised within a small body of believers. My blood has the DNA of small church. Now, I am fortunate enough to participate with a larger church. It is not a mega church by any means. But it would definitely be considered above average according to attendance stats. I am not a numbers guy. I am not a pastor.

When I was a youth pastor, I would dream of being able to do ministry like other churches. Churches that had the funds and man power to be described as, “they got it going on!” Those thoughts were completely wrong. For too long we as Americans have relied on the church to serve our communities. And when that church has stopped meeting our needs, conveniently we can just drive down the street to a different church. I say this because we get wrapped up in the processes of how a church does church. Because our minds are warped, we are attracted to the “venue” style service. We need to be entertained so that we stay tuned in. I am just as guilty. And I use the word “we” lightly because not everyone falls into this category.

We have stuffed our tool boxes with so much crap that we can’t even handle the load. Hey, I couldn’t see myself worshiping God where there wasn’t an “experience.” Actually, I believe there is a need for entertainment. I think Ed Young coined the term “innertainment for the heart.” If the church doesn’t entertain the heart, soul, and mind then it loses it’s velocity. So don’t think that I am criticizing the audio visual effects in any manner.

I am criticizing those who call a church home. I am criticizing those who let the church and it’s pastors get in the trenches while watching from the safety of the sideline. I am criticizing myself. I think most look down at their tool boxes (no punn intended) and feel that they are lacking. Others have packed their tool boxes with so much junk that they have become agenda focused.

For the kingdom to grow, we can’t rely on churches. For the kingdom to succeed, we as followers must go. If we call Christ our Lord and trust Him with our lives, then we have been commissioned. Our relationship with Christ isn’t a “how will you help me next” Dr. Phil style friendship. It is totally opposite. Christ has literally commanded all believers to GO and DO.

If we are believers, then we have absolutely every tool needed to reach those far from Christ. 1. We have His Spirit. 2. We have His Word. 3 We have the knwoledge of what He has done for us individually. Nothing else is needed but the tools we have already acquired. At the end of the world, we will not be able to hide behind the success of our churches. Nope, it will be just me, standing in front of God, looking down at His feet because I can’t bear to look Him in the eye. And He won’t even have to remind me, of all the time that I wasted, worrying about my tool box.

img_2538This is why I love Gracepointchurch.tv.

The being of it’s existence is truly because of the One.

And because your background is checked at the door, absolutely everyone fits in. How often do you see hip hop flavor blended with middle aged white dudes, who grew up in the days of David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar. For this guy who grew up in the 90’s, the atmosphere is a perfect balance between Come As You Are and Holy, Holy, Holy.

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See, even those who are folically challenged, call Gracepointchurch.tv home.

Stop by to worship the One. Slow down to listen and you will hear the word of the One. But always remember, it’s all for the  One.

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This should make you get real the next time you are attending a worship service. Because Brian witnessed physical worship, his life was changed. Honestly, I know I hold back. I get the urge. The urge to dance. The urge to sing LOUDER. The urge to open my heart COMPLETELY. Instead of having and audience of ONE, I think about my surroundings and miss out on that intimate connection with my Father that only comes through physical worship.

Check out some of Brian’s solo stuff.