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Strange Things in Worship
Strange Things in Worship
God desires what we worship Him and Him alone (Luke 4:8). He never limits to a certain place or time (John 4:21-24). However he has said He has always desired when we worship Him.
A broken and contrite heart (Psalms 51:17)
Yet, many times, it is these things are absent when we worship. Don’t let these things be strange things in worship. Let them be common. As we worship the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit today let us do so in the way that God has asked us. Let our outward actions be a reflection of our hearts as we try to express ourselves in worship of Him who alone is worthy of worship.
Besides all this, God asks (actually commands) that the main thing that we bring to Him as a sacrifice in worship is ourselves. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1. Here is your act of worship. Don’t offer anything less to Him who has given Himself totally to you.
I love the picture of heaven in Revelation 5:12, 13, “In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”” Let it be that way in Christ’s church. Let it be that way in our hearts. Let’s give Him the glory, the honor and the praise!
One day (maybe you don’t even know what day it was) you believed it all. You believed the gospel. You began to turn a corner in your life. You began to take seriously God’s challenge for you to say no to sin. And that is where you are today.
God is allowing you to turn that corner in your life and you need to go all the way through the bend. So many people don’t. They stop in the middle of the turn as though God has said nothing to them about the rest of the turn.
Jesus was. Why not you? Every account of someone accepting Christ in the New Testament shows adults being baptized (3,000 the first time gospel was preached). God says that adult baptism is when you are fully connected to the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). He also says that in your baptism as an adult you are buried with Jesus and through faith in Jesus your sins are washed away (Romans 6;3,4, Acts 22:16).
Now you need to understand that your baptism as an adult isn’t some initiation rite though which you magically receive God’s grace. The water is just water. The one who baptizes you is a sinner. So where is the power in baptism? It is in Jesus. It is an act of faith in Jesus and in fact is one of the first acts of faith Jesus asks of you. It will earn you nothing but in it you will receive more than you ever have received before. Do you believe in Jesus? Then today you should be baptized as an adult.
What do you think? You know what God thinks (Mark 16:15-16)? What do you think?
Body of Jesus Found!
Body of Jesus Found?
Bye Bye Pluto
Bye Bye Pluto!
This week, the planet that we were taught was the ninth planet of the Solar System, had its accreditation withdrawn. It was stripped of its rights as a planet and was reclassified as a planetoid. It was a sad day. Pluto has been seen approaching Saturn for a job as a moon. (I must be a little simple because I laughed at that joke for at least three seconds)
There is actually a spiritual point here. Man analyzes. God creates. Man classifies. God sustains. We name things. God makes things. Pluto is where God put it. He didn’t make any mistakes, but scientists did. They were smart enough to admit their mistake but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that they did make a mistake and continue to do so. God doesn’t make mistakes. He is reliable. You can build your life on Him. But what of the scientists? Well, consider this.
Highly educated, highly intelligent people look at this marvelous universe with all its intricacies and apparent design and conclude that it all happened without any guidance. It is just a cosmic accident. A blob of stuff was thrown at a cosmic oscillating fan and out came the universe and a Solar System with nine planets. Oops sorry I mean 8 planets.
Listen to God who speaks with mistakes, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalms 19:1. He further gets in our face with “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20.
I love the technology that helps improve our lives. But what is it? It is the result of discovery the things God created (electricity, magnetism, radio waves etc.) and manipulating them. We take such pride in our technology but where would it be without God?
And so we bid farewell to Pluto from our acronyms and our models of the Solar System. But we never have to say good bye to God or His message to us. It is as reliable as the sunrise. Next time you see one ask this question. Should I build my life on the one who named and classified the sun or the One who made it?
Many come to church to seek help, comfort or direction. Today, we do the same.
As that love for you sparks your heavily worn heart you begin. As that love warms you and gives you perspective you begin. As that love grabs your heart with a jolt you begin to want to celebrate. But you worry about what people with think? This is not the issue. What God thinks is the issue.
Whatever you have, lift it up to God. Don’t worry about what I think. You aren’t worshipping me. You are worshiping God the Father. Celebrate. God loves you. Everything is going to be okay. God provides. Jehovah Jireh.
Christmas is Special
Christmas is Special
It really is. Some of your fondest memories, I expect, include a Christmas memory. Someone told me this week about being 8 years old and being the angel in the Christmas play. I remember one Christmas my brother and I opened our presents early and I learned a valuable lesson of waiting. Opening them early spoiled the whole Christmas.
It is a very busy time of year with work deadlines to finish stuff before Christmas and all the end of year parties and dinners. Add to this the stress of getting presents for everyone and fighting all the crowds associated with the season.
Jesus came to change us. He wanted to change our attitudes and our aspects, our acts and our prospects, our present and our future. God was doing all this through Jesus and it all began in a stable of some sort in a little town of Bethlehem. What does that say to you about God whom we worship today?
Life is like that. The sign that we are living is that we are getting dirty. That dirt on your face or grass stain on your pants or graze on your elbow are signs of life. Somewhere along the line we were fooled into believing that if we studied hard enough, married right, went to the right church and always did the right thing then we would have the perfect life where nothing goes wrong. It’s a lie. Call it what it is. It is a satanic deception that traps far too many of us.
Life in Christ and in Adam involves the whole spectrum of human experiences. Incredible inspiring moments and incredibly painful moments. How do I know this. The fact that the life of Jesus, which was the most perfect life, was full of suffering and joy, success and failure, pain and laughter, tells me that I should expect the same. However I believe life was meant to have bumps, scrapes, injuries and carnage because of scar tissue.
Why did God create scar tissue? Because He knew that each of us would need healing because each of us would be injured in some way. In fact the human body is designed as a remarkable self-healing machine. It can take some awesome punishment. I visited a lady in ICU once. The doctor had not sown her up after the operation. She way lying there with the huge wound from the operation packed with stuff. She was unconscious and her breathing was assisted. I said a prayer for her with no doubt in my mind that she would not last the day and my prayer for her was for a quick release. Two months later she was at church singing praises to God. How? I don’t know all the details but I do know that humans are designed to heal if they get hurt.
What is your hurt today? There is one message for you. It can be healed. No matter how bad the news is or how traumatic your pain is God has made you to heal. I know one day the healing will stop because God didn’t plan for us to live here forever. In the mean time trust in the healing God has built into you. Trust in Jesus and lean on His Spirit. Outside of the built in healing process God has a few things up His sleeve that He often uses. Live in Christ and let God take care of what you can’t.
Giving Money is Easy
Giving Money Is Easy
Christians are in a different situation. We have come to the life changing revelation that God has given us so much. He gave us life. He gave us life in Christ and saved us. He gave us skills and talents. He gives us opportunities. He gives us the Holy Spirit. He gives us help though the ministry of angels. He gives us a confident hope for future. God gives. He surely gives and he gives it all to us.
We Christians don’t just have a vague impression that God has given to us. We are thoroughly convinced that God loves us and that He has expressed that love in all these gifts but most of all in the gift of His son to die in our place for our sins.
When we think about that, we find it easy to give money. In fact, we give off the top of our money. We give to God first and use the rest to take care of all the rest of our responsibilities.
Many have asked me, “How much should I give?” The answer begins with a question. “How much have you been blessed?” Then the answer goes to a consideration of the fact that God’s people before Jesus were challenged to give ten percent of their income. I’m not saying that you have to give ten percent but I am asking us to compare two figures. What is ten percent of your income? How much do you give now? Let that comparison say something to you about how much you put in the plate today. This is a heart decision (1 Corinthians 16:2, 2 Corinthians 9:7).
God is a generous god. He never stops giving. We need to be generous because He is generous. Let us bow down before Him with our sacrifices today.
He Who Must Not Be Named
He Who Must Not Be Named
All of these may be worthwhile considerations except that God has clearly spoken to us and He has spoken his name. Jesus wasn’t battling with an embarrassing concept in Matthew 4. Eve wasn’t being conned by a very clever animatronic snake that God conjured up in Genesis 2. Satan is alive and well not only in the first century but in the 21st century. Listen to how God names him. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8).
Some want to argue about where this Satan came from. I am not one of them. When a roaring lion has me in his cross hairs and is coming at me at full speed the absolute last question that crosses my mind is, “I wonder where he came from”. We have got to be humble (and smart) enough to realize that we may not know the answers to all the questions of origin but we do know when we are in danger.
He must be named. We must not let him hide behind the bushes. He is out in the open. That’s where Christ put him when he defeated him on the cross. He is out in the open and he is coming for you. What are you going to do? How are you going to resist him? How are you going to fight him? There are many weapons God gives us for this battle but the first and most vital one is the belief that Satan is there and he must be named as your enemy.
© Copyright 2010 - George Little