Monday, July 26, 2010

Church Camp Is This Week!

Hey everyone, I am gone at church camp this week with the teens from our church. I am letting you know this so:

  1. You will pray for our teens, myself (I am speaking 3 times) and Evangelist Jayson Godsey, who will be preaching the evening services.
  2. I will not be making any new posts until sometime next week
Thanks for praying for us, and I will try to give an update next week. If I can get internet at the camp, I will post some info throughout the week on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, July 19, 2010

They Think It Strange

1Peter 4:3-4  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:  (4)  Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

As I was reading and studying today, I came across verse 4 and it just stood out to me. Peter makes the application that even though they used to run with sinners and live a life of sin, they no longer did and those that they did it with now think they are strange. There was such a dramatic change in not only their inner being but also in their outer being, that it was just strange to the old crowd who was not saved. And because this "new life" was so strange to them, they spoke evil of them. 

How many times have we heard the saying, "They are running with the wrong crowd"? What we notice from Peter today is that no only is that crowd wrong, but they are going to think of you strange for not following them. But our job is not to blend in with every one else, but to stand out for our Lord, remembering what Peter said in chapter 2:

1Peter 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Psalm 118:24 - Be In It

A Devotional Outline From Psalm 118:24
1.     The Creation - This is the day which the Lord hath made
a.     God is the creator.
b.     God made this day just for us.
c.      If God had no use for you – He would not give you today.
d.     God gives us the day – what we do with it is our choice.
e.     Change starts one day at a time:
                     i.      Michelangelo – 4 years paint Sistine Chapel. Spent 10-12 hours a day on a small section just several inches wide.
                     ii.      Focused on the overall picture, while concentrating on the small task at hand.
                     iii.      Think about where you want your life to end up for the Lord, and every day, little by little, begin to implement it.
2.     The Choice - We will rejoice and be glad
a.     We have a choice to rejoice and be glad in God today – but many allow their circumstances to dictate their feelings.
b.     As Charles Spurgeon says in his commentary – What else can we do?
c.      When we really get down to it – we have so much to be thankful for.
d.     We focus on the few negatives while overlooking all the positives.
e.     EX: Tree-line while fishing. Focusing on the one dead tree and missing all the other beautiful ones
3.     The Circumstances - In it
a.     Here is the key – “in it.”
b.     Don’t live your life in the past
                     i.      Many suffer from the Use-ta’s – come to church, teach, choir, soul-win
c.      Don’t live in the future
                     i.      “I have some issues to work out. But once I do, THEN I will come to church, teach, choir, soul-win, etc.”
d.     As many athletic coaches have said over the years – we are in it to win it.
e.     Live today to its fullest for the Lord.
f.       Get started today.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Madness and Ministry of Music

There is a lot that is made of the issue of music. It is one of those subjects that can divide Christians, churches, and preachers. For some, music is a fundamental of the faith; for others it is a preference. For the purpose of this post, I will briefly be discussing Christian/Worship music and not secular music. So, what does the Bible say about the issue of music?

  • We know that music can be used for the good and the uplifting of people – 1 Samuel 16:15-16; Ephesians 5:19 
  • We also know that music can be used for evil and idol worship – Daniel 3:5

The interesting thing to me about Daniel Chapter 3 is that many of the same music instruments used by the psalmist for praising and worshiping God were also used by the wicked musicians for Nebuchadnezzar. During David’s time, it says that they played all manners of instruments (2 Samuel 6:5). So then, maybe it is not so much what is used to make the music, but what music you make with it.

It was during the time of David that music seems to of had its greatest impact in the worshiping of God (though a careful reading of Revelation shows to us that music and worship will be a part of eternity). Today, many Christians choose to join (or leave) a church solely based upon the style of music used during the church service. So then, what does the Bible say about the music that is to be used in such a case? We notice in Ephesians 5:19 three types of songs, or music:

Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

I have always heard (and agreed with, yet not sure who said it first) that a simple explanation of the differences in these three is this:
  • Psalms – Songs that are sung TO God.
  • Hymns – Songs that are sung ABOUT God.
  • Spiritual Songs – Songs that are sung about OUR relationship with God, our Christian testimony, etc.

Another verse that speaks along these same lines is: Colossians 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. This tells us that music is to be used to teach and admonish (warn or exhort) each other.

This is where we must be careful with music, especially much of the music that is being produced for today. As I have always told our church, I am not against anything new when it comes to music, as long as it is Biblical. It seems to me though that much of what we hear today either promotes false doctrines, or has false motives (glory of man and not God, etc.).

So, should we throw out all new music? My answer is no – remember, Amazing Grace was once a “new” song! Now, I do listen to some “new” worship music – in private! Why in private and not public? That is because I consider them to be spiritual songs which benefit me on a personal level and are beneficial for me in my personal worship of God. But as far as corporate worship (church service), we do better to stick with the Psalms and Hymns, even though we sing very few Psalms these days.  Maybe we should get back to opening the Book of Psalms and singing it instead of reading it?!

I know this can be a touchy and controversial subject amongst Christians, so I am open for discussion, BUT NOT ARGUMENTS. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Worshiping the Works of our Hands

Micah 5:13  Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.

This thought of idol worship has really been on my heart and mind lately. Maybe it is because I am reading through the Reese Chronological Bible in my devotion time and having been reading through the different prophets, but this seems to be a bigger issue here in our churches than we like to think it is. 

While the prophet Micah is speaking more specifically about the worship of statue-like objects, we see the parallel to modern-day idol worship.  While there are plenty of churches with their statues out front and in their auditorium, I am more worried about our other works that we worship today: our programs, personalities, and preferences. 

John Gill has a good thought on this application: "and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands" - as not to fall down to idols and worship them, so neither to trust in carnal privileges, ceremonial rites, observances of the traditions of the elders, or any works of righteousness done by them, which they had been prone unto.

I think it is a good thing for each of us to occasionally do a check of what it is we actually worship. If we are honest with God and ourselves, it may actually surprise us what we have "bowed the kneed to." I am afraid we are more worried about what a church offers for my children, what type of music they sing, and how charismatic the preacher is. It is strange to me how often people will object to change because "momma and daddy didn't do it that way," yet they don't love and serve the Lord like their momma and daddy used to.

Lets make sure that God really is at the heart of our worship, and not anything that we have created.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hypocrisy in worship

READ: Isaiah 6:1-4, key vs. 3-4

Here, Isaiah speaks of the great hypocrisy and wickedness that was committed in the name of worship and religion. This was something that even the prophet Ezekiel dealt with in Ezekiel 23:39  For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house. How can anyone living in America today read this and not see the application to the American Christian?!

So much of what is done in church today in the name of worship is not God or Christ centered worship; it is idol worship centered on man's thoughts and desires. The American Christian, and their American church, have chosen their own way with their own traditions and now take great delight in their worshipful abominations. We stand and fight, not for pure doctrine and the power of an undefiled Gospel, but for our traditions and the methods of our idols (past preachers that have been used by God for great things). Few Christians today actually desire the sincere milk and meat of the word; instead, settling for regurgitated thoughts from others. We have now become dogmatic of traditions, and they now are our god and our idol. And we do all of this in the name of the Lord. We do much, but not much good.  I wonder today how many of us are hypocritical in our worship, following a delusion, and have missed out on the voice of God as we delight in our religious activities that God considers an abomination?

Proverb 15:8  The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.