Christmas

Worship Expression in 2013

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35

What does the church look like to unbelievers? More importantly what do we want unbelievers to say about the church going forward? It’s the new year and a time for new beginnings. An opportunity to shrug off regrets, pull yourself up out the miry pit of self condemnation and declare to the masses- “this year will be different and better than the last!” Many of us have a bitter after-taste in our mouth from the over heated discussions with family and friends during the past election year. Lines have been drawn in the sand and things were said and done that I am sure many wish could have been said and done differently. If you are a Christian it was a crucial time to express the truth of God’s Word and love.  So much of the events of last year were tragic; hurricane Sandy, CT school shooting, presidential election, gas prices, political spin, economy  etc. It left many with a sense of hopelessness. If any of those lost sinners or lonely saints decided to give “church” a chance in the midst of the 2012 tragedy, hopefully they got the impression of a Church that is loving, united and full of hope. But what’s done is done and what’s been said can’t be taken back. So regardless of how the Church came out of 2012 let’s all agree that we could have done more regardless, to impact this world with the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven; and 2013 is full of new morning mercies to be the real church, the body of Christ to a hopeless world.

How does that translate into our worship? How does that new morning mercy and commitment to love deeper translate in our everyday worship? Well God’s word says we should, “speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-21) Our personal and corporate worship should convey the love, unity and hope of the gospel. Over the next few weeks I want to look deeper into those three points and see how each one can impact our expression of worship in 2013. How can we covey the love of God through our spiritual songs? How can we communicate the unity of the body of Christ through our music on a Sunday morning? How can we express our joy over a living hope in our hymns? These are the things I want to explore over the next few blogs with the intent of creating an atmosphere for these three things to flourish through our worship in the church. As you prepare to gather together and minister to others this weekend, meditate on these things. Lets put away pride and pull on a garment of humility; laying down our most heart felt good intentioned idea’s from 2012 and simply join the work that God is already doing now in 2013 by getting to the basis of Christ’s commandment- to share the gospel of His love, unity and hope.

May God bless and strengthen you in this new year!

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It’s My Birthday and It’s Not About Me

“He must increase and I must decrease.” ~John 3:30

Today is my 35th birthday. I have only been saved for almost 14 of those years. As I reflect on my life at my mid thirties I am reminded of what John the Baptist said to his followers. They came to him saying that Jesus whom he baptized in the Jordan river was now baptizing people along with his own disciples. John responds with truth and explains the reality of what was taking place. God’s Kingdom was breaking through and it started with John’s declaration that Jesus was/is the Anointed One sent from Heaven as he witnessed the Holy Spirit descend from above and rest upon Jesus at the Jordan river. John was fulfilling his part and it was necessary that he decrease and Jesus would increase.

John knew that Christ was the bride groom and he was a part of the bride and that the bride is to come to the side of the Groom- not the other way around. As I walk out my salvation and follow the Lord Jesus, my life must look more and more unrecognizable as “my life” and must be Jesus increasing! I praise God and the Holy Spirit that my life today looks less like my own. I dont boast in my decisions to have followed Christ but like the apostle Paul, I boast in the only thing that is good in me; that is Christ Jesus!

Take an inward look today, even if it isn’t your birthday, and try to examine your life. Does it look like Christ or does your life still look very much like it belongs to you?

“You have been purchased at a great price, so use your body to bring glory to God!” ~1 Corinthians 6:20

How much of Jesus is in you?