“What Is Worship?”

Jul 23

“What Is Worship?”

  What is worship? It’s easier to talk about what worship is not. Worship is not music. It is not a program, It is not the money or just time we give and it is not a feeling. While music can be part of worship, it is a language all its own.We like different styles. Traditional or contemporary it doesn’t matter. Music itself is not worship. Music can be a great tool used in our worship. Worship is not doing ‘organized church’ on Sunday mornings. What we bring on Sundays should be an outpouring of our life. Worship does not have a specific start time and stop time based on events. We worship because He Is good, not because we feel good. Our worship should be greater than how we feel. God is greater than how our day is going. He is unchanging. Worship is the response of your heart to an amazing God! The expression of your heart in worship is your language. God sees that. He is focused on what you bring. We are not the audience, He is. Our worship is something we bring to God. Romans 12:1 (NIV) A Living Sacrifice Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Three anchors come out of this verse, demonstrating what worship should be. 1.)God’s mercies touch everything in our lives. It Goes without saying, (HOWEVER I will say it LOUDLY!!:-)…Our God is a GOOD GOD All of the time!” and so we worship Him for His Goodness and Mercy (compassion) upon us. Lamentations 2:22-23 The faithful love of the lord never ends! His mercies never cease.Great is his faithfulness;his mercies begin afresh each morning. 2.)Our bodies should be a living sacrifice. We should strive to be holy and pleasing in what we offer to God every minute of every day; both in our thoughts and in our actions 3.)God does not want pieces or parts. He wants ALL of you. He is not looking for us to make a sacrifice, He wants us to be the sacrifice. Worship is the believer’s response to all He is and...

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“The Birthday Party”

Jul 04

“The Birthday Party”

I’m feeling a bit melancholy on this Saturday morning. I probably shouldn’t feel this way, but I do. It’s a beautiful beginning to the day. It’s a very pleasant 60 degrees on my back porch. The sun is shining. Birds are chirping. Squirrels are scampering about the yard. Why don’t I feel in a celebratory mood? I feel a bit like going to a birthday party honoring someone you have known and loved all your life. They’ve been your friend. Encouraged you. Helped you. And shared many benefits that have blessed your life. But now they’ve changed. Their values are not the same. Their words, attitudes, and actions are such sharp divergence from your earliest memories. So much so you hardly recognize them anymore. They seem happy. They’re celebrating their new-found lifestyle, but it’s hard for you to accept. No, it’s impossible. You still want to go to the party. You still love them. You feel indebted to them. But it’s bittersweet. In some way that’s how I feel on this Independence Day that celebrates our country’s 239th birthday. America has changed. And is changing. And I think not for the better. A recent Rasmussen poll reveals that 67% of Americans feel the country is on “the wrong track.” Only 26% believe we’re headed the right direction. Of course, being on “the wrong track” is rather subjective. No doubt, there are various reasons for that response. For some we’re on the wrong track economically. For others in terms of national defense. Or illegal immigration. Also ranking in the top ten of concerns is political corruption, health care, unemployment and the federal deficit. All of those are legitimate issues, but my greatest concern is that we’re on the wrong track spiritually. Ronald Reagan was right when he said, “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” Abraham Lincoln expressed it this way, “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their own independence upon the overruling power of God…and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proved by all history, that those nations only are blest whose God is the Lord.” Sadly,...

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“I’m Coming Out!”

Jul 02

“I’m Coming Out!”

“Nobody can control or define our identities unless we let them, and so I chose to come out and to define myself – nothing more.” These words are by Bradley Manning, who now identifies himself as female named Chelsea.  Manning is serving 35 years in prison for espionage and has demanded “gender confirming healthcare” from the federal prison system. Manning’s words express the current social trend toward personal self-expression and identity definition by homosexuals, bisexuals, lesbians, pansexuals, and transgenders In fact, re-identification knows no boundaries. Rachel Dolezol, a Caucasian woman from Spokane, Washington, was recently exposed as posing as an African-American woman.  She is an activist and was President of her local NAACP chapter.  Her ethnicity is German and Czech.  She is being called “transracial” and says, “I identify as a black woman.” A man named Chris identifies as disabled, and confines himself to a wheelchair, although he is able-bodied.  “I feel like I have the wrong body.  I identity as a guy in a wheelchair.” Believe it or not, there are actually people who identify as being animals.  They’re called “otherkin,” which refers to being born into the wrong body.  Not just body parts, but the wrong species! So, I decided it’s time I “come out” and publicly define my identity. (1) I am a homo sapien.  A human being.  I’m not an animal.  I did not evolve from a chimpanzee or pond scum.  I’m a part of the human race that God created on the sixth day of creation (Gen. 1:26). (2) I am a male.  In the beginning God created  them male and female. (Gen 1:27).  There are only two genders.  And God made me a male.  He “formed my inward parts; (and God) knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (Ps 29:13) (3) I am created in the image of God.  I’m  not a “little god.”  But I’m a “partaker of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4).  I have a spirit given to me by God and when I die I will return to God (Eccl. 12:7).  My body is only a shell to house the soul.  I will live on in eternity. (4) I am a Christian.  I’ve been born-again.  I’m a Believer.  I...

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“Are we In Danger of Losing Our Religious Freedom?”

Jun 30

“Are we In Danger of Losing Our Religious Freedom?”

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s narrow 5-4 decision to legalize same-sex marriage, there have been a rash of predictions and dire warnings about the impact this will have on religious freedom. The majority opinion seeks to appease such fears. “Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.” However, in his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote, “Today’s decision, for example, creates serious questions about religious liberty,” Also dissenting was Judge Clarence Thomas who opined, ” Aside from undermining the political processes that protect our liberty, the majority’s decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect.” There have been numerous newspaper articles, facebook posts, blogs and examples given from other countries that suggest our religious freedom is going to be restricted. Everything from muzzling the mouths of preachers who dare to condemn homosexuality, to churches losing their tax-exempt status, to actual fines or imprisonment are suggested possible consequences. The truth is no one, not even the legal scholars, can predict with certainly the potential fallout from this ruling. However, let me suggest that religious freedom is NOT going to be restricted for true disciples of Christ. How can I know that? Because our real “religious freedom”is not based on the United States Constitution. It is founded in our faith in Christ in obedience to His Word. Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jn 8:32). Jesus’ words were spoken to the Jewish people who were in Roman bondage. Politically and socially they were fettered with certain restrictions. Yet, Jesus’ focus was on spiritual freedom. He further elaborated by affirming this divine Truth. “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin...

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“Thoughts on Memorial Day”

May 25

“Thoughts on Memorial Day”

“Memory is the way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose” ~ Kevin Arnold. As I sit here in the early morning , sipping a cup of  coffee, I am alone with my memories on this Memorial Day. Memory can be a wonderful blessing. It can bring smiles, laughter or even tears of joy as we look at pictures, share stories, or just think about the good times of by gone days. I remember as a boy going the cemetery in the  mid-western community of Mansfield, Ohio, , on Memorial Day. There my Great Grandfather, Arnold Lemon, and an Uncle Jack, both I never knew, were buried. My Grandmother, like many of the older generation, always called it Decoration Day. I recall seeing her gently putting flowers on the grave. Moments of silence. A memory shared. A tear wiped away. Unfortunately with Memorial Day sales, backyard bar-b-ques, and various sporting events, the history and significance of Memorial Day is lost on many of this generation. It’s good to remember why we have Memorial Day. It is a national holiday to honor those who have given their lives in war. There is no clear record when or where this holiday began. Over two dozen cities and towns lay claim to the birth place of Memorial Day. There is evidence that women’s groups in the South began decorating the graves of Confederate Soldiers before the end of the Civil War. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan and first observed May 30, 1868. In 1971 Congress changed the official celebration to the last Monday in May. It has become in time not only to honor those killed in war, but to remember all of our loved ones who have died. My wife Kim and I live in the Pacific Northwest, and each Memorial Day weekend Kim and her Mother, Sister and  sometimes myself and our granddaughters   visit the grave of Kim’s Dad Robert Anderson, who was a Signalman in the Navy in WWII.  Our parents, grandparents, and siblings that have passed on hold a special place in our hearts. These relatives and other...

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“Vapors of Blessing”

May 15

“Vapors of Blessing”

  JOURNAL Thoughts:  Friday 8:45a.m. 02/15/2015 Vanity. In the book of Ecclesiastes   the Preacher or ‘Searcher’ ; Solomon uses this simple word over 25 times in this short introspective book.  He opens his writings with this phrase. “Vanity of Vanities” Ecclesiastes 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; ALL is vanity. And even in the last chapter of the book he concludes with the same phrase. “Vanity of Vanities” (Ecclesiastes 12:8) Solomon’s view of life at this time was one of deep and troubling soul-searching. The man was the ‘Bill Gates’ or ‘Warren Buffett’ of his day, for in chapter 2 He tells us  whatever  his eyes or Heart desired he obtained it (Ecc. 2:10). He was in a desperate search for the meaning of Life by purchasing and buying all the material things plus experiences he could have—He held NOTHING BACK in this frantic pursuit for ‘The Meaning of Life’. All of life is VANITY was one of Solomon’s major conclusions in this book. A better translation of the Hebrew word VANITY, here , (Ha-bel) , would be literally ‘BREATH’. In other words Life is but a mere vapor or Breath, exhaled  and dissipating quickly with hardly a thought of that passing. In that regard, that LIFE PASSES QUICKLY I would agree, especially as I approach my 60th year. Twenty  years ago to me, seems to have ‘flashed by’ like the snap of ones fingers .It  is as if with each passing year my life spins by faster and faster. The Apostle James said it this way… ‘Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.’ With all this in mind today I am learning more and more to be grateful for the ‘Small things’; those small blessings that come my way each day . For me, the biggest source of ‘small blessings’ are my two granddaughters; Jeslyn, age 7  and Natalie  age 10.  As an example, It just dawned on me this past week what a joy it is each weekday to escort my granddaughters down the street to get on the bus for school. I...

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