Archives For Dwayne Moore

HandsAs we saw in last week’s article, worship is three-directional: inward, outward, and upward. Conveniently, Hebrews 13:15-16 touches on all three of these aspects of a worshipping life. Please read that passage now. Notice that the passage concludes with these words: “for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

The aspect we are focusing on today is the third direction: worship pointed upward, toward God. It’s what most folks think of when they hear the word worship. In Hebrews 13:15 the upward direction involves two specific actions: praise and thanksgiving: “Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (NKJV). Praise is primarily acknowledging God for who he is. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is giving thanks to God for what he has done for us. In this lesson we will focus on the priority of being thankful.

We can be sure nothing ever happens to us that our loving God doesn’t permit. After all, like Moses, he protects us “in the cleft of the rock” as he covers us with his mighty hand (Exodus 33:22, NKJV). His rod of correction…

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DirectionsAt some point in your life, you may have been as I was (and so many in our churches still are!). Anytime you heard the word worship, you assumed that word mostly referred to singing, clapping, and talking to God. Worship is actually much more than that: True biblical worship encompasses our entire lives. In fact, in his book The Ultimate Priority, John MacArthur Jr. explains that for our worship to be “whole-life” it must include three aspects or directions. Most certainly, we worship God when we focus directly on him, pointing our worship upward (as we normally think of worship). However, we should also worship God inwardly. The third direction we should worship him is outwardly, to those around us.1

Three Directions of Worship

You might think of three-directional worship like this: Imagine you say to your boss, “You are the greatest boss to ever walk the face of the earth. Furthermore, this is the best job I’ve ever had or ever will have. In fact, I practically worship at your feet for just letting me do this job every day.” (Am I laying it on thick enough yet?) OK, having said such…

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The Priority of Praise

By Dwayne Moore

PraiseHave you ever looked out the window of an airplane just before it pierces the clouds and noticed how much of the terrain you could see from that one vantage point? You suddenly begin to realize just how enormous this earth of ours really is.

Imagine with me now that we’re “flying over” and looking down at praise. As we take a broad view of praise, we’ll begin to notice two things that show just how important to the Lord praise really is. First, we’ll realize that praise, like land and water seen from an airplane, stretches as far as the mind can perceive in all directions. It is infinitely vast.

Praise Is Prevalent

As we scan the “plains of praise,” we see many landmarks that give us a clear picture of how far-reaching praise to God is:

God’s people have always praised him. I’ve been a praise leader for a long time. In fact, I was leading worship “when worship wasn’t cool.” It’s exciting now to see just how far praise has come. More and more churches and individual Christians are embracing greater freedom in worship. Praise is no longer just for “that…

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Worship LeadingWe recently started a unique and needed community for worship leaders. We call it the Asaph Generation (AsaphGeneration.com). Why the name “Asaph Generation,” you might ask? Simply put, we want to be part of a generation of worship leaders who leave a godly legacy in worship ministry–like Asaph did!

The Asaph Generation is an exclusive community committed to 1) whole-life worship of God, 2) musical excellence, and 3) investing our lives in others. These three qualities really define Asaph’s life…

1. Asaph was a worshiper. Read any of the twelve psalms he was credited for writing (Psalm 50 and 73-83), and you’ll immediately know that Asaph (pronounced “aw-sawf’) was a passionate worshiper of God, who was growing in his relationship with God. He wasn’t perfect, but he really wanted to please the Lord.

Passages like the following help us see how well Asaph “got” worship:

  • “But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:23. NLT).
  • “But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and…

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Cleanse

I hate to feel sweaty and dirty. In fact, anytime I come in from exercising or working out in my yard, I immediately head for the shower! I love feeling clean (and I’m sure all those around me appreciate it, too!).

In the same kind of way, we should want to always keep a clean heart before God. Our goal should be to live in a constant state of forgiveness. Notice I didn’t say a constant state of perfection. Unfortunately, we will sin on occasion. However, anytime we get “dirty,” we should confess it instantly and then trust God to cleanse us completely. Remember, neither the Lord nor the world needs to be around “stinking” Christians!

If we’re to enjoy clean living every day, we need to embrace two important habits: accountability and self-examination. Being accountable to another person or persons we respect and trust is a powerful deterrent to sin. When you know someone else will be asking you the “tough questions,” you think twice before indulging in things you shouldn’t. Also, accountability partners encourage and challenge us to grow in our faith and do the things we should do. Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us,…

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Assembly LineAt Valley View Church, our vision for the worship and creative arts ministry is to be a “sculpturing factory.” The analogy of a factory works especially well in the southwest area of Louisville, where our church is located. Many of our members work at the Ford plants or the major UPS hub nearby, so it’s easy for them to understand and relate to this simple word-picture of our vision.

Below are some particulars, which help explain our “factory” model of ministry:

Products

We have 3 “products” (or goals) that our worship ministry aims to produce:

  1. Quality worship services (based on Psalm 33:3)
  2. Quality worshipers (based on Matthew 28:18)
  3. Quality worship leaders (based on 2 Timothy 2:2)

Chief Operator

The Lord, “the Author and Finisher of our faith,” is the Chief Operator who directs the sculpturing process. He determines the speed of the conveyor belts and the pace that each “product” is produced. (After all, they’re His worship services and His worshipers!)

Conveyor Belts

We have strategies in place, which act as “conveyor belts” moving everything along. These strategic processes rarely change. We believe they are biblical, logical and effective in any situation to produce the results…

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FreshAll of us prefer food that is fresh. In much the same way, God enjoys people who are “fresh,” Christians who still have the joy of the Lord and a passion to know Him more, no matter what age they are. These are the ones who represent Him best because they demonstrate the fresh life He is inside them.

The pressures of ministry, family and life in general can wear us down and tire us out. How can we remain fresh from week to week and year to year? How can we maintain our joy and passion for serving God? Psalm 92:12-15 gives us the answer: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon, planted in the house of the Lord; they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.’” Here, the godly life is compared to healthy, growing trees in God’s court.

There are three important ingredients in this passage that are absolutely necessary…

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PrayerThe Model Prayer that Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6 can be divided into three distinct parts. As we build a daily habit of praying “in this manner,” our prayer lives can significantly deepen and our perspective of things can radically improve.

Part 1: Vertical—Start with praise and surrender.

When we pray, we should always begin with a vertical focus on “our Father in heaven.” Never start with yourself. God is the only one worthy of our attention when we pray. We should begin with praise to our God, just as Jesus did when He said “Hallowed be Your name.” We should speak directly to the Lord, telling Him how awesome and holy and worthy He is. Take as much time as needed for your mind and heart to catch up with your words. Let the truth of His greatness sink into your soul.

Heart-felt praise should naturally lead us then to surrender our will to Him. Like Jesus, we should humbly submit to His will being done “on earth, as it is in heaven.” It’s not about our will being done. Our Father is not some magic genie granting us our…

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HeavensPraiseHave you ever felt like you’ve been wandering through life, not quite knowing what exactly God’s expecting from you? Sadly, many in God’s family spend much of their lives this way. They walk around with an I-hope-so approach to the Christian life—they hope they’re in God’s will, or hope they’re doing what is best and right. Many eventually become discouraged and quit even trying.

Other Christians seem to think the goal of their Christianity is to somehow please God through their endless strivings, as though God will only love them when they’re performing up to His expectations. Yet the Father is already pleased with us, not because of how much good we manage to do, but because we are His children.

Stop now and ask yourself this question: What should the goal of my Christian life be, as I live each day? Get an answer in your mind before moving on.

Now, look at your answer a little closer. Is your goal measurable? At the end of your day, can you look back and know for sure if or when you hit that goal? Perhaps more important, is the goal you just identified…

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20140611-072850-26930090.jpgHave you gazed at the sky lately? Have you noticed the amazing colors of an evening sunset? Have you been mesmerized by a gigantic rainbow with its backdrop of smoldering gray rain clouds? Our God is a magnificent designer! It’s as though every day provides Him a brand new canvas and He paints for us a new and original design from His endless palate of purples, reds, and blues.

Mandate

If one has ever questioned the need of visual art as a part of worship, all he or she needs to do is consider the priority our Creator placed on creativity and beauty when He made this universe and more specifically our world. His wonderful creation is awe-inspiring and breathe-taking!

Obviously, God’s creative handiwork is intentional. Look at the diversity and colors of animals, the sky with clouds and constellations, and even flowers and plants. God purposefully made what we see around and above us to be more than just functional. God designed everything, including all of nature, so that it would point us back to Him. No doubt that is what the shepherd, David, realized as he lay on a hillside night after night…

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