Archives For Worship

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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God's PresenceA few weeks ago a friend and I were glancing through a Christian magazine and noticed how often people referred to “God’s presence.” It’s a hot topic these days.

In his kindness and mercy, God often reveals his active presence to us. By “active” presence I mean God’s presence as distinct from his omnipresence and his promised presence, both of which we accept by faith. Whether we “feel” it or not, God is present when his Word is faithfully preached, when his people meet in Jesus’ name, when we celebrate the Lord’s supper, when we sing, and we were serve in his power (1 Tim. 6:13; 1 Cor. 5:4; Mt. 18:20; 1 Cor. 11:27-32; Acts 10:33; Eph. 5:18-19; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). At those times and others we can know that God is with us, empowering what we do.

But there are times when God makes his presence known more clearly, more tangibly. Like in 1 Cor. 14:25, when the secrets of a man’s heart are revealed by prophetic words and he declares, “God is really among you” (1 Cor. 14:25). We experience it when our hearts are flooded with peace, or we…

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Saddleback Art GalleryOver a decade ago, many churches embraced a toolbox full of options for designing worship services including music, video, drama, dance, visual art, poetry, spoken word, stories and testimonies, guided prayers, and interactive exercises.  These days, it’s almost exclusively music and video. Certainly music and video are art forms, but what about the other tools?

There are many reasons to explain what happened.  Developing arts teams in a variety of disciplines is expensive, complicated, messy, and inherently risky.  I believe that several churches attempted to do more than their resources allowed them to do well.  As I’ve often said, the only thing worse than no drama is bad drama!  Sadly, any art form done poorly will be written off as a poor investment.  So instead of recognizing that each of these art forms should only be used as often as they can be done with excellence, we write them off and stay safe.  I also recognize that a church with solid Biblical teaching, engaging worship music, and a little video, can be a prevailing, healthy community.  So why rock the boat?

I believe it is time for another renaissance of art…

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Once churches discovered the value of video, the multi-site and satellite campus model went from a handful of mega churches to tens of thousands of churches. With this explosion of multi-site churches, a separate venue utilized as another service style option – or even just a simple way to make more room –  has also been gaining popularity on existing church campuses. In both cases, I have found that there are 4 types of church video venues. For churches considering video venues or multi-site campuses, I am presenting these 4 types of video venues as helpful research that looks beyond the venue to the technology and logistics required for effective services.

Type 1 – Overflow Video Venue

Growing churches will find themselves running out of space in their main meeting venue. A seemingly simple step is to open up another part of the facility, run a video and audio cable to the room and fire up a projector and portable sound system. Voila! A “video venue” is born. Well, not really. While the concept of space-sharing is great, the implementation of the technology and the logistics of planning are…

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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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Time with GodAs pastors, our life-blood, our power, and our strength comes from the time we spend with God. But if you’ve been in ministry for more than a few minutes, you may have noticed that as a pastor, spending time with God can feel like yet another task on the to-do list.

There’s a tension here—because something that used to feel like an intimate, refueling time with your Creator has now become a part of your job description.

This can sometimes threaten to steal the peace, rest, and connection it once had.

There’s also this incredible responsibility. We’re not just reading the Bible for ourselves anymore. We’re reading to study for our sermons or so we have an answer ready whenever someone needs a word from the Lord. Our prayer time isn’t just about our relationship with God anymore. It’s about filling up to pour back out.

So what do we do as pastors to have fulfilling quiet time with God, without it becoming another task on our to-do list?

Here are some tips that have worked for me. 

1. Change locations

If you find yourself in a rut, try switching locations for your quiet time with…

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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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Crosschurch RogersOn Sunday morning, October 13, 2013, I led our entire Cross Church Family in a prayer meeting. I believed it was time to issue a call to the Cross Church Family for spiritual revival in the church and spiritual awakening in America.

Our Purpose

Why dedicate an entire Sunday morning service to a prayer meeting? I felt God leading me to alert our Cross Church family of the need for spiritual revival and awakening in America. I lead them through a spiritual process that was both personal and sequential, and then sent our church out with a burden for revival and a hope for the future. Revival is the manifestation of the presence of God in our lives. Revival begins with me. Revival begins with you.

A Personal Conviction

I have a personal conviction about why we pray for revival and awakening. Personally, I believe we need to pray for personal revival, revival in the church, and awakening in the nation, so that we can see the Great Commission of Jesus Christ escalated and accelerated to completion in our generation. I am compelled to call the church to revival and the country to be awakened spiritually, so…

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stones“One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” – Psalm 145:4

Music is vital to both Old Testament and New Testament worship. One cannot read through the book of Psalms, itself a hymnbook, without seeing the obvious emphasis on music both vocal and instrumental. While the New Testament is fairly quiet in regards to music in the corporate worship service, there are two mentions of its use. I think some will be surprised at the emphasis both of these citations make.

Both references to music in the New Testament Church are echoes of one another by the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians and the Colossians. In his letter to the Ephesians, in chapter 4, in a short section on “walking in love,” Paul ends by commanding that the church be “filled with the Spirit” (vv. 2,17). One of the ways this fullness of the Spirit is evidenced is that people are “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with heart” (v. 19). So, as a sign of our walking in love with one another, we are…

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