Archives For Worship

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

The Congregation

It was the LORD who first identified his covenant people, Israel as “קָהַל,” “qahal,” or “the assembled.” Learning from covenant statements throughout the first five books of the Bible, we see the importance of communication between generations in the family and in the community (Deut. 6:4-6). This “assembled” group of elect people was to serve as the nation from which God would manifest his presence in the world. The pinnacle of this manifestation was in the coming of God in “Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Mt. 1:1).

As we continue into what we might call the “Church Age,” we see this theme continued. In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible), the Greek word, “ἐκκλησία,” “ecclesia,” was given as the Greek rendering of the Hebrew “קָהַל,” or “assembly.” Does that word sound familiar? It should, as “ἐκκλησία” is also the Greek word that most English versions have translated as, “the church.” It means the same thing, an “assembly,” a “gathering,” or a “congregation” of people.  We therefore see…

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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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Worship TeamBelow is a step-by-step plan to help your worship team members flourish in three fundamental areas—as worshipers, musicians and mentors. This approach can change the culture of your worship ministry and help your team grow spiritually and numerically—no matter the size of your church. I’ve seen firsthand the impact it has made in smaller congregations I’ve served in the past, and this same intentional process is making an impact in the megachurch where I’m worship pastor now.

Please note that these methodical steps may take you months to complete. Be patient, and don’t rush through them—and be sure not to skip any as you move along. Each step is crucial to your success in training your team to be ministers through music.

Step 1: Confirm your vision, values and philosophy.

  1.  Through prayer and Scripture. Your first and most important task should be to nail down what you value and what your specific convictions are for the ministry God entrusted to you. No vision, no values and no approach to ministry should be formed outside of clear scriptural confirmation and God-given direction.
  2.  Through careful research. Talk with other worship leaders and pastors in your area to learn…

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Shapes Toy

Several years ago I had a church search committee member call me to come to work for them.  This gentleman was the second caller of two from the same place.  Both were charged with the mission of convincing me to make a career move.  While it was an honor to be sought after, I knew it was best to come to closure quickly on a request like this. I have found that to have a divided mind in this line of work makes an already consuming job become completely suffocating.  Before even considering what kind of carrot is being dangled in front of my face, I need to ask myself a few fundamental questions: Do I feel a sense of closure where I am currently serving?  Have I done all that God intends for me to do in the fellowship where I work?  Have a learned from the Lord all that I am supposed to learn while in this place?

Back to the phone calls.  We exchanged tidbits about each other’s locations.  I conveyed that I felt extremely blessed to do what I do for a living and to be able…

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Worship

I’ve written two definitions I suggest for worship. I’ll unpack each of them in this article.

“Christian worship is the response of God’s redeemed people to His self-revelation that exalts God’s glory in Christ in our minds, affections, and wills, in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Christian worship…is different from every kind of worship because it has been made possible through Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:9-10).

Is the response…God has already done something outside of us and inside of us that enables us to worship Him. We are not the initiators of worship; God is (Acts 17:24-31).

Of God’s redeemed people…Just as God delivered the nation of Israel from Egypt to worship Him (Exodus 8:1), so He has redeemed us as a holy nation to declare His praises (1 Peter 2:9). Worship of God is intended to be corporate, not simply personal.

To his self-revelation…we can’t know God apart from Him revealing Himself to us. He has shown Himself to us in creation, His Word, and ultimately His Son (Romans 1:20; Hebrews 1:1-4).

That exalts…the essence of worship is exalting—raising up, lifting high, submitting to, magnifying, making much of, honoring, reverencing, celebrating—the triune God (Psalm 71:19).

God’s glory…

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Worship

Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) once said “Every definition is dangerous.” That may explain why when we try to define a word simply and precisely we often end up missing significant aspects of the word we’re defining. Attempts at explaining worship as “love,” or “intimacy,” or “relationship” say something true, but end up leaving out more than they contribute to our understanding of worship.

In spite of Erasmus’ warning, over the years I’ve come across numerous definitions of “worship” that have caused me think about worship more biblically.

Harold Best, in his book Music Through the Eyes of Faith, defines worship in the broadest sense as “acknowledging that someone or something else is greater – worth more – and by consequence, to be obeyed, feared, and adored…Worship is the sign that in giving myself completely to someone or something, I want to be mastered by it.”1

We want to be mastered the objects of our worship. And indeed we are. We worship whatever rules our time, energy, thoughts, longings, and choices. “Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them” (Psalm 115:8, ESV).

A definition of worship that…

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Pastors Praying TogetherThere is nothing like seeing pastors praying with other pastors. I just returned from Little Rock, Arkansas, where I led a prayer gathering for 304 Arkansas pastors, church staff members, and ministry leaders. In light of this, I am reminded again of the value of praying with other pastors.

Prayer between pastors is needed

Every Christian needs someone to pray with from time to time. This experience is valuable, especially if you pray with someone who takes prayer seriously. Pastors have a unique need to pray with other pastors.

We need prayer. We believe in prayer. We need people to pray for us and with us.

Prayer binds pastors with other pastors

No one understands pastors like another pastor. The size of a church is really not a big deal to a pastor who walks before God humbly. Whether we preach to 25, 2,500, or 25,000 people a week, we all face challenges, criticism, and discouragement.

Prayer with another pastor binds us together. I have seen hundreds of pastors praying with other pastors, and I promise you, they form a strong bond between them.

Prayer with another pastor creates vision

When a man of God prays for…

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