Archives For Worship

These articles are written to encourage and equip you and your people to honor and depend on God.

Topics include: a leader’s heart, Faith, surrender, tithing, singing, corporate worship services, etc.

I can tell you who your church is reaching right now without ever visiting your church.

I just need to hear your music. 

Music is the number one positioning factor in your church. No music reaches everyone, but every style of music will reach someone. The kind of music you use will greatly impact who you reach. 

Music is a powerful tool for evangelism. Psalm 40:3 says,

“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD”

(Psalm 40:3 NLT).

Early on in my ministry, I devalued music, but that has changed. Over my decades in ministry, I’ve learned many important lessons about music and its power to impact people toward the Gospel. I’ve often learned these lessons the hard way, but now I want to share them with you.

Here are six of the most important lessons I’ve learned about music. 

 

Preview all your music. You don’t want to have…

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Pastor, I don’t know what you’re dealing with right now, but I suspect you may need some sort of healing. Maybe it’s a health problem or a broken relationship. Maybe it’s a problem in your church.

The good news is God gave us a model for praying for healing and restoration in the Bible. About 3,000 years ago, God promised King Solomon to heal and restore God’s people. That promise still stands today.

But notice that 2 Chronicles 7:14 isn’t a promise to everyone. It’s a promise to God’s people.

God says, “Then if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, if they will pray and seek me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land” (NCV).

In that famous verse, God gives four conditions for answering our prayers for healing and restoration.

1. We need to admit we’re not in control.

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves (2 Chronicles 7:14…

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“Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins—even those you do in secret. Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless. Your troubles will go away like water beneath a bridge, and your darkest night will be brighter than noon. You will rest safe and secure, filled with hope and emptied of worry.”

Job 11:13-18 (CEV)

How can you learn to live in God’s love so that you can live free of fear? You have to surrender your heart to God every day. 

Each morning, before your feet hit the floor, pray, “God, before I even start this day, I surrender my emotions to you. I want you to be Lord of my feelings. I want you to control my mind. I surrender my heart to you. I want you to fill me with your love.” 

There are three commands and eight promises in today’s Scripture. God says if you do this, then he’ll do that. When you follow his commands, God will follow through on his promises. 

God gives three commands to follow:…

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7 Benefits of Praising God

As Christ-followers, we build many important spiritual habits into our lives—including prayer, Bible reading, gratitude, and so on. All of them will play a critical role in our spiritual journeys in 2022.

But we must not forget the habit of praising God. It’s particularly important when we’re struggling. 

What makes praise so important for you and for those you lead? Here are seven reasons the habit of praising God is vital for you and those you lead in 2022.

Praise lifts your spirit. 

Psalm 42:5-6 says: “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you” (NLT).

There’s no doubt we have a lot in our world today to be discouraged about. But Psalm 42 reminds us to both praise God and remember what he has done in our lives when we’re down.

The world is looking for hope. As Jesus-followers, we know the only real reason for hope. That’s why…

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I once took my family on a vacation to Lake Tahoe. I hooked up a rather large trailer to my car, and we headed north. Unfortunately, I didn’t stop to think how that large load would affect how many miles I would get per gallon. 

As I drove through the mountains, I noticed the gas tank was half full. No problem, I thought. My car had a big tank. But suddenly, we hit a strong headwind, and I watched my gas gauge drop even further. I then realized we wouldn’t make it to our destination. We eventually ran out of gas, and I had to hitchhike back to a gas station.

The point of my story is this: The heavier the load you carry, the faster you’ll run out of gas.

Pastor, you’re carrying a heavy load. Leaders always do. You’re helping people answer questions about eternity. You’re ministering to them in their lowest moments. Your church members are looking to you for spiritual nourishment.

To fulfill God’s purpose for your life, you must learn to lighten your load or you will run…

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In ministry, tight personal budgets often come with the territory. When Kay and I first moved from Texas to Southern California in 1979, we came with little money and a big vision. In fact, we didn’t even have enough money for a motel the first night we were in Southern California.

We started Saddleback Church on faith.

When you have to stretch your finances to meet your obligations, you need to learn how to manage money effectively. Most pastors weren’t taught how to do so in Bible college or seminary, but it’s an incredibly important part of your ministry. 

Throughout my ministry, I’ve used principles from the book of Proverbs to teach my congregation how to manage money. If you haven’t made these five commitments, consider making them today. 

Keep good records. Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds” (Proverbs 23:23 NKJV). One of the big reasons most people face pressure concerning their finances is they’re not sure where their money is going. You need to know what you owe, what you own,…

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I believe the number one problem with preaching in America is its lack of application. Too many pastors use an academic model in which they simply lecture their congregations. As a result, people often walk out of worship services with their lives unchanged.

The lack of application in preaching has led to half-empty, financially strapped churches around the country. Many of the moral issues that plague our society are consequences of this lack of personal application. We’re teaching doctrine and knowledge without ever making the point of how it applies to the lives of people.

In the first 15 years of Saddleback, we had no building. In fact, we used 79 different buildings throughout those 15 years. We even worshiped in a tent for a few years. We would freeze in the winter, get soaked in the spring, burn up in the summer, and blow away in the fall. Despite those disruptions, our church kept growing. People will put up with a lot of adversity if God is changing their lives through the teaching and preaching. 

Next Sunday, in churches all around the world, thousands of…

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The Gift of Peace

By Kay Warren

The Gift of Peace

“Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (TNIV)

I spend time on Twitter and Facebook, and I notice that people frequently post that they plan to take a “social media break.”

Why? Generally, the reason people give is that they feel overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of news about what is happening around the world. The level of violence, conflict, chaos, pain, suffering, and constant tragedy can take an enormous toll on people’s hearts and minds.

In addition to the world’s problems, many also carry the constant pressure of worry and anxiety about kids, marriage, health, and even financial responsibilities. The weight of personal problems can feel too heavy to carry.

In the middle of all that is wrong in the world and upside down in our daily lives, perhaps the reassurance we all need to hear is contained in the angels’ declaration to the shepherds at Christmas many years ago: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE to men on whom…

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God Loves to Use Average People

“I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me ” Philippians 4:13 (AMPC).

Growing up, my family moved a lot. My dad was a pastor, and it seemed like every few years we changed churches, homes, neighborhoods and schools. I was always the new kid.

By temperament, I’m an introvert, and regular upheaval to routine and familiarity only increased my sense of being on the outside, of not fitting in.

To make things worse, I saw myself as just an average person; there was nothing special about me. Actually, I felt average in every way — so ordinary. I wasn’t ugly, but I wasn’t beautiful. I could play the piano, but I wasn’t great. I did OK in school, but I don’t think I ever made the honor roll even though I tried hard. I had a few good friends, but I was certainly never one of the “cool” kids.

By the time I reached college, I was fairly certain that although I loved God with…

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Growing Stronger Through Worship

There’s a word in the Bible for focusing on God: worship. Some people think worship is a ritual—that it’s all about a regimens, rules, and regulations. But, it’s not, worship simply means focusing on God.

God wants our focus because he is focused on us.

Our ongoing focus on God is the only real antidote to the worries, frustrations, and stress which causes so much exhaustion in our churches. Our churches need the kind of strength only God can bring.

In The Purpose Driven Church, I wrote about how church growth was more than numerical growth. Actually, God wants every church to grow:

  • Stronger through worship
  • Warmer through fellowship
  • Deeper through discipleship
  • Broader through ministry, and
  • Larger through evangelism

The Bible gives us three ways we can help our congregations grow stronger through worship.

1. Provide an opportunity for vibrant corporate worship.

Let’s face it. Your people can listen to sermons, read Christian books, and sing along with the latest worship music. People can worship on their own, but worship is better when we do it together. All of those acts of devotion are good, but they aren’t enough to truly…

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Four Ways Your Church Can Care for the Poor

I’ve always found it significant that Jesus mentions the poor in his very first sermon: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor” (Luke 4:18 NLT).

We must care about the poor because Jesus did. We don’t have a choice. So how can we help the people in our churches minister to the poor? Here are a few ideas I have; perhaps you have more:

1. Treat the poor with dignity.

We’re not smarter, we’re not more talented, and we’re not more valuable than people who are poor. The Bible says, “Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2 NIV). I like to say that our self-worth isn’t based on our net worth.

2. Offer the poor opportunities.

The Bible says, “When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it” (Galatians 6:10 NCV). As I’ve talked to people in various ministries, they all say that the best way to help the poor isn’t to give them a bunch of money. It’s to give them opportunities.

Maybe people…

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How to Mobilize Our Churches to Finish the Task

For the past 2,000 years, Christians have been praying for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

And we’re still not there yet. But it’s within sight. We’re closer than ever before.

More than 2 billion people have never even heard the message of Jesus, so it’s time to take a radical stand and say, “This has to be completed in our generation.”

Nothing matters more than getting the Good News to people who haven’t heard it.

It’s why you’re still on this planet. It’s why every person in your church is still around. There are only two things you can’t do in heaven: You can’t witness to other people, and you can’t sin.

Nothing matters more than getting the Good News to everyone—and finishing our task. History depends upon it. The spiritual destinies of people depend upon it.

The church’s birth in Acts 2 gives us a great model for how we’ll reach the remaining unreached people groups on the earth. Within the story of these early Christians, we get the biblical foundation for mobilization.

1. We must depend upon the Holy Spirit.

If we don’t begin, continue, and end with…

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