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.

Praise Holy HandsAnswer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. Psalms 4:1 (NASB)

Lord, we’re desperate for you.  We’re bunched up in confusion, moving by impulse and fear, flitting here and there like a frenzied flock caught in the wilderness of the far country.

We are here! We are here!

We know you hear; you’ve heard us before; you’ve swept in like shock and awe and saved us from our hopeless paralysis.

Do it again, O, Holy One; we are desperate for you. How long will you make us wait?

And you speak to us God, saying, “Yes, how long? How long must I wait while you wear my grace and peace like some cheap cloak bought at the secondhand store? How long must I wait while you chase after worthless things, like birds pushed by a winter’s wind?  How long must I wait while you live out a lie because you think you’ve found the truth in something – or someone – other than me?”

Oh God, I hear your heart. You set me apart; yet,…

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Get a Life!

By Jon Walker

“’And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,’ says the Lord. ‘But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.’” (Jeremiah 45:5 NKJV)

“Once you get into the real world, you’ll find it’s not as easy as that.”

“You’re in for a rude awakening when you get out of here and into real life.”

These are things we might say to students who’ve never experienced life outside of school. But the truth is, even after we graduate, we still haven’t reached our real life in Christ.

We become real, healed, full human beings when we connect with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Until then, we’re still sending postcards from a fantasy life.

Our maturity in Jesus brings us closer and closer to real life, as established by God before he set the foundations of the world.

Thomas Merton, the prayer-centered monk, spoke in terms of life in the nasty-now-and-now being like an onion. God keeps peeling away the layers until the real you is revealed.

In a sense, God is explaining that when he says, “I will bring adversity on all flesh” (Jeremiah 45:5 NKJV)….

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Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

In faith, we know this to be true:

God manages circumstances.

Whether I turn to the right or to the left, my ears will hear a voice behind me, saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21 NIV).

He makes my paths straight as I lean on him and acknowledge him (Proverbs 3:5–6). He’s placed a hedge around me and he blesses the work of my hands (Job 1:10).

God says he is the only one capable of interpreting circumstances: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways . . . . As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9 NIV).

When I see the circumstances the way God does, he says, “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of…

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When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30 (NIV)

TimeTiming was important to Jesus; everything in its time at just the right time. On his mission to bring you and me from death to life (Romans 6:13), he never rushed or struggled to play catch up.

He clearly worked from a different clock than everyone else. Instead of Eastern Standard Time, Jesus seemed to be on Eternal Standard Time. He never arrived late and he never arrived early, he simply arrived according to his purpose.

Jesus was born at exactly the right time to be in Bethlehem with his parents, right as the stars aligned to announce the birth of Israel’s long-awaited king. When he was older, he stayed to study Scripture in the temple, even though his parents left for home.

When others thought he was late, Jesus arrived just in time to raise Lazarus from the dead. When his brothers wanted him to go with them to the Festival of Shelters, Jesus told them, “Go on to the festival. My time…

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John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” John 1:23 (NIV)

Pastor, you are a voice. You are not the message; you are simply the messenger.

Like Isaiah and John the Baptist, you are the “voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord’” (John 1:23 NIV).

Your objective is to reach the place where you are honest when you say:

The message I bring is from God; it’s not anything I thought up on my own. God filled me with his Holy Spirit so that I could understand his message and know without a doubt that his message is true and freely given.

The words I speak are not the result of human wisdom or human imagination or my own opinion; they were formed in me by the Holy Spirit so that I could express “spiritual truths in spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:12–13 NIV, with author paraphrase).

I am simply a channel for God’s message. In order for his message to grow in me and to grow in you,…

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New Years ResolutionsFor I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV)

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? You remember that list you made with two scoops of optimistic enthusiasm, sprinkled with unrealistic expectations, and topped with the cherry of knowing the list isn’t serious anyway.

One of my friends started making New Year’s resolutions like:

  • I won’t lose ten pounds this year.
  • I commit to watching the Super Bowl this year.
  • I will listen to my iPod at least four days a week.

But there is one guy who I suspect played for keeps when he made New Year’s resolutions. You know, the zealot who could never do anything halfway, the let’s-get-real-about-our-faith apostle, Saul-Paul.

My thought is Paul only had one resolution on his New Year’s list: “This year I resolve to know nothing but Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Paul’s message is radically simple: Salvation is in Christ alone. What does this mean?

  • It’s not Christ plus your good behavior.
  • It’s not Christ plus the years you taught a Bible study.
  • It’s not Christ plus your tithe.
  • It’s not Christ plus the…

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graceandjusticeHi, Pastor! I got your note saying you don’t think you can do what God is telling you to do in your ministry.

You may be surprised to hear me say this, but I agree! If God called you to do it, then you shouldn’t be able to do it without him. In fact, if you could do it without him, then it’s really not a God-thing.

I know you feel that God is asking you to do something that you think is impossible. But God did call you to do it and that means his strength is working through you and that will make you sufficient for the task.

In fact, the Bible says your weaknesses, doubts, and insecurities are no surprise to God. You may try to hide them from others, but you can’t hide them from the one who created you.

The truth is, God created you with weaknesses. And, since he’s God, he didn’t make a mistake. Is it possible he created you with weaknesses in order to keep you on your knees before him? And with you dependent upon him, you’re able to do all things through him who…

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leafThen a man suffering from a dreaded skin disease came to him, knelt down before him, and said, “Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I do want to,” he answered. “Be clean!” At once the man was healed of his disease. (Matthew 8:2-3 TEV)

When we hide the truth, it is a faith issue, not a circumstance issue.

It requires faith to be truthful. It requires faith to come clean. It requires faith to be authentic and transparent in our relationships. It requires faith to stop pretending and to let others see who we really are and what we’re really about.

Praise God, we have Jesus!

Even if we sin, we need not live in fear, because he sits at the right hand of the Father as our Advocate. He understands our weaknesses; he was tempted in “every way that we are, but did not sin. Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it” (Hebrews 4:14-16 TEV).

The point is: Jesus wants to cleanse…

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Jesus Defines Love in Uncompromising Terms

“But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 GNT)

“Had Jesus only told us to love our brethren, we might have misunderstood what he meant by love, but now he leaves us in no doubt whatever as to his meaning.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Jesus is absolutely relentless in pushing the standards of the law to a higher level—in truth, the level at which they’ve always been in the kingdom of heaven. In this case, he speaks about the law of love, insisting it must be a love that is extraordinary and remarkable.

He calls us, Bonhoeffer notes, to a sacrificial love where we love our enemies in exactly the same way we love our friends. Yet Bonhoeffer adds, “By our enemies Jesus means those who are quite intractable and utterly unresponsive to our love, who forgive us nothing when we forgive them all, who requite our love with hatred and our service with derision.”

Our enemies may reject our love; they may waste our love, discount our love, and react angrily to our love. They may…

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dogPurify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. (Psalms 51:7 NLT)

Jasmine is my beautiful and tenderhearted cockapoo. She knows it is wrong to go near an old barn that’s on the edge of my property, but she saw a black cat run behind it and took off for a playful chase.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a cat. It was a skunk, and Jasmine was quite surprised to get a face full of stink. She smelled so bad that I didn’t even want to bring her into the house, but I sequestered her in the bathroom while I figured out how to get her clean.

On the Internet, I found several home remedies for removing skunk stink. The recipes called for ingredients such as tomato juice or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, and I think one listed dark chocolate (Okay, I made that up. The dark chocolate was for me).

These mixtures removed the bite of the skunk stink, an eye-watering, garlic-like perfume, but the overall smell was still there. By then it was…

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brokenglassLet me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. (Psalm 51:8 NIV)

In the school of Christ, brokenness is a good thing.

Here’s why: It’s impossible to become intimate with God unless we are broken of our independence, broken of our pride, and broken of our insistence that our way is better than God’s.

We must be broken of the illusion that we bring anything to the peace talks when we seek to end our war with God; the only surrender God requires is unconditional.

  • Brokenness is the last stop before we finally confess, “I can’t; God can.”
  • Brokenness is the apostle Paul confessing, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24 NIV).
  • Brokenness is the prodigal fighting with the pigs over food (Luke 15:11–32).
  • Brokenness is Joseph, still in prison, forgotten by the cupbearer (Genesis 40:23).
  • Brokenness is Jonah in the belly of a whale, confessing the consequences of running from God: “I know that it is my fault that this great storm has…

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The Jesus Model of Ministry: Meditation

Luke 5:15-16 says, “The news about Him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (NIV). No matter how busy Jesus got, he took time to get alone with God to pray.

You’re not ready to tell the world anything until first you’ve heard from God. Unfortunately, most of us are so busy telling that we don’t have time to hear. We’re in such a hurry doing ministry that we’re like a hamster on a wheel; we’re rolling around and around but making no progress. We need to get alone with God so we can hear from him personally.

Pascal said a lot of man’s problems come from his inability to sit still. The Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). I find that if I short-change my time alone with God, I begin to feel frazzled.Anchor

We must meet God every day

In 1 Timothy 4:7, the apostle Paul says, “rain yourself to be godly.” In other words, it’s a never-ending battle. How quickly…

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