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Monthly Archives: February 2011

IDOL WORSHIP…with a “little rant” tossed in. Devo 2-10-11

Different Look... Same Idea.

I have been walking some guys through different aspects of worship and landed on a real hot button this morning…”IDOL WORSHIP”.

Back when the words of scripture were written, idols were easy to recognized. They ranged from small statuettes to enormous buildings.  Whatever form they took it was clear that these things were to be made a priority. We see Paul address the idols scattered around Athens (Acts 17:16-34). Idol worship was so prevalent that he even points out the (“catch all”) idol that was designated to an “unknown God”. (17:23)

Scripture is clear that we are not to worship idols but the living God. But before we console ourselves that we are “idol free” (not many statues to an “unknown God” around here) we must consider that an idol is anything we place in our lives that is a higher priority than God.

Our IDOL to MONEY may look a lot like a HOUSE we overextended ourselves to buy to the exclusion of our giving.

Our IDOL to SUCCESS might look like job we have to compromise our convictions in order to thrive.

Our IDOL to SEX may not be the Temple prostitute but a computer screen, movie channels or a monster TV

Our IDOL to our KIDS might be that we are routinely away at sporting events on Sunday cause little Johnny really likes to play his sport … that takes us and them away from “regularly meeting together as is the habit of some” (Hebrews 10:25). Then when they are 17 and Mom and Dad try to “fix em” before they leave for college… the kid gets “twisted off” cuz they “never used to go” but now that they have made a few bad choices Mom and Dad are “freaking out” and telling them they have to go to church… they are also telling the youth minister to “FIX MY KID” … but he can’t “FIX EM” because Mom and Dad have never even remotely modelled God or church as a PRIORITY but only as something to attend when CONVENIENT … and when they finally realize that their child has no interest in God… then it is the CHURCH’S FAULT  because “our child does not like it there and that staff likes the kids from the other schools more than the kids from our school”…. when in reality the kid never had a chance and simply showed the exact same indifference towards God that his parents show. “But hey, what are ya gonna do?…Johnny loves soccer!” … … … well, the kid may have no interest in the things of God and BEHAVE like a “TOTAL SCREW UP” but HEY…… HE CAN KICK A SOCCER BALL! sheesh …  I’m ok now)

It may be money, sex, esteem or ANYTHING  that is more important to us than the Lord. An idol is typically something good that Satan has twisted: A job is a good thing but being a workaholic is not. Kids are great,”a blessing from the Lord” but they are NOT more important than your spouse…your God. WHAT WE ARE BLESSED WITH OFTEN BECOMES THE VERY THINGS THAT TURNS OUR HEARTS AWAY FROM GOD.

  • Are you financially blessed?————–Has it affected your hunger for God?
  • Is your family doing well?—————–Do you still strive for God?
  • Are your relationships thriving?  ——–Do you still honor Him in those relationships?
  • Is your church blessed? ——————-Do we remain in complete submission to the Lord?

THE POINT:

Worship is a matter of covenant-keeping.

All who hold fast His covenant will worship (Is 56:6-7), and worshiping other gods is covenant-breaking, for which God brings judgment (2 Kings 17:38, 2 Chron 7:22, 24:18). God repeatedly warned His people against the idolatry of worshiping other gods (Exo. 20:5, Josh 24:14, Acts 17:23). Jesus received worship on many occasions (Mat  28:9,16-17, Luke 24:52, John 9:38). He said, “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only” (Mat 4:10).   – Sylvia Gunther  2010

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Discipleship, Family, Leadership

 

FOCUSED WORSHIP Devo 2-9-11

Worship is always about Him.

I must confess that I can be a bit SELFISH when it comes to my worship habits. I often walk into a “worship service” hoping for a little “pick-me-up”.  Ya know, a cathartic experience that soothes MY frazzled nerves, calms MY soul and gets ME motivated again. (I also wouldn’t mind if we could wrap things up in about an hour…I have things to do.)  I have even sometimes left the service disappointed that I really couldn’t “get into it”. That is clearly the fault of those leading worship right?
 
Well…no.  The above paragraph assumes that WORSHIP IS ABOUT ME, what I want and what I am willing to drive downtown for.      

IT ISN’T!!!    WORSHIP IS ABOUT GOD!  
 
I will be the first to say that deep, sincere spontaneous worship can be the most soothing, calming, motivational experience of your life…it can also be  among the most “gut wrenching”, convicting and emotionally painful experiences you will ever endure. Either way, THE FOCUS IS ON WORSHIPPING GOD…not on what I want.

Hebrews 13:15  ThroughHim then, let us continually offer up a SACRIFICE of PRAISE, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

The word SACRIFICE means that we set aside our wants, needs and desires on someone else’s behalf. In worship, that someone else is God.

A. W. Tozer called worship the “missing jewel of the church”. 
 

 

Spontaneous Worship…Gotta Have it! Devo 2-8-11

I never tire of seeing this video….  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kerMm0HG1mk   

The most impactful thing about this scene is NOT THAT the FATHER picked up his son…everyone expects that!

It is the MOMENT the SON sees his DAD!  I bet he did not even remember getting out of his chair… or running across the room… it probably even took him a while to realize he was sobbing.  But I guarantee he was aware of what was going on the INSTANT his dad picked him up! 

The son only knew he wanted to be held by his father. He was so focused on his dad that he did not care who saw him run, sob or jump into his dad’s arms…….  

GREAT PICTURE OF WORSHIP!

Worship: because you want to be with the Father

 “Worship can’t help overflowing from a passionate heart. Real worship is grounded in truth but involves deeply felt emotion. Intense longing for the nearness of God will express itself irrepressibly in worship.”   “Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!” (Ps 65:4).   

Sylivia Gunther 2011

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2011 in Discipleship, Family, Leadership

 

“7 Ways Half-Hearted Worship Causes Us to Suffer”

 

I have always admired athletes that compete with ENTHUSIASM, JOY and FOCUS. You know…the guys (and gals) who play hard even in practice, workout after the game and “leave it all on the field”! Whether they are professionals on a national stage or kids on the local soccer field, everyone roots for the guy or gal who “gives it all they have”!  Conversely, I get a little irritated by guys who cheat (steroids, stealing signs etc…) and the guys who offer half-hearted efforts on the field of play. It leaves us all feeling disappointed and even angry. Ultimately it also fills the athletes themselves with a sense of loss and regret at “what could have been”. 

Likewise, half-hearted worship or simply “faking it” leaves both the believer and our Lord…dissatisfied.

(Matthew 15:8-9) 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.

Half- hearted worship is cheating! Really… we are cheating ourselves, cheating God and ultimately (like all cheating) … we suffer for it. Here is what that can “look like”:

  1. WE get “bigger” – GOD gets “smaller
  2. We lose PASSION for the things of God.
  3. We GRADE the service. The message, the music, the length etc… all comes in to play when we cheat at worship.
  4. We lose INTEREST. Singing is ONLY WORSHIP if we are PASSIONATE and FOCUSED on the object of our worship!
  5. We get CYNICAL about church as a whole. If God is not worthy to be worshipped then why bother with the “whole thing”?
  6. We WORSHIP OTHER THINGS INSTEAD OF GOD. The truth is that we all worship something. For some it is money, for others sex, for still others it is their children. Whatever is the thing we sacrifice the most for…THAT is the thing we worship.
  7. We start ARRIVING LATER and LATER to the service because “I really only get something out of the preaching”
  8. MORE?
Like sports, worship requires ENTHUSIASM, JOY and FOCUS to be fruitful. 

  • ENTHUSIASM: FOR the thing worshipped.
  • JOY: IN the thing worshipped.
  • FOCUS: ON the thing worshipped

 

Lord Grant that I would cut through the “cheating” and “half-hearted” effort and WORSHIP YOU PASSIONATELY, HAPPILY and with determined FOCUS!”

 

 
 

“THE 2 AM FRIEND” Devo 2-4-11

The following is a synopsis of a lesson called: “The Discipline of Friendship” taught at “Wingmen” on January 26, 2011…

When a tragedy wakes you up at 2 am, completely “rattles your world” and leaves your family reeling ….

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO CALL?

The person you will call is your “2 am friend“.  It is that person that will spring into action, not out of a sense of obligation, but out of love, commitment, and … friendship.

GOT ONE?  Most men don’t!  Individualization, autonomy, rebellion and isolation have robbed men of the blessing that close friendship offers. Friendships that go deeper than the latest sports or political news are rare indeed. (Hebrews 10:25). We were created to have (and be to others)   “2 am friends”.    The story of David and Jonathan provides a blueprint for a healthy and committed friendship. (I Samuel 14-20)

QUICK LIST:  FRIENDS…

1. HAVE A COMMON GOAL (1 Sam 18:1)  1 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.   This was right after Jonathan saw what David did to Goliath.  Literally Jonathan’s soul bonded with David’s soul. They share…

  • Same focus on God
  • Similar world view
  • Similar towards righteousness

2.  HAVE A GREAT  LOVE for EACH OTHER. Men are starved for someone who understands their situation. The Christian community (in many cases) has so branded the male/male closeness as inappropriate that men are hypersensitive about being emotionally connected to another men. (even writing this is a little uncomfortable… I must be extremely “manly”) But there can be little denying that David and Jonathan were emotionally connected (I Samuel 14-18).

  • Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē[1]) means “love” (brotherly love) in modern day Greek, such as in the term s’agapo (Σ’αγαπώ), which means “I love you”. In Ancient Greek, it often refers to a general affection or deeper sense of “true love” rather than the attraction suggested by “eros“. Agape is used in the biblical passage known as the “love chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13, and is described there and throughout the New Testament as sacrificial love. Agape is also used in ancient texts to denote feelings for a good meal, one’s children, and the feelings for a spouse. It can be described as the feeling of being content or holding one in high regard.  LOGOS – Software 2009.

3. SHARE  COMMITMENT 1 Samuel 18:3-4  Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.(Jonathan gives David his Sword and Robe signifying that they were no longer “son of the King” and “shepherd boy” but EQUALS)

  • Honor – there is respect
  • Equality – no one is superior to the other in the relationship
  • Vulnerability – each has equal transparency

4. ARE LOYAL TO EACH OTHER – 1 Samuel 20:30-33 “Why should you kill him?”  Jonathan defends David when David is not around. No doublespeak, no disloyalty or trying to manipulate for their own benefit.  Loyalty is expensive. It will cost you. Being loyal places the good of someone else above your own.

5. POINT EACH OTHER TOWARDS GOD. Proverbs 17:7 “a friend loves at all times”.    1 Samuel 23:18 Helped him find strength in God. Jonathan pointed David back to God and not to some pop-psychology or trendy way of thinking. How many “friends” have given us poor advice because they were offended for us or wanted us to do something for which they lacked courage. The friend we need will point us to Jesus even when it is difficult.

6. REJOICES WHEN YOU ARE BLESSED.  A real friend rejoices with you when you are blessed and encourages you when you fall. This trait is rare because so many of us are jealous when others are blessed and quickly wonder, “Why not me God?”  Cultivate the ability to rejoice when someone else is blessed.

7. TO HAVE 2 AM FRIENDS, BE A 2 AM FRIEND!

I love the thoughts behind this story …. “Male friendship has reached HEAVEN when men make such promises to each other. I treasure a sacred moment when my old childhood friend, married and with family met my wife and me on vacation in the Colorado mountains and said, after a late evening meal, “If anything happened to Kent, Judy and I will look out for Barbara and the children”. It was a sacredness I gladly reciprocated.” – R Kent Hughes.

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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Discipleship, Leadership