Lord I Need You

The following is short devotional thought I wrote for my church and was originally posted at clearview.org/prayingthrough.

___________

There is a popular worship song that has this text:

teach my song to rise to You
when temptation comes my way

It almost suggest that temptation only comes our way on occasion…reality…temptations rise often.

When you are tempted, don’t you feel isolated?
…you’re the only one this is happening to.
…you’re the only one that is being tempted in that moment.

When I am tempted and I let the thought build, I feel isolated.

I have come to realize that the feeling of isolation is because I am shutting God out and letting something else in. Russell Moore, in his book Tempted and Tried  says this: “temptation is, by definition, subtle and personality specific, with a strategy to enter as larvae and then emerge in the fullness of time as a destructive animal force.

In the book of James the same thought is stated this way: Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. (James 1:14-15)

Giving time and thought to temptations is like giving power to or energizing the temptation.

So how do we walk through and not give into temptation? Continue Reading…

Alone With God

Hands on BibleThis post first appeared on the website www.clearview.org. It is a part of the series of devotionals in the #PrayingThrough campaign.

ClearView is in a stage of its ministry where it is looking for a new senior/lead pastor. The team that has been charged with the task of searching and finding this person has asked the church to spend the next 90 days in concentrated prayer. The specific prayer is focused mainly on ClearView being aligned with God’s will in mission and ministry.

The challenge to the congregation is to spend time daily in prayer. This post is an example of how to spend intentional time with God each day.

__________

Many mornings during the week I call my mom. I enjoy hearing her voice. I enjoy finding out what she is doing and she is always wanting to know what is going on in my life. There are mornings that our conversations are short and to the point. Other mornings our words seem to flow endlessly, just enjoying the time of conversation. And still other times they are business-like as we go over details about our lives and how those details affect our relationship now and in the future. Because I talk to her often, its easy to talk to her. Its easy to get the conversation started.

There are other family members that I talk to less often. I still care for them we just don’t have a routine about talking. Our lives are busy and we just don’t seem to connect through conversation. In those times when we have talked often I know more about them. Admittedly our relationship would be stronger if we talked more often.

I love God and am grateful that He pursued a relationship with me, not just as Creator but as Savior. I know that there is nothing that can separate me from His love (Romans 8:35-39). Yet if I am not careful my relationship with God could easily slip into the ‘other family member’ category, talking occasionally and having a distant relationship.

The phone calls to my mom are intentional…

My ‘alone with God’ time is also intentional… Continue Reading…

Enter for Worship

They opened another door and the Shaker brethren stalked in on ‘tiptoe”…Open Door

That statement refers to how the Shaker men entered their ‘meeting house’ for weekly worship. It seems odd and I couldn’t find the exact reason but I would love to think that they entered this way as an act of ‘expectancy’ and ‘reverence.’

It got me thinking, ‘do we, do I make intentional steps to enter our place for worship expecting something great and with great reverence for the Almighty God that I am about to encounter?

Sure I am have been busy preparing and rehearsing for the service but do I gather myself before entering to recognize and anticipate that something special is about to happen?

The next time I enter a place of worship I probably will not enter walking on my tiptoes, but hearing about this practice has made realize I need to be more intentional about how I enter for worship.

Do you have a routine that helps you focus on God before you enter a place of worship?

Church Staff Meeting: Working Hard and Relying On God

We had some important items to discuss. 

  • recruitment of volunteers
  • update on a major project
  • communication plan to those who support the ministry

And on this meeting day we took a different approach.

As each item came to the table we got a quick update on the progress of each item and then

STOPPED: to pray and give thanks to God for how we had seen His hand at work already in each area.

  • we were ahead of last year on recruiting 
  • people were faithful in giving
  • the gospel was being presented all across our area through Backyard Kids Clubs

We then took a moment to hear the needs and get input from around the table 

  • to adequately staff all our ministries we needed more people to say ‘yes’
  • Backyard Kids Clubs had just a couple more weeks, we need to finish strong
  • we wanted to find ways to show those who support the ministry how their gifts were making an impact for the Gospel

so we

STOPPED: to pray, petition God for answers to every situation.

Confession, it is easy to work our way around the table at a staff meeting and give our ideas without stopping to ask God for guidance.

but

we are never as good as we can be, as good as God deserves when we try to do everything in our own power our own creativity…

After the prayer there was no quick miraculous answers, but we know we are trusting in the right source, God.

Ministry staff meetings, should be productive, but more than anything their should be time spent in prayer, both praise and petition.

“Setting the Stage” Part 1

The following first appeared in Let’s Worship a publication of LifeWay Church Resources.

_____________________________________________

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.” Acts 2:42

“Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the earth.” Matthew 28:19-20

Being and doing church can all be summarized in these two scriptures.

Now that you have jumped into this article and read the first few lines you are probably asking yourself; ‘what do these scriptures have to do with worship staging?’

It’s about church…about the great commission, about the public gathering and everything the worship planners and facilitators do must support both the Acts and Matthew passages. That’s why we have decided to invest in a great sound system, an effective light system, a clear and easily seen projection system that is why we decide to change the look of our stage regularly…to help make clear the message of the gospel and encourage others to engage in worship.

Changing Church Architecture

In past centuries and generations architecture was used to focus the attention of the worshiper on biblical symbols of worship: the Word, the Table and the Cross. The Table was central, the Cross prominently displayed and the outline of a cross was even used as the layout for the building itself. Those leading worship, other than when serving communion, were given places away from center stage.

There has been an evolution of worship architecture through the generations where focus is given to the center of the platform finding there the choir, and central pulpit. What led to this change was born in the revival movement of the early 1800s where God used ordained men to proclaim the truths of His Word. It is not that the men were the central focus but they were placed in the center of the stage out of necessity so that all in the room would have equal opportunity to hear.

As places of worship continued to evolve we begin to see the influence of theater. It is through this process of worship center evolutions that technology and theatrical devices were used to make sure the messenger was seen and heard.

The reality of today’s church architecture is Continue Reading…

Page 1 of 13212345»102030...Last »