Worship – Surrender to the Power of the Cross

This
weekend we are reminded more than any other of the sacrifice Christ made on our
behalf.  Worship services this weekend
are centered on the sacrifice that Christ made and the power He displayed by
conquering the grave. The sacrifice on the cross was complete surrender to the
will of the Father, which when done, gave the Father permission to show His
power. He took the sacrificed life and raised a new life filled with power.

 

When we
come face to face with the cross and the reality of the act of sacrifice we are
faced with the decision to surrender, die upon it or ignore it.

 

A.W. Tozer
wrote this as a reflection on the cross in the book The Root of Righteousness:

 

The cross affects its
ends by destroying one established pattern, the victim’s, and creating another pattern,
its own. Thus it always has its way. It wins by defeating its opponent and
imposing its will upon him.

 

With perfect knowledge
of all this Christ said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow me.” So the cross not only brings Christ’s
life to an end, it ends also the first life, the old life, of every one of His
true followers.

 

We must do something
about the cross…flee it or die upon it. 
If we are wise we will do what Jesus did: endure the cross and despise
its shame for the joy that is set before us. To do this is to submit the whole
pattern of our lives to be destroyed and built again in the power of an endless
life.  The cross will cut into our lives
where it hurts worst, sparing neither us nor our carefully cultivated
reputations. It will defeat us and bring our selfish lives to an end.  Only then can we rise in fullness of life to
establish a pattern of living wholly new and free and full of good works.

 

There is power in the cross to
make changes in our lives.

Now the question is: am I
willing to surrender totally?

If we are willing that is
true worship.

Setting a Fitness Plan for the Week

What is
your fitness plan for this week? I have an intentional plan to be in the gym or
at home doing some type of cardio exercise at least 5 mornings a week. But
before I get into the week, I set a plan.

It usually
happens on Sunday night. I take a glance at the week ahead and make a plan.
Being physically active and intentional about fitness takes planning. The plan
changes from week-to-week, but I always create a plan.  If I have an early meeting one morning then I
know that has to be my day off. If I have more than one early meeting, then I
have to carve out time one afternoon for fitness.

The older I
get the more I understand how important it is to have a fitness plan…to stay
physically active.  Here are some amazing
facts: 70-80% of aging is optional…70-80% of premature death is lifestyle related.
50% of all illness and injuries in the last 1/3 of our life can be eliminated
by changing your lifestyle…not delayed until you are older, but ELIMINATED. In
other words, what we consider normal aging is not normal.

Creating a
fitness plan and carrying it out is not about just living longer, but the
possibility of living longer with purpose…being a follower of Christ for as
long as you can and being willing to be used by Him for all of those days.

Romans
chapter 12 verse 1 states
:  Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,
I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to
God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern what is the
good, pleasing and perfect will of God.

The context
we usually apply to this verse has nothing to do with physical health, but I
believe this scripture also gives us an insight to the fact that God wants us
to have a balanced life which doesn’t follow the convenient or what everyone
else is doing.  He wants us to be the
best we can be in all aspects of our lives.

Today is Tuesday
and I have a fitness plan in place for this week, do you?

Time to Prepare for Worship…Observing Communion

This week’s worship at ClearView will be defined by the addition of the Lord’s Supper as a part of the service.’ It is always a special time when we observe this ordinance in our worship service.  It is a great reminder of the great sacrifice that Christ made for us.

In some traditions this ordinance is observed each week. We don’t, instead planning special Sundays for this event. Observing communion less frequently is intentional so that this ordinance can be given importance and sufficient time. In our planning of a ‘Communion Sunday’ we give less time for other elements of the service.

When the word ‘communion’ is searched in a Thesaurus the words ‘unity’ and ‘relationship’ are displayed.  We have a ‘relationship’ with God and ‘unity’ with His Son and fellow believers only because of the great sacrifice made on the cross of Christ…and that is why we celebrate communion.

Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
 I Corinthians 11:27-28


These scriptures immediately follow the instruction on how to observe ‘The Lord’s Supper.’ Here we find scriptures that challenge us to examine ourselves before we take of the bread and the wine. This is what is going to be on my mind until the worship services on Sunday…time to examine my relationship with God…time to make sure that I have communicated with God about everything and asked forgiveness so that I can truly worship….time to prepare for worship.

Help! 30 minutes to ask a leader 5 questions, what would you ask?

Taking a
sabbatical from active leadership and trying to gain insights about leadership.

 

In just a
couple of months I have the privilege of taking a seven week sabbatical. One of
the things that I want to accomplish is to sit down with some leaders of
for-profit; non-profit and religious organizations and ask them five questions
concerning leadership styles, successes, failures, and trends.  If you had the opportunity to sit down and
talk to a leader you admire, what would you ask? 

 

Any input
would be appreciated. Post ideas in the comment section of this blog.

Being a Leader: My Plans Are Useless

Being a
leader for a ministry and a group of people, it is important to have plans.
Leadership demands that there is a plan. Worship services demand that there is
a plan. However plans made by me are useless. 

 

Some days
that I read God’s word it just jumps off the page. Then there are days like I
experienced this morning that it seems like a foreign language. You know the
feeling when you read you can’t understand the thoughts or make sense of the
story. I am glad that these mornings are not the norm.

 

Even today
as it all seemed foreign, God still spoke to me through one verse (Isaiah
22:11) “But all your feverish plans are to no avail because you never ask God
for help. He is the one who planned this long ago.”

 

I am pretty
good at planning things out and there is a lot of anxiety that takes place in
my life when I don’t.  However, I have
come to understand that I often fall short on taking time to ask God for help
in the planning and once plans are on paper asking God for help in carrying
them out.

 

Even when I
don’t understand everything I read in God’s word, He still speaks.  I am glad He reminded me, challenged me with
the verse from Isaiah 22 and reinforced by this verse: "Commit your activities to the Lord and your plans will be achieved." Proverbs 16:3