Authentic Worship

Say what you will about King David, the man knew how to worship. Though not all the Psalms were written by him, you can hear his passion, his joy and his real struggles as he pours his heart out before the Holy Maker of the Universe.

He got so caught up in worship at one point he became a bit undignified in the eyes of his wife. (2 Samuel 6:14-23) Somehow I can't see this happening on a Sunday morning!


Not that I am promoting that we become "undignified". No, what I am want is for the body of Christ to be REAL! Authentic! Genuine!

Sadly, I don't see that often. Believe me, I am speaking to myself here too! Most of us are probably guilty of wandering into our worship services late, distracted as we try to find a seat. How many of us look around a bit before getting into the "worship?"

Then there is the stop/start feature. It goes something like this: A song, shake some hands, announce a few things, take up an offering with some "special" music, then sing a few more songs before the message. There are variations on the theme but I guarantee most of our services emulate this pattern though the order may vary.

I can't picture Jesus and the apostles doing this:

As the crowd gathers on the hillside, James leads the group in a song. A few of the people come to the hillside late. Then Peter gets up to make a few announcements. "Don't forget that next Sunday night there will be a potluck fundraiser for the 70! Also, make sure you join our youth for the camel wash for Christ! Now brother John will lead us in a special song while Andrew, Judas and Matthew pass the offering basket!" Following this, James returns to lead a couple more songs before Jesus comes to deliver the message.

Again I am not being critical. I have participated in this myself. I am not at all satisfied though. I want authentic worship. The pour my heart out, singing, praying, can't get enough of Jesus type worship.

I want songs from the heart! I want poems and prayers from a life fully turned to the Saviour. I don't care if the songs we sing are written by the latest hot worship band or the postal worker down the street. I don't even care if we sing because I know Worship is more than just music! (Tell that to the person sitting in the back row wishing for more hymns while the young person up front wants more upbeat music and the worship leader just wants to PRAISE!)

I want my life to be a worship song to the King of Kings. Anyone want to join me?


Tell Me About It

I always like to learn new things.

Today I want to learn from you.

Do you have a Christian blog you like to read regularly?

Tell me about it.

Is there a ministry you have been blessed by?

Tell me about it.

Got a CD you can't sop listening too? Is there a book you were blessed by?

Tell me about it.


All By Myself

A few days ago my wife took the kids on a short visit to see her cousin. Things haven't been normal since.

What I mean by that is that there is a noticeable difference when my family isn't around. The normal hustle and bustle of our house has ceased as I hang with our dog, not the best conversationalist.

It goes beyond that though. Somethings missing. I can feel it.

I am by myself.

I don' like it!

I crave relationship...the relationship with my family. I want to spend time with them and when we aren't together I feel off...like my world is not in sync.

I feel the same way when my relationship with God isn't where it should be. His Word says He will never leave us or forsake us.

Deuteronomy 31:6 - "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."

Joshua 1:5 -
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.

1 Kings 8:57 -
May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us,

1 Chronicles 28:20 -
And David said to his son Solomon, "Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God-my God-will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.

Hebrews 13:5 -
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

I am never truly alone...yet even though He doesn't leave us...If I don't spend time with Him, in His presence, communicating...then just like I feel with my wife being gone...I will notice something is off.

It's not a fun feeling. When I am not firing on all cylinders in my relationship with God I notice it...and it feels miserable.

Thankfully my wife is coming home soon....and one day I will go home to be with the Father...I look forward to both!


5 Questions With Craig Groeschel

Welcome to 5 Questions With.....

Today's guest is
Craig Groeschel. He is the founding and senior pastor of Life Church, a pace-setting multi-campus church, with over eighty weekly worship experiences in fourteen locations, including an online campus. Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in the Edmond, Oklahoma, area where Life Church began in 1996. Craig is author of It, Chazown, Going All the Way, Confessions of a Pastor and The Christian Atheist.

And now let's get to the interview:

Hi Craig,

Question 1: What was the catalyst for you writing The Christian Atheist?

First, the idea for the book came from observations I made in my own life. I then saw these same indications and tendencies around me in people in the church. I preached a series on this concept called Practical Atheist. The reaction I received from the people was overwhelming, and many expressed that it helped them see areas in their own lives that needed to change.

Question 2: One thing that stood out to me in this book is how open you are about your struggles. Do you think believers have a hard time admitting to Christian atheism?

Yes, sometimes it is hard to see the hypocrisy in the mirror. There is a fear of being transparent and honest.

Question 3: Do you find you have to stand on guard so as to not slip back into Christian atheism?

Every day there is a pull away from God toward the world. I have to be on guard at all times.

Question 4: What is 3rd line faith?

"Line 1: I believe in God and the gospel of Christ enough to benefit from it. Sadly, many who call themselves Christians live here. If there is a God, I want to be on His good side. I want to go to heaven. I want Him to bless me with good health, good relationships and a happy life.

Line 2: I believe in God and Christ's gospel enough o contribute comfortably. Past the first line are people who believe in God not only enough to benefit but also enough to give back - as long as is doesn't cost too much.

Line 3: I believe in God and Christ's gospel enough to give my life to it. Although most people I knew were line-one and line-two believers, suddenly anything less than line-three didn't seem like real Christianity to me. My battle to cross the third line lasted almost two years. I am a different person. You can be too."

Question 5: How are people responding to the book?

I have had an overwhelming response from people. The stories have been consistently coming in, telling how The Christian Atheist changed their lives. I am thankful to God for His inspiration for the book and pray it helps many more.

Thank you Pastor Craig.

There you have it. I would encourage you to go out and order a copy of The Christian Atheist. You won't be disappointed.

To see past 5 Question guests, check out the rotating interview links on the sidebar.


Help Me Lord!

You ever have one of those days/weeks where things just don't seem to be coming together? One of those, "when it rains it pours" type things?

Yeah I am having one of those. It would almost seem like a perfect storm of "ugghhh" is brewing. Mostly this involves work stuff. Just a lot of stuff coming all at once...

Then there is the lack of sleep with the baby and to top it off I am aching right now because I apparently attempt to hit baseballs with my body instead of a bat...

Psalm 121:1-2, "I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth."

So this is the verse i am meditating on as I seek God's wisdom. Lots of the stuff coming up is truly minor...my employee review, a bi-annual internal work audit, meetings, bigger meetings, etc. It just all seems to be coming at once.

I realized tonight I wasn't looking to where my help comes from. I was not looking to the Maker of Heaven. I've been trying to figure it out in my own mind instead of letting God speak into the situation...

Enough of that. I recognize how weak I am and how much of His help I need.

Now if I can just figure out how to catch a ball with my glove and not my belly or knee.


The Christian Atheist

I was walking through the local bookstore while on vacation in Tennessee recently and happened to glance down and see this book, The Christian Atheist. I pulled up short and contemplated the title.

How can one be a Christian AND an atheist. The two seemed like an oxymoron. I picked up the book and thumbed through it...and set it down. I was already packed tight luggage wise for my return trip and had no room for ANOTHER book.

The title kept gnawing at me though. When I returned to Canada I immediately ordered a copy of the book.

The books premise, "Believing in God but living as if He doesn't exist" was a pretty good hook. I wasn't sure if it would speak to me personally though...I mean I have believed in God for 26 years now...

WHOA! That was my first reaction after reading Chapter 1. My second reaction was to repent and pick up the Bible. It is rare that a book impacts me enough that I have to wrestle with where I am in my relationship with God. This book did that for me.

Pastor Groeschel shares many of his own personal struggles with Christian atheism. He is open and honest in a way that is refreshing and makes the reader feel like he can relate.

Not every chapter of this book spoke to me. I think it depends on where the reader is at personally. There were quite a few chapters that did though. Weeks since finishing the book I am still chewing on where I am with reading the Word, prayer and forgiveness. Those topics in particular stood out to me and are still challenging me.

Pastor Craig Groeschel has written a book that I think is a must read for any believer who is finding their faith walk to be a struggle, or lifeless, or boring. Truly I would recommend this book to any believer period. Too often we take our walk with God for granted. It's good to be challenged.

Pick up a copy of this book and you won't be disappointed...

The Christian Atheist
is written by Craig Groeschel and published by Zondervan.


40 Years

On August 7th, I will turn 40 years old.

It is an odd feeling. I don't feel 40. Ok maybe I do physically. I don't really have a spring in my step in the mornings. That's another story though...

Mentally I don't feel 40 either. It just doesn't seem that long ago I was traipsing (skipping, running, whatever) off to school and running around my backyard playing kickball. I remember fondly sitting on the floor sorting baseball cards...ok I still do that.

40 Years though. 4-0!

Don't worry I am not having a midlife crisis.

Well let me rephrase that, I realized this week I am having a spiritual mid-life crisis. I realize more and more that I don't want the same old routine over and over. I want the kind of fresh, vibrant relationship with God that the saints of old had.

I don't want tradition for traditions sake. I want a real relationship. Not a plodding, humdrum Christianity but something filled with the excitement and passion that only Jesus can bring!

I read the Bible and I see an exciting God who made the impossible possible. I see a God who loved me enough to send His Son to die for me. I see a God who communicated with His children. When the veil was torn we had direct access to the Father. I see a God who was not stale and lifeless but is excitement itself.

So why have we, His children, watered down God's image today? Why are we OK with sharing about a God who doesn't seem real to people around us, if we share Him at all? Why are we not sharing about a God of LIFE? Do people see and experience this vibrant Life when sitting in our pews on Sunday? I have sat in too many churches and seen immense sadness on peoples faces when singing the Joy of the Lord is my strength!


It is time to get back to our first love. To renew the passion we once had for God! To grab a hold of the life He is offering and to live it to it's fullest. To realize each day we wake up is a gift from God and to share that joy, real joy, with others!

Our God is an Awesome God! He is exciting, fulfilling and wild beyond compare. He is truly a God of wonders!

So yes I am 40....and looking FW with excitement to the rest of the adventure God has for me.


I Can See Clearly Now....

Today I get new glasses. It has been 2 years since my last eye exam and I noticed while on vacation that I was not seeing as clear as I should.
The squinting to read certain signs was kind of a hint.

I mean the squinting to read certain signs was kind of a hint.

I am so used to my town that I know what the signs say and so I didn't notice my problem.

It took stepping out of my routine and trying to focus on new surroundings for me to realize I had some vision issues that needed addressing.

Basically I was taking things for granted.

I do the same thing with my faith sometimes. I take my walk for granted.

I am getting better at memorizing Scriptures, so if I miss some time reading the Bible...well. Prayer, worship, working on my relationship with God the Father. It is easy for those things to get put on the back burner for a time.

The bad part is you don't notice you are drifting until you end up in unfamiliar territory. At times like this I would call out for God only to notice something was amiss. My faith walk was out of focus. I was focusing more and more on other things, not putting Christ first in my life. Since He was not taking the most important part in my life, then when "life" got in the way, my relationship with Him was the first thing to be sacrificed on the alter of busyness.

I am seeing more and more (pun intended) that I need to walk with God daily! I want to say like the blind man in John 9:25, "... One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

Just as I needed new glasses to see clearly, I need to focus on Christ and my relationship with Him in order to see LIFE clearly!


Remembering AND Experiencing

So, as most churches do, our church celebrates communion or the Lord's Supper together. We like to do this over an actual meal.

As I was preparing some notes for the service I was reflecting on this Scripture in Luke:

Luke 22: 14-19, "When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”"

This last part really got me. Do this in Remembrance of me. Do what? Break bread and drink wine? (Insert juice if wine offends you!) OK I get that. What are we supposed to remember? His death on the cross!

This started me thinking about Gal. 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

You can't remember something you haven't experienced. I can read about WW2 but I didn't experience it so I look at it with a detached view. I hear about my wife's childhood and I love her so I am interested but I have no connection to the events as I did not experience it myself.

The same is true with Jesus. You have either experienced the work He did on the cross for yourself or you haven't. If you have, it is a real event and you have something to truly remember. As Gal. 2:20 says in a nutshell....you were there!

If you haven't accepted His gift....then you can read about it, and remember what you read, but it won't be real to you. Not until you experience it for yourself.

Is Christ real for you?


Crawling Backwards - Just A Thought #44

My son is learning to crawl. Now 6 months old, he is endeavoring to move across the floor. I have watched his progress with interest and cheer his every little victory.

It started with his getting his arms out in front of himself. Then, a few days later he got his knees under himself. He started rocking back and forth and the legs moved, then he scooted and crawled--backwards!

Of course we got a chuckle out of this.

He now is going forward a couple inches--and going back a couple feet.

I was sharing this with a friend who reminded me of Paul's comment in Romans 7:15, "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do."

Now, Paul was talking about sin, not learning to crawl. However, watching my son struggle to go forward over and over, I can really see the point. When he keeps going backward, he begins to get more frustrated, more persistent. One day, not too far in the future, he will get it. Everything will come together and he will begin crawling, which will open up a whole new world for him, both good and bad.

Thinking on this Scripture though, I am reminded how my faith walk has imitated my son's faltering attempts at moving forward.

I know where I need to go. I know what God has laid before me. Yet, sometimes the things I want to do, I don't. It seems I go backwards; I struggle; I falter.

Of course I have the hope found in Romans 8:1. I know that I am IN Christ Jesus. Therefore, I don't have to stay in that place of struggle. I can relax in Christ Jesus. I can lean on Him, focus on Him and let Him guide my steps.

My son needs a helping hand to crawl and walk right now. I need that, too. I need Christ to hold my hand and lead me forward. I just have to be willing to trust.