Tag Archives: Service

I need you. Lord, I need you…

30 Jan

I’d like to pose a question.  Here it is: If the power of the Holy Spirit DID NOT move in our worship services, would anyone know or recognize the difference?  I read this in a book the other week, and I was immediately cut to the quick.  I had to begin to wonder if this was true in our services at our church.  Are we, am I, more concerned with the service itself, the songs themselves, the sound, or the atmosphere in the room that I lose sight of the only thing that really matters?  It has affected the way I plan a worship service each week.

Think of how vitally important the Holy Spirit is in everything that we do as Christians.  Without the Holy Spirit to guide us, we are lost when it comes to how to interact with God the Father.  My mind is taken to the words of Moses in Exodus.  Moses has already been up on the mountain to receive the 10 Commandments once.  He came down the mountain to the sight of all the Israelites worshiping the Golden Calf.  He breaks the first tablets from God and punishes the people according to what God commands.  He goes back up the mountain and receives a second set of tablets.  At this point, God commands Moses to gather all of the people of Israel and leave from Sinai.  Moses and God then have this conversation:

Moses said to the Lord, “See you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me.  You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore,, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight.  Consider too that this nation is your people.” And [God] said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And [Moses] said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.  For how shall it be known that I have found favor in you sight, I and your people?  Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”

It is God’s presence that makes us, as Christians, unique from every other people on the face of the earth.  If God’s presence is not with us when we gather for worship to sing, read Scripture, and hear the Word preached, then we are doing it all for nothing.  Our songs are just songs.  The words are just words.  If God’s presence is not with us, if the Holy Spirit does not move, then we are simply singing and preaching for no reason.  However, when the presence of God is there, when the Holy Spirit moves, it is a glorious thing that happens.  Humans can commune with the Creator of the universe.  Simple people can interact with Almighty God.  Lives and destinies can, and are, changed for eternity.  When God shows up, in the form of the Holy Spirit, things are drastically different to the Glory of God the Father!

I pray for God’s Holy Spirit to descend on each of our services every week.  Because I want to take the position that Moses takes, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.”

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Serve justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God

16 Nov

She-wood and I went to see the movie Courageous last night, and can I just say, “Wow!” I know that we are a little late on seeing it, but better late than never, right? I was so moved by it that I had to blog about. I won’t give anything away if you haven’t seen it, but I would like to share how I plan to change a couple if things.

There is a point in the movie where one of the characters tells the main character that he thinks that he’s been a good enough father. The main character responds, “That’s the problem. I don’t want to be a good enough father. I want to be the father that God has called me to be!” When he said that line, I felt like someone had punched me in the chest. I couldn’t breathe. There are many times where I have only been a “good enough” father. I don’t want to be remembered as a father who just did enough to get by. I want to be remembered as a great father who loved his kids and their mother well. I want to be remembered as a father who led his kids to Jesus and led his family with godly principles. I want to be a father who shows his girls how a young man should treat her with respect and honor while they are dating. I want to be a father who calls out the man in my sons.

I know that the only way I can do this is with God’s power working in and through me. I will also need the help of my wonderful wife. I will also need other Christian fathers to partner alongside me to help keep me accountable. However, I believe that with God’s help and direction I can leave a legacy of Christian leadership for my children to pass on to their families as well.

I’m so glad that this movie was made to bring the issue of Christian fatherhood to the forefront.

While I’m waiting…

30 Aug

If you have kept up with this blog for any amount of time, then you know that we are in a season of waiting to find what the next step in ministry will be for our family.  It has been a tough summer for us to go through, but it has been a great summer at the same time.  I hope that makes sense.  While it stinks to be unemployed and not having a permanent church home to serve in, it has also been an incredible growing experience for both me (He-wood) personally and our family as a whole.  I have come to a better understanding of who God is and how He provides for His children.  I have come to a better understanding of the fact that I do not have to know what the next step is ahead of time, because God already knows what that step is.  And ultimately He has my good in mind.  Now I also understand that my understanding of what “good” means is not necessarily the same as God’s understanding of what “good” means.  To say it another way, humanly speaking, good usually means that I am comfortable, happy, and independent, but in God’s economy good means that I am in a position that I can bring Him the most glory by being completely dependent on Him.  Needless to say, it has been an incredible summer.

This morning I have been greatly encouraged by both a psalm and by the words of Charles Spurgeon.  Psalm 27 is a great psalm of King David.  It begins with that great verse, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  Such great words of encouragement.  But the psalm ends with a great promise and mindset that I plan on adopting in my own life.  Verses 13-14 read, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let you heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”  WOW!! What encouraging words especially when you consider that most scholars believe this psalm was written during the rebellion of David’s son Absalom.  I was greatly encouraged by these words this morning.

I also read through Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning as a part of my devotion time in the mornings.  Today was about waiting as well.  I can totally identify with his words.  Spurgeon writes, “There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desiring to serve the Lord, does not know what role to play.”  How true have these words been for me over the past couple of months?  I have such an incredibly strong desire to serve and be in a place where I can invest in the lives of people, but, as of yet, God has not revealed the place where I should do that.  It is somewhat frustrating at times.  However, I have resolved myself to a position that I had not phrased as Spurgeon did, but from now on I will say it this way. “Believe that if He keeps you waiting even until midnight, He will still come at the right time; the vision will come and not delay.” (I love his nod to the book of Habakkuk!)  I will wait “in prayer…with simplicity of soul…in faith…and in quiet patience.”

I know that God is good and that I am an object of grace for Him as one of His children.  And as the song says, “While I’m waiting, I will worship.”

We Know Where The Spirit Of The Lord Is…

15 Apr

Last night we had an awesome experience at youth group here at Westside.  We are still working our way through Francis Chan’s The Forgotten God.  Last night was week four of the study and we asked the question, “Why do you want the Holy Spirit in your life?”  It was a great time of discussion about what the right and wrong motives are for wanting the Holy Spirit in your life.  These kids seem to have a good understanding of what the correct motives are.  It really is important that we question our motives in wanting the Holy Spirit.  There is one very right reason for wanting the Holy Spirit, and it is out of loving God and wanting to show the people around you that you love them.  However, there are several very wrong reasons to to want the Holy Spirit.  We can think that we are able to lead the Spirit into doing things that we want to do, but those things do nothing but serve our own interests.  I say this to get to the awesome portion of the evening.  In the book Francis explains that in order for us to truly experience the Holy Spirit in our lives we have to remove everything that keeps us from having an intimate relationship with God and with others.  We had a time of prayer and I opened the floor for people to confess or pray for each other.  God showed up in an amazing way!  It was slow to start, but once a couple kids shared some real struggles in their lives the floodgates were opened.  People were confessing things that they were struggling with, others were praying for those who were confessing, and others were comforting those who had confessed.  It was such a great time together.  God moved, and walls were broken down.  It has been my desire for so long for the kids to understand that we, as a youth group, are a community of believers, and it is our responsibility to lift each other up in prayer and encourage each other.  I think that it really was a breakthrough for the kids in the group.  The great thing is that if that wasn’t enough one of the guys came to talk to me after the service, and I was able to lead him to Christ!  God shows up in amazing ways when we least expect it.  It was such a great night!  I say all of this to encourage those who are struggling in ministry.  We have been struggling for a long time, and it was awesome that God is making Himself known!