Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Worshiping on the Surface

After reading 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 this morning, I began thinking about the relationships that I have in church. Some are very dear. I love these people. I try to pray for as many of the members of our congregation as I can, but it is better when the Elders split up the congregation for prayer. At least it is easier.
I think of those who I don't really know very well. I think of those who seem to have somewhat against me. (this is not paranoia. These are things that have been brought to me by the Elders) I think of our biblical responsibility as Elders to exercise church discipline. This is not simply punitive in nature. Part of being a healthy functioning church is that there are no divisions, i.e. that there are no members who won't have anything to do with other members. In fact, love requires this. Now, I certainly don't have the time or the energy to go chasing around members who have been offended by me. (it seems that is all to common in my years of ministry. I think I have large feet.) But certainly, it would behoove us to bring our differences to our brother and be fully reconciled. I have been extended love beyond measure in this congregation. I have never seen it like this. Yet, there are always those who are tender and are the walking wounded. My prayer is that there would be a boldness in these tender ones to approach me in order that we may reconcile and share our love in Christ. If our relationships are only on the surface, then our worship can go no deeper. For that matter, the bible insists that we do not worship our Lord, if we are at odds with any brother at all. First, leave your gift at the altar. Be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Courtship - An Admonishment

I would like to discuss an appropriate way to look at courtship. With our aversion for the dating scene, it is all too easy to skip a critical process in preparation for marriage that involves a mature, patient waiting on God. The exclusion of dating which leads to courtship can make young believers feel that they are trapped or committed if they are led to look at courtship more like an engagement process than a vital step in examining ourselves in the light of God's directions and learning more about our potential mate.
A young lady could possibly have several suitors in the process of courtship, none of which may appeal to her or none of which would be entertained by her parents. In the case of one of the young men appealing to her, I believe that the understanding of a more biblical view of courtship would go a long way towards preventing hastiness in a major life decision and encouraging a lower view of courtship than us who have nixed the dating scene have adopted.
Those who are courting should know that they are friends who like each other, and have an interest towards each other. They should focus on seeking God's will and praying for God's blessing on each others lives. IT IS ALL ABOUT HIM! It is about His kingdom, and what He wants to do with His people in His kingdom.
During courtship, the young couple should spend time with the church family and the family of the parents, getting to know one another, becoming good friends and caring for each other as brother and sister in the Lord with all purity.They should be praying for one another, encouraging one another in Christ, to walk in the ways of our Lord, pursue intimacy with Him, and to become the man or woman of God that He created us to be.
They are to be watching the lives of their potential mate, observing the ways of the family, listening to the words and responses of one another, hearing their motives and attitude towards the things of God, or the absence thereof. They should be looking for a yieldedness to the Lord Jesus Christ in all things, including the direction of their relationship and they should be yielding to the will of God in all things.
If the relationship of those "courting", is all about their feeling of love for one another, nurturing those feelings and becoming obsessed with what they want, then strong admonition is necessary and should be provided by family or church leadership. It is in this dangerous time that biblical admonition regarding patience should be exercised.

A fruit of the Spirit is patience. Waiting is good. And it is the art of patiently waiting for God to work that often saves a marriage. There is a difference between waiting and waiting patiently. Many a young lady is waited on by an impatiently waiting young man. And impatience is dangerous. Paul taught Timothy to pursue patience. Courtship is not pursuing one that you want to marry, rather, it should not be in my opinion. Courtship is determining the will of God concerning two people.

This patient waiting should involve prayer and thankfulness. Prayer has an amazing way of helping us with patience. And we should count it all joy that the "God of patience" is working in us.

Courtship should be a beautiful time of waiting, worship of God, and seeing your friend conformed to the image of Christ.

The couple should be waiting on God to see if He will use them together to serve HIM as a married couple, if God has someone else for them, or if they are going to serve HIM alone. They should be waiting patiently on God and aligning themselves with purity, holiness and the Word of God.

There should be a clear understanding that if the courtship does not work out, the couple will be mature enough to part as friends, without resentment and with all due respect for each other's feelings.

Remember guys, it's all about Him, it is not about you. Put your hope in Christ alone and be willing to engage or let go within a few months. That may seem a rather arbitrary amount of time, but I have my reasons and may include them in a later post.

Courtship Prayer: Lord, have your way in us. If this is to be, then YOU do it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The scriptures exhort us to sing. We should enjoy singing, and sing every day. We ought to be a singing people. We have a reason to sing. No one but a believer can know the hope that we have in Christ. We should sing to ourselves in Psalms, Hymns and spiritual songs. Our thoughts should be saturated with scriptural songs. Good doctrinal songs. Wonderful praise songs. We should sing with all of our hearts. And when we gather for corporate worship, we should sing lustily and gladly. What a Savior! We will sing with our new voices for all eternity and praise the One who has given us life and hope. Be a singing believer, and you will find yourself mounting up to higher ground. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live. I will sing this new song to the Lord.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


We gather to worship because our only hope is Jesus Christ. As I read the Psalms, I make it a habit to ask myself if I am doing what the Psalms say. When the Psalmist says "I trust in the Lord", I ask myself if I am trusting in the Lord. Or am I trusting in myself, my abilities, my strength or my resolve. When David refers to God as his refuge, I ask myself if I am fleeing to Him or to other things for my comfort, my escape, my rest, my strength, or my protection.
We often choose other sources of refuge. We put our trust in men or things. We see a bright future for us if certain things will happen. To what are you fleeing to today? What would you wish would happen that would make everything right? In what do you take comfort? How do you feel safe?
If the answer to any of these are anything other than God, (and please be honest with yourself, otherwise, why are we having this discussion?) then you need to understand that you are only placing your hope in something that will never and can never be what you think it will. You have been deceived. You have fallen for the lie. You worship what you hope in.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Power of God

Well, I had a bad day. But God is good. i thought I would just transfer an old post that I think is worth reading for today's post. It has a bit to do with last Sunday evening's message. Here ya go.

Divine unction only comes to those who have kept themselves pure in heart and mind.
Without that unction, ALL of our sermons are mere dribble, no matter how eloquent, persuasive, or intellectual.
Only as we are endued with power from on high will lives be radically changed.
Stephen Olford said "Beloved, if you stand behind this holy desk and you're life isn't pure; if you're life isn't absolutely holy as far as you know it; if are not walking under an unclouded sky with the ungrieved, unquenched Holy Spirit in your life; then, my friend, you've absolutely blocked the message from any authority whatsoever," he said.
While I was at Stephen Olford's home years ago during his Institute on Biblical Preaching, (there were just a couple of us back then when he first started the Institute in Memphis in 1985), I remember his admonition concerning power.
He said, "Don't you think for a minute that being instant in season and out of season means that you can ask God for His anointing to preach when you need it on Sunday, if you haven't been living in power everyday."
I have tried to remember that on Monday as well as on Saturday, and have always asked my church to be in prayer for me.. We simply cannot afford to let down our guard for a moment. How many men will we see with their armor not on and they ending up on the shelf, with no power, doing no mighty works, preaching merely from the intellect, dispensing no life, with Ichabod written over the lintel of their sanctuaries.
The man of God is to be endued with power from on high as he lives his dedicated life. His prayer should be, "God, if I cannot live my life with a divine anointing to preach and witness to the unbeliever, then just go ahead and take me home now." Oh that men would tarry before God until the power comes. There have been nights when I have waited before God through the night, pleading with Him for power. Most Mondays are spent seeking God and asking for a refilling of His Spirit. I often feel spent after a day of ministering. Yes, we need a fresh anointing all the time. God gives us a fresh anointing. Send down the power from on high. Shake this place where we worship and let the glory of God fall! Send the fire! Wake the sleeping church. Save the deaf, dumb and blind. Open the eyes of those who are blinded by the god of this world. Free those who are shackled by sin. Raise those who are dead to God. These mighty works only happen as the man of God is anointed with the power of God, and it is Satans' determination that God's man would fall
Church, let us earnestly pray together that our teaching Pastor is filled with the Spirit of God and endued with power from on high. It is our responsibility to stand beside him and hold up his hands, to labor together in prayer that the glory would descend and that there would be a divine anointing upon him as he preaches. Let us pray every week that he would have more and more of God's power upon him, and let us never stop praying until we gather with the heavenly throng around His glorious throne!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Passionate Worship

Well, I attempted this last Sunday Evening to convey the heart of my understanding as to why we do what we do. At least laying a foundation. The Sermon can be found here.
After reviewing it today I have a couple of thoughts. Primarily, I feel for the brethren who listened to that message and who are not as emotionally based as some of us are. I am afraid I might give the impression that one cannot be fully engaged in worship and it not be a fully visible experience to the rest of the saints. Well, I happen to know that is entirely possible, because I have experienced it myself. There are times when the communion is so deep and so sweet, that the only visible sign may be a tear or a bowed head.
Having said that, I do feel that a big problem in our churches is that we not only do not adequately prepare for corporate worship, but that same lack of preparation is there in our daily lives. We simply cannot fuly engage in worship of our God if our lives are filled with so many preoccupations. We must be a people who cast out our idols and gaze upon His glorious beauty, believe with all of our hearts, and worship Him with all of minds, our our hearts, all our strength and all our soul.

Monday, June 1, 2009

George Tiller's Death

I want to completely condemn the murder of Tiller the Killer. It was wrong. What amazes me is that many of those who claim to be pro-life and are speaking out against this murder were not as vocal in their condemnation of Tiller's infamous murders.


Well, the old Huff and Puff Post is at it again. No shocker here either. Right away, they have identified the culprit in this case to be, you guessed it, religion! Even calling for the President to use our Armed Forces on the streets to defend the lives of Abortionists. Now, I completely and without reservation condemn the murder of George Tiller.
Several interesting points. The first of which is that Tiller was an usher in this Lutheran church. Now, must of us conservatives would immediately determine that the church is liberal. Must be, if they let this know killer of the unborn be an upstanding member in their church. Fine. The point is, I wonder if the liberal media will investigate this aspect. Will they give thought to this. Hmmm, this happened in a church. This church was fine with Tiller being a member. Even an usher who greeted people on the way in to their "religious services". Maaaaybe all religion is not bad? Nah, they won't give it a second thought. They'll leave their left-wing religious cronies to suffer and suck it up.
Also, we still don't know what Scott Roeder's motives were. Well now, we don't have to be naive aboiut it do we? He evidently stewed about this for quite some time and decided to take it into his own hands and kill this man. Also, he had a fish symbol on his car. Oh these crazy religious right people.
Oh, by the way. It is interesting that the Huff and Puff put this crime on par with the killing of thousands in our nation on 9-11 by Muslim terrorists. One thing they forget. The Muslim terrorists kill in order that they may go to "their" heaven and be rewarded for their killing. They kill innocent people. These home grown people who kill abortionists are motivated by the killing of the abortionists themselves. (The abortionists, in my estimation are not innocent people.) I cannot justify their killing of the abortionists. (I refuse to call them "Doctor".) They hope to receive no reward from this killing, but rather realize that they are probably going to pay a huge cost for their actions with no reward. They are deluded, but they are are not equal to the dangerous mindset of those who wish to wipe our nation off of the face of the earth. Oh, and by they way....the Muslim terrorists will start with those among us who they deem the most evil. The liberal left! How ironic.