Friday, December 28, 2007

Idol Worship and Idle Worship

IDOL -vs- IDLE I raise this issue up because they are probably the two biggest problems in church today.

IDOL WORSHIP - was warned against in passages like Exodus 20 (10 Commandments), all throughout 1-2 Kings and so forth. God specifically said "you shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water. You shall not worship them or serve them, for I the Lord your God, am a jealous God..." (Ex. 20:4-5) With this in mind, what kind of idols are there in church? I can think of many "idols" that get more attention (which is worship in my opinion) than God does. Money, Power, Pews, Worship Styles, Technology, Food, Social Interaction, etc. are some idols we have made and placed in the church. Of course some things are not material but they are an idol nonetheless. I was walking with my lovely wife the other day and passed by a catholic church. we decided to walk around the church and see what it looked like. Beautiful! Catholic churches are some of the most elegant of all worship buildings. The problem is that it (the building and its contents) are being worshipped. in the parking lots were statues of different saints and people have placed wreaths and flowers by their feet as if something spiritual happens because of it. Idol Worship! Why place a flower at the feet of a handmade statue when you can place all your sins, worries, and cares down at the Jesus' feet?

IDLE WORSHIP - "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot I will spit you out of my mouth..." (Rev. 3:15-16) This was written to the church in Laodicia in Revelation. It gives the illustration of the water supplies in Laodicia which came from other cities via channels. By the time the cold water reached the town it was lukewarm and disgusting, as was the hot water. God want our best, not our lukewarmness. Our corporate worship has become lukewarm in my opinion. We come to church, sing some songs (and only worship if the music plays with our emotions the right way) give some money if any at all, listen to a speech, and go home. Did that sequence of events describe your church? I hope not! So what's worse...Idol or Idle worship?

Inspiration & Spirituality Aisle

I was shopping recently in a certain Bookstore that is Noble and reminds you of a farm yesterday when I happened to notice that the "New Age" books are now on the "Spirituality" aisle! Interesting...what do they call "Christian" books? It's on the "Inspiration" aisle. Why is this? Have you noticed the squatting of this crap having the same terminology and relevance to be placed on the same aisle? Your thoughts?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Some Random Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts about the year in review, New Year's resolutions and goals.

This year was a year of transitions. I moved from my job at the funeral home to being back in full-time ministry at Bayshore Baptist Church in Bradenton, Fl. I am now the Youth and Music Minister here. Check out what FUSION is all about by clicking here.

I am now 26!

I enjoy life a lot more than before!

during this past year I have become more inquisitive on politics and society due to the fact that I had a 3000 dollar tax bill this year and got curious as to how government spends money. now I'm addicted to talk radio especially the Schnitt Show.

I began writing my book about Death this year but have put it off for some time now. I need to finish it before I die.

Jessica and I had to put our beloved cat Lucy to sleep due to the fact that she couldn't fight her infections and she was starving herself to death. (Lucy lost her immune system due to a herpes infection at birth)

We were given a cute little cat named Millie and we are growing to love her just as we did Lucy

Well, that's about all I can say about that...Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Herman the German

Thanks to Dave over at The Outflow for this amazing picture of Herman the German Bunny. Click Here to see.

The Truth Video

Due to the rush of the Christmas season, I have not been able to bring much new material to my blog. In the mean is an awesome video you should watch. To see the here.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Movement In The Church # 2

It happened again! The Holy Spirit moved in church today. This morning's service was the Adult Choir Christmas Cantata. The choir was doing amazing and the narration was just said about the salvation message and the "tear jerker" song of the Cantata titled Bethlehem Morning was being sung while 3\4 of the way through...the power shut off completely in the church! Our sound systems, C.D. player, lights, everything went dead! We kept singing and didn't miss a beat! It was the most amazing sound my choir has ever made! We got through the song and The church was applauding was the time in the musical for the invitation so I turned around and laughed a bit with the congregation but then gave a salvation message and prayer. Our power came back on and we were able to sing our Finale with all the lights and beautiful banners carried by some of my youth. After the end of the song I turned around to a standing ovation and tears from many in the crowd (even grown men!) The choir was on the verge of crying as well during that final piece.

This was truly the best experience I have ever had as a Music Minister!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Slam It In Gear...Pedal To The Metal !

These past few days at church have been spent getting things going and finishing projects started in the past. The FUSION LAB remodeling took a back seat on my priority list and needed to get done and get done right! John from my church has worked with me all day these past few days in getting things done!
Things in our church property is getting organized, rooms cleaned out and functional for ministry, and new strategies are being planned for the betterment of how Bayshore Baptist operates.

On top of all this...The Adult Choir Christmas Cantata is this Sunday morning,the youth are having their Christmas party Saturday night, Christmas Candlelight Service is next Sunday, Christmas in Miami, New Year's Eve Lock-In with the youth at church, and Winter-Jam in January!!!

I feel God rewarded the efforts in working in the youth room because we had a record attendance of 7 youth @ FUSION (yes I celebrate those awesome numbers) I had two girls that couldn't normally come due to dance attend tonight and they said that the times are changing for Wednesdays!!! Hopefully they can come from now on! Thanks God!!!

I feel it's time for Bayshore to "SLAM IT IN GEAR AND GO PEDAL TO THE MEDAL!!!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Joel Osteen

Hey readers...I recently have been preparing to study about this whole Joel Osteen controversy thing going on in the Christian circles. First and formost...I don't preach "Prosperity Gospel" but have been faced in my church, friends, and other bloggers about whether Joel is a pastor or not. There is an excellent article on Colossians3:16 blog about this so I figured it appropriate to link it here. It definitely is worth your time as you know I don't link posts that often on this blog. To read it...Click Here

Monday, December 10, 2007

Searching For God Knows What Book Review

Well I finally found some time this week to finish Don Miller's book "Searching For God Knows What" It was fact, I couldn't put it down once I was able to spend time with it. The holidays have taken all my personal enjoyment time away from me.

In this book, Miller raises a few points about the value of stuff, status, riches, competition, etc. for the human race. He even uses the idea of an alien coming from outer space and observing the differences between humans and aliens. Although this is quite comical, some good thoughts were addressed. Why do humans care so much about impressing other people? All that matters is a relationship with our creator, not being in constant competition with another person. Another theme Miller focused on was that of the life of Jesus, the Gospel of Jesus, and the prophesies fulfilled by Jesus.

If you have not read this book do it! If you've never read any Don Miller books...DO IT!!!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Excuses! Excuses!

As I'm writing this I am recooping from a energy-draining night at church...a good kind of energy drain though! I was asked to fill in for the pastor tonight which means leading the singing and then going right into a sermon. (all this after an hour-long budget discussion meeting) The subject of my sermon was "Stop making excuses to God"

We have all made excuses for not doing something God told us to do. We give excuses like:

1. Too Tired
2. Too Busy
3. Not enough money
4. No time
5. Someone else will do it!

That last excuse is what I focused on tonight as I illustrated the point with the account of Moses and the burning bush in Exodus 3-4. Moses was told by God to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites free from slavery! To make a long story short...Moses told God to send somebody else because he didn't feel adequate enough to do it. Quit making excuses to God, get of your butt, and do what God wants you to do!!!

I had each person tonight write down an excuse that they have personally gave God before. I then had them come forward and rip it up and throw it in a trash can I had placed on the altar! The response was amazing! who would have thought that throwing away garbage was an act of worship but it was! Our excuses belong in the trash! God is bigger than any excuse we come up with so start believing it people!!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Who Am I?

Who are we really? Do you ever feel like you don't know what your identity is? It's like someone who changes clothes multiple times a day to fit into what they are doing. They might be in sports wear, preppy style, formal, or naked! Sometimes we can get confused about who we are. Moses asked God "Who Am I?" when he was instructed to go to Egypt. (Exodus 3:11) God calls us to do mighty works on earth and we always give Him excuses. We tell Him we are not adequate enough just like Moses did.

The truth is that if we are sons and daughter of God, then our identity, power, authority, etc. is in Jesus. Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" Stop giving God excuses, find who you are in Christ, get involved in the Body of Christ as it says in Ephesians 4:1-16

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Near Death Experience?

Well it's been a week now since I got the news that I was near death! I went to get new tires on my 99 Dodge Intrepid last Thursday when I started smelling gas. The tire place checked it for me while they changed the tires and noticed I was leaking fuel. I took it right away to the mechanic I know down the road. After he looked at it, he realized it was amazing the car hadn't literally blown up while I was driving it. Apparently, the gas line going into the engine had cracked open and was leaking fuel directly on the exhaust pipes!!! Well I'm glad that God looked after me in this situation. The fuel line has been hard to get and my car is still in the shop. I'm thankful I'm still alive...Now I'm praying God will provide the money to fix it as it will be at least 300-400 dollars for all the repairs.

update! the final bill was $422.06 (donations would be helpful!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Launch Time For Jessica

Hey everyone! It's happened...Jessica (my wife) has launched her new blog. Go check it out. It's called The Walk add it to your blogrolls because she is going to have some really awesome thoughts on there.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My Favorite Hymn and Praise Song

So going along with yesterday, I thought it appropriate to talk about my favorite hymn and praise song. Of course I love almost all the hymns and a good majority of the praise songs two stand out to me.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

This hymn is probably my favorite. The words go as follows:
A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing.
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe
His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate
on earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.
were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing:
dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus it is He,
Lord Sabaoth His name from age to age the same
and He must win the battle

And tho' this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us.
we will not fear for God hath willed His truth to triumph thro' us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him
his rage we can endure, for lo his doom is sure
One little world shall fell him

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them abideth.
The spirit and the gifts are ours, thro' Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also
the body they may kill, God's truth abideth still.
His kingdom is forever!

It is true we are in a daily spiritual battle. Martin Luther wrote that hymn by the way. No matter what struggles, foes, wars, or principalities of darkness may come our way, God's truth abides in us that we will overcome them because Christ has overcome them.

Let My Words Be Few (I Stand In Awe)
This song is very moving to me. When I was learning the guitar I wanted to write amazing songs. The love song was always the hardest to write. Here are the words:

You are God in Heaven, and here am I on earth.
So I let my words be few
Jesus I am so in Love with You.

And I stand in awe of You, Jesus
Yes I stand in awe of You.
And I let my words be few,
Jesus I am so in love with You.

The simplest of all love songs I want to bring to You
so I let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with You.

Wow...It's great to know that we don't have to come up with some amazing, smart, heart-melting words of affirmation to make God feel loved. All we have to say to Him is "I love You" I especially love the lyric...the simplest of all love songs...that says it all.

So there you have it. Two completely different styles of music, but one act of worship. Tell me your favorite hymn(s) and praise song(s)

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Movement In The Church

A rather remarkable thing happened in the services at my church yesterday...for the first time, I felt like the Spirit was moving among the congregation during worship! I added a few "contemporary" songs in the sets and they (congregation) took to them rather well. I was surprised to see hands being raised and worshipful expressions on people's faces. It got me thinking last night as I was sleeping about the whole "traditional" vs. "contemporary" music battle in the church.

I love the old hymns, I love praise music just as much; but most of all I love God-honoring, and worship-worthy (I'll get into that later). I heard a good quote from a speaker on this subject once. He was a pastor and was confronted by some old-time, hymnal loving deacons that they don't like the new stuff the "song leader" (I hate that title) was singing in church. The pastor asked the deacons..."When did worship become all about what you like???" I liked that because it is so true. Many people have worshipped the song style and not worshipped God through the songs.

I make it a point to explain that the hymns we sing today were once the new "contemporary" songs of the day when they were written. In fact, many tunes that hymn words are sung to are not even Christian but secular tunes! In my studies in hymnology I even learned that some of the tunes in our hymnals were actually bar\tavern dance tunes!

Here's a question for you...When you turn on the radio, do you hear the same music over and over again for years and years (excluding oldies stations) No, people come out with new music for people to listen to...Does God want to listen to oldies all day long in Heaven? Although oldies can be goodies, I think that God wants to hear some of the new stuff because He wrote the music anyways when you think about it! I'm going to spend some time in my postings on this subject of worship and the many aspect of it. Hope this is helpful to you all.