Saturday, December 27, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I believe in a God who cannot be manipulated. A God who knows the content of every man’s heart, the blueprints of every psyche… He knows your buttons, better than anyone, better than you.
And though God possesses emotions, (He’s no Dr.Spock), those emotions aren’t moved by the same fickle things ours are. Temporary circumstances, time, waiting, shortsightedness, lighting, music, outward beauty, emotional outbursts (positive or negative) from others…
He is moved not by worship that is beautifully poetic, aurally stimulating, visually stunning, well-orchestrated, well-performed, difficult to achieve, simple in form, or extremely complex (for those reasons). The worship SONGS that move us DON’T move Him, and he doesn’t have a favorite.
He is moved by hearts that are DEVOTED to Him. He is emotional about PEOPLE that he invested a great deal to save. He is passionate about seeing a dying world snatched from eternal flames by people who know Him enough to care about what he cares about.
He doesn’t celebrate achievements, perceived perfection, or great efforts as much as a repentant heart, or an obedient child.
He is not moved by the wording or content of a prayer (or song). He is moved by the one who prays it. He is not moved by the plea of the sinner, but by the faith, brokenness, and repentance that causes the sinner to make his plea... the heart behind the plea.
GOD IS HOLY. He is “other-than” us… He is not like us. We are made in His image, but exist mostly in a world limited by 5 senses. We prioritize our felt needs above what He would deem of utmost importance. We worry about things that God doesn’t think twice about, yet many times fail to consider the deepest passions of our Father’s heart. It must be heartbreaking for Him…
Yet He is not a God, a priest, a king, a friend unfamiliar with our fatal human-ness. He is well aware of our weakness and temporal tendencies. He is COMPASSIONATE on us, as we walk around trying to follow a fuzzy, dim picture of who we see Him as, and dreams for the day that we will finally see the big picture… As those who long for His return share the same dream.
We deceive ourselves if we think that our “WORSHIP”, our SACRIFICE of praise is more important or enjoyable to God than our faithfulness and obedience to Him. We DISTRACT ourselves from the LIFESTYLE God has called us to, if we PLACE TOO MUCH EMPHASIS OR IMPORTANCE on what we as a modern Christian sub-culture have deemed “worship”.
I believe in a God who is perfect. Every command, whether it seems fair to me or not, is at the same time just and full of love. I believe in a God who is a perfect Father. He disciplines those he loves. He is always watching and present… Yet doesn’t intervene in every situation, for the ultimate good of His children, His family. He provides, gives gifts, makes plans, and displays a pattern for us to follow. He sacrifices Himself.
He is idealistic. He is realistic. And has a plan to make the two co-exist. :) He is ultimately just. He will seek revenge, punish wrongdoing, reveal secret sins… Every human being should shudder with fear. But he is extravagantly loving and merciful as well. Willing to forgive and show mercy to us. Praise Jesus, our Redeemer, Mediator…
You don’t have to conjure the Spirit of God with drums, singing or shouting. He doesn’t come in SONGS and loud noises… But many times a still small voice. I am always, by nature I think, skeptical of my own emotional responses… Because I know how deceitful my heart is and how fickle my emotions are.
But the times in my life that God invaded the situation, in spite of chaos, in spite of my own carnality, in my moment of weakness and UNMISTAKEABLY reveals Himself in a still, small, voice. I’ll remember those moments more than amazing miracles… Because they are solid rock moments of my faith. Moments that were unmistakably… HIM.
So why have I decided to make a career of leading corporate worship at this point in my life?
First, I believe this is what God has for me at this point. But my motivation... I want people to MEET GOD, see themselves in the light of WHO HE IS (grace, holiness, mercy, justice, perfection, compassion, omniscience, omnipresence, forgiving, forgetting our sins) and corporately and individually pledge themselves in worship. With the END RESULT of LIFE CHANGE and a LifeStyle that is OBEDIENT and GLORIFYING of God.
I love music. It moves me. And it moves alot of people. It disarms people. It teaches people. It’s a powerful tool. It can create atmosphere and environment. It is THE EASIEST way for God’s people to simultaneously unite themselves in corporate prayer. It is the most repeated command in the bible.
I love worship. I long to be the worshipper God desires. I want to go deeper in my relationship with Him, and love leading a congregation of people who feel the same.
I want God to love coming to church. He’s never missed a service, and never will. But I want HIM to be glad He came.
I want to be a part of equipping the saints to be salt, light, ambassadors of Christ, of God’s Kingdom to the earth… To be citizens of heaven where worship is like American TV… It's never off the air. :)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
But the real story here is that I learned this from a brother in Christ who happens to be black. My friend Vina had previously misled me, telling me that black people don't like chick-fil-a... What's next, Vina?
Friday, November 7, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
- Jesus died because of obedience, not sympathy or even compassion.
- Jesus didn't come "to reveal the Fatherhood of God, the loving-kind ness of God", he came to die for the sins of the world. The revelation comes after salvation.
- We are not saved by being sorry for our sins, by repentance, obedience, consecration or faith. We are saved by the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Jesus. By GRACE demonstrated at the cross. We only realize and accept what has already been done through believing (FAITH).
none of that is to say that God isn't merciful or kind. that Christ doesn't have compassion on us or that repentance, obedience, consecration and faith aren't necessary components in the life of the believer. but it is to say that our salvation CANNOT be at all dependent on us, if we believe in the word of God. our salvation is purchased and final before we even realize it. the gift is under the tree. the ball is in our court, but we didn't earn it. it was handed to us freely, without us even asking. i owe my life and eternal destiny to Jesus Christ, and his death on the cross, according to the Father's will. i'm so grateful that even though I'm saved through faith that the degree of my salvation isn't dependent upon the degree of even my faith... and let's not even talk about deeds...
Shifting Sand- Caedmon's Call (it's old, but it applies...)
Sometimes I believe all the lies, So I can do the things I should despise
And every day I am swayed by whatever is on my mind
I hear it all depends on my faith, So I'm feeling precarious
The only problem I have with these mysteries Is they're so mysterious
And like a consumer I've been thinking if I could just get a bit more...
More than my 15 minutes of faith,Then I'd be secure
My faith is like shifting sand, Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand So I stand on grace
I've begged you for some proof For my Thomas eyes to see
A slithering staff, a leperous hand And lions resting lazily
A glimpse of your back-side glory And this soaked altar going ablaze
But you know I've seen so much I explained it away
Waters rose as my doubts reigned... My sand-castle faith, it slipped away
Found myself standing on your grace...It'd been there all the time....
My faith is like shifting sand, Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand, So I'll stand on grace...Stand on grace...
Saturday, October 4, 2008
so... i had made a purchase at lowe's a month ago, and intended to make it with a giftcard we recieved from my father in law... but i forgot it at home, so when i realized that, i asked the cashier if i might be able to put it on a lowe's credit card, then pay that off with a giftcard. she assured me i could, so i made the purchase.
fast forward to last night... i go to lowe's to pay the bill and of course you can't use a giftcard to pay your credit card bill... so i ask for the manager, hoping he'll be able to override the system and do what they promised me they could. instead of being helpful, he was rude and continued to repeat himself as customer service people must be trained to do...
so upon his 4th or 5th repetion, i interrupted and asked for his boss' name, which prompted him to accuse ME of being rude to everyone i had talked to, and he asked me to leave the store. until this point, i was just set on getting my bill paid without it coming out of my pocket... but at his threatening order to leave the store, i immediately decided to do everything in my power to make sure this guy lost his job over his conduct. i refused to leave, until he gave me the name of his boss... and eventually we made a deal that i would leave as soon as he gave me a name and phone number.
of course, this is my version of the story... my wife would tell you that i definitely "let my morton show" a little bit. i'm genetically programmed to do that when i feel i'm being treated unfairly.
but after a day to sit on the situation... i realize i didn't act like jesus would. regardless of whether or not i can justify my actions, or whether I actually committed any bonified sins in my angry state... by the standards i've chosen to live my life by, i failed. i became the unmerciful servant over a few stupid bucks.
so, the conclusion of the matter... a well-written complaint addressed to every one of night shift manager Don's superiors won't be delivered, and my quest to get him fired (or at least a reprimand) has been suspended. i paid the bill, and we'll have to use that lowe's card another time...
i just wish i could have caught my tired, cranky flesh before i went anti-christ in the middle of a home improvement superstore... what a stupid, embarrassing story.
the Church has seen this play out in it's leaders and members countless times... people who want to serve but don't serve with the right motives, with the right attitude... and most who have been active Christians will or have probably done this. we allow our service to surpass our relationship with Christ... the mary/martha comparison...
and it really goes back to the cain and abel story... ha ha, but then again everything has for me in the past week. it's the matter of offering God what he really wants of us, or offering God what WE think he'll enjoy... what we want to offer. and that's really giving the benefit of the doubt... worst case would be "serving" for our own selfish motives... which is easy to do when your area of service involves public attention...
what a terrible feeling though... what an uneasy, uncontented spirit when you realize that what you've just portrayed to others as a sacrifice was really nothing more than a show to spotlight yourself as a "sacrificER"... i thank God that He's allowed me to experience the emptiness of using the abilities he's given me selfishly... i learned early on that "he must become greater, i must become less"... to effectively do what He's called me to do, i have to empty me of me, as much as i possibly can, then allow Him to do the rest.
back to cain and abel though... the more i pondered that story all week again, the more it challenged me to back up my Sunday "sacrifices" with my weekday living. one opportunity i had this week to do that passed me by before i even realized it did... (read the previous post for that story)... but i think i had a few victories too...
it's something we have to make time to do... spend time with God... find out what HE really wants from us... stop trying to please Him (or anyone else for that matter) on our own... just be obedient.
"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?"
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
tonight, i especially feel challenged to become "broken bread and poured out wine". he talks about God allowing things to squeeze us to become wine for the consumption of others. today's devotional is on Mark's account of the transfiguration. they key line is
"We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength."
how true. i love the inspirational moments. and maybe i believe that the more time i spend there, the more i can stay on the mountaintop and see more clearly who God is, the better off i am. but if i am to be like Christ, mountaintops will be rare, and sacrifice will be much more the routine.
worship can take me to my mountain. and i love taking time to spend quietly playing before God, singing in my heart, singing out loud, whispering under my breath, or silently meditating in His presence. i love it. i need it. but i also have to consciously translate those moments to the everyday valley encounters with others. i have to allow that same grace to flow THROUGH me as it has TO me... i have to. that's the real test. the ability to find the mountaintop is not nearly as valuable to an authentic walk with Christ as the ability to hold onto that inspiration in the mundane.
If a man or woman is called of God, it doesn’t matter how difficult the circumstances may be. God orchestrates every force at work for His purpose in the end. If you will agree with God’s purpose, He will bring not only your conscious level but also all the deeper levels of your life, which you yourself cannot reach, into perfect harmony.
i believe that. to be sure you're doing what you're called to do, in spite of everything else around you, is ultimate fulfillment and peace. it's not easy, or without doubts and questions... it's not constant, because i'm not. but when i shut up and rest in the assurance i have that God has been given control of who i am and what i do, and that he will steward that well, there's no greater peace.
The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something.
so have i let my mountaintops accomplish what they need to in my CHARACTER (as opposed to my MIND)... God is not out to educate us, and the gospel isn't a matter of only right teaching. most of humanity's problems won't be cured by simple instruction, but by an encounter with the Holy Spirit... a little water on faith seedlings in the hearts of men, that begin to grow as they allow themselves to be good soil for that faith to grow in. i don't need more instruction, i need more application. and it's a decision i make. we all have to decide that we're in this for real, and it's time to DO what we KNOW. and APPLY as soon as we LEARN.
i'm tired, and i need to quit rambling, but i'm going to make an effort this week to draw some mountaintop inspiration for the daily walk a little more regularly. and start pouring out a little wine... :)
Sunday, September 28, 2008
cargo- 47 cu. ft.
*note- I HATED these cars when they came out in 2003, and now I kinda like em. Go figure.
Okay... Door #2...
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Why didn’t God like Cain’s offering?
At first glance, it seems that both men gave to the Lord part of what they had worked to produce. Yet God prefers Abel’s offering to Cain’s. Why?
I’m not sure there is a definitive answer, but there are a few clues…
A Portion vs. The Best- The wording is interesting in that it states that Cain simply gave a part of his crop, while Abel brought the “firstlings”, and the fat of them… Which would be the best of the best. It doesn’t really definitively say that Cain DIDN’T bring the best, but it’s interesting that it was made clear on Abel’s offering…
The Blood- There is a difference in the types of sacrifice. The animal sacrifice includes the shedding of blood, a requirement for atonement, while the plant sacrifice doesn’t. That may have been the issue… And the way God asks the question after his ruling on the offerings, it sounds like Cain may have known WHY his sacrifice was unacceptable, even if we really don’t.
The Heart- This is where I think we can really learn something… There is almost definitely an attitude difference here, between the two brothers. Scripture says that God didn’t just accept one offering and decline the other, it says that he accepted “Abel and his offering”… The man, and the offering the man brought. Maybe that’s why Cain was so angry… It wasn’t just a disapproval of the offering, but a disapproval of the man who brought it.
Cain is instantly angry with God and his brother after he and his offering are rejected. Again, there’s nothing to say that Abel wasn’t rubbing it in his face either… But Hebrews 11:4 tells us that by faith he offered a better sacrifice than Cain. So faith was a factor as well. And the Blood and the Best could have been heart decisions. Perhaps he had instructions from God to offer a blood sacrifice for atonement, and by faith he did.
Ultimately we know that Cain ultimately kills his brother, which he plainly knew was wrong, and displays that rather than mastering the sin crouching at his door, which he was warned of directly by God, he allowed it to consume him. Rather than DEVOTE himself, allow himself to be consumed with the task of bringing God an offering that would be pleasing to him, he allowed sin to consume him.
To make application… We need to offer God our best. Not just a pittance… a part that we’re willing to do without. We need to realize that without the blood of Christ, we have no right to assume that we’re worthy of being heard, or accepted. And our hearts have to be motivated by faith and obedience in God’s word. We need to do it his way, in his time, for his glory. And allow ourselves to be fully devoted to honoring God and living a life acceptable to him.
Don’t make an offering for the sake of making an offering. Make obedience by faith your priority, and discover true worship.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
on a more interesting note, i posted a couple new evan videos on youtube. my account is supermanmcgee, if you'd like to search 'em, or just look below!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
i believe that the only thing truly relevant to a commercial culture, used to hype and unfounded, undelivered promises with the ultimate goal of profit at our expense, is to be the antithesis of that culture. in short, to be real.
to some, the way our church worships, or the way our pastor preaches, the lighting in the room, the colors that we chose, the use of modern communication media like video screens or even sound systems may cross the line. i would disagree. the music i choose is music that expresses prayers that i believe our church wants to pray corporately. prayers of thanksgiving, celebration, desperation, faith (even in the midst of trial and confusion), hope in the promises of God's word, and love for a self-sacrificing Savior. it can be incredibly emotional, but i pray and believe that it's more a voice to deep emotions that we want to communicate, even though, for some (hopefully a small minority) it may stir up some false, manufactured emotional response... the important part is that as ministers (the worship team, tech crew, even pastors) are real in our expression, and our desire to lead others in a true expression of worship.
pastor jeff's preaching style is a very close replica of his conversational style. he is a man passionate about God's word, and people experiencing the freedom and transformation made available by it. it's real...
the sound system, lighting, and video screens have become staples in most evangelical american churches, but that doesn't make them acceptable. what makes them acceptable is the proper use of these mediums to communicate without 'canivery' (if that's a word) the good news in a way that is clear and understandable. in a way that brings people to a point of INFORMED DECISION in their spiritual identity and eternal destiny. to use them to stir up emotions, to lure them to make an UNINFORMED, RUSHED decision is another story. something i think we purposefully steer very clear of...
on a personal level, i've added verse 2 to my memorization list, because it's something i strive to be. there is great freedom in living a transparent life. cunning, twisting truth, deception all lead to a stressful high-maintenance situation... it's good to be who you are to whoever you're with at whatever time... there is freedom in living a life that strives to please God, is quick to admit shortcomings, quick to accept rebuke, quick to self-examine and seek improvement, with complete confidence in who you are in Christ. to strive ONLY to live up to the expectations of a loving father, and leave other pretense and expectations behind. to try to do twist or 'cun' rather than just rely on God SWAPS the responsibility of the outcome from HIM to YOU... which is a very scary thing. YOU also end up carrying the brunt of the responsibility for the longevity of that commitment, which is even scarier.
i feel like i'm rambling now, and there's good reason... it's 12:30am, and i should be sleeping. i'm not sure if i'm even writing about the same topic i started with...
i just pray that my life matters to the Kingdom. that i make as big a dent as i possibly can, and fulfill what God has called me to do. just obey...
Saturday, September 13, 2008
it's been a better day than i expected, thanks to God's grace. tomorrow will be an incredible morning, stories of God's faithfulness through miracles and tragedy. songs of faith accompanied by public confessions of faith in water baptism. the beautiful collision- His divinity meeting our depravity in a grace explosion (and mercy fallout). and i make fun of those old time preachers quoting hymns like scripture... ha ha....
interesting thought from utmost today (or maybe tomorrow?)... the uselessness of logic and "thinking through" spiritual matters.
Bring all your "arguments and . . . every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" regarding the matter, and everything will become as clear as daylight to you ( 2 Corinthians 10:5 ). Your reasoning capacity will come later, but reasoning is not how we see. We see like children, and when we try to be wise we see nothing (see Matthew 11:25 ).
thinking or trying has never helped me overcome or grow spiritually... obedience has. even reading God's word... it's not the intellectually stimulating passages that transform me, it's the times i read and know God is speaking. i would say that it's a great point to think about... but maybe it's just a better thing to acknowledge and practice. obedience. better than sacrifice... we know... but for God, or for us? i always assumed the former, but maybe the latter is more the case. when we make the decision to follow Christ, we aslo are accepting our obligation to believe without evidence and obey blindly... and why not? if we've truly found something we're willing to give our entire lives away for, and make a commitment to adhere to in our day to day living, wouldn't that include even in situation where it doesn't make sense to follow?
so to bring personal application, i need to be more disciplined. in managing my time, taking care of my body, eating properly, and purposefully chasing after God's will for my life. living for Him is all or nothing, but it's human nature to find the path of least resistance... even in our walk with him. to find a path of optimum comfort, while still within the bounds of our perception of the "straight and narrow". so far, no one's reading this, probably a good thing, but if you see me around, feel free to call me 'fatty' or 'slacker' for some good brotherly motivation. (thank you matt karls in advance for your contribution.)
Friday, September 12, 2008
We presume that we would be ready for battle if confronted with a great crisis, but it is not the crisis that builds something within us— it simply reveals what we are made of already. Do you find yourself saying, "If God calls me to battle, of course I will rise to the occasion"? Yet you won’t rise to the occasion unless you have done so on God’s training ground. If you are not doing the task that is closest to you now, which God has engineered into your life, when the crisis comes, instead of being fit for battle, you will be revealed as being unfit. Crises always reveal a person’s true character.
A private relationship of worshiping God is the greatest essential element of spiritual fitness. The time will come, as Nathanael experienced in this passage, that a private "fig-tree" life will no longer be possible. Everything will be out in the open, and you will find yourself to be of no value there if you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions in your own home. If your worship is right in your private relationship with God, then when He sets you free, you will be ready. It is in the unseen life, which only God saw, that you have become perfectly fit. And when the strain of the crisis comes, you can be relied upon by God.
Are you saying, "But I can’t be expected to live a sanctified life in my present circumstances; I have no time for prayer or Bible study right now; besides, my opportunity for battle hasn’t come yet, but when it does, of course I will be ready"? No, you will not. If you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions, when you get involved in God’s work, you will not only be useless yourself but also a hindrance to those around you.
God’s training ground, where the missionary weapons are found, is the hidden, personal, worshiping life of the saint.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
so i guess this is supposed to be a log of thoughts, or ideas, or happenings... well, today i can't stop thinking about persecuted indians (dot, not feather)... and imagining what it would be like to be in their position...
1Keep on loving each other as brothers. 2Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
4Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."[a] 6So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"[b]
7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
that's kinda where i'm at. praying for them, and trying to remember them as if i were suffering... but trying not to be afraid of my creaking house, while i remember them... unless the Lord watches over the house, dave is just a paranoid idiot who can't fall asleep...(psalm 127)
and that money verse... it's funny how you value money all the more when you don't have it. just trying to remember that i have family around the world with alot less than i have, and to be grateful (which is easy) and content (which isn't always). consumerism is flowing through my red white and blue veins. :)
but in my reflective late-night blogging mindset, i am content. i really am. and it's all because of Jesus. materially he's blessed me immensely, but the invisble blessings even outweight those (well, not in mass, or weight i guess... but you know what i mean...) lord help me remember.
i've been praying alot for the Holy Spirit to inspire my spirit, and remind me of truths that if i take even a brief second to consider, easily inspire me. inspire me to work, to think, to be "strong & courageous", and completely devoted. cognitively i am, the decision is made. but i love to feel it. to feel my spirit well up with God's Spirit... to feel faith expanding in my chest, hotwiring my heart to pump louder than the noise around me. faith that drowns social norms and makes me wreckless for Christ. at first, i felt guilty for asking God to remind me of things that i should remember on my own, or inspire me as if it were his job to entertain my phsyche, or emotions... but what i'm asking is deeper than that, and the more i thought about it, the more i realized that what i was asking for is the very thing the Spirit of God desires to do! it's the very thing Jesus left the earth to allow every believer who calls out to Him... it's power that comes from faith. it's faith that transcends reason. it's a willingness to sacrifice self for just the glimpse we've seen of Someone so great, that His glory is worth our demise. the realization that the Spirit inside of me deserves the best from his living temple... i just want my life's work to be as efficiently and effectively useful to Him as it possibly can. My utmost for his highest... I'm gonna go read some more... goodnight...