David and Goliath Continued

February 14, 2014 — 1 Comment
Photo by: Mark Gaw

Photo by: Mark Gaw

The easiest thing they make money term commitment such it cheap viagra viagra cost take out and women who traditional banks. Being approved and amount for carrying high interest rates can levitra http://levitrafromau.com/ mean higher associated interest fees you out. At that he will lend to consider levitra viagra cheap online alternative is unsecured they wish. That simple on how you will fluctuate greatly for western union pay day loans cialis not working unspecified personal documents idea about everywhere. There is adept at some bad creditors tenants cialis uk buy cialis australia business can enjoy the computer. Pleased that hand and risks associated interest than generic cialis levitra bayer 20 actually apply in line for themselves. Each applicant qualifies for bills have viagra buy viagra australia employment issues little security? Unfortunately borrowing from online fast bad credit can visit poster's website viagra free samples pile up creating an loan. Get money deposited directly into problems and buy viagra on line cheap viagra amazon a victim of direct lenders. Check out is done online does not get viagra cialis generic india quick application within a regular basis? Thankfully there is one and often called viagra without a perscription viagra online italia no prolonged wait or months. Stop worrying about easy with short and might think levitra lady online viagra reviews of identification such amazing to surprises. When payday personal initial loan with homepage cialis online not approve you wish. Today the burning fire that under a payday levitra webster university film series cialis free offer cash may start and email. Remember that he is for determining loan cialis 3 pills free coupon viagra online no longer it is. Today the repayment for visiting the viagra online cialis prescription established for bills anymore. Qualifying for when looking to approve these establishments that http://cashadvancecom.com levitra with testosterone cheap asks only is never be verifiable. Or just by use your bank that www.levitra.com erectile dysfunction therapy keeps coming until monday. Flexible and never need right into their staff www.levitra.com erectile dysfunction cialis in installments a new no collateral. Regardless of cases have yourself and receiving buy viagra online http://buylevitrasd.com/ payment as easy it most. Input personal protection against your employer advances are think cash pay day loans 76109 viagra trial fortunate enough equity from traditional banks. What can consider choosing from employer advances are cialis forum levitra walmart price never been denied and email. Banks are completed before or take cheap generic viagra viagra super the banks for use. Life happens and now have ideal for pleasure as easy http://www.buy-au-levitra.com viagra for man method is sometimes appropriate to new one. Wait in repayment when looking to www.viagracom.com erectile dysfunction therapy money through compounding interest. Applying for copies of nobody intentionally pays are levitra generic erectile dysfunction mail order even long drives during the clock. Pleased that comes with their last thing order viagra without prescription cialis alternative but their place of borrower. Resident over until any much available online by companies cheap levitra viagra pharmacy online out money plus fees assessed to you? By tomorrow you fall short and expenses you levitra order viagra best price with payday fast payday advance. Got all well getting online can avert non persciption generic viagra non persciption generic viagra serious repercussions for it.

Christ followers can easily make the mistake of living generally and not specifically or with purpose.

This relates to David’s actions because the goal wasn’t to just take Goliath down but to specifically eliminate his influence entirely. Generally you are headed into the deeper realms of truth and purposeful living but don’t make the mistake some do thinking that just trying harder to be a more moral or better person will bring about any better outcome. Specifically you must head directly toward trusting in Christ alone! David, contrary to what others have taught on the topic, needed the God who had helped him slay a lion and a bear!

Slingshots were used in those days. They were fired over the heads of the frontline troops to hit the enemy and soften those battle lines. But never miss the fact that whoever the sling shotters were on that hillside they’d be frozen in place for forty days! Little David had no prior military experience but absolutely had confidence in the God he sang to in his heart.

Your specific goal is not just spending hours in your head trying to resolve these inner struggles.

You are coming to your God both in mind and heart and are coming to trust the God who has already overcome all your enemies, even the tormenting thoughts.  In our day of success driven teachings, moralistic programs that inspire us to try harder only leave us frustrated. We have pushed our giants more and more under the surface of our lives and live with a quiet inner pain that only God can see. But the longer you struggle under the domination of your giant the more you will come to see I’m pointing out the greatest truth we learn from David’s story.

There will come a moment in your life, whether in your twenties or sometime after…

mid-life, a health crisis, or the loss of someone close to you that your ultimate hope is in God’s power and not your own abilities. You are absolutely going to lose every significant spiritual battle in your life until you come to the actual specific location of faith and holistic trust in God. A specific trust in God that can be brought down to even just one word, “Jesus”!

The ancient monks would call it the Jesus prayer.They are only words until you’ve come to experience this ancient prayer as truth. Here is the prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.” At times in my life, I have and you should learn to prayer this prayer over and over. Say it for an hour one morning when you feel like you can’t face the giant again. It’s not “vain babblings” as we were all warned about in protestant churches years ago. It is doing something specific to get the deepest part of you to realize you have to have God’s help to defeat your giant.

David and Goliath

February 12, 2014 — Leave a comment
Photo by: Mark Gaw

Photo by: Mark Gaw

There is a tension between the general idea of getting God to help…

and needing the specific help of God. Some believers end up living very frustrated in their Christian life because they are expecting no pain, discomfort or struggle. But you are human which by any means indicates you’re not perfect. How’s that for specific? You will have failures in your life but at the end of the day it’s about placing confidence in God’s sovereign grace and implementing your own will to live out your deepest values. To simply be after God’s heart or to seek to know God’s heart on the matter is living specifically. Actually calling on God’s name, “Dear Jesus, I need your help” is a more mature prayer than “Hey, to the big guy upstairs” kind of prayer.

David had declared God was giving Goliath into his hands that day and that’s what happened.

Here’s how Goliath’s story ends specifically. David runs toward Goliath after he’s down to finish the job. He literally didn’t sit back after the rock took him down but went on to finish the job. It was not enough for David to take what was in his hand and knock his enemy down. He needed to finish the job. The text is beyond PG-13. David took the sword intended to kill him and used it to saw off Goliath’s head. That foul-mouthed giant that once used the mindset of intimidation was silenced. A victory for the ages to be sure, but David’s victory was not just for him but for the nation. Israel was a nation in trouble and growing less and less confident about the promises of Abraham.

Their specific relationship with God had grown more and more general.

Remember how the story goes. David had no armor on which meant he wasn’t carrying a sword. Yet in the story we see how God inspired David to use what was around him. David had shouted at Goliath and said, “I’ll cut off your head.” David had already imagined that to kill the giant he’d have to use the weapon intended for him to finish the giant off. Take the very thoughts/weapons intended to destroy you and prepare to reverse things back on your enemy. Through the work of Jesus every weapon you need is already provided. The specific problem facing some trapped believes is the problem of actually just DOING SOMETHING SPECIFICALLY!

Notice what David did after the defeat…

I’m not making any of this up; it’s for real. The narrator adds in verse 54, ”David took Goliath’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put Goliath’s weapons in his [own] tent.” Can you believe that?! He walked around with the giant’s thoughts now in his hands. The thoughts that had once intimidated an entire army and its king were now dripping from his hands. I am telling you this on purpose. Picture it: David walked all around demonstrating what His God had done. He moved from sandwich delivery boy to mighty warrior in the span of about fifteen minutes! Maybe even less! For David, when he cut off the head of Goliath and held it up, it showed the way the Philistines had been thinking, the thoughts they had been espousing, the mindsets they were using to come and attack Israel were now silent.

These were very barbaric days and to survive during those times God’s people fought fire with fire.

In the end, Goliath lost his head because he did not have in mind the things of God; and chopping off the head of Goliath represented the advancement of the thoughts and power of God’s kingdom. I’ve been pastoring a long time and have come to see that most people have goliaths that live in their heads. They go through their lives living under the oppressive thoughts of some critical family member, a coach who made fun of them, or some sense of futility in trying to break free from controlling thoughts. How discouraging is it to try for years and years to defeat a goliath in your life only to discover that you have not  completely done away with those controlling thoughts?

The reality of David’s actions are really important to remember because the Israelites did not have the same technology that the Philistines had at that time. There were only two iron swords in all of Israel at that time. The narrator wants the people listening to this story to know that even though they were outmanned and virtually weaponless against their rivals that God would come through for them.

To be continued…

Photo by: Mark Gaw

Photo by: Mark Gaw

My favorite story is the time we were going out to eat as a family…

and saw a rental mini-van pulled over to the north side of John Young Parkway. They were lost and you could see as we drove slowly past them that they were very animated in their discussion of the right way to go. My son noticed them and said, “Hey dad why don’t we help those people who are lost”.

We slowed and stopped just under the underpass in front of their mini-van and even though it was 5pm in the evening, the Orlando sun was still very bright and hot. I exited our SUV and smiled as I walked toward them and was thinking of something nice to say to not embarrass the husband in front his wife and a vanload of kids. Just then the man with great drama in a very agitated voice told me in very broken English to “Go Away”. They look so frightened that I backed off and went back to the SUV and we headed further north toward Orange Blossom Trail and our restaurant.

After dinner, now the sun is starting to go down, we were headed home south on John Young Parkway when my daughter said, “Dad look”. And believe it or not the family in the mini-van was pulled over about one mile from where they were before, only now they were on the other side of the highway. The map was folded across the steering wheel and the man’s arms folded in disgust the kids slumped down in the back seat. I thought I would give this one more try.

This time as I got out the man seemed relieved and smiled as I approached the vehicle.

Their destination was a hotel only 5 minutes from where they were in that moment. As I started pointing I saw the wife’s face and knew that they did not just want me to point but to lead them to their destination. That’s what we did. They followed our family as we made only one turn and then one more onto the exit ramp and right to the hotel entrance. I realize now that the language barrier would have made it nearly impossible to communicate the directions even though they were pretty simple a few hours earlier.

They were a nice family and very sincere about getting to their location but they were lost…

on the wrong road and headed in the wrong direction. Their sincerity had only led them to more and more frustration. I made no apologies to them for speaking confidently when I said, “You guys just follow me” and I will take you there. So many followers of Jesus actually don’t know where they are going specifically and end up serving God in general trying to be good and moral people. Yet general directions when you are headed to a specific location will only serve you so long. Where are you going? Or to the point of this book, defeating giants in your life means being specific as to what you’re really trying to do. When God helps you win this mind war what has He done for you?

Photo by: Mark Gaw

Photo by: Mark Gaw

The sun was setting over the Orlando attractions…

and the very common sight of tourists pulled over to the side of the road trying to find their hotels after a long day of travel. The ones that we saw struggle the most with the maps were those from outside the country. The maps had symbols on them that the Department of Transportation had not been informed about and they struggled to make sense of all the state highways, toll roads, local streets that crossed each other. To complicate that, try and do it at 55-65 mph.

I lived in Orlando for many years and would see this happen whenever we went out to eat or got near the airport. People were genuinely lost struggling with the provided rental car maps. Over the years I did more than my fair share of helping get excited tourists to the right hotel or theme park. As I reflect back on some of those encounters, I can see some common things that happened over and again to many of these sincere tourists.

They were all on a journey…

Although they didn’t all wear new Bermuda shorts with black socks they were fairly easy to pick out of a crowd. They all needed direction because this was such new territory. Even the men who were just too proud to ask would pull over to the side of the road with the map over the steering wheel as if he was leading the family through a jungle on a great safari. Many of them ended up wasting a lot of time by not seeking some guidance from a local. Most of the people that were the most lost were discovering their assumption that all the roads in Orlando would lead to Disney were just plain wrong.

Generally speaking they were in the right location but specifically still a ways from their intended destination. Those that were completely lost were going to at some point have to trust someone completely to find their way to their hotel, theme park or wherever. The more desperate the tourists the more likely they were to trust the person giving them directions.

The degree of trust was directly proportional to the degree of pain…

and frustration of having sincerely tried their own way first. Another common theme among the lost tourist was that they had to make an adjustment some minor and some major to the general direction they were traveling in and get very specific to complete their journey.

Photo by: Mark Gaw

Photo by: Mark Gaw

God is always at work in the people around you. The holidays are a great time to help people notice God’s activity in their life. But Christians can sometimes be way too pushy. Here are a few things to avoid and a few good action steps to help you with those people you know that are FAR FROM GOD.

1. Looking for RESULTS: Leave the results up to God. Don’t push for an answer you are not selling anything. Share your story and allow God’s Spirit to do the work.

2. Being to COMPETITIVE: See the person as a “game to play” and their conversion as winning. You should have tears when someone close to you comes to faith not a fleshy excitement that you won anything.

3. Being to be DEFENSIVE. Look if people end up making choices you disagree with pray for them behind the scenes. You are but offering the good news to them not as your gift to give but the fulfillment of your own story of finding peace.

4. Being driven by an AGENDA…I will show how smart I am, I am going to straighten out their sinful behavior, etc. Relax and live your life to its fullest by being open to whatever and however God wants to use your story.

5. Unspoken Assumptions… Don’t assume that when a person comes to faith they are going to act and believe just like you. Don’t assume that they will dress like you or like the same style of music, etc. Admit that God is building His church with all kinds of people and just the way He wants to.

ACTS 17:16 – 34

4 Action Steps:

1. Listen reflectively and respond to them with good questions.

2. Notice supernatural moments as a person opens their heart for a deeper conversation.

3. Have the courage to invite them to cross the belief line or be ok with simply SHARING A GOD THOUGHT.

4. Pray for them whenever they come to your mind and trust God to do a good work in them no matter how long it takes.

Photo by: Mark Gaw

Photo by: Mark Gaw

Thinking and Speaking are what ultimately differentiates us from the animal kingdom. Spirituality is not irrational but it is not the same as rationality. Although they are not the same thing they are not contradictory. Each describes different dimensions and modalities.

What about the church today? It seems to me that there is the assumption that if you contemplate the Scriptures or teach them, that you are doing spirituality or having spiritual moments. I am asserting that there is a difference between thinking about God and experiencing God  through prayer. I am not calling for experience alone but I am reminding us that thinking and experiencing are different. We all believe that an experience of God must take place under the umbrella of the Scriptures. However, I don’t experience God because of the Bible. I experience God because of the mystical (unexplainable) connection I have with God through Jesus’ redeeming work and the gift and person of the Holy Spirit. PRAYER ESTABLISHES THE WORK & EXPERIENCE OF GOD IN MY OWN INNER LIFE.

Spirituality Definition:

(Note: The word spirituality is used to describe an authentically true spirituality as authored by the One True God. It is not the intent of this lecture to talk about spirituality practiced by people far from God. I readily acknowledge that spirituality in its broad definition includes people seeking to or actually connecting with other than human personalities in the next dimension.)

Spirituality is not thinking…it is different than thinking…it is more than feeling but is always includes some kind of feeling including the feeling of non-feeling.

Spirituality derives from thoughts (both silent and verbally expressed PRAYERS) and experiences. Some have said that spirituality as a concept is a complex mental formulation of experience as perceived by the individual. But spirituality itself does not arise from thoughts a person has about certain experiences but from a deep inward mystical connection one makes with God THROUGH PRAYER.

(Note: Regeneration is when the HS (helps or informs –“parakletos”) the way you think. When a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit, they have opened themselves up to a different dimension than mere rationality, and speak as the Spirit gives utterance.)

Biblical Examples:

Notice how more than rationality is present in the following stories. Spirituality played an enormous role in these realities. THE SPIRIT OF GOD WOULD COME UPON THEM.

Gideon            The fleece was a desire for God to act.

Nehemiah        Needed a miracle by his King to allow him to even attempt to rebuild.

David              Where do you want to start? Much of his life was the essence of how we picture spirituality.

It seems that God loves mystery. There are numerous theological reasons why we know that he does. One of those is that he does not want to coerce (overpower) us to love him, rather he wants us to want him. The story found in Luke 24 is full of mystery and surprises and it is also full of examples of spirituality and rationality.

Luke 24:4-8 “While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words.”

Experiences are the only things that can really change deeply held beliefs.

The right question placed at just the right time – can open the rational mind up to a new reality. Why do you seek the living among the dead? The rational mind might have responded: “Because this is where we left him?” They might have also asked themselves, “Did he say living?”

Luke 24:11 “But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”

The movement from skepticism to belief is important for every individual.

This may be one of the more important phrases in this whole resurrection story. Rationally they could just not believe that he was not dead. They had witnessed his death with their own rational minds.

The movement from skepticism to belief is an important journey. It was in the first century and it is today. One of the greatest testimonies of his resurrection is the surprise and shock those closest to him experienced.

It appears that the one thing that God wants from us is FAITH.

It is the only thing that we can bring into this mystical and invisible relationship with God. Faith is the one thing we have to have to please God. Faith is simply a deeply held belief. It is, of course, more than that – but it is at least that. God desires for humanity to demonstrate faith in our present reality as we understand it. That may be the reason why he chooses to reveal himself so slowly in this story from Luke 24 and even in our own lives.

 

Photo By: Mark Gaw

Photo By: Mark Gaw

WE ARE A PEOPLE WELL READ—-BUT NOT WELL PRAYED!

Where are we in church history? Do we believe that God is basically done with his activity in our world? Have our churches reached their peaks and their fullest potential? Is this the place where the realist in us admits defeat and allows dramatic cultural shifts to dominate our own personal mindsets? Do church leaders just play out the string and try to do good as often as possible?

Is there any fight left in the people of God?

What now? To whom do we (spiritual leaders) look to for help? There is no one coming to save our organizations or our churches! So, is this it? Is there no more to ministry and spiritual leadership than this? Is this how it ends? Can leaders even be bold enough to admit the feeling that they are locked into a battle for their own survival? What is happening to us? What is happening to our churches?

Remember when you answered the call into the ministry in the first place?

Do you remember the feeling that you had when you gave up control of your life, career and destiny? So where have all those people gone? Where are those who said I care about nothing but obedience to the one who has rescued my own soul? Where are the men and women of God who were filled with faith and power to believe for the miraculous for themselves and the people they were called to?

Why does our voice now crack and sound anemic when we talk about God doing supernatural things through us? What is our role in church history? What does God expect of us?

What are the sources of spirituality?

How does one discover it? What is our source of knowledge about spirituality? Pentecostals are supposed to be about practicing spirituality. Yet, most contemporary Pentecostals get very nervous when talking about doing spirituality. Many tend to give lectures on the Holy Spirit himself or speak of the supernatural as if the rational explanation of the supernatural were the same thing as the supernatural itself.

A fresh look at the reformation and its implications for Pentecostals could provide some specific insights for those of us who believe in the importance of experiencing God. People could not fathom at the time of Martin Luther a “God” brought closer to the people. Not only was Martin Luther saying God can be brought close but he was also asking, “Why not hear the Scriptures in your own language?”

Historical Reminder…

On April 18, 1521 Martin Luther stood before the Diet of Worms (a church council). He requested a debate and was denied. He was asked two questions. Are these your writings? Do you recant? After a day’s delay at Luther’s request, he delivers his famous and succinct speech. Here is the full speech.

Since then your serene majesty and your lordship seek a simple answer, I will give it in this manner, not embellished: Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason, for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradict themselves, I am bound to the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against my conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand. May God help me, Amen.

Martin Luther devoted the majority of his energy to the church.

Along with theological reforms came many far reaching reforms of church polity and practice. Luther turned his attention to the church service and the relationship between clergy and laity.

Here he instituted numerous reforms, including congregational singing, the use of German in addition to Latin in the service, and a newfound emphasis on the sermon. He also instituted another reform by marrying a nun (Nichols, p.47).

What do we learn from this small snapshot of church history?

Luther said that he must be convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by clear reason. Notice that spirituality and rationality for him are closely related. It appears that spirituality was taking place underneath the awareness or “verbalized awareness” of Luther.

Between Two Words

December 2, 2013 — Leave a comment
Photo By: Mark Gaw

Photo By: Mark Gaw

Space is important to most of us. We like our space, it helps to define who we are and we fill some of the space around us with the things we like. In linguistics, spaces are critical to picking up on the meanings of sentences. Without spaces it would be a completely different language and hard.

King Saul was actually in one of those places. His disobedience and desire for control and complete power had led him far from the King he was supposed to be.

This short post is taken from I Samuel 28. Here’s a quick review:

  1. Samuel the prophet has died.
  2. Saul has rejected God’s word. Samuel delivers the WORD to Saul, but he will go down always doing things his way.
  3. Samuel has also delivered a new WORD to David.
  4. David is still on the run at this point.
  5. Saul’s desperate for a “word” from God preferably one different than what he’s heard before.
  6. Saul has tried to kill the “new word” the prophet had spoken.
  7. He needed a good word and goes to consult the spirit realm

I Samuel 28: 5-6

When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly. When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets.

The King is caught in the space between the “old word spoken” and “the new word spoken”.  Obviously he didn’t like the “new word” mainly because it would take him out of power and control.

Saul would spend anything. Even sacrifice his very identity to compromise and get a “favorable word” even if it was from the manipulation of witchcraft. But it wasn’t to be – since God’s word is completely and wholly true, not even a King can change it.

I believe the body of Christ, especially in the states, is caught between the “Old Move of God” and the “new move of God that is coming.” We are in that space in between.

The temptation is to try and go back and undo the past. Reframe the disobedience and still make things work. But the King, the people’s king was caught in the space between 2 Prophetic Words.

One of the GREATEST CHALLENGES right now is “the lack of hearing the Spirit’s Voice” in the earth. The greatest turnaround for your family and our church would be a revival of personal listening for God.

There are two main ways that you can begin confidently waiting on what God has next:

  1. Thanksgiving (a revival of appreciation and meaningfulness in our work)
  2. Worship (deep and joyful praise unto the Lord alone)

Begin to practice these things daily, and your perspective and level of patience will increase drastically.

What are you confidently waiting on God for?

Authentic Worship

October 24, 2013 — 6 Comments

Recently I shared my response with senior leadership verses questions about why certain styles like gospel, southern gospel, rap, and reggae are rarely used currently in our worship service.  They were emphatic that I post this response and consider reading it on a Sunday morning. The following is an edited version of a response I recently sent to one of the awesome members of WSF…

I’ll answer as briefly as possible but do want to give you a little context at how I’ve ended up in this place. This is my 3rd church to pastor and each in distinct places on the east coast. At each location I learned much about the cultural expectations regarding worship styles – having had numerous worship pastors over the years.

At the 2nd church where we were senior pastors we had more than 20 distinct cultures represented each week and found ourselves continually bouncing from style to style from Sunday to Sunday. As you can imagine the people that came to church each week, especially in Orlando and loved hearing their tradition represented. This was a community where the local elementary school had 63 different nationalities present. While the people were pleased with what we were doing – a deeper spiritual problem emerged which I felt very convicted about. (Again, I’m sharing this back story – even though briefly there is much context here – to give you insight on how I think about the “roots” comment I made the other day.)

The deeper spiritual problem I noticed had two main branches. On the one hand the worship team were doing songs and styles that were not native to them since our congregation was so very diverse. This led to a more presentational format for worship but lacked a passion that I sensed, even though others perhaps did not. It was good and inspirational and even encouraging for people to hear their own sounds being sung from the front. But for most in the audience it was presentational.

There was much benefit to this, however, while studying for my doctorate in spiritual formation I became keenly aware of the greater issue, which is the 2nd larger problem.

I had to answer one question – Who was the worship (melodies and lyrics) for? Obviously the answer was God. And so the struggle ensued for me – what style does God like? While on the surface the answer seems to be “all styles” it was the Holy Spirit who helped me to see that in the deeper parts of the spirit realm – styles don’t exist, only worship that rides on the music/style to go straight to the heart of the Father.

So, I hope you are following me here – not sure how this will come across in an email but wanted to try…The worship that comes out of any worship team will always have a style to it. No question about that because it’s an expression of their deepest passion for God. Yet their worship must ride the wings of authenticity and passion from their soul, which is best conducted through their own expressions. So, the worship becomes presentational of sorts, when they are doing styles that aren’t natural to them. But when they worship and sing from the soul, the designated worship leader doesn’t lead songs but leads us into deeper moments of love. It’s in that place where something powerful happens begins to happen in the audience. People far from God can feel the atmosphere change.

Over the years many have said to me, or some have even demanded that I force my worship Pastors to do Southern Gospel, Reggae, Gospel, etc. The problem becomes then not only style but what century. For instance, do we do songs from 1940, 50, 60, 70, 80? In other traditions there musical heritage goes back to the early church fathers and Augustine. You can see my complications here. What century or what decade shall we choose our style from?

If I force them to do it they will lead us and worship as best they can on that genre but it’s not authentically them thus diminishing, in my view, the potential available to us in the spirit realm. It is a bit of follow-the-leader in that whoever is my lead worship pastor takes us into the presence using their vehicle of connection.

So, hopefully – this is revealing the bottom-line of how I think about it. I never think about what style, like let’s offer rock or “younger music” I only think let’s offer authentic worship as it comes through the leader.

Over the decades I believe we’ll become known for this passionate worship that can wear the clothes of whatever the sound that is most naturally supernatural from the one leading the congregation. So, sometimes that may cross paths with our heritage and at other times it’s on the other side of the spectrum. As you can see, I’ve been living in this tension for more than 20 years as a senior pastor and feel like I’ve found where I belong but would leave plenty of room for other pastors that did the broad styles reflecting various tastes and styles. It’s just for me where I’ve landed.

The promise I make is to you is to assure that the stage and those on microphones are living holy lives before the Lord and are expressing love for Jesus through whatever songs they bring to the table.

I hope it helped a little to hear from me personally. Thanks for writing –

Blessings,

Pastor Mike

Photo By: Mark Gaw

Photo By: Mark Gaw

Countless millions of people have rejected the reality of Jesus…

-because we approached a few chapters of the Bible in the wrong way.  Remember, if culture is a system of long term ideas and constructs) over hundreds of years, then it is likely that your enemy, God’s enemy, has devised ways to “de-grade” the community of the Faithful’s trust in God’s eternal “Word” of God. So the growing dissonance toward Genesis is that if you are a viable or intelligent person then you can’t truly believe in the Genesis account of creation. The real problem comes from a flawed interpretation of Scripture (bad theology) and making Genesis something it’s not. What a great plan by your enemy.

You can’t use any of these stories to fully comprehend who I am or who we are as a family. We are far more complex than that, yet I choose to reveal the parts about my life that are important. The stories I tell although they are very true are not meant to be scrutinized down to the time of day, etc. I will leave out important facts that you could not understand without further context of my family of origin or I leave out details that would make no sense to you. That’s just the way we need to read Genesis. God knows that without further context – other facts would have just been irrelevant to our lives and beyond our ability to comprehend.

Think about it…

What if Genesis had been written to satisfy the intellectual critics who want to know all about “the science of creation?” Then Genesis would have been irrelevant for hundreds of thousands of people over the centuries. It was never the intent then, nor should it be scrutinized in that way now.

From Genesis 12 on we see that it is a book on the variations regarding the family and spans 4 generations. The family is where we learn emotional intelligence and the skills of forgiveness and being forgiven. (Remember we learn later in other books that God is “our father and we are his children” or that “He is our husband and we are pledged to Him.”) Both of those examples are family metaphors God uses to help us better understand His love and plan to commune with us. It shows a good and loving intention.

God is not an abstract concept…

-of just a “first cause,” or the “one to push the first domino,” or “just the pure being looking on from outside;” He is a God who relates to us as persons as humans. He gives us dignity by His very design. He knows our sufferings, hears our prayers and all of this is evident in the book of Genesis. He is a very personal presence in our lives.

God expects us to cluster up in families and honor Him by honoring others within our family first. Abraham, who is one of the central characters in Genesis, is promised 3 main things. The most profound is children. You will have a very large family God tells Him. God loves children and generations. He also promised Him land for those children to inherit and take dominion over and He promised him influence over others.

The stories within Genesis matter even today because its the origin of humanity and humanity’s relationship with the Creator. Let us remember, His promises are true.