worshipping worship
Posted: Jul 20, 2010 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment |

Ok it’s confession time.  I am generally not a big music guy.  I don’t mind music but it is not a huge driving force in my life.  I have always been interested in sports.  I have never played an instrument…….unless you count playing the trombone in 5th grade for 3 weeks before I quit.  I don’t like watching American Idol except of course for the first few episodes where we get to watch classic acts such as William Hung and the “Pants on the Ground,” guy.  I occasionally listen to music on my iPod primarily to country or contemporary worship. 

I understand that our culture has an intense passion for music.  Music defines a lot of people.  It is what they live for similar to an athlete that lives to play their certain sport.  Many Christian people share that same intense love for music.  As a pastor, I have found that worship preference is a very big deal for most people.  Some people like the old hymns.  Some prefer modern contemporary.  Some like loud music and others think loud music hurts their ears too much.  We have large numbers of people that are leaving churches in America today simply because they don’t like the type of music that their church has or doesn’t have.  Can I be 100% honest with you?  Do we really think that God himself prefers one style of music over another?  When we sing songs in a church service……who is the attended recipient of who we are singing those songs to?  The obvious answer is God.

I always find it fascinating when a person says to me, “man that worship was awesome.”  Every time I hear that statement, I always ask myself who the worship was awesome for.  Was it awesome for you or was it awesome for God?  We as Western (American)  Christians have a love affair with our own feelings.  If a worship service makes us feel a certain goose bump, than it must have been “anointed.”  I believe that we are missing the mark if we think that worship is something that we do only when we sing.  We can worship as we sing……but that is not the end.  We can worship by giving.  We can worship by sharing our faith with others.  We can worship by not sinning.  We can worship by being obedient to what God has called us to do.  Jesus himself told the Pharisees and other religious leaders that He asks for obedience not for sacrifice.  I don’t think we should consider ourselves as “godly” people if we raise our hands and jump in a church service and then go home and disobey God.  I think God loves outward expressions of worship like singing, and dancing and shouting.  But you know what I think He likes more?  Inward obedience. 

  • Obeying our parents when we don’t feel like it…….worship
  • Sharing our faith even when it makes us feel uncomfortable……worship
  • Giving to God……..worship
  • Helping the needy……worship
  • Serving someone who can’t repay you……worship
  • Forgiving someone who hurt you…….worship
  • Loving your enemies……worship

May we be people that do ALL that we do as unto the Lord.  Should we give our all when we sing in church services?  Yes, Yes, Yes!   But let’s not just be people that give our all when the worship band plays our favorite song.  Let’s be a people that give our all when no one is watching but God.  I leave you with the Lyrics to a song by Clint Brown.

“You don’t majestic choirs, with awesome voices raised.  You don’t a congregation, just to offer me your praise.  You don’t need a mighty orchestra, to bless me with your song.  You get all of my attention, when you worship me alone.”

With Expectancy!

Corey

corey@firstassemblywest.com


Review of “The Unlikely Disciple”
Posted: Jul 12, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

 

I have just finished reading a great book.  A few weeks ago, my wife and I took our daughter to Barnes and Noble.  During this trip, we happened to realize that we locked both sets of keys in our car.  While waiting for a good friend (Mark Betzen) to come and help us with our predicament, I began to browse the latest titles in the Religion section.  I came across a book called “The Unlikely Disciple,” by a guy named Kevin Roose.  Kevin is a young man who is a student at Brown University.  Kevin is sophomore journalism major at Brown and is not a follower of Christ.  He decides that he wants to get an undercover look at what a real evangelical life truly likes like so he decides to enroll at Liberty University in Virginia.  If you don’t know a whole lot about Liberty, it is a Christian college founded by the late Jerry Falwell.  Liberty is considered a right wing fundamentalist school especially from those outside of a faith in Christ.  Jerry Falwell himself dubbed Liberty as “Bible boot camp.”  Comparing Liberty to Brown is like comparing South Beach to the North Pole.  Kevin wanted a behind the scenes look at what this “Christian thing,” was all about so he enrolls for a semester at Liberty.  His objective was simple.  Go to Liberty.  Pretend to be a Christian and write down his thoughts on things that he has learned.  I think it is safe to say that Kevin had some pre-conceived ideas about what Christianity was all about.  I think it is safe to say that we as Christians have some pretty strong convictions about some things that mainline American’s simply do not.  I also think that Kevin does a great job of helping people realize that all Christians don’t have to be white, middle class republicans. 

Like it or not, we as Christians are living in a new day.  I respect Kevin’s book because I think it is a fair and balanced view at what the non-Christians think of us.  The Bible says that we are to be salt and light to the world.  We are not called to hold protest rallies and bash government and condemn to Hell all of those who don’t agree with our viewpoints.  Jesus was very likeable.  He didn’t candy coat the gospel.  He told it like it was.  Yet sinners were mesmerized by his teachings and drawn to Him everywhere He went.  The Bible says that when we as Christians have the spirit of Jesus Himself living inside of us.  Our lives should be giant arrows pointing people towards Him. 

There were times during reading this book that I cringed as there were “Christians” at Liberty portrayed as living a lifestyle that is far from one that I believe would make Jesus proud.  There were also people portrayed who lived as modern day Pharisees.  That is their actions didn’t back up the beliefs that they said they had.  Some gave Christians a black eye in the way they failed to show the love of Christ towards those who lived alternative lifestyles.  Yet I was encouraged that the writer did get a glimpse of true Christianity from most of the students that he came in contact with at Liberty.  

I don’t want to give away what happens in the book but I think one of the clear messages in this book is that Christians and non Christians have a lot that we can learn from one another if we would simply let go of our preconceived ideas of how people different than us live.  I certainly don’t share Kevin’s viewpoints on a lot of his “core” beliefs.  But I respect his willingness to give Christianity a fair shake by doing something that was very clearly not easy.  We as Christians are admonished to be in the world but not of the world.  While we should be separate in our convictions, we should also reach out with the compassion of Christ to a world that is clearly starving for truth.  Jesus himself said it best when He said, “I am the way.  I am the truth.  And I am the life.”  God wants to impact this world through you.  One thing is clear to me more now than ever.  The world is watching us as Christians.  They are studying us.  They want to know if our beliefs are backed up by our actions.  They want to know if Jesus really can change lives like we claim He can.  They want to know if the Bible really truly does answer life’s most difficult questions.  They want to know if there really is a personal God that created us and wants to have an intimate relationship with us despite the wickedness that lies deep within us.  Most people won’t pick up a Bible to read for themselves.  For most people, the only Bible they will ever read is the one that is being portrayed by your life.  Are you sending the right message?  Are you being salt and light to a lost and dying world?  Is your life painting the right picture of what a true Christian is supposed to look like? 

Let me clarify that this book was written by someone who is not a Christian therefore some of the language that is used  may come across as offensive if you aren’t ready for it.  I think you will find that the language the Christians in the book use is far worse anyway.  I strongly recommend the read.  It’s a great reminder for us that there are lot’s of Kevin Roose’s out there that are looking and searching for the question of, “Who really is this Jesus and what can He do for me.” 

Go buy it and read it. 

With Expectancy! 

Corey 

corey@firstassemblywest.com