Act In Faith

Here is a truth to remember: You can’t play it safe and act in faith at the same time.

At a meeting of church leaders in the late 1700’s, a newly ordained minister stood to argue for the value of overseas missions. He was abruptly interrupted by an older minister who said, “Young man, sit down! You are an enthusiast. When God pleases to convert the heathen, he’ll do it without consulting you or me.”

The reason that attitude is inconceivable today is largely due to the subsequent efforts of that young man, William Carey. Carey worked in various jobs to support his family while he continued to educate himself, even teaching himself New Testament Greek. In 1792 he organized a missionary society, and at the first gathering he preached a sermon with the call: ”Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” Within a year, Carey, his family, and some like-minded daring people were on a ship headed for India.

In many ways, Carey was a catalyst for change, helping to inspire a big-thinking, risk-taking, faith-filled approach to modern missions. He served the rest of his life in India at a time where there was no modern travel or communication systems. He was a minister, a translator, social reformer and cultural anthropologist who founded the Serampore College and the Serampore University, the first degree-awarding university in India. Carey even translated the Bible into Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Hindi, Assamese, and Sanskrit. He also translated parts of it into twenty-nine other languages and dialects. He helped educate horticulturists, which raised the quality and productivity of the nation’s agricultural industry. His life was a living, breathing example that big things happen when we expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.

Our tendency is to make decisions that we are comfortable with, to play it safe and do only what we feel is rational. But God has called us to acts of faith. We’re not meant to spend our lives as mere observes and spectators who hang out in the bleachers and offer commentary as world everts play out in front of us. We’re here to engage potential, explore possibilities, and act in faith. 

Scripture tells us, “we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39). If you’re a Jesus follower, this applies to everything God has for you. When you have challenges, setbacks, even failures and mess-ups, you are not meant to be like those who shrink back. No, you are meant to take on the challenge and push through resistance that tries to contain you.

God has something for you to do for Him and needs you to keep walking by faith. Remind yourself that big things happen when you act in faith. Keep going big. Keep believing in what you don’t see. Pray bold prayers. Your life story will be dramatically different with acts of faith. Doors will open that would otherwise stay closed. Relationships with like-minded people and God-assigned connections will happen that would have otherwise never happened. When you live out of faith and not in fear, you will accomplish more, experience greater fulfillment, and leave a lasting legacy. 

Rather than seeing a need, you may start to see the opportunity. Rather than just thinking, Why doesn’t someone do something?, You may find yourself saying, I’m going to do something. 

Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God. You won’t regret it!

 

A Time …

During my last apostolic trip into the United States to minister I was involved in the final transition of a local congregation. This church which had been ministering for the Lord for over 50 years in the valley in which it was located had come to an end of its life and needed to be closed.

Often a church that starts with a tremendous move of the Spirit and a flow of life – God’s life – touching and transforming lives finds itself in a situation where that ‘life-flow’ is no longer there. Oh, there are always numerous reasons for the decline but regardless it reaches a point where the congregation, the local assembly of believers, simply need to recognize that this ‘life / zoe’ is simply no longer there and we are going through the motions of a weekly worship service without seeing lives changed or new people born again and saved. Often that realization comes along with the practical issue of the congregation no longer being financially viable.

In this case we – the three apostles who oversaw the work – knew that the time had come. And, we knew we were responsible to move into this “death stage” with grace and love. So we began negotiating with another church in the same area that has been doing a fantastic job of reaching the lost and especially touching the lives of the young people. 

With the help of the Holy Spirit we came to an agreement to pass the ownership of the building (fully paid for) and parking lot and adjoining park as well as all the contents of the building (substantial) to this other active and alive assembly. We gifted it to them. 

We initiated the conversation and they responded. And the move we made and finalized a few days ago was confirmed by several visions (dreams) received several years ago and then further confirmed by several prophetic words from prophets in two different states who called after-the-fact and let us know that what we had accomplished was God’s will. God had showed them that a major change was going without them having any idea what was happening or when it took place. 

So, we scattered the remaining sheep, releasing them to attend other churches as the Lord leads them. Never easy because we all love and care for one another. Of course, we can continue to fellowship with each other no matter what local church family each one ends up becoming a part of. And, we recognized the work of those who came before us who in many ways sacrificed so that the Gospel of the Kingdom was faithfully preached and people were reached. 

And, the new owners of the building will continue the ministry to the valley as they open a new chapter in the life of a building that people call a “church.” 

I understand that this has not been easy on those involved. But, it is the right move. To be blunt, “If the horse is dead, dismount.” And so we did.

But the Church of Jesus Christ has not suffered defeat. She continues on with new direction, new understanding, and a renewed vision, and new leadership to further reach to the ends of the earth with the good news of the gospel.

The other thing I heard as I was leaving the building and getting into my car was “Well, done good and faithful servants.” The Lord is pleased with the faithfulness of those who were part of this amazing family to which we bid goodbye.

Four Things God’s Love Won’t Hold Against You

Do you ever question whether or not you are good enough to be a Christian, or holy enough to be loved by God? Well, here are four things God’s love won’t hold against you.

1> Your Past

Relax. You have already been forgiven. When it comes to a relationship with Jesus, don’t ever expect to run into resentment for Christ Himself. The future looks brings for all those willing to walk in the light of His presence. Jesus will forgive you all of your past, even if you have yet to forgive yourself.

Romans 6:6 ESV “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

2> Your Mistakes

We’ve all made mistakes, but the beauty of the cross is that Jesus died for them. Your sins have been wiped clean, and your heart has been renewed by the grace of Jesus Himself. Your mistakes do not define you. Your failures don’t have to haunt you. Your mishaps don’t need to be accounted for. God forgives you for your mistakes, even if you have yet to forgive yourself.

Mark 3:28 ESV “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter…”

3> Your Confusion

It’s okay to be hurt, confused, and question what taking place. God understands everything you are going through, even if you do not. He can take the punches, if you will take the time to seek His guidance. The reality of your confusion may be due to a lack of biblical knowledge or spiritual guidance. Confusion comes and goes, but the love of God is eternal and constant.

Proverbs 2:6 NIV “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

4> Your Addictions

Everyone is addicted to something. No matter if your struggle is drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, or whatever. Your addictions will not keep the relentless love of Jesus from embracing you. Take a deep breath and find peace in knowing that you are not alone or ignored.

Romans 5:20 ESV “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…”

There you have it. Four things God’s love will never hold against you. Embrace His love and experience freedom and peace of heart and mind.

Born Again or Bored Again

The Barna Group found that 68% of unbelievers would describe Christians as boring. I can’t handle that statistic. Jesus was many things, but boring was not one of them.

  • Boring people don’t have five thousand followers flocking to hear their boring message
  • Boring people don’t get approached at weddings to make the party better
  • Boring people don’t get crucified for their boring beliefs
  • Boring people aren’t greeted with palm branch parades when they enter cities
  • Boring people don’t inspire martyrs to give up everything for their boring cause
  • Boring people don’t change the world

My point is simple: Our God is not boring!

The world altered its calendar and gauged human history by everything before Christ (BC) and after Christ (AD). His life made a mark. His life made a difference. His life was everything but boring.

So obviously the question is: If the Christ we follow isn’t boring, why in the world are we?

If you look around at those who claim to follow Jesus – believers – they really are generally very boring. They lack angst. They lack a faith that cost them anything. But, I think the situation is far worse than it looks.

I don’t think Christians are just boring. I think Christians are bored.

I think many older Christians were once born-again Christians and now they are just bored-again Christians. They are waiting on the next message, the next conference, the next experience that will ignite their faith. All the while the Great Commission is at their doorstep. The reality is, we are bored because we are disobedient. I bet painters that don’t paint are bored. I bet dancers who don’t dance are bored. I bet writers who don’t write are bored. And I am convinced that disciples that don’t disciple are bored (and boring).

There is a true story I read just a few days ago. It is about a dog named DeSoda. When the owner’s children were young, he got them a puppy. This puppy, like all puppies, had a ton of energy and lacked a lot of wisdom. DeSoda always tried to run away when the door opened, always tried to jump on any stranger who walked in the home, and always barked obnoxiously. Then a decade went by. DeSoda was now an old dog and no longer a young puppy. His energy was gone. He desire for adventure was gone. Heck, he didn’t even care when a stranger walked in the house. He would just lift his head from the mat, give them a nod, and go back to sleep. In dog years, DeSoda was really old. The family was pretty sure he was going to die soon.

So the kids, now young teenagers, asked their dad, “Dad! Dad! Can we please have a new dog? DeSoda is so boring now! He never plays with us anymore. He just wants to sit around the house all day.”

The Dad conceded and got the family a new puppy. And the process repeated itself. The new puppy, Beau, had a ton of energy and no wisdom. Except one difference was, their puppy Beau had DeSoda to show him the way. Beau and DeSoda became really good friends; they were like peas and carrots. All the puppy passion and energy in Beau would get DeSoda to do things he normally wouldn’t do. DeSoda was playing outside again. He was modelling for Beau where to go to the bathroom. DeSoda was now wrestling with Beau. He had a renewed energy, and the kids could tell.

The dad noted, “The crazy thing is we thought DeSoda was going to die that year. It just wasn’t looking good for him. But he ended up living four more years. And I’m convinced it was because of Beau.” Then he said a profound thing we have all heard before but never in this way. He said, “You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can give an old dog a new purpose.”

I just wonder how many old dogs in the Church are bored out of their minds, and their lives would be radically changed if they’d just find a young puppy.

That is what the Great Commission is all about. “Old disciple, go into all the world and make a new disciple (or two). Find a puppy and end boredom.”

THE LIGHTHOUSE …

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little lifesaving station.  The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost.  Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous.  Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work.  New boats were bought and new crews trained.  The little lifesaving station grew.

    Some of the members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the build­ing was so crude and poorly equipped.  They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea.  So they re­placed the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the en­larged building.  Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as a sort of club.  Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work.  The lifesaving motif still prevailed in this club’s decoration, and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held.  About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people.  They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin.  The beautiful new club was in chaos.  So the property 

committee immediately had a shower at house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

   At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership.  Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club.  Some members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station.  But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old.  It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded.  History  continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore.  Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown! 

Let’s Get Biblical

In a recent discussion I mentioned that the word “revival” did not appear in the New Testament. It may be there as a heading in certain versions of the Bible but the headings were added by men and are not part of the inspired Word of God. We were looking at the way we as human beings attempt to make things happen instead of just waiting on the Lord and responding to what He is currently doing. And, He is always doing something in our lives and church assemblies.

So, I was commenting that revivals are not found in the New Testament and that the early believers simply lived radical and revolutionary lives, sharing the good news with people and the Holy Spirit moved in amazing ways. A God-wave of the Spirit verses a man-made wave or emotion and hype that we call revival.

As I shared someone asked about Charles Finney, known as a revivalist, and his revivals. I mentioned that they were called Awakenings not revivals. But, really that was not an adequate answer. A better answer would be to go back to Bible once again. In the Bible we do not see the role of “revivalist.” We have five main ministries – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. These are the fivefold ministry or the ascension gift ministries Jesus gave to the Church. They represent the fullness of Jesus’s ministry while ministering for three years in Galilee. It seems we don’t think they are enough so we invent other ministries – revivalist, intercessor, burden bearers, exorcists, priests, and the list goes on.

So, man has made up the term ‘revivalist’ just as we have created this vehicle called “revivals.” We even schedule revivals. They last several weeks and run in the summer. They are a means to bring the lost into the Kingdom. The Old Testament revivals had nothing to do with the lost – they were simply to call God’s people back to God. A call to repent. John the Baptist had such a ministry as the Old Covenant was coming to a close and Jesus was about to start the new covenant between the human race and God our Father. We call it a revival. John saw it as a call to repentance.

So, in church life today we have youth revivals, laughing revivals, prayer revivals, tent revivals, church revivals, spring revivals, fall revivals… One church I visited recently has every Friday night revivals with coffee and cookies nonetheless. Add to the revivals such events as “Burn” nights of worship that have sprung up all over North America. There are a vast number of man-made events that continue to pop up and occupy a great deal of the limited time people have today. It keeps the believers busy and occupied, feeling good about what they are doing for God and the Kingdom.

It might be good to cut back on these events that we don’t see in the New Testament Church. Recognize them as religion for in many ways that is what they are. Our attempt to please God and convince Him to do something that we think needs to be done. And, then, free up the believers to become involved in what the Lord has expressly told us that we must do.

He told us to “seek and save the lost” going “into all the world and making disciples.” This, in most cases, is not the focus of believers and the local assembly. We are busy instead waiting and praying for the next move of the Spirit. When, in reality, He is busy moving the hearts of the lost, convicting them of sin so that they would respond and repent and come into the Kingdom. We need to join Him in what He is already doing and commanded us to do … and that is biblical.

It would be good to look at and examine what we believe and what we are doing in our churches to see if it is really biblical. So much of what we do and the activities that we can become involved in are simply man-made programs in an attempt to have a move, a new wave, of the Spirit. Let’s just build deep in our relationship with the Lord and obey Him as we go about our daily lives. Opportunities abound to build solid relationships within which we can then share the Gospel. This is what the Lord is calling all of us to do.

Some are writing on Facebook that revival is here. It is not. Some are constantly praying for revival. Not the way they happen. If you want a revival then go out and do what Jesus told us to do. Get a few people born again, begin to disciple them, and watch how that revives your love for Him and commitment to His command to make disciples in your family and community and even the wider world.

Revival

I was recently at a church in Canada. One that was new to me. I enjoyed my time with them and we connected, as pastors and leaders often do, exchanging email addresses and cell phone numbers. A follow-up to it was that I was asked to befriend the leader on Facebook and then ended up having a closer look at the man and his church on their Facebook page. Great way to see what is happening or not happening and to help form an opinion or two as we begin building relationally.

I am amazed how many churches are advertising “revivals.” I shouldn’t be shocked or surprised as often they talk about revival over coffee, pray for revival, and hold regular revival services. I have always found that to be interesting. In earlier centuries the Church would schedule revivals. They would advertise that they were coming up and ask people to mark their calendars. Then there would be a series of special services usually with a guest speaker. People would attend and some would even get born again. This practice continues in some Christian circles through to today.

There were a number of major revivals in the Old Testament. God would send His messenger to call His nation back to their God. So, Israel would assemble, the prophet would preach, and people would repent and turn back to worshipping their God once again. This was God calling His nation back to Him. He selected the time and place and announced it through His spokesperson, the prophet. It was not planned and scheduled by man. It was something God initiated. The last revival was when John the Baptist called God’s people back to Him in preparation for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ. 

Interesting to note that there are no references to “revivals” in the New Testament other than John’s. And, that was initiated by God and was still under the Old Covenant because Jesus had yet to die on the Cross and thus the New Covenant had yet start.  

Under the New Covenant, God no longer had a nation to call back to Him through repentance. Now He has a people who were, in time, scattered throughout many nations. These people were very much alive and in a personal relationship with Him. When they repented and turned to God He poured His love and His life into them. They were alive; vibrant and enthusiastic about God and the things of God. So alive that they spread the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout the then known world and more than half the Roman Empire claimed Christ as their Lord by the year 300. No revival – just believers fulfilling the command of Christ to “go into al the world and make disciples.”

However, some still hold revivals today expecting non-believers to come and receive Christ as their Lord and Saviour. And yet, this is not what revivals are really all about. You do not revive something that has never been spiritually alive. Revivals should, if you are going to have them at all, should be focused on turning the church members back to God. The focus should be believers returning to the ‘life’ they once received and experienced. This ‘life’ now needing to be revived. They were not meant to see the lost saved. 

Saving the lost is accomplished through Christians building relationships with the unsaved and showing them the love of God. Eventually, having won their trust and respect then sharing the Gospel verbally as spiritual questions are asked and people begin to have an interest in finding out more regarding the God we believe in, worship, and serve. 

However, we still hold tent revivals, church revivals, youth revivals, spring revivals, fall revivals… focusing on seeing the lost come to the Cross and receive Christ. They are man-made programs designed to grab the attention of the unsaved. And who are kidding – do we really believe a sign saving “Revival Service Tonight” is going to attract an unsaved person. And, advertising “coffee and Cookies” isn’t exactly a drawing card either. 

We are apparently missing the fact that in the early Church there were no revivals. Just on-fire, enthusiastic, and obedient believers who spread the fire through their lifestyle and their words. No revival needed to do this.  

Instead of praying for revival why don’t we pray what Jesus told us to pray… that there would be more workers reporting for duty in the fields already ripe for harvest. 

Insecure Leaders

Recently on a trip here in Western Canada I had the honour of joining a group of pastors and ministry leaders for a meal and some fellowship. It was a good night and one that hopefully encouraged those who took the time to attend and participate. The local church and leaders who hosted the event were amazingly welcoming. The food was excellent. The setting was indoors due to the weather and the numbers attending.

As we arrived there was coffee and an opportunity to get to know the others as they were arriving. I did notice that most of the pastors did not arrive on time. Arriving late can be a subtle indication that they think they are so important that people will wait for them. It is a lack of respect for other people’s time. One couple arrived an hour and a half late. Good that we did not wait for them. Some who said they were attending were ‘no shows’ and did not let the host know plans had changed. Totally inconsiderate. But I digress and have entered the arena of my pet peeves. 

As we finished the meal we were asked to share who we were and what we believed God was doing in His Kingdom and the Church currently. We are talking pastors here. The host did not give us a time limit and so there is an open door here to preach a little. The sharing was good. Several took the opportunity to push an event that they were planning or hosting. I guess every good event needs room for advertising. Some actually did introduce themselves and shared briefly what they believed the Spirit was doing. One man made a tremendous point about how we do things that create camps – a ‘we’ and ‘they’. So, in general, it was okay. And, yes, there was some preaching.

But, and there is almost always a ‘but’ in these things. I did notice that almost everyone who shared talked more about what they were doing and how their ministry was doing instead of what God was doing. It was seriously evident in the sharing. And, it is very common when leaders and pastors get together. It seems that we are out to impress each other regarding what we are doing for God – not what God is doing through us. And, how active and alive our church or ministry really is. I think we are trying to impress each other. I believe it is because most leaders are insecure and so need to “huff and puff” and work to impress people. 

There is this thing that happens when leaders get together. We judge the success of the ministry – and thus the minister – by how many people they have in their church and by how busy they are. So, you will hear leaders talking about their programming, their current special event, and the guest speaker that is coming. If the numbers attending is growing they will certainly mention this. You will hear them tell you how busy they are in ministry and how tired they are at times. Again, as if this is a badge of honour. You seldom or never hear them mention issues they are having in ministry or anything personal regarding how they are doing spiritually in their walk with Jesus.

In general, my observation is that leaders are very insecure. They don’t trust others – especially other leaders. They also find their self-worth in the ministry and not in their relationship with the Lord who called them into the ministry. So, if the church or ministry is growing or doing well they feel good about themselves and have a sense of worth or value. If the ministry is taking a downturn then their sense of worth or value takes a hit. This is so sad. Our sense of worth or personal value should always come out of our relationship with the Lord and not from what we are doing or not doing for Him or with Him. 

I believe it is time for leaders in the Christian Church to renounce this “performance religion” and to build a dynamic and personal relationship with the Lord. It is from this personal relationship – not a ministry relationship – that pastors can become secure in who they are and no longer identify with what they do as the basis for their self-image and self-worth. 

As we shared around the table one leader mentioned that he believed that the Holy Spirit was calling us back to an intimate walk with the Lord. I could not agree more. He was definitely in touch with what God is doing in His Kingdom the His Church today. 

Wounded Leaders

Recently on a trip to the United States I was able to attend the first night of a weekend conference. In a church building that seats maybe 300 half the seats were occupied with pastors and church leaders from that area and some from even 4 or 5 hours away. The night I was blessed to attend we had two separate worship sessions. And, as pastors do, they engaged fully in the worship, worshipping with their whole hearts. 

As I watched and listened I realized how wounded so many of them were. I wasn’t amazed by what the Holy Spirit was showing me. I work with leaders and pastors in a number of countries overseas and across Canada and the United States. I know that leaders are wounded. They are wounded by the people they lead, pray for, and teach. They are wounded by those who call themselves ‘friends’ and often turn on them and become enemies. They are wounded by the traditional structures they work within – denominationalism. And, if they are a more non-traditional version of the church they are often wounded by their church board. They become wounded because of people’s expectations – spoken and unspoken, met and unmet. 

But, here they were raising their hearts and hands to worship the Lord. In their woundedness they sought to worship the Healer. Not to be healed although that would be great and an added bonus I am sure. But, simply because they sincerely and deeply love Him whom they serve. But, I was overwhelmed spiritually and emotionally by the depth and severity of their woundedness. There were likely few there who would admit that they were deeply wounded but there were very few who were not. 

We need to be praying for our Christian leaders – the pastors, the teachers, the elders … and, if you are so blessed to have the fullness of the ministry of Christ in your local church then for the apostle, prophet, and evangelist who are leading and blessing you. Our leaders need healing. And, most times they will not tell you they do. They don’t trust you. 

Because they have been wounded by ‘the Church’ they have a hard time trusting ‘the Church’ – believers. And, so they go along silently hurting and trusting no-one. But unless they admit that they are wounded and need healing it only gets worse until they find themselves either indulging in what is neither healthy or wholesome leading them into sin or they simply walk away from the full-time ministry. Often never to return to ministry or the church. Our leaders are deeply wounded and are often unable to share with those around them because of the lack of trust and the structures within which they operate and work.

This is a sad fact. That the Church and, dare we say it, the Christians, are simply not safe. The Church is not a safe place to be real, open, and honest. Leaders are overwhelmed with unrealistic expectations and demands. They are crushed by betrayals, criticisms, rejection, judgments, and gossip and most often have no one to turn to for help. So, they suffer in silence unable to personally find freedom and wholeness. Not only do they find it dangerous to be real with their own people but because of the design of the system other pastors and leaders are not called upon in time of need. There is a sense of competition between leaders and the leader needs to protect his image and reputation. There is a need to come across that everything is all right and we have it altogether. Nothing could be further from the truth.

So, pastors and leaders need to take action to build healthy relationships with two or three people who can be their support team and accountability partners. These people need to be healthy themselves. They need to be trustworthy. And, they need to treat the leader with dignity and respect. It will take time to build these healthy relationships but they are essential to bringing health back to the leadership of the Church. And, then, with healthy leaders, we can begin to restore health and vitality to the local church as well. 

It is time for wounded leaders to make time to care for their own health and wellbeing. It is time to build healthy and open relationships with others who can support and encourage them. True friends. And, it is time to return to the pattern of the ministry of Jesus where people were loved unconditionally, accepted as they were, and forgiven if and when needed.

If you are a leader, I commend you for sacrificially helping those that you lead. But, first priority should be to become healthy and whole yourself so that you can, once again, continue to lead in the long term and be more effective.  It takes time. You will need to be intentional as it won’t happen by accident. And, you will need to be real and open. It will be risky but it is worth it. 

 

What Is Worship?

When believers come together we “worship.” In fact, generally we call the gathering a “worship service.” But do we really worship? I mean, really?

In most services I attend in every nation where I work we sing songs or choruses about God. We sing songs that encourage us to believe, to move forward, to stand strong. We sing about Him. But, if you watch the words for most songs – the real focus is you, me, us. So, that is not worship. It may move us and may help us feel good, but it is not worship.

Worship must be directed to God. It must be believers expressing their hearts about God to God. The audience of worship is One, God Himself. The songs or choruses must express our love for Him to Him.

But, even that is limited by how much we love Him. Do we love Him with our whole heart? Are we wholehearted about our commitment to follow Him regardless? Are we willing to obey Him with our whole heart? If we do not love Him with our whole heart then our worship is limited or simply nonexistent. 

Going even a little deeper… If we have not given our whole self to Him – our physical life, our emotional life, our hopes and dreams, our desires and plans, our friendships and family, our past, present and future – then we are really not fully worshipping Him. Maybe we are not worshipping Him at all. 

The writer of the book of Hebrews states what worship is:

Romans 12:1-2 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies (whole being) as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

In The Passion Translation this reads…

Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvellous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.

This is the correct biblical understanding of worship. This is the foundation of any and all worship that we might be involved in and that we offer up to Him. If we love Him with our whole heart and thus trust Him surrendering ourselves to Him totally we will then obey Him completely and instantly because He states “If you love Me you will obey Me.” Then we are positioned to worship Him from the center of our being with all that we are and all that we have – worship with and from our whole heart.

So, when we sing a song or two and get an emotional feel from it, we say that the “worship was anointed.” What does that mean? What is anointed worship? A feeling? A sense that your heart was touched? You entered into His presence (whatever that really means)? A knowing that you have, once again, encountered God? What does it mean to say that something is anointed? That worship is anointed?

How about we go back to the basics. How about we remove the huge business that worship songs and worship teams have become. A multi-billion dollar business worldwide, by the way. How about we boil it down to the biblical foundation. Worship, yes even anointed worship, is you surrendering yourself to God totally. That and that only “becomes your genuine expression of worship.” Nothing more, nothing less is genuine worship.