Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Living Sacrifice Embraces True Worship

How does giving myself as a living sacrifice become true worship?

The other day someone asked me this question and it really got me thinking about what worship truly is. I was reminded of something I created a long time ago. It was a covenant that I wrote for the worship band I was leading. I thought I’d share a few of the lines of that covenant with you. When this covenant was created it’s purpose was to give the members of this worship band a guideline to follow as they sought after the idea that our lives should be a worship song. It really made a difference in how the members played their instruments and lived their lives.

“The purpose of worship is to please God, and that every word and act in worship creates a witness about God as well as an offering to Him.Seeking God’s heart must be the motivating inspiration behind everything that I do in my life”

“The responsibility of a Worship Band member is a sacred one. It requires us to be prepared, committed, and motivated as we strive to attain the heart of a servant in our everyday life.”

“As a member in good standing of this worship band I attest that true worship is our response to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I commit to strive with all that i am to be someone who will seek His will in my lives and not that of my own desire.”

Granted, this does not really answer the question that was asked, but it does provide a starting point. As I worked with the members of this worship band we all learned a lot about what worship truly is and came to the conclusion our lifestyle should be one of true worship.

As I thought further into answering this question my mind was drawn to the greek word Gonupeteo, which means to bend a knee. To bend a knee or bow is a sign of respect for someone who has a higher rank than you. Within the context of worship this could actually be attributed to showing humility and respect for God as we honor him .In other words, we honor God by giving ourselves in humility and respect for Him.This is what lead us back to the question, How does giving myself as a living sacrifice become true worship?

We offer ourselves to God by bending a knee in honor of serving him and strive to seek Him in all aspects of our lives. We sacrifice the desires of our heart so that we can honor the desires of His heart and commit to giving ourselves to Him with each day that we are given. In doing this we become true worshipers. All to often, we get so caught up in the world around us that we lose sight of what it truly means to worship God. Worshiping God starts with bending a knee and embracing whatever path He may have for us, not the embrace of worldly pleasures.True worship is felt inwardly and then comes out through our actions.
There is a passage of scripture in John chapter four that speaks to the heart of true worship and to what it means for us.  This passage reminds us that true worship is striving to seek Him in all things. It shows us what He desires of those who honor Him.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." - John 4:23-24 (NIV)

In the end, it comes down to this. Offering ourselves as a living sacrifice is striving to give God all that we are and striving to honor Him in humility with our lives. As we do this we are, indeed, truly worshiping Him.That is why Paul urges the Romans in chapter 12 to offer themselves as living sacrifices; so that they will know more of the desires of God’s heart. Just as we have done in today's world, the Romans gave in to the temptations their world pushed on them. Because of this, Paul called upon them to break free from conforming to the world around them.and challenge them to embrace a life honors God through humility.

We are tasked with the same call to repentance that they were tasked with. This leads to living a life of worship and to honoring Him with all that we are, as a living sacrifice and a True Worshiper.

Blessings in Christ and thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Monday, March 28, 2016

What is the Balance

We've all had those weeks when we've felt like there was nothing really worth putting time and energy into right?

Sometimes it can feel like what we are doing really has no purpose and other times it can feel like no matter what we fail to complete what ever task we are working towards.  All to often these kinds of feelings can keep us from noticing what really matters. For example I posted one of my quotes to Facebook and twitter a few days ago what spelled a word wrong.  It was a simple mistake, purposefully posted for this very post, but no one really noticed it. Lets see if you can pick out the mistake now...
"Today is a great day to remind yourself that there is a reason that the tasks that seem meaninging actually mean the most."
 The mistake was in the word meaning, I added an extra 'ing' at the end of the word instead of a 'less'.  Here is the corrected quote, in case you want to share it it any one...

 "Today is a great day to remind yourself that there is a reason that the tasks that seem meaningless actually mean the most."

How does this connect with our feelings though? Well, the extra 'ing' does completely confuse the reader. It also places a pretty big damper on what I'm trying to get across in putting the quote out there in the first place. Sometimes there is more to the picture that what gets across.
"And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." Genesis 1:31
One the surface, we may feel like we've really screwed up or that we really don't know why we are doing something, but what it comes down to is that with God we can never really see the full picture of what he has planned for us. It is the same with the quote.  The purpose of the quote was to remind the reader that sometimes what we do seems meaninging *Ha, got you again* meaningless. However, the reality is that the smallest detail can mean the most. 

Think about what ever you are going through today, 
For my family its getting the kids to sleep better at night, If I were to focus more on the fact that my kids aren't sleeping well, I might miss the reason why they aren't doing so... (IE, full diaper, bad dreams, itchy sunburn, stomach ache or many other possible things)
Instead of focusing so much on the bigger picture, as I tend to do, why not look for your purpose more in the details or in the smaller things, as my wife tends to do.  Don't get me wrong, it's important to look at both pictures but you also need to remember to find the balance between the two.
"A just balance and scales are the Lord's; all the weights in the bag are his work." Proverbs 16:1

Blessings in Christ and thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Voice We Speak With

This week I have been participating in something that a friend challenged me to do, a Blog Challenge.  Typically I have stayed away from these types of things because the often end with someone asking me for something I can't really give. I don’t know if that’s going to happen in this particular Blog Challenge but I told this friend I would do my best to finish in good spirits. I’m glad to say so far I’ve learned a few things and hope to learn a few more.


In any case, today’s challenge was to ‘pick a fight’ or in other words take a stand for something you truly believe in.  To be honest, I’m not really the type of person to ‘pick a fight’. In the past when I’ve done so, it has usually backfired. You can imagine my reluctance to complete this challenge with a history such as mine.  My nature, as I’ve grown into the person I am today, has been to avoid speaking my mind when it comes to controversial matters because of this history.  These matters have always seemed to be more of a matter of the heart than a matter of sharing an opinion with the world around me.

However, times are changing and I am beginning to learn that despite my growing nature to avoid these types of posts, it’s becoming more important for those of us that have a passion and a gift for writing to convey our voice. We need to speak with a voice that echoes what we believe, and for whom we believe in. In my case, that means taking a stand for my faith and for whom I do what I do. 

With recent developments in the world we live in today, my heart has truly been overwhelmed. I am becoming more open to these types of posts and my spirit compels me more each day to speak, but I struggle with it. Truthfully, while I have begun to notice that the tone of my writing is beginning to be more direct about what is on my heart, It frightens me because of what history has shown me. I guess maybe this challenge is the push I needed to begin realizing the need for this more.

While my tone still echoes the voice of encouragement, I am learning that sometimes the voice of encouragement is more than gentle or happy thoughts. Sometimes conveying this voice means that I will have to stand up for what I know is TRUTH. Encouragement and inspiration can come in many different ways. The argument I’m making with this post is that sometimes the old way of doing things just doesn’t work anymore. While in the past these gentle words and happy thoughts spoke volumes to those around me, it doesn't work the same way today.

Take politics for example, in years past those running were civil and focused on the differences in their perspective policies. Today, it all seems to be more about who can be the unmask their opponents weakness first and through spending the most money to do so. What about religion or church growth? In years past it was all about building up living in faith, serving wholeheartedly and singing praises. Today, it all seems to be more about building the numbers and the reputation of a specific church instead of building the heart of the person. It seems to be about making the money in order to stay afloat in a broken world instead of reaching the person and helping them embrace their creator as He molds and makes them into the person they are meant to be.

While neither are the best example, these two topics are on everyone's minds right now and have ignited a massive movement of change. The world is changing and that’s all there is to it. We have to adapt to the new way of doing things while still maintaining what we stand for. In my case, maybe it’s time to adapt as well. Maybe it time for me to begin embracing a different type of voice that echoes encouragement and inspiration. Maybe it’s time for all of us to stop and take a good long look at who we’ve become and whom we are meant to be and adapt accordingly. Yes, we still need to be that voice we were called to be, but by embracing a new way of using the voice we’ve been given.

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:18-19 NKJV

Blessings in Christ and thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room"
Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),

Monday, March 14, 2016

Be the example...

A  Manifesto...

A friend sent me this link to a 7 day challenge offered for bloggers looking to expand their reader base and while I’ve never really heard of the guy who is putting the challenge on, Jeff Goins, it seems like something worth putting some time into. I’m not sure I’ll be able to meet all of them but I’m sure going to put the effort into it. So, if you’re willing to join me on this small journey, I’m willing to take the next step. Here is the first Challenge….


Why, I write…

 As young boy, it was always difficult for me to read and write.  I struggled, and still do occasionally, with seeing words correctly and putting them on paper because of Dyslexia, ADHD and really bad eye sight.  That all began to change when I received my first pair of glasses and with the blessing of my mother’s support. She struggled with some of the same things but always found a way to communicate what had been placed upon her heart regardless of what people thought. Her struggle was an inspiration to me and ultimately what gave me the passion I have for writing today.

 The question you may be asking at this point is “how does this tie in to why I write?” The truth is, I really never thought about this until I began writing for this first challenge. After some time in prayer and reflection, I realized this is where my passions began. You see, my mother inspired me so much with how she overcame her struggles that it instilled that same passion in my heart.  All she ever wanted to do with her life was to encourage others and inspire their faith, and in the end she truly did.  This was her legacy and it has now become my desire to have a similar legacy. A legacy that encourages others and inspires their faith in the darkness this world has been influenced by.

The Problem we face… and the solution we need to embrace…

 The world we live in today is full of darkness and many of us have been through experiences that should never have taken place but, at least for me, God has always found a way to bring good out of them. My desire is to use my experiences to encourage those that are facing their own darkness head on and to be used by Him in a way that only He could imagine. I desire to be a light in that darkness. God’s promises are always anew and He has promised to be faithful to us. We don’t have to face the darkness of this world on our own. My mother sought to show this to others though everything she did and to everyone she came in contact with. She desired to show them that they were not alone in their struggle, and I can only dream of doing the same with the Legacy I pray God will build through me.

Where do we do from here…

 I don’t want to say that I have all the answers by any means but I truly believe that God can use my passions to bring others into His shining light. This is why I write. It is what drives my inner heart and what I believe to be the calling that God has given many of us. The question that remains is, how do we embrace this calling? Honestly, the answer may not be as complicated as you may think. The answer this question comes by sharing our experiences with others as a way to remind them: You are not alone. We have all faced circumstances that can inspire and encourage others, all we have to do is share them, and I share mine through what I write.

 Don’t let the world keep you from being an inspiration to those around you. Instead, seek out ways you can be a great encourager and more importantly, a great example of what God can do in all our lives. If you believe, you can be the example you were called to be.

Blessings in Christ and thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),