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Archive for April, 2006

I’m Too Tired!


O Ephraim, what shall I do to you?
O Judah, what shall I do to you?
For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud,
And like the early dew it goes away. Hosea 6:4

In this verse God was speaking to Israel and Judah. There were times that they would repent turn from their sins and serve God faithfully. But their faithfulness was like the morning cloud and dew that burns off with the heat of the sun. They were lukewarm in their service toward God. Sure when the heat was on they would be zealous and do all they needed to do to get out of the trouble they were in, but once the trouble was past they lost their fervour and went back to their old ways. They served God when it suited them. Kind of like many in the church today don’t you think?

The other night because of the pain in my back. I got up at about 3:30 AM and spent the rest of the night in my office chair with a heating pad. My body has had to face so much pain in the last 2 to 3 years and I wondered how much longer I could take it. My desire and passion has always been to worship the Lord with everything that is within me. With all my body, soul, and strength. I love serving Him and it has become increasingly difficult. Fear began to rise up within me. The thought came to me "What if I become completely disabled and can no longer serve the Lord? What if I can never get out to church again?" Whenever I miss a day from working at our school or church, I feel so guilty. I can’t stand being in a place where I am unable to help or take part in service to my King. To not be able to do anything would be like dying to me. This is not a boast. It is the way God made me.

Just to show you I’m not perfect there is also another side of me that would love to just relax and take it easy, I can be a time waster and sit down at my computer and play games for hours. If I am not careful I can get to involved in them and forget about everything else including my responsibilities as a minister.

Our church is struggling right now. Last night it was just the pastor and myself who were at prayer meeting. To the pastor and I, prayer meeting is the most important service of the week. Without prayer a church cannot stand. Christ is our foundation, but prayer along with Holy Spirit is the mortar that holds us, the living stones, together. The prayer meeting is where most of the work is done. It upsets me when I hear people make excuses for not attending. Some just can’t be bothered. I live with pain everyday and yet I make it a point to be there so it irks me to no end when I hear the excuses people make.

Our example as Christians is and should always be Christ. His passion for us is unrelenting. Philippians 2:5-8 in the Amplified Bible says of Him;

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,

But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.

And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!

For us He gave up His rights of being equal with God to become our servant (slave). Think about it. He became obedient even to the point of death on the cross. He came to serve, not to be served. So many of us sit in our pews Sunday after Sunday doing nothing except soaking it in. We can’t even get out of bed early to spend one hour with Him and His word. Many make so many excuses as to why they can’t teach Sunday School, take care of the nursery, usher or get out to prayer meeting. Christ never tried to excuse Himself from His purpose. The King of heaven died a criminals death for us. The pain and suffering He went through on the cross for us, none of us could bare and yet we complain because we are tired or have aches or pains, therefore we can’t do the things He has asked us to do. Shame on us! We love our comfort too much. As Christ is consumed with us we should be consumed with Him. Our every thought and deed and desire should be with the thought of pleasing Him and not ourselves.

And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God’s creation:

I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot!

So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!

Revelation 3:14-16 

To spew means to vomit out violently something from the inside and in order for Christ to do that means you had to be in Him. He is talking to us Christians, not unbelievers. This life is so short and eternity is so long and yet we love the comfort of this world too much to give it up and become a servant as He did. We have become like Israel and Judah and are faithful only when faced with trails. Once they are gone we go back to our lukewarmness. Our faithfulness burns up in the like the morning dew. Consider your heart today. Wake-up before He returns and finds you idle. It’s not a place I nor should you want to be.

 

Thanks to Launa of Launa’s Little Piece of Heaven for creating the Take a Stand For Jesus banner for me. Let everyone know you are taking a stand and copy and paste it into your latest blog. Turn your space settings from private to public

 

I encourage you to join Awesome MSN Spaces and let your faith be shown!

    

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Thank-you Nathan and Christy. We Are a Grateful People


Exalt the LORD our God
       and worship at his holy mountain,
       for the LORD our God is holy. Psalm 99:9

Worship the LORD with gladness;
       come before him with joyful songs. Psalm 100:2

The human voice in song when it comes from the heart is the most beautiful of instruments. There have been many voices that have touched me deeply. Voices in which you know there is a real passion there. It’s just not a song for them. They are feeling it and you feel it with them. You could listen to them sing for hours and not tire of hearing them. Some of those that I can think that sing like that are Darlene Zchesch, Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin.

I first heard Watermark in 1999 when I purchased their debut cd from my cd club. The first thing I picked up on was the passion that Christy Nockels exuded in her singing. You knew her and her husband Nathan were just not making a cd. They were doing what their King wanted and they were giving their all for Him in the recording. They instantly became one of my favourite worship bands. In all their recordings they have not strayed from the course God set out for them. Even through tragedy and adversity they continued. Part of their work has been being involved in the Passion series that takes place each year in Texas.

One of my favourite songs by them is My Heart, Your Home

Come and make my heart Your home.
Come and be everything I am and all I know.
Search me through and through ’till my heart becomes a home for You.

A home for You, Lord.
A home for You, Lord.
Let everything I do open up,
A door for You to come through,
And that my heart would be a place where You want to be.
Come and make my heart Your home.
Come and be everything I am and all I know.
Search me through and through ’till my heart becomes a home for You.

You are my portion, filling up everything.
You are the fortune that’s causing my heart to sing.
That it’s amazing, that You could make Yourself at home with me.
Come and make my heart,
Come and make it Your home.
Come and be everything I am and all I know.
Search me through and through ’till my heart becomes a home for You.

This past year they recorded what is to be their final cd called "A Grateful People". It was recorded with many of their friends such as Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman. God has asked them to move onto other things and Christy’s passion aside from her Lord is to be a wife and mother. Something that she has struggled with because of the constant touring that was demanded of them. It is a bold decision. One that I applaud them in. I for one am going to miss them immensely. God is looking for obedient hearts and I know that Nathan and Christy desire for Christ’s will in their lives is more important to them than any wealth or fame this world could bring. Well done Watermark. I for one am part of a Grateful people to whom you ministered. God used you to teach me about bringing more passion into my worship. I pray that God raises an army of worshippers like you. Be blessed my brother and sister.

http://www.watermark-online.com/watermark.php

 

For those of you who may wondering where I have been for the last week or so. I caught quite a nasty cold and in a fit of coughing I pulled out my back. Praise the Lord anyway!

 

Thanks to Launa of Launa’s Little Piece of Heaven for creating the Take a Stand For Jesus banner for me. Let everyone know you are taking a stand and copy and paste it into your latest blog. Turn your space settings from private to public

 

I encourage you to join Awesome MSN Spaces and let your faith be shown!

    

The Place of a Worshipper


I am the LORD, that is My name;
      And My glory I will not give to another,
      Nor My praise to carved images. Isaiah 42:8
 
Something has been nagging at me for quite a while now. I am not to sure I am comfortable with the direction contemporary Christian music is taking. Not all, but there are those that in my spirit when I hear their CD’s or hear them in concert, that seem to more interested in giving people a good show and instead of Christ being exalted it is them.

I remember the concerts I used to go to during the 70’s and early 80’s at the old Montreal Forum. They were all about sound and show. Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Queen and Supertramp. You could always be sure you would get quite a feast of sight and sound. Of course not much of our hearing would be left afterwards, but we were wowed. They were our idols and they exalted in being so. They loved the glory their fans would give them.

I see today many Christian bands and artists doing the same things. They have become prima donnas. I remember attending a music conference down in Pennsylvania one year. They had some pretty big name Christian artists coming in to do concerts and workshops. The problem was that the promoter had a hard time getting people out to this conference and had to settle to having it in a smaller facility. A few things from that conference stuck in my mind. One of them was seeing John Starnes in the parking lot talking with the promoter and telling him he was waving his fee for being there because of the situation. That impressed me as I know that John flies his own plane to each event. He told the promoter he believed what the promoter was doing was worthwhile and not to get discouraged. Another image was of this top Christian group that everyone wanted to see driving up in a huge tractor trailer with the name of the band emblazoned on the on the side. They took one look at the facilities and where they were to perform and freaked. They refused to do their show. They said without their stage show it they couldn’t perform. It was all about the show. When asked if they could scale it back a bit, they were insulted and left. We later saw that they had booked into the same hotel I was staying and were spending their time playing pool. The next day the Imperials showed up with and equally big stage show. For them it was no problem to scale back and perform and they were very gracious about it.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a good show. The problem arises is when the medium becomes more important than the message. When people focus more on the performer than on the message they are supposed to be conveying. It makes me really squeamish when I hear young girls screaming as they used to at Beatles concerts at Christian concerts. What bothers me even more is to see these performers soak it up instead of telling them that it is Christ they should be worshipping.

I also have trouble with many of the young female singers that have come on the Christian music scene. Many of their vocals are breathy and sensual. I find little difference between the way they sing and those that are in the world.

It is not easy. Many of the Christian labels are owned by secular companies which put pressure on them to sell CD’s. Contemporary Christian music has become a very lucrative market. It is very easy to become caught up in the glamour and attention you get. You need to be strongly grounded in the Word and your relationship with Christ to stand strong. So many of the singers out there started off singing in churches, but the pull of the world was too strong for them. Research for yourself where Brittany Spears, Whitney Housten, Beyonce Knowles, and Jessica Simpson got their starts. Where is their faith today and what kind of answer will they have to give to God for the way they used what He gave them?

In 1986 I made a recording called "All For Him". I enjoyed the attention I received. I loved hearing my music on the radio or seeing my name on posters or billboards. In reality it was not "All For Him" as much as it was "All For Me". Nowadays I’d rather run and hide then take any kind of glory from my Lord Jesus Christ.

Worship alone belongs to the Lord and we never should give that worship to something that is created. Not even the angels will accept worship and we were created just a little lower than them. Ask John what happened when he tried to kneel at an angels feet.

And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Revelation 19:10

If you are a worship leader, a musician or a singer, remember He is the one who has given you your talents. He gave them to you to glorify Him. Never your self. Don’t let others exalt you. Always point to Christ. He alone is worthy of glory. 

 

Thanks to Launa of Launa’s Little Piece of Heaven for creating the Take a Stand For Jesus banner for me. Let everyone know you are taking a stand and copy and paste it into your latest blog. Turn your space settings from private to public

 

I encourage you to join Awesome MSN Spaces and let your faith be shown!

  

None to Compare


“Now when He (Jesus) had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowels of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousands times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” And every creature which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.” Revelation 5:8-14. 
 
When it comes to Christian celebrations, in general, less emphasis is put on Easter and much more on Christmas. Yes, Christ’s entry into this world, through a virgin was miraculous. God came to earth as a man and dwelt among us. But to me Easter means much more. Before Jesus died on the cross there was no hope for any of us. Our sin kept us separated from God.
 
Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened,
      That it cannot save;
      Nor His ear heavy,
      That it cannot hear.
       2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
      And your sins have hidden His face from you,
      So that He will not hear.
Isaiah 59:1-2.
 
We were all destined for hell. No amount of sacrifice could help us. When Christ died He changed all that. His death and resurrection bridged the gap between us and God. We now have access to His throne. But think of the cost.
 
He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” 2 Cor. 5:21.
 
Christ took upon Himself the punishment of sin past, present, and future. Every act of adultery, homosexuality, and murder. Every sin was placed on Him and He became the perfect sacrifice. The Blood of God was shed that day and all creation cried out in horror. Three days later the Easter miracle happened. Christ conquered sin and death. He rose physically from the dead. Sin could not hold Him. Death had no power over Him. Because of this miracle we who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior should have no fear. Sin and death has no power over us. As a worship leader I struggle because there is many beautiful songs written by men that worship our Lord and yet at times none of these songs seems adequate enough to truly express His glory and majesty. My heart wants to burst because there are no words to express my love for Him and the thankfulness I have toward Him for what He’s done for us. I long for that day in Heaven when the song in Revelation 5 is sung. No song written on this earth can compare. We will be singing before the King face to face. Then and only then will the worshipper in me be satisfied.
 
 

Thanks to Launa of Launa’s Little Piece of Heaven for creating the Take a Stand For Jesus banner for me. Let everyone know you are taking a stand and copy and paste it into your latest blog. Turn your space settings from private to public

 

I encourage you to join Awesome MSN Spaces and let your faith be shown!

    

Take Up Your Cross (It’s Not About You)


Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].

For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. Matthew 16:24-25 (Amplified Bible)

Tough words. Especially because of much of the teaching that goes on around in Christian circles today. In many churches it’s all about receiving a blessing and because Christ suffered for you, you don’t have to suffer. What a lie from hell. In Christ we have no choice. In order to live we must die because it’s in the dying we live. We must die to all our desires. All the things we want to do. Every passion and every longing has to die. Every single thing that would try to raise it’s self in importance over Christ has to perish.

You see it’s not about you and your comfort or your lack thereof. It’s all about Jesus and bringing His love to this lost and dying world. And yet we worry over such trivial things. We try to meet needs that Christ said He would fill. In the early days of the church the believer’s focus was not on the pleasures of this world but on the promise of the life that awaited them after this short life was over. The realization that eternity with Christ meant much more than this blink of an eye could ever matter.

Jesus promised that if we would obey Him He would take care of our every need. He said in Matthew 6:25-34

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

What Christ asks of you is that you live for Him and not this world. A life that is surrendered to Him shines brightest in this dark world. Our every waking moment and thought should be on Christ and winning the lost to Him. 

Some of us want heaven on earth. It’s not going to happen. The bible makes it very clear that because He suffered, you will suffer as well. This world will hate and despise you as much as it did Him. Many of us when we suffer we say; "Why me?" Why not you? Are you greater then Christ? Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18;

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

I have suffered a lot in my life and so many of you have suffered as well and yet all that we have suffered is nothing compared to what our Saviour suffered for us. We have nothing to complain about. Our hope my brothers and sisters is in Christ alone and if the path that He choses for us to follow is one of suffering for His name, then we should gladly follow. What awaits us is beyond our imagination. Think today on heaven and the New Jerusalem, your true home. Daddy’s waiting there to take you in His arms.

Thank-you for your prayers. 

 

Thanks to Launa of Launa’s Little Piece of Heaven for creating the Take a Stand For Jesus banner for me. Let everyone know you are taking a stand and copy and paste it into your latest blog. Turn your space settings from private to public

 

I encourage you to join Awesome MSN Spaces and let your faith be shown!