After the Worship Conference – Sept. 3

Posted on 03. Sep, 2010 by in The Body, The Purpose of God

Like I said in yesterday’s post, since attending the conference there is something stirring on the inside of me.  As stated, I haven’t fully processed all of it to know exactly where He is leading me or showing me.  What I do understand is that there is an even greater purpose than becoming like Christ.  We are certainly to grow into maturity in Christ, but as we do that, what changes?  Once we are matured in Christ, and have achieved the fulness of Him, what happens then?

I now more clearly understand that God has a purpose in the earth.  I have mentally assented this point for some time, and understood it in a limited fashion in my spirit for a shorter period of time.  Now, however, I more fully see that there is a grand plan.  On the cross Jesus secured His victory over the enemy.  The whole world legally belongs to Christ, but for whatever reason He has allowed Satan to maintain control.  I can not give chapter and verse at this point, but I believe He has done this, because he wants to work out that victory in the earth through us.  He has chosen to use us in His master plan, only we haven’t cooperated.  We’ve been too busy playing church to get busy with the work of the kingdom.  From Paul’s writing I believe he thought that the end of this age would come in his lifetime, or shortly after.  I do not think he anticipated it taking 2000 plus years, and I don’t think it needs to have taken this long.  Satan is cunning, however, and has consistently thwarted the plans of God, and we, God’s instrument on the earth, have let him.  I see through this how very patient God is.  He could’ve wrapped this thing up Himself, but he had chosen, from the foundation of the earth, to use us in His eternal purpose, to bring about the defeat of the enemy.  It is time for the church, the body of Christ, to get SERIOUS about our place in the kingdom.  It is time that we let the trappings of this life fall to the side, and focus our minds and hearts fully on Him.  2 Chronicles 16:9 says:

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”

Psalm 149 says:

1Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.
2Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King.
3Let them praise His name with dancing;
Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.
4For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.
5Let the godly ones exult in glory;
Let them sing for joy on their beds.
6Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
7To execute vengeance on the nations
And punishment on the peoples,
8To bind their kings with chains
And their nobles with fetters of iron,
9To execute on them the judgment written;
This is an honor for all His godly ones.

Praise the LORD!

I do not believe that the nations mentioned in this Psalm are physical nations.  Ephesians 6:10-12 makes it clear who our enemies are.  I think we need to see this more as a war, and in Ephesians 6 Paul seems to treat it as such.

I am speaking to myself in this post.  There is so much in Him that we don’t understand, and I think part of the problem is that we don’t see the big picture.  We need to understand that God has a purpose in the earth, and the ultimate purpose is to supplant the kingdom of Satan with the Kingdom of God.  The more I see the truth of His ultimate purpose, the less this world means to me, and the more willing I am to forsake all and follow Him.  It really is THAT simple, if we can just see it!

So, here’s the summary of all my thoughts for these two posts.  We need to practice a model of mutual edification in the body, as we’ve discussed before.  We have to go beyond that, however, and commit ourselves fully to His purposes, being willing to give up all we have to see that purpose accomplished.  I am not implying that I have arrived in this respect, because I have not.  However, I believe that the more we die to ourselves, and allow His purposes to reign in our lives, the more we will accomplish towards His purposes, and the closer we will be to the end of the age.  As one brother said at the end of the conference, “Let’s get this thing wrapped up!”  We can’t do it apart from Christ, but Christ has chosen NOT to do it apart from us!  The ball is in our court, I believe.

As always, I welcome comments or criticisms of my thoughts here.  I do not claim to have it all figured out, and I find definite value in what the Lord is showing others.  Thanks to Alan and Dan for their active questioning, as these two posts mentioned previously sparked some of this in my heart.

Peace to all of you


After the Worship Conference – Sept. 2

Posted on 02. Sep, 2010 by in The Purpose of God, Worship

A lot has been going through my mind since attending the worship conference.  It is interesting to look back at the notes that I took, and the things that I learned, and realize that the impact of the experience goes way beyond the sum total of all I learned there.  There was a very specific impartation there, which has put my mind to thinking in a different manner.  I feel that in the next month or two I will come to some new understanding on things, compared to how I see now, and that is why I am putting a date on this post title.  I believe the impact of that will be far-reaching, and want to reserve the right to return to that at any point!

I want to give links to the first two posts regarding the conference.  For some reason the Day 2 post had a pretty high readership, but either no one, or virtually no one, read the first post, or at least as far as I can tell.  There were some thoughts in the first post that were ground-breaking for me, so I wanted to share both links again, in case anyone missed the first one.

Worship Is Death

Worship Conference Day 2

After attending this conference, two blog posts I read have continued the process of rethinking in my mind.  I want to provide links, and encourage everyone to read these posts.  They are not long, but they speak to the questions that are in my mind.

Stirring Up | The Ekklesia in Southern Maine.

The Purpose of Participation | The Assembling of the Church.

So, here’s the situation.  I’ve been a vocal proponent of participatory style meetings, and very critical of traditional church models.  I still believe that the New Testament model is participatory, and that a single pastorate system is unbiblical, and harmful to the maturity of the body.  But, as pointed out by Alan and Dan in the above posts, just attending participatory meetings doesn’t guarantee that the end result will be any different than in the system we just left.  My concern for this movement, if you want to call it that, is that we will recreate a system, and never achieve the maturity of the body described in Ephesians 4.  Like Alan said, the goal is to become like Christ, or to literally become His body and bride, fully matured.  Will meeting in a circle instead of in rows with a pulpit bring that about?  Unfortunately, in and of itself, no.  The question I now pose, after reading these posts, is what do we do IN these meetings that brings maturity?  Certainly Hebrews 10:24-25 gives some insight, stating that we are to consider one another to stir up love and good works, which I interpret to mean we are to esteem others higher than ourselves, and care more for their needs than for our own.  But I am not sure that this even gives the whole picture.

I have further thoughts on this, but I fear things will get too lengthy.  I’m going to stop here and finish my thoughts tomorrow.

Worship Conference Day 2

Posted on 29. Aug, 2010 by in Worship

Today was day two of the worship conference.  We had some nice acoustic worship in the morning, with a more contemporary service this evening.  I have an eclectic selection of things to share tonight, but hopefully everything will tie together in the end!

Praise and worship has always, or at least always as long as I’ve been alive, played a prominent role in the average church service.  Some congregations still sing hymns only, some are into the latest and greatest new material, and others are somewhere in between.  No matter the genre of music played, I think there has been a general misunderstanding of the purpose and function of praise and worship in the church today.  Usually the music is seen as a prelude to the rest of the service, an introduction so to speak, maybe a means to prepare hearts to receive the message brought by the pastor.  Often times, in our time-pressed society, the music is limited to a specific time period, because “the show must go on”.  All of these views miss the true purpose of worship.

Why Do We Worship?

  1. Worship is partially vertical, between us and God.  It is us ministering to God, and God ministering to us.  As a part of this point, I want to take a little rabbit trail.  One of the speakers today was a Rodney DuCroq.  Rodney, like the other speakers for the conference, has an extensive background in leading worship, and he spoke on the 4 Faces of Worship, based on Revelations 4:7.  He taught the following regarding the 4 Beasts, and the seasons of worship they represent:
    1. The Ox (or calf)  The ox was a beast of burden, so the ox represents labor.  This is labor intensive worship, for the purpose of accomplishing things in the spirit that need to be accomplished.  This often times deals with breaking hard ground, like plowing a field that has never been plowed.  The ox also represents sacrifice, as in a sacrifice of praise.  This goes back to what I wrote about yesterday, that worship often involves dying to self, to bring about obedience to Christ.  We subjugate our own desires to accomplish His.
    2. The Man – this represents God ministering to man, as well as man ministering to man.  God wants to minister to us, so in this respect worship is vertical.  Ephesians 5:26 describes Jesus sanctifying His bride, “by the washing of water with the word”.  We need to view worship as a two way street.  We bring praise and worship to Him, but He also uses the experience to speak things into the world, either into our personal lives, or to speak things into the world that He is wanting to do.
    3. The Eagle – The eagle has great sight.  He can see for great distances, and God wants us to have His sight, His vision, concerning where we are in His grand plan.
    4. The Lion – The lion seems to represent victory, a season of praise where the people of God are exuberant in their worship, celebrating the greatness of  God.
  2. As stated above, we worship to minister to one another.  Usually in the church today, and this is true of my past worship experiences, we get into the worship service, and form our own little  ‘worship cocoon’.  We are totally focused on God, and see nothing of those around us.  God wants us to minister to one another  in our praise and worship.  Three verses bear this out.
    1. Ephesians 5:15-19 – speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, etc.
    2. Colossians 3:12-16 – teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, etc.

Why should we want to minister to one another?  Because each of us has a representation of Christ that is unique on the earth.  If I am only receiving the part of Christ that is in the worship team, I am missing out on the parts of Christ that are in the rest of the body.   We’ve discussed this issue extensively in the blogosphere as it pertains to our meetings at large, but I believe, as was shared at the conference, that this same principle applies in our worship as well.

3.  We should not be relying on the music team to lead all the worship.  In 1 Corinthians 14:26, each one had a psalm, a hymn or a spiritual song, etc.  We are all responsible to minister to one another.

4.  Worship and music are not synonymous.  Worship can be done in the context of music, but not all music represents true worship.  True worship should be an extension of a life that is lived continuously in worship of Him.

Finally, Douglas made the following point:  “”If your worship is not built into the greater context of God’s eternal purpose it lacks the ability to impact the earth.”  In other words, if we are not continually seeking to know His purposes on the earth, both seasonal and eternal, our worship will just be music sung in unison.  If we want to see our worship become truly powerful and life-changing, we must worship, again, in the context of His purposes.

So, in short form, we need to see our worship as a life-changing and world-changing interaction, between God and man, and between man and man.  It is an important ministry in and of itself, not just an intro to some other, more important thing.

Unfortunately, this is new enough information for me that I can’t provide the biblical references for all the points that were made.  If you have specific questions regarding this, please feel free to comment ad I’ll get more details.  There are probably important details I’ve left out, but if I think of other things I’ve left out or mis-stated I’ll post again later.

Men Love Your Wives

Posted on 14. Aug, 2010 by in Marriage

One of my biggest pet peeves lately is the general lack of understanding in the body on what it means to be a man in the Kingdom.  I have seen multiple instances lately of men in the church, and often times in “the church”, doing things to further their own ambition or desires, to the detriment of, or at the expense of, their wives.  For example, some men place a lot of importance in their hobbies.  Whether it be golf, hunting or something else, the tendency is to make this activity a priority, without regard for its effect on the spouse.  No expense is spared, either in the way of time off from work or the expense of the actual activity, to allow the man his good time, but when it comes time for his wife to spend money scrapbooking, as an example, it is “just a stupid hobby” or a “waste of money”, and therefore is either restricted, not allowed, or allowed grudgingly.  This is just one simple example, but the fact of life is that men in America do not understand what it means to be a true Man of God.  While the purpose of this post is not to bash men, I think we need to examine this issue, so we understand our roles as husbands.  I imagine that the average reader of this blog already understands these things, but I felt like getting on my soap box.

I love Ephesians 5:25-30

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30because we are members of His body.

I think we all understand the depth of the sacrifice of Christ.  He gave all He had, all He was, to redeem for Himself a radiant bride.  To this day He is patient with us, to see His bride brought to perfection.  Having said this, how many men in the church approach their relationships with their wives from this perspective?  I know I didn’t early on.  I remember when we were engaged, and working on the wedding list, I used to moan and complain about not wanting to work on wedding things all the time.  Or when my wife didn’t want to move into the master bedroom of our house when we moved until we had the room completely finished.   I didn’t understand, so I complained, every night.  Now, I didn’t complain too bitterly, but bitterly enough.  Even worse than these things there have been plenty of times where I got angry, because of my perception of being wronged, and complained internally that things just weren’t fair.  Over time, I have learned one simple thing:  this is my job.  I am responsible to lay down my life for my wife, to subjugate my wants and my needs in order to further her well-being, to support her as she walks her path with the Lord.  The end-result is the “Proverbs 31” wife, a woman that has reached the fulness of her potential in Christ.  Now, in a good relationship, the same process is going on in the wife.  She is submitting herself to her husband (with the end result that both are submitting themselves to each other), and supporting her husband, being patient when he doesn’t live up to the fulness of his husbandly responsibilities.  In reality this street is supposed to go both ways.  In the end, however, whether or not the wife is adequately considering her husband, the husband has the RESPONSIBILITY to consider his wife above himself.

1 Corinthians 11:3 says “3But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”.  Paul later states in verse 7:  “For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.”  The intention of this post is not to discuss head coverings.  The part I want to emphasize is that the woman is the glory of man.  I take these verses in conjunction with Ephesians 5, and the picture I see is of the husband laying down his life for his wife, in order to foster her spiritual growth and development, with the end result being his radiant bride, who is his glory, as 1 Corinthians mentions.  Now I understand that in Ephesians 5:32 Paul states he is speaking of the mystery of Christ and the church.  This is the greater truth here.  But the correlation still holds between husband and wife.

Now, I fear that I risk offending some of my sisters in Christ with the above passages.  I think our society has grossly misunderstood the idea of “gender roles” in the bible, and has given the picture that the “female role” is something to be shunned, while encouraging women to strive to achieve to the male role.  This is a huge mis-service to women, and to the body.  I can not go into specifics of what the “gender roles” should be in the body, as I can’t claim to have full revelation on that issue.  This is not the purpose of this post.  My purpose here is to speak in generalities, that there are specific roles that men and women are supposed to fill in the body, and each is vitally important, and each sex is specifically made to carry out their respective roles.  Notice in 1 Corinthians 11:3 that “God is the head of Christ”.  Even Christ Himself willingly submits Himself to the headship of the father.  The point here is not to point a finger at our sisters in Christ, command them to submit and then dominate them.  The point is, again, that God intended each sex to fulfill certain roles, and expected Christ to fulfill His role (which he already has), and nowhere in this equation does a person’s worth or value even come into play.  The worth and value of each sex is inherent and unquestionable, and the value of each role is unquestionable.  Again, it is a simple matter of roles.  And again, I won’t go into those roles here!  I will say that each sex will find true fulfillment and freedom when fulfilling those roles.

Well, I fear that I’ve taken a bunny trail, and not even stated what I sat out to say in doing so.  I hope that I’ve made my point clear, and have not brought offense to anyone.