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This past weekend I shared a message concerning worship. I continue to be convinced that we don’t really get it. If we did, our churches and personal lives would erupt in worship. This post is just a collection of thoughts, scriptures, quotes, and videos that have spoken to me the past few weeks concerning worship. Enjoy!

 

  • Worship is responding to WHO God is and WHAT He has done. Not who He is generically, but who He is to you intimately! Not what He has done generically, but what He has done for you intimately!

 

  • All creation worships… Check out this video! It’s worth the time!

 

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. — Psalm 19:1

 

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God. — Exodus 20:3-5

 

  • There is a WAR for our worship! The enemy is crafty… If he can just simply get us to be distracted and place our value and attention on anyone or anything above God… That’s a win for him.

 

  • What is an idol? It is anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give. — Tim Keller

 

 

  • To refuse worship to the God who gives life is arrogance; to fight against Him is insanity; to scorn Him is the epitome of ingratitude. — Paul Washer

 

  • Today we have far too many desires and interests, and our lives are being consumed and wasted by them. — Oswald Chambers

 

  • In worship we are NOT the audience… we are participates. There is an audience of One!

 

  • Authentic worship changes the worshiper into the image of the One being worshiped.

 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. — Romans 12:1

Finally, here is Sunday’s message if you missed it or need context.

What are your thoughts? Do we really understand worship? Is our daily living sacrifice proportional to His ultimate sacrifice?

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Reconciled. A simple word, but it carries with it the sum total of the Gospel for those who are in Christ Jesus. It is very much an identity for those who follow Jesus. I’ve recently been preaching a series about who we are in Jesus and it’s very fresh for me. So, when I was sitting in the hot tub while on vacation last week and a young man comes along with ‘RECONCILED’ tattooed on his chest, I immediately make an assumption about his identity. I concluded, with the help of the other tattoos, that this guy at least has knowledge of Christ. I’m not bashful, so I ask him to tell me about his tattoo.

He proceeded to share his faith in Jesus and the fact that he has been reconciled to God through the sacrifice of Jesus. This began an incredible conversation… a conversation about his daughter, Eliana. She was over at the pool in a strange dry suit, not your typical swim suit. She was having a blast! Below are a few pictures of Eliana and her story…

Eliana Blocks

At six-months old Eliana was diagnosed with Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension… a rare disorder of high blood pressure in the blood vessels that line the lungs. Pulmonary blood pressure rises when arteries and capillaries in the lungs become narrowed, blocked, or destroyed, making it hard for blood to flow through the lungs. Because the vessels of the lung and the heart are physically connected, this makes blood pressure in the heart rise and forces the heart to work harder than normal.

The doctors didn’t give them much hope when they told her parents that she’d only live to the age of five (5). She’s faced many difficult days and several close calls, but God has remained faithful. In fact, she just turned TEN (10). God is good and doctors CAN be wrong!

One thing that I’ll never forget is that Eliana was overjoyed to tell me that her name means MY GOD ANSWERS. She and her family knew who they were in Jesus! Before Eliana was ever diagnosed, they knew that God hears and answers. They are and will be OVERCOMERS! It’s not because life is easy, but it’s because they know the promises of God.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — James 1:2-4

You see, knowing who you are in Christ is NOT just a good sermon topic… it’s REAL LIFE stuff. Life is NOT always easy, or as I often say, “It’s NOT always rainbows and butterflies!” It’s vital that we know and stand in our Biblical identity!

Eliana’s family is not naive. They truly understand that each day is a gift. They understand that more difficult days could be just around the corner. However, they are rooted in Jesus and know that the same POWER that raised Him from the dead is accessible to them too! Eliana is a MASTERPIECE, her family are AMBASSADORS, and they are OVERCOMERS!

WHEN YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE… YOU WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO!

In the meantime, would you please pray for Eliana and her family? In fact, you can voice your prayer in the comments section below and they can read them. The Alderete family is from New Mexico and were in Denver, CO last week for Eliana to visit her specialists. Eliana’s story and our meeting has been shared with their permission.

On a personal level… I’m grateful for the opportunity to meet this family. I too often struggle with who I am in Christ and what that requires of me. However, on Thursday evening of last week… I got it… because I was listening to God and dug a little deeper than surface level conversation. The result was a poolside (public) prayer meeting that was simply precious!

BECAUSE I KNEW WHO I WAS… I KNEW WHAT TO DO.

summer-bbq-party-tableIt’s that time of year… BBQ, watermelon, homemade ice cream, swimming pools, and fireworks… Tomorrow is the 4th of July… America’s Independence Day.

First, let me be clear… I’m proud to live in what I believe is STILL the greatest country on the planet. I’m grateful for the daily freedoms that men like my father have fought to preserve.

With that being said, I often think for those who profess to be followers of Jesus… We have been far too consumed with being American rather than striving to be like Jesus. We’ve treated Jesus as customizable; We’ve tried to make Him a politically correct, non-offensive version of ourselves, who thinks and acts like an American. We’ve worked hard to conform Him and fashion Him out of the fabric of the American constitution. I’m just not convinced that my identity is to be rooted in my American freedoms. My identity is rooted in the freedom of the Gospel.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. — John 8:36

Don’t be confused though. When we become FREE in Christ, it’s really only as we become DEPENDENT on Him. I truly believe this is why so many in the American church struggle with authentically following Jesus. We’ve been inundated with the idea that we are to be totally independent and we’ve filtered the Gospel through the lens of American politics.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. — John 15:5

As the true vine, Jesus is the source of life and strength and fruit. There is a relationship of complete DEPENDENCE between the branch and the vine. The vine supplies life-giving nourishment to the branches. Apart from it, the branches have neither life nor the production of fruit.

As believers, we MUST abandon the idea of framing the Gospel with our own American perspectives that we simply do not find in scripture. Jesus did NOT die for your freedom as we in America understand freedom… He died that we might surrender and actually become His bond-servant… a slave to the Gospel.

So, celebrate the 4th of July… enjoy the freedoms we have as Americans… However, may we daily celebrate DEPENDENCE DAY… as we die to ourselves and serve Jesus!

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. — Matthew 16:24

HAPPY DEPENDENCE DAY!

Love

This past weekend we began a new series at Terra Nova Church called Christian. The reality is that MANY things can fall under the label of ‘Christian’ and yet not truly reflect Biblical truth. In fact, Jesus didn’t call us to become Christians, but rather disciples… learners, pupils, adherents, followers. And the Bible gives CLEAR expectations for those individuals.

We discovered that one way others will know that we are His disciples is based upon how we love others.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  — John 13:34-35

Also, when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was… He again replies with the idea that loving others is vital and a true reflection of being His disciples.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  — Matthew 22:36-40

So, where do we start? What does loving others really look like?

It is interesting that God’s greatest commandment doesn’t ask you to love humanity in general. It asks you to love your neighbor specifically. God wants you to love the actual people that you know. The one who borrows your stuff and doesn’t return it. The one whose dog gets in your trash and leaves unwanted deposits in your yard. The one who takes credit for your work. The one who spreads rumors about you. The one who constantly clings to you.

You would probably say that you love people in general. But do you love the specific, real live people you encounter each day? That is much more difficult, and that is what God wants from you. Love your neighbor as yourself.

When we, the Church, love others the way Jesus loves us… something incredible happens… the Gospel is put on display and totally validated in a real way!

So, GO LOVE OTHERS AS JESUS HAS LOVED YOU!

This weekend we continue our series… BOLD. I truly believe that talking through the message during the week helps you turn what God is saying to you into action steps. These talking points, questions, and scriptures are designed to help you take the next step. Use these questions to stir your heart and develop a personal action plan.

  • What’s one of the most miraculous things you’ve ever seen or heard about?

 

READ: with your Bible or YouVersion, read Acts 4:23-37.

In this passage, Peter and John prayed bold prayers before God that led to bold results.

  • How would you describe the way you typically pray? In what ways do your prayers reflect what you believe about God?
  • What stood out to you about bold prayers after reading Peter and John’s prayers in Acts 4?
  • When was the last time you were amazed by the power of prayer? How did that experience affect your relationship with God?
  • Why do you think prayers become bolder when they are prayed together in a group?
  • What’s keeping you from changing your selfish and small prayers into bold prayers?
  • What bold prayers do you need to start praying today?
  • Peter and John’s prayers led to bold results. What bold results would you like to see come from your bold prayers?
  • What impact do you think it would have on your church if everyone began praying bold prayers?
  • In what ways have you seen the power of bold prayers build your faith in Christ?

 

NEXT STEPS:

Stop praying selfish and small prayers this week and begin to pray bold prayers. Start by picking two or three bold things to pray for. Follow the example in Acts 4 by praying for boldness in your life and in the lives of others. If you or someone you know has a great need, pray that God will work a miracle in that situation. Consider sharing your bold prayer requests with others and ask them to pray your bold prayers with you.

PRAYER GUIDE:

  • Thank God for the bold and miraculous things He has done in your life and in the lives of others.
  • Ask God for boldness in your life. Ask Him to give you boldness in your prayers, speech, obedience, and actions.
  • Share some great needs that you or someone you know may have. Pray boldly that God will work miracles in these situations.
  • Ask God to make your church bold and to stir within your church the desire for bold prayers and results.
  • Ask God to help help you make a difference in the world through your bold prayers and actions.

This weekend we began a brand-new series… BOLD. I truly believe that talking through the message during the week helps you turn what God is saying to you into action steps. These talking points, questions, and scriptures are designed to help you take the next step. Use these questions to stir your heart and develop a personal action plan.

  • What’s one of the most amazing acts of boldness that you’ve seen?

 

READ: with your Bible or YouVersion, read Acts 4:1-22.

In this passage, Peter and John exhibit such boldness before the Sadducees that it tremendously impacted those around them.

  • What can you learn about being bold for Christ from Peter and John’s example in Acts 4?
  • Peter and John were ordinary people who spoke and acted with boldness. How do you think being bolder for Christ would impact you and your relationship with God?
  • In what areas of life do you most need amazing boldness?
  • Boldness is behavior born out of belief. What beliefs about yourself do you need to change that are keeping you from living with amazing boldness?
  • Describe a time when you were bold. What was the outcome of your boldness and what did you learn from it?
  • Peter and John’s boldness amazed the Sadducees. Who could benefit from your being bold for Christ?
  • How would you rate your current level of boldness? What’s keeping you from being bold?
  • Who would you describe as being amazingly bold for Christ? What about their boldness inspires you?
  • As Jesus builds your faith, your boldness will also grow. What steps do you need to take immediately to grow your faith in Christ?

 

NEXT STEPS:

This weekend I communicated that spiritual boldness comes from knowing Christ. In other words, the more Jesus builds your faith, the more boldness you will see in your life. Take inventory of your relationship with Christ this week and see what steps you need to take immediately in order to grow your faith in Christ. Those steps could be more prayer time, increasing your time reading God’s Word, or seeking a mature believer to mentor you.

The Book of Acts is full of examples of amazing boldness as the first church began the task Jesus entrusted them with and advanced His kingdom into all the nations. During this series, read the Acts Reading Plan in YouVersion. As you read, be intentional about finding examples of bold living that you can follow in your own life and share with others.

 

PRAYER GUIDE:

  • Ask God to reveal what He would like boldness in your life to look like.
  • Thank God for the bold people He has placed in your life who have helped you grow your faith in Christ.
  • Ask God to develop amazing boldness in all areas of your life and in your faith in Christ.
  • Ask God to deepen your faith in Him so that boldness will result out of your faith.
  • Pray for those you feel would benefit in their faith by your boldness. Ask God to give you the boldness you need to impact them.

I’m super excited to launch a brand new series this weekend called BOLD. God has called ordinary people just like you and me to live out our faith boldly. The power of one simple act of boldness could be life-changing.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. — Acts 4:13

When we’ve truly been with Jesus… our actions simply reveal it…

In the video below a young man, Lance, makes one choice that reveals his love for Christ and his quick act of BOLDNESS makes a HUGE difference. Not only was his competitor overwhelmed, but so was all who witnessed his simple act of boldness.

 

 

How about you? Are you ready to be BOLD for Jesus? Get ready… this is going to be a great series! See you this weekend.

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As we prepare for Passion Week and the Resurrection Celebration… I’ve been deeply moved by the following video. PLEASE, set aside 30 minutes and prepare to CELEBRATE every opportunity we have to lovingly be a FRUITCAKE.

 

 

If you are like me… This video has left you weeping and ready to sing… Everyone needs compassion… Love that’s never failing… Let mercy fall on me…

 

 

Coming NEXT WEEK during Passion Week… I will be blogging a short devotional thought each day as we prepare for Easter Sunday. Below will be the schedule. I look forward to sharing with you.

Monday, March 25 – The Garden of Gethsemane: Jesus Christ Preparing to Die

Tuesday, March 26 – The Betrayal of Judas and the Kiss of Death

Wednesday, March 27 – The Denials of Peter and his Deep Regret

Thursday, March 28 – The Scourging of Jesus Christ and the Final Hours Before His Death

Friday, March 29 – The Crucifixion and The Death of Jesus Christ

Friday Night at 7pm – Good Friday Worship Experience at Terra Nova Church

Sunday Morning at 10am – Resurrection Celebration at Terra Nova Church

Let’s be faithful to celebrate Jesus!

This weekend at Terra Nova Church I will be sharing about some incredible opportunities for us to BE ALL IN for the sake of the Gospel in our community. We’ve been commanded to do WAY MORE than simply fill seats during a weekend worship experience… We’ve been asked to truly BE ALL IN

We love because he first loved us. — 1 John 4:19

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matthew 28:19-20

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. — Matthew 16:24

Jesus was certainly ALL IN for us…

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:8

So, as you prepare your heart for this weekend at Terra Nova Church… or just preparing to celebrate the resurrection in a couple weeks… watch this video to discover what ALL IN really looks like.

Are you really ALL in?

moving forwardJesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

— Matthew 16:23

 

We’ve launched 2013 with a pretty bold challenge at Terra Nova Church to BE RICH and now we are preparing to dive into a brand-new series, RENEWED BLISS, that will speak truth into marriages. It’s become very apparent that we are addressing some very critical issues in the life of our church and in the hearts of individuals.

I think we often overlook or even dismiss the reality of spiritual warfare. When God is at work… the enemy and all the forces of darkness rise to delay, derail, and destroy that which God earnestly desires for His bride.

John’s gospel reminds us…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. — John 10:10

If you are part of the Terra Nova Church family… PLEASE pray for our church as we move forward on mission. If you are simply a regular viewer of this blog or have just stumbled upon it… PLEASE pray for our church and certainly pray for the local body that you gather with. There is NO CHURCH that is exempt from the schemes of the enemy.

Frank Viola says this…

When the Lord is having His way in a body of believers, God’s enemy will be sure to attack. Nothing so threatens the enemy’s kingdom than the church of Jesus Christ being expressed and standing for God’s timeless purpose and Christ’s fullness and headship.

So, here are four (4) things to keep in mind when such attacks occur… Notice that I said WHEN

  1. The enemy virtually always uses uncrucified flesh as the ground for his attack against a body of believers.
  2. Those who are giving ground to the enemy aren’t always aware that this is what they are doing; giving him ground via selfishness and self-gratification.
  3. The only way to close the gap is to die to self. God’s enemy has no ground by which to work then. Remember Jesus’ words: “Satan has come, but he has nothing in me.” There was no ground in Him for the enemy to use.
  4. The enemy uses lies and deception to hold ground. He’s a master at it. The scriptures wielded by crucified hands and in the Spirit are a force to break that decption.

I’m excited to be MOVING FORWARD… but please remember… we are NOT simply building an institution or a country club. We ARE called to be LIGHT in the darkness… to be agents of LIFE-CHANGE… and to decrease so that He may increase!

WE GET TO DO THIS!